Examine Jung’s understanding of religion (30 marks)
Carl Gustav Jung a Swiss psychiatrist and a contemporary to the most controversial minds: Freud, who of which Jung’s theories to begin with were influenced by, but later grew opposition towards his ideas and started pursuing his own. Simply Viewing religion as a natural process and considered it as something that was ultimately good for our mental well being. Jung’s understanding of religion is solemnly based on his individual perception of psychology, in order for one to understand his theory it is essential to acknowledge key features. To begin with Jung argued the libido which is said to be the main cause of neuroses is where psychic energy is produced, the energy is needed for the work of our personality to be performed efficiently, opposing to what Freud defines as a sexual drive essential to be released.
This indicates Jung views religion as something of a deeper meaning and holds a lot more value to be classed as something created due to our supposedly guilty sexual desires. Jung’s work with patients with a range of different beliefs lead to him forming a link between different types of religions. Jung identified the similarities found in a number of religions for example in Islam Muslim’s refer to god as light ‘nur’ correspondingly in Christianity “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12) therefore Christians describe his as the ‘Light of the World’. Such comparisons that are too complex to be classed as a consequence caused Jung to declare not only do we all as humans have a un-conscious part and conscious part split in our brain, we also all have a collective un-conscious in our un conscious which we are all born with and is the oldest part of our brain. Due to everybody having the same collective unconscious results to us creating the same images, therefore explaining why everyone shares a similar idea of god, shared by all of humanity.
These images are formed in the archetype, Jung stated the archetype is categorized into five different parts: the persona, shadow, animus, anima and God and self. Jung thought the self was the most vital part of our psyche; in order for us to ensure we stay healthy it seeks the integration of all of the parts of our characters “Individuation means becoming an ‘in-dividual’, and in so far as ‘individuality’ embraces our innermost, last, and incomparable uniqueness, it also implies becoming one’s own self. We could therefore translate individuation as ‘coming to self-hood’ or ‘self-realisation.” Jung states are un-conscious mind which is split in 5 parts is set of sometime during our life and results to becoming un-balanced along with the imbalance of the conscious and unconscious part of our brain, the failure of maintaining harmony leads to a cause of mental disorder in order for us to prevent this we turn to religion to make us a whole individual, we need answers and a belief in god, religion is used as a cure. The images created in the god category of our archetype supply us to successfully integrate the conscious and un-conscious parts of our personality. Jung’s theory explains why we as human beings value religion; if one of us were to oppose it we would be disturbing our natural individuation process.
Therefore accepting religion is beneficial for the sake of our sanity and mental health, Jung viewed religion from a positive perspective although he did not personally believe that god exists his approach on the topic was respective “nothing positive or negative has been asserted about the possible existence of any god” Jung stated although the likelihood of god existing is slim yet he may exist. Furthermore removing religion would potentially cause psychological problems, as opposed to Freud who felt religion is an illness everyone should strive to overcome. Jung states religion stabilizes you and makes you whole.