Where is God?
Where is God? Christianity, a religion of the Jewish people, spread across the Western World through the preaching of St. Paul among the Gentiles. It gained popularity as a reaction to the extremes of brutality and excesses dominating the Roman Empire, when the spirit was totally relegated, and people were concerned only with the pleasures of the body.
Any pendulum loses its strength at the highest point and reverses its direction. Likewise, human beings have embraced the spiritual religion proposed by Jesus in response to this extreme materialism. The pendulum, having reached its highest point, begins its movement downward. The materialism of the Roman world was dominated by Christianity, a religion that emphasizes the spirit and devalues the body.
However, after reversing its direction, the pendulum again reached its peak, represented by an excessive appreciation of the spirit in detriment of the body.
With the Renaissance in the fifteenth century, we saw the development of science and its emphasis on reason. Christianity, farther and farther away from the material world, saw the growth of science. Jung finds the culmination of materialism in the French Revolution with its enthronement of reason as a new God.
At the present day, we live in an extremely materialistic and extrovert West that devalues the inner world and the spirit. More seriously, the Western man thinks that reason – science – can solve all his problems.
Modern man scorns the power of the unconscious. He thinks his Ego is the absolute master of his mind, and that he drives his actions. This is not true. The Self, an archetype of the unconscious, has powers that can be compared to the ones attributed to God. Neuroses and psychoses, drug problems and alcoholism, the many times we talk or take attitudes of which we later regret, negate this absolute power of the Ego.
Jung postulated that the human psyche is composed of a conscious part – Ego - and an unconscious part, which is divided into the personal unconscious and the collective unconscious. In the collective unconscious, we find the Self, which Jung also called the Image of God. The Self guides our lives, creating situations that try to direct our life journey to awareness.
To the extent that human beings disdain the inner life, they become an easy prey to ideologies that operate almost like religions. We see zealots for communism, socialism, green movement and other fads that, while not necessarily bad, can be terrible when they lead to fanaticism, when they turn into almost a religion.
Jesus said in the Gospel of Thomas – saying #3: “The Kingdon is inside of you and outside of you.” The Eastern mystics claim that God is within and without of us. If we want a healthy life, if we want to contribute to a healthy world, we have to pay attention to our inner God, the image of God that is within our psyche. How can we do it?