In a filmed interview with the BBC in 1959, C. G. Jung was asked if he believed in God. On that occasion, the great psychologist readily answered that for him it was not a matter of believing, but of knowing. He did not believe there was a God, he knew there was. This, however, was by no means the whole story. Not only did Jung back down from this statement in a subsequent exchange of letters with the Jewish religious thinker, Martin Buber, he also recognized in other statements “that we are …. living in the time of the splitting of the world and the invalidation of Christ,” and “that the present is a time of God’s death and disappearance.”
In this essay, Greg Mogenson re-examines these contradictory views in relation to occasions when a patient of today may put the same question to an analyst. Whereas traditional Jungian psychology had tended to present itself as the immanently-transcendent “third” of the persisting religious needs and contesting negative insights that it was potentiated by, Mogenson offers instead a Jungian psychology that is soulfully informed by the death of God experience that has characterized our modern times.
First published in a volume of Spring Journal that was dedicated to the discussion of an essay by Wolfgang Giegerich on the theme of Jung’s thesis concerning the one-sidedness of Christianity, Mogenson’s contribution to that spirited exchange is offered here as a stand-alone piece. For the context it offers as well as for its inherent interest, the “Guest Editor’s Introduction” he wrote for that “Jung and Christianity” issue of Spring is also re-published here as an appendix.
About the Author:
Greg Mogenson, the publisher of Dusk Owl Books, is a registered psychotherapist and Jungian psychoanalyst practicing in London, Ontario, Canada. A founding member and current Vice-President of The International Society for Psychology as the Discipline of Interiority, he is the author of numerous articles in the field of analytical psychology. His books with other publishers include Psychology's Dream of the Courtroom; A Most Accursed Religion: When a Trauma becomes God; Greeting the Angels: An Imaginal View of the Mourning Process; The Dove in the Consulting Room: Hysteria and the Anima in Bollas and Jung; and (with W. Giegerich and D. L. Miller) Dialectics & Analytical Psychology: The El Capitan Canyon Seminar.