Baker concludes his examination of Screwtape's predictions with a look at
the dangers of contemporary psychoanalysis and comparative religion
Life Force, the worship of sex, and some aspects of Psychoanalysis may here
prove useful', writes Screwtape, in the seventh of his letters to young