[Carl Jung on why “Dogma” is of vital importance]
The bridge from dogma to the inner experience of the individual has broken down.
Instead, dogma is “believed”; it is hypostatized, as the Protestants hypostatize the Bible, illegitimately making it the supreme authority, regardless of its contradictions and controversial interpretations. (As we know, anything can be authorized out of the Bible.)
Dogma no longer formulates anything, no longer expresses anything; it has become a tenet to be accepted in and for itself, with no basis in any experience that would demonstrate its truth.5 Indeed, faith has itself become that experience.
The faith of a man like Paul, who had never seen our Lord in the flesh, could still appeal to the overwhelming apparition on the road to, Damascus and to the revelation of the gospel in a kind of ecstasy.
Similarly, the faith of the man of antiquity and of the medieval Christian never ran counter to the consensus omnium but was on the contrary supported by it.
All this has completely changed in the last three hundred years. But what comparable change has kept pace with this in theological circles?
The danger exists and of this ‘there can be no doubt that the new wine will burst the old- bottles, and that what we no longer understand will be thrown into the lumber-room, as happened once before at the time of the Reformation.
Protestantism then discarded (except for a few pallid remnants) the ritual that every religion needs, and now relies solely on the sola fides standpoint.
The content of faith, of the symbolum, is continually crumbling away. What is still left of it? The person of Jesus Christ?
Even the most benighted layman knows that the personality of Jesus Is, for the biographer, the obscurest Item of all in the reports of the New Testament, and that, from a human and psychological point of view, his personality must remain an unfathomable enigma.
As a Catholic writer pithily remarked, the gospels record the history of a man and a god at the same time. Or is only God left?
In that case, what about the Incarnation, the most vital part of the symbolum?
In my view one would be well advised to apply the papal dictum: “Let it be as it is, or not be at all,” to the Creed and leave it at that, because nobody really understands what it is all about.
How else can one explain the notorious drift away from dogma?
It may strike my reader as strange that a physician and psychologist should be so insistent about dogma. But I must emphasize it, and for the same reasons that once moved the alchemist to attach special importance to his “theoria.”
His doctrine was the quintessence of the symbolism of unconscious processes, just as the dogmas are a condensation or distillation of “sacred history,” of the myth of the divine being and his deeds.
If we wish to understand what alchemical doctrine means, we must go back to the historical as well as the individual phenomenology of the symbols, and if we wish to gain a closer understanding of dogma, we must perforce consider first the myths of the Near and Middle East that underlie Christianity, and then the whole of mythology as the expression of a universal disposition In man.
This disposition I have called the collective unconscious, the existence of which can be inferred only from individual phenomenology.
In both cases the Investigator comes back to the individual, for what he is all the time concerned with are certain complex thought-forms, the archetypes, which must be conjectured as the unconscious organizers of our ideas.
The motive force that produces these configurations cannot be distinguished from the trans-conscious factor known as instinct.
There is, therefore, no justification for visualizing the archetype as anything other than the image of the instinct. ~Carl Jung; Aion; Pages 178-179