CHRISTIANITY WITHIN By TONI WOLFF
Professor C. G. Jung has found the religious function to be inherent in human nature whether man is conscious of it or not.
He says that the religions problem lies at the bottom of every neurosis.
The history of mankind confirms this.
Not only is religion found in even race and epoch, but primitive mentality in particular shows that man, as soon as he is human, devotes a great deal of time to religious observances.
The form of religion and the idea of the godhead differ, of course, according to the kind and development of consciousness.
But however primitive or differentiated the idea of God, it is an archetypal image which is to be found everywhere.
It concerns the fact that man experiences psychical or spiritual powers outside his personal psychology and stronger than his own will.
Those powers must therefore be worshipped and the appropriate forms must be carefully observed.
As Professor Jung also emphasizes, our Western culture and civilization are fundamentally based on Christianity whether it be believed in or not, every value of an intellectual or a feeling nature and every achievement of our science and technique have developed from that particular differentiation of consciousness which is the result of the original Christian attitude.
This attitude believed in the strength of the spirit and saw evil in nature. therefore it is all-important to know the history of Christian ideas and symbols and to realize how far they still have a living meaning for us and if they have ;apparently become meaningless, why this is so and what symbols take their place.
We cannot live properly with rational forms alone and, if we think we can, the unconscious will demonstrate its disagreement in the form of a neurosis, of an illness or of fateful events. I
should like to quote some ideas here from Professor Jung‘s book Psychology and Alchemy which has recently been published in English.
In his introduction Professor Jung said:
“A Christian may believe in all the sacred figures and yet remain developed and unchanged in his innermost soul, for he sees the
whole God outside and does not experience harm in his own soul.
For decisive motives, interests and impulses do not come from the sphere of Christianity, but from the unconscious and undeveloped soul, which is just as pagan and archaic as ever.
The truth of this statement is not only evident in the life of the individual but also in the sum total of individual lives, the people.
The great events of our world which are planned and carried out by man do not breathe the spirit of Christianity but of unadorned paganism.
These things originate in a psychical condition that has remained archaic and that has not been in the least elected by Christianity.
Christian culture has turned out to be hollow in a terrifying degree it was outward veneer but the inner man has remained untouched
and therefore unchanged.
The condition of the soul does not correspond with the outward creed: in his soul, the Christian has not kept step with the outward development.
Everything it could be kept outside, in image and word, in Church and Bible.
But it is not inside.
The archaic gods still reign within as supreme as ever.
In other words, through the lack of psychical culture the inner factor, which corresponds to the outer image of God, has remained
undeveloped and has therefore stuck fast in paganism.
Christian education has indeed done everything which was humanly possible, but it was not sufficient.
Too few people have experienced the Divine Figure as the innermost possession of their own soul.
They have only met a Christ outwardly, but he has never approached them from their own soul: so dark paganism ii still reigning there,
and is flooding the so-called Christian cultural world, partly in a blatant form which can no longer be denied and partly in all too
The methods which have been used hitherto have failed to Christianize the soul, even to a degree that would meet the most
elementary demands of Christian ethics and would have any decisive influence on the most important affairs of the European Christian.
The Christian missionary indeed preaches the Gospel to the poor naked heathen, but the inner heathen, who populate Europe, and not yet aware that Christianity exists.
If Christianity is to meet its great educating task adequately, is most necessarily begin again from the beginning.
Nothing fundamental bus happened while religion is only a belief and outward form, and whose the religious function bus not been experienced by the individual soul.
It is yet to be understood that the Mysterium Magnum does not only rest in itself, hut that it is established above all in the human soul.
Another statement from another source which is a still a greater authority for this group may also be quoted.
In Doctrine in the Church of England, the Report of the Commission on Christian Doctrine appointed by the Arch bishops of Canterbury and York, published in 1338, it is said:
Much that is most evil in the world, and from which we most need to be delivered, consists in and arises from habits of mind or
an outlook on life which is taken for granted by those who share it.
The things most wrong with a man are often those of which he is least conscious.
The notion that what is required of us is merely to do what we happen to regard as our duty is disastrous.
A primary duty of the individual is to try to find out what his duty really is.
The same subject is also significantly referred to in New Sayings of Jesus, discovered at Oxyrrhynchus, edited and published in 1904 by the Oxford University Press, by Bernard P. Grenfell and Arthur S. Hunt:
Jesus saith, Ye ask: who are those that draw us to the kingdom, if the kingdom is in Heaven?
the fowls of the air, and all beasts that are under the earth or above the earth, and the fishes of the sea, these are they which draw you, and the kingdom of Heaven is within you; and whoever shall know himself shall find it.
