Friday, March 09, 2012

reflection on the meaning of God

Page references are from Jung on Christianity by Murray Stein.

What causes us to become aware of our subjective biases?

There are many possible sources--introspection, empathy with other viewpoints, analysis of our dreams--but chief among them for Carl Jung are those jarring and sometimes violent experiences that lodge themselves in our minds and refuse to let us return to the way things were before. In Jung's view, such “religious experiences” are from God, the Supreme Wholeness, who makes us step back and take stock of our subjective biases.

pg. 6 - The essence of the religious life is, for Jung, religious experience, not piety or correct belief or faithfulness to tradition.

pg. 8 - In Jung’s interpretation, Job is completely innocent. He is a scrupulously pious man who follows all the religious conventions, and for most of his life he is blessed with good fortune. This is the expected outcome for a just man in a rationally ordered universe. But then God goes to work on him, tests him with misfortune, reduces him to misery, and finally overwhelms him with questions and images of divine majesty and power. Job is silenced, and he realizes his inferior position vis-a-vis the Almighty. But he also retains his personal integrity, and this so impresses God that He is forced to take stock of Himself. Perhaps He is not so righteous after all! [ As Marc Fonda observes, God’s omniscience precludes self-awareness. Being omniscient, God has no concentrated self to speak of. Being a part of everything, God has no opportunity to distinguish self from non-self. However, as God knows the thoughts of humans, through the thoughts of his creation he can experience what self-awareness is. ] And out of this astonishing self-reflection, induced in God by Job’s stubborn righteousness, He, the Almighty, is pushed into a process of transformation that leads eventually to His incarnation as Jesus. God develops empathy and love through his confrontation with Job, and out of it a new relationship between God and humankind is born.

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