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Carl Gustav Jung. Rejects many of Freud’s conclusions about ethics. Accepts: Religion as a psychological phenomena/ a natural process which stems from archetypes in the human mind/ performs the function of harmonizing the psyche/ a beneficial phenomena. Carl Gustav Jung: Archetypes.

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Carl gustav jung
Carl Gustav Jung

  • Rejects many of Freud’s conclusions about ethics.

  • Accepts:

  • Religion as a psychological phenomena/ a natural process which stems from archetypes in the human mind/ performs the function of harmonizing the psyche/ a beneficial phenomena.

Carl gustav jung archetypes
Carl Gustav Jung: Archetypes

  • Concept of God is a primordial image/ a part of the collective consciousness we all have.

  • ARCHITYPES= that part of the psyche that creates these images. We have a functional disposition to produce the same/similar images/ideas.

  • We are born with the ability to generate images of God and other religious phenomena.

  • We pick up images of God from our experience of the world, but the disposition to generate these images is innate.

  • An experience which is archetypal in character can be classed as religious.

  • Jung:

    GOD along with the images generated by all the other archetypes is INEFFABLE (beyond explanation/description) since He comes from a part of the mind about which nothing concrete may be known.

Carl gustav jung god
Carl Gustav Jung: God?

  • The existence of GOD?

  • The is no proof either way!!! “We simply do not know the ultimate derivation of the archetype…” “Nothing positive or negative has thus been asserted about the possible existence of God…” Jung ‘Psychology and Alchemy’

  • What can be asserted? God exists as a psychic phenomena/ For people who experience the effects of the archetype, God is real/ As to existence of God outside the mind, nothing can be proven.

  • Freud= Religion a neurosis

  • Jung= Religion performs the role of maintaining the balance of the mind and preventing neurosis

Carl gustav jung individuation
Carl Gustav Jung: Individuation


    The balance of the libido and the ensuing mental health of the individual are governed by an innate process-individuation. INDIVIDUATION results in a psychologically balanced personality-through the integration of the various archetypes into the conscious personality.

  • INDIVIDUATION is a religious process; any process/attitude governed by archetypes may be termed religious.

  • Through religious images the personality achieves its goal of integration. Those who reject religion are less likely to individuate successfully, are more likely to experience neurosis.

Carl gustav jung1
Carl Gustav Jung

  • Using Jung’s ideas we could argue that God made mankind in his image by placing a very blueprint of Himself in our minds!


  • Criticism of Jung’s methodology:

    Jung argues that we can know nothing about God. Can we accept this? Key to his argument is that God’s existence cannot be proven. He can only be known as a psychic entity and not in the world of reality.

    Phil of Religion for A level

    “He has set up a necessary truth and hence safeguarded it from ever being reputed by empirical evidence. In this, however, he has no justification.”


  • Can we accept the theory of Archetypes?

    Cannot myths, imagery etc. Be better explained by the fact that we share generally the same experiences:

    Birth-death-parents-sun = common ideas about Parent gods, sun gods, punishing and rewarding gods.

    Do we need to postulate an archetypal ‘instinct from God’ from the evidence that people believe in God? NO!

    Anyway many people do not believe in God. Jung said that atheism was itself a form of religion, but if so where is the God archetype?


  • Individuation as a Religious Process?

    Is individuation anything to do with God? Is religious practice and belief more than about becoming whole?

    “..there is an extra dimension in religious practice which Jung fails to explain.” Phil of R. for A level

    Jung’s theories may be true but they are not proven so!

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I need to show Background reading!

  • Jung: “Among all my patients in the second half of life….over 35….there has not been one whose problems in the last resort was not that of finding a religious outlook of life. It is safe to say that everyone of them fell ill because he had lost that which the living religions of every age have given to their followers, and none of them had been really healed who did not regain this religious outlook” T. Thouless ‘An introduction to the Psychology of religion’

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  • Thouless points out that Jung’s ideas lacked objective confirmation but that they did find support:

  • Psychotherapist Alphonse Meader. He began by rejecting religion but converted to Christianity.. He reported that he had found himself better able to help patients since he could guide them in spiritual readjustment necessary to restore mental health.

  • Dr. Frankl “developed a system of psychotherapy which not only recognized mans spirit, but actually starts from it.”

    Thouless ‘An intro to the psychology of religion’

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  • J. MacQuarrie ‘20th Century Religious Thought’:

    What kind of Religion does Jung recommend…Naturalistic religion, not traditional.

    “Increasingly as Jung sees it, men will turn from collective dogmatic religions to private religions, in which each individual works out independently his own solutions of the religious problem”

    Jung’ view is that “God is within us as a psychological reality, the denial of which distorts our life.”

  • ‘The beginners guide to ideas’ W. Raeper and L. Smith: “Jung came to believe that people need meaning and significance in their lives.” P. 80

  • ‘The sea of Faith’ Don Cupitt: The objective side of religion, its institutions, dogma, myth and rituals, is interpreted as a psychic projection, and is thereby made available to us as a vast body of resources to be used by us in the service of a modern spitiuality.

Carl gustav jung implication for ethics
Carl Gustav Jung: Implication for Ethics

  • The link between religion and ethics/ between images of God resulting from archetypes and responses to moral behaviour.

  • Love God/A loving God image AND Love your neighbour.

  • The sheep and the Goats. Images of heaven and hell alongside images of meeting the needs of the poor; give drink to the thirsty/visit the prisoner etc…..

  • We often see ethical issues being interpreted from a religious perspective: Just War theory - Should the UK have gone to war against Saddam Hussain?

  • Could it be that ethics is an aspect of religious imagery and therefore part/an aspect of the archetype?

Carl gustav jung implication for ethics1
Carl Gustav Jung: Implication for Ethics

  • Ethics an aspect of balancing the mind? A healthy outlook? When we integrate various archetypes are we integrating an ethical world view also? Is this part of the process of Individuation?

  • Blueprint concept: We have an innate ability to create images of God. Is an ethical perspective part of the blueprint; CONSCIENCE?

  • One reason why religion is so healthy is that it provides a foundation for an ethical understanding of oneself, others and the world?

  • Could it be that the source of our ethical perspective, our innate ability to understand and think morally, like the source of our innate ability to create images of God, comes in fact from God?????????? Case not proven!