Strive therefore to know yourselves, and ye shall be aware that you are the sons of the almighty Father; and ye shall know that ye are in the city of God, and ye are the city.
If God has given us a mind, we are certainly meant to apply it, not only an external things but equally on ourselves.
That which distinguishes man from everything else in creation consciousness and the history of mankind shows that consciousness grows and increases.
We might even say that it ought to increase, at least in certain individuals.
For a person becomes neurotic just because he is too unconscious about certain parts of himself.
It does not help to say that he simply could not know them.
That may be true technically, but no one seems to take no notice of this fact.
Whether he knows about the claims of his unconscious or not, man is punished by a neurosis if he does not pay any attention to the demands of the unconscious.
And he is not only punished himself, but his entire surroundings will suffer too.
It is well known that unconscious contents, when activated, create a disturbing atmosphere which extends to everybody who comes in contact with the neurotic individual.
His family, his friends and those associated with him in work may over look this unpleasant result, or they may bear it with Christian tolerance, but this is not the only evil.
It is a psychological law that unconscious contents, as long as they remain unconscious, and dissociated from the ego and in consequence they are projected.
What you do not admit in yourself, you see in other people in your nearer or farther environment.
It is the beam in your own eye and the mote in the eye of your brother; only psychologically it is the other way round.
The beam is always seen in others: it is they who appear in a distorted and exaggerated way and who are treated in accordance with your complex or whatever it is you remain unconscious of—the shadow side in yourself, your inferior function, a possession by the anima or the animus or by another archetype.
Every reader will know of such cases, which can turn into regular tragedies.
If unconsciousness exists on a larger scale and if no moral principles or religious ideas restrain its outburst, then you have mass movements and all the world-wide catastrophes which we have witnessed.
It is not astonishing that the religion of the white man has lost its prestige in the eyes of other races, and it is indeed up to the Christian to ask himself why has Christianity failed, where is his religion of love, and what can each individual do to contribute
his share towards drumming up the deluge of Evil?
For it is an essentially Christian idea that the individual, being endowed with an immortal soul, is responsible for himself and thereby for
those in connection with him.
It is therefore certainly an inner Christian principle to realize and to withdraw projections—in other words, to recognize that the exaggerated way, whether good or bad, in which we see a fellow-being does not correspond to his real nature, and that the motives which we attribute to him are not really his.
It follows that the projected contents must necessarily be part of our own psychology, since they most certainly originate in ourselves.
Even if we seem to have a very good reason to be angry, because the other fellow has wronged us somehow, it is our anger
which we have to digest.
Those emotions of hatred, or may be those exaggerated illusions about an idolized person or that panicky fear of another, credited with uncanny
power. arc part of our own psychology.
The Shadow and its Integration
This realization of projections and their withdrawal from the object upon which they have fallen leads to the problem of the confrontation with one‘s own shadow.
The shadow is the dark half of the psyche.
We prefer to remain ignorant about it. and we try to get rid of it by burdening our neighbors—in a narrower or wider sense—with all the faults that we obviously have ourselves.
It is that psychical half which has not only remained in the dark, but which is indeed dark in contrast to the bright half of which our conscious ego consists.
The shadow side is in no way equal to this light, but is rather its very in negation.
It is inferior, inert, self-indulgent, infantile, mean, envious, immoral, uncivilized, even primitive—in short, it is that very being who has not been developed and differentiated into the conscious Christian principles.
And in recognizing it as our other half, we are confronted with the problem of living with it, as with a most unattractive twin brother or sister.
This is a conflict of the utmost intensity.
For while it is impossible to repress the shadow side, it is equally impossible to give in to it by a complete reversal and by letting the shadow be on top hence forward.
This would represent utter moral disaster.
Professor Jung says in his introduction to Psychology and The Alchemy problem of the shadow is in psychotherapy as important the problem of sin is in the Church.
Christ accepted the sinner, and did not condemn him, the true follower of Christ will do the Same to the sinner within, without, however, making a pact of friendship with evil, just as Christ cannot be accused of having fraternized with evil.
If an inferiority is conscious, one always has a chance to correct it.
One improves people by love and makes them worse by hate, which also applies to oneself.
The reconciliation of the opposites—man‘s conscious morality and the inferior half of his psyche—is an age-old problem.
