Letters Volume I

[Carl Jung on the empirical element in religious experiences: revelation.]

To W. E. Hocking

My dear Professor Hocking, 5 May 1939

Thank you very much for your kind letter. It is pure pleasure to answer it.

I emphatically agree with your standpoint concerning the empirical element in religious experiences, viz. revelation.

But I realize on the other hand the tremendous complication which arises from such a recognition for all forms of creeds with the sole exception of some Indian religions.

The Vishnu religion, for instance, could assimilate Christ as an avatar/ but Buddhism would concede only a mild interest to Christ.

For Christianity particularly it is true that it is altogether of the papal standpoint: Sit ut est aut non sit.

If the Christian truth is not supreme and solely valid, then it believes it has lost its raison d’ etre and, if I may express my humble opinion, it would have lost it. It would instantly have to turn into a sort of philosophical syncretism.

I think that this is a most serious point.

I hope that my book Psychology and Religion has been forwarded to you.

I have discussed there the question of “individual revelation” at length.

It is a point that is of daily concern to myself, since time and again I have to deal with patients whose fundamental problem is how to assimilate a religious experience that contradicts or modifies the traditional Christian truth.

I take the liberty of sending you an offprint of a little paper I wrote about the Beatus Niklaus, a Swiss saint who for the mere lack of money has not been canonized yet, but he is on the list.

His is a typical case of a non-dogmatic religious experience.

St. Francis is another more famous example.

Hoping you are always in good health, I remain,

Yours sincerely,

C.G. Jung ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. 1, Pages 269-279