Monday, July 25, 2005

Psychoanalysis and Idolatry

Psychoanalysis and Idolatry

The Western Christian culture was rooted in realism. Realism was the belief in the objectivity of things that are material and spiritual. During the last two century, modernity gave a thumbs down to it’s cultural foundation. Christian realism was rooted out and the foundation was refilled with science- in which reality was contained only within material objects that could be tested.

God, love, beauty and free-will were neither material nor testable, so they were not within modernity's reality. The primacy of realistic philosophies such as Thomism and wondrous literature like Shakespeare, then, were dislodged by Pavlovian behaviorism and others scientific studies in colleges and scholarly associations.
This cramped reality of only the materially testable led to rootlessness and alienation, which was so unbearable to modern man that there was a reaction.

According to Allan Bloom, Friedrich Nietzsche’s antirational and antirealism philosophy as well as language was the American reaction. He said, ”Words such as “charisma,” ”lifestyle,” “commitment,“ “identity,“ and many other, all of which can easily be traced to Nietzsche are now practically American slang.” But, the most important Nietzschian word is “values.”

“Values” means the subjectivity of all concepts about good and evil. Many will remember when President Reagan called the USSR “the evil empire;” he was roundly criticized for violating the new language of “beyond good and evil.” This language of value relativism does not allow for the word “evil.”

According to Bloom, two writers are responsible for most of the Nietzschian language in America-Max Weber and Sigmund Freud. Few know that Freud was “ profoundly influenced by Nietzsche,” said Bloom.
Freud under the cover of scientific terminology moved psychiatry away from the mechanistic and biological to the previously “unscientific” model of the “ symbolic language of the unconscious.” Freud’s pupil, Carl Jung took the symbolic language of the unconscious a step farther.

Unlike his mentor, Jung’s unconscious theory is not about making conscious the sexually repressed or forgotten memories. His symbolic therapy used what he called the “active imagination” to incorporate split off parts of the unconscious (complexes) into the conscious mind.

Many Christians thought this “language of the soul” was a step forward from the cramped scientific reality of modernity. What they didn’t understand was that Jung’s theory was part of a movement that led to the rejection of objective reality, even from the narrow realism of science. Jungian psychoanalysis reduces Christian realistic concepts such as God, free-will and intelligence to blind reactions, unconscious urges and uncontrollable acts. Even more disastrous, he inverted Christian worship.

Leanne Payne- a Christian therapist- considers Jung not a scientist, but a post-modernist subjectivist. Jung’s active imagination therapy ” is hostile not only to the Judeo-Christian worldview, but to all systems containing objective moral and spiritual value. Within this world the self becomes god. What the self wants is what is finally right or moral,” Payne said, “These psychic persona [complexes] are literally called “gods“(“archetypes’), and so an overt idolatry of self follows quickly.”

Some of the largest audiences for this inversion of realism and the Judeo-Christian worldview are followers of Christ. By using Christian symbols and terminology, Jungian spirituality has infiltrated to a large extent Christian publishers, seminaries, even convents and monasteries.

Many Christians are using Jung’s active imagination as a method of prayer. Psychiatrist Jeffrey Satinover, M.D., thinks this is dangerous ” because this fantasy life has no moral underpinnings, because it helps to reinforce an experience of autonomous inner “beings” accessible via imagination, and because it is a defense against redemptive suffering, it easily allies with and quickly becomes a Gnostic form of spiritually with powerfully occult overtones.”

As Dr. Chuck Lowe said of the fringe groups in the Charismatic spiritual mapping movement, ”Post-modernity supplants modernity, objectivity gives way to emotionalism, scientism to spiritism, mechanism to shamanism.” So, unfortunately, with the widespread acceptance of Jungian spirituality, mainstream Christianity seems to be moving to post-modern shamanism (occultism).

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