We find a somewhat similar attempt to understand Christian ideas on the subjective level in Gnosticism.
I do not refer, of course, to the Gnostic teaching which said: “Thou canst be delivered from no sin thou hast not committed.“
The Gnostics did not mean it as crudely as that, because the idea was closely bound up with their philosophy of reincarnation and with that of delivery from the fate of rebirth.
But, as you may remember, Professor Jung quotes, in Psychology and Religion, the legendary personality of Karpokrates‘ in the second century, who according to Irenaeus, interpreted the words of St. Matthew Ch. 5, v. 25: Agree with thine adversary quickly, while thou art in the way with him,“ in the following way: Agree with thyself quickly, whiles thou art in the way with thyself.“
As the adversary means the somatic man for him, and as the living body is an indispensable part of the personality, it follows that the adversary is the other fellow in myself.
Therefore Professor Jung, taking up this reasoning, adds in the German text of Psychology and Religion:
Karpokratian interpretation reads to reading St. Matthew 5, 22 and the subsequent verses in the following way:
Whosoever is angry with himself without a cause shalt be in danger of the judgement. . .
Therefore, if thou bringest thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thou hast ought against thyself, leave
there thy gift before the altar and go thy way: first be reconciled to thyself and then come and offer thy gift.
Agree with thyself quickly whilst thou art in the way with thyself; lest at any time thou deliverest thyself to the judge.“
and so on.
In the same place, in the German text of his book, Professor Jung also quotes—as not too far removed in meaning—the
non-canonical saying of the Lord:
“If you know what you are doing, you are blessed; but if you do not know what you are doing, you are cursed,“ a saying
which is reported as Christ‘s answer to the indignation of the disciples when they saw a man at work in the fields on
the Sabbath day.
In the problem of withdrawing projections and of integrating the shadow, dreams are an invaluable help.
They show all those figures of inferior moral quality or inferior status which populate our inner house.
Of course everything depends on the way we understand the dreams, if we are to get any benefit from them in this respect.
If dreams are interpreted according to the Freudian hypothesis of wish-fulfillment, then naturally the dream figures are under
stood as disguised representatives of the objects of our infantile wishes.
Or, if the method of Alfred Adler is applied, we remain happily in our superior position, for it is then clear that the dream points out the inferiority of others, whilst we can be content in being so much better—if only to cover up an inherent feeling of inferiority on our part.
But if you apply the principles of dream interpretation which Professor Jung follows: that is to say, if you take all the dream figures as being symbolic expressions of an unconscious side in yourself, and if you further keep in mind that dreams are compensating the attitude of the conscious, then you arrive at very different results.
You may indeed sometimes make unpleasant discoveries about yourself.
But does not the Christian believe that spiritual pride is sin and that humbleness is a necessity? And how
can you love others if you have not learnt first to love yourself?
The command is to love your neighbor as you love yourself; but if you hate yourself, you will be intolerant and envious, for you will want to find everything outside which you have not given yourself.
The same problem arises with our emotions and affects.
If we neither throw them about us in a primitive and unchristian way, not pretend that they do not exist—a pretense which is rather difficult to keep up—we are forced to “stew in our own juice.“
The method of dealing with affects differs psychologically, however, from dream
It is not so much analysis which is required, but objective consideration of the affect.
When you can look at the affect by itself without getting identified with it, and when you do not explain it rationally, you may observe
that it takes on form and expresses itself in an image.
This image contains the unconscious content behind or underneath the affect, and is the real expression of an amount of psychical energy which, in the disguise of the affect, was mere blind dynamism.
And in applying this method of “active imagination“ it can happen that you experience
not only personal badness hut real evil.
Figures, scenes and events can appear which come from the very bottom of humanity—in [act, they seem less than human.
These images do not belong any longer to your personal psychology; they are not representatives of your personal shadow side.
They derive from the collective unconscious, from that archetypal layer which is common to man as
man, apart from his historical, racial or individual differences.
And here, in the archetypes of the collective unconscious, man is confronted not with badness any more, but with evil.
Evil is a principle, which is just as real as the good principle in human nature and therefore, when the archetypal human structure is touched, makes its appearance just like any other inherent factor.
Therefore all religions, whether primitive or historical, possess good spirits and evil ones, angels and demons, gods and devils.
It is therefore rather surprising that quite a number of Christian churches, no matter what their denomination, with, of course, the exception of the Roman Catholic Church, no longer speak of the devil; in fact, they hardly admit his existence.
