A research project turning into a podcast, lecture series and essay
Jakob, it is good that you have decided to grapple with this issue. I think Jung's engagement with Christianity is a failure. He is stuck in ancient metaphysical thought and thinks Christianity is all about archetypal ideas. In truth, Christianity is about *worldly events*, of which the most important is the crucifixion and resurrection of the Son of God, which occurred in a certain place and at a point in time. Christianity centers on revelation, God's will and action in the world, and the human person's will and conduct.
Jungian analyst Marilyn Nagy identifies Jung as belonging to the Platonic and Kantian tradition (Nagy, "Philosophical Issues in the Psychology of C.G. Jung", 1991, p.46). When she realized this, it made her very downcast. Jung's Christianity is all about ideas, archetypes, and abstract thought. But Christianity centers around the manifestation of God in temporal events and the action of the human person in the world.
The Christian God is a God who acts. He is not an archetype. Nor is He the Unmoved Mover of ancient philosophy. God is a person who is "hidden in suffering", as Luther says. We can have a lot of information and ideas about a person. Nevertheless, this is largely useless, considering that we have to meet the person in order to get to know him.
Christianity is oriented towards experience and relation. Jung, however, is caught up in abstractions and figments of the mind. This is what Jung means by "experience", because whatever exists in the mind is "real". His subjectivistic and romantic idealism is incompatible with earth-bound and pragmatic Christianity. Jung wants to take us above the clouds whereas Christianity wants us to remain humble and restricted to the earth, where God manifests His will in events of our life. I had the same experience as Marilyn Nagy. I was downcast when writing "An Assessment of the Theology of Carl Gustav Jung".
The religion of the future will, I hope, have room for both psychology and the cross. The cross of course, is a sophisticated psychology itself. I'm drawn to Owen Barfield's notion of Original and then Final Participation as a grand map, with Christ initiating the final phase.
This Christ initiated phase can hardly be the last evolutionary development and many psychologies will have to emerge since the psyche is consciousness itself, which I see as the Godhead. The psychologies are perhaps poetic languages that dance around the ineffable.
It could be that Jung is a bridge figure to the divine for those lost in the forest of modernity . . . I'll quit while I'm ahead . . . behind.
Hi Jakob, this is an admin question. Since the January lectures are to be recorded, will they be shared with the course participants?
I’m a civil servant and they take place in the middle of my work day - but I’d love to watch the recordings afterward if they can be shared with the course participants.
New to your substack but very much looking forward to this project, I like the paradigms you are thinking. Curious if you have engaged with Christopher Bryant's book, who has more optimism on a reconciliation than some: https://www.amazon.com/Jung-Christian-Way-Christopher-Bryant/dp/0866838724