It is true that his medieval form with hoofs and horns is rather ridiculous, and moreover, enlightened minds da not
believe in demoniacal presences.
But psychologically it is much more sound, and morally it is much better, to believe in the devil or Satan, even in an
inadequate form, rather than not at all.
And it is psychologically correct to say of certain people when they are in certain moods—and not just as a figure of speech—
that they are possessed by the devil, far their state is a and of possession by an evil spirit.
Inflation and Objectification
If this interpretation is not applied, the inevitable consequence is that the individual himself is burdened with all the evil, which far surpasses his capacity.
Per the spiritual and moral welfare of the individual as well as of those with whom he is connected, it is imperative to know of the existence of factors and powers. good and evil, outside his personal psychology.
If they can no longer be believed to exist in a metaphysical form, that does not mean that they do not exist at all.
They are just as real as ever, but they exist as psychical factors of the collective unconscious.
When their existence remains unknown and is denied, they inflate the ego ta superhuman proportions and the individual becomes unconsciously identified with either God or the devil.
It is a kind of alienation, a sort of insanity, the results of which are disastrous, whether they happen in private lift or an a larger scale.
The first case is represented. for instance, by Nietzsche, who, having declared that God was dead, felt himself in his subsequent
insanity to be the crucified Christ and Dionysos torn to pieces.
The ego is torn apart and extinguished when the objective psychical factors are not recognized as such and
separated from the personal psychology of the individual.
To have religion means literally to observe carefully those factors which are non-personal and mightier than the
Whether they are believed to exist in a metaphysical farm, or whether they are understood to exist as
factors of the non-personal, collective psyche. is a matter of differentiation of the conscious mind.
There is, of course a difference between the two standpoints, but one cannot exactly choose; one is rather forced into one or the
other by one‘s historical background and individual destiny.
The psychological standpoint is more a modern one, and the metaphysical outlook can be called medieval; but either of these is certainly better and more in accordance with psychical faces than the rational outlook which denies the
existence of objective non-personal factors.
It is even questionable whether the belief in the good principle alone is not also in a way too rational, too much of a wish-fulfillment.
Who could, in this present-day world, deny the existence of evil?
Is war good—even for those who have not started it?
Is starvation good?
Is atomic energy only good?
It is true that much depends on man and an how he does a thing or an how he applies his scientific and technical inventions.
But if man can be moved by a good principle and by a benevolent spirit, can he not also be moved by the opposite one?
If he can never be perfect an the good side, because only God is perfect, can he then be completely evil, or is he not equally related
to or possessed by an evil principle far beyond his own mere badness?
It is most certainly his own moral responsibility for which side he decides.
But even his attempt to try to be completely and only good is not so satisfaction and beneficial as it seems.
If he thinks he can be only good, he merely represses his bad side, and it will overtake him in some way or other.
Man is only human, and is thus placed between the good principle and the evil one; and it is his most vital problem
to hold on to his humanity between the two.
The only thing for which he can work and pray is to be able to try the spirits and find out where they come from (1. John iv. 1).
The Sacrifice of the Ego
The recognition and careful observation of non-personal psychic factors entails and leads to a sacrifice of the ego —not in the form of an abortion, but in the form of a renunciation of its supremacy.
It is no longer possible always to say: I want, I decide, I do, and so on, because it is evident that things happen to me, which are decided
for me, and that factors other than the conscious I do or think in me.
The ego is the vehicle for these other factors and it is responsible for them; but their roots are not in it but in the larger psyche.
This is an attitude corn parable to that of St. Paul when he says (Gal. ii. 20):
I live; yet not 1, but Christ liveth in me“; and it is certainly an attitude which can be called religious.
It is, in a way, a kind of death of the ego and is often represented in dreams by the head being chopped off—the head symbolizing the conscious side of man, his will, his superior psychological function, etc.
Or it is the image of suicide or of a deliberate offering-up of the person to a trial which may end in the death sentence.
This entails a deliberate renunciation of the hitherto dominating position of the ego, the conscious person as I know myself to be.
Or it is expressed in dreams of a spider‘s web where the ego is a mere fly in the web and the center is occupied by the spider—a negative presentation, at first sight, of the process of individuation as being caught, inexplicably, in a net.
But if the process has set in, it is just as hopeless to try to get out of it as for a fly to extricate itself horn a spider‘s web.
The only thing to do is to go with it willingly and to make the sacrifice deliberately.
The sacrifice or death of the ego and the process of observation and objectification of non-personal factors leads
eventually to symbols of rebirth.
This, however, is not the rebirth of the ego, but of the larger personality, the Self, which includes both the conscious and the unconscious
It is important to emphasize here that the symbols of death, or sacrifice and rebirth, are symbols with which every Christian is familiar.
They are the essential symbols of his religion.
In the process of individuation in psychology, the symbolic figures which the unconscious produces may not always be identical
with the figures of the Christian religion; yet the attitude which the process requires is in its essence Christian, for it needs a spirit
of devotion, a giving up of cherished ideals and a willingness to be transformed which have formed the best part of the spirit of
Christianity throughout the centuries.
Therefore it is not surprising that the unconscious is full of symbolism which appears in every religion and thus also in Christianity.
An outstanding symbol is the Cross.
It is by no means an exclusively Christian symbol, for it occurs practically everywhere.
But for Christianity it is the central symbol, expressing in one image the sum total of everything which Christianity means: the supreme
sacrifice, redemption and resurrection.
If an individual cannot believe in the dogma and if he does not feel redeemed by the Christian process of salvation, he is forced to find another interpretation of these symbols.
He cannot get away from the fact that the Christian myth and symbols have formed the mind of the Western world.
So he too is contained within that split.
But symbols ran he understood in more than one way, and even the Church admits that the life of the Christian
Body is enriched by varieties of emphasis and interpretations“ (Doctrine, p. 111); and moreover that:
“The purpose of credal statements is to affirm the truth on which the Gospel of the Church and the religious life of Christians
It is not their purpose to affirm either historical facts or metaphysical truths merely as such.
It is as the expressions of the Gospel and of the presuppositions of the Christian life that the statements of the Creeds,
whether in the sphere of history or in that of philosophy, have permanent truth and value.
In this sense every clause in the Creeds is of necessity symbolic.‘“ (Doctrine, p. 37.)
So if the symbol of the Cross cannot be believed in, it can be experienced.
It expresses then the fact that the individual himself is being tortured and crucified, that he is hung on the opposites of human
nature and that he who suffers from utter abandonment and a sort of death.
Christ was put to death for having lived his own experience of God which was new and opposed to the orthodox views of
If a modern individual is forced to find his own truth, to live his experience and to meet God in his own
way, this cannot be said to be unchristian.
Indeed it could be called a following of the model of Christ‘s life in a way which, though individual. may show a deeper
understanding than that which follows from a mere adherence to the Creed.
Whatever it may seem to be to those who can believe, it is at all events the more difficult course to take.
It is hard and even dangerous to leave the common way and to seek a path in loneliness.
The dangers are many and great, for the unconscious is overwhelming as well as fascinating.
It certainly needs every Christian value and virtue to resist its force, when at the same time it must be entered into and carefully observed.
It needs integrity of character and mind, and a careful remembering of given values which, for Western men, are all fundamentally Christian.
It also needs a certain knowledge of more or less forgotten or neglected Christian ideas, for other epochs than our own have known symbolic thinking to a far greater extent.
The Fathers of the Church and the great mystics give evidence of this in their writings.
Our epoch is scientifically and technically minded.
We want first of all to understand and to know and we believe in reason.
And so we try to do the same in understanding religious ideas.
But religious ideas are always and everywhere symbolic truths.
They can never be understood in a rational way alone, they are as symbols, both rational and irrational; they are paradoxical.
They unite psychical facts of the conscious and unconscious mind.
Though they appeal to our reason and knowledge, they have contents which we cannot yet know because they are only in the making.
Religion is in its essence symbolic and even a religious symbol, when it originated, was an experience surpassing conscious knowledge.
When a religion becomes established, symbols are worked into dogmas.
The Roman Catholic Church understands even the dogma to be a symbolic truth.
“The dogma unites knowing and not knowing, something which is intelligible and something which is unintelligible, a clarity and at the same time a mystery “—as a Catholic theologian, Georg Koepgen, says:
“One of die most valuable achievements of Professor Jung is to have re-opened die way to symbolic thinking.
By this he has led us to understand religious ideas of every race and time.
He also helps the modern individual either to understand his own religion in a deeper and more vital way, or to find and to experience symbols which come to him from the depths of die unconscious, from that creative psyche which has always been die mother of all die things and Ideas which move humanity. “
The symbols which are born in someone with the help of psychology are individual, but are at the Same time universal, because they derive from that layer in man which is common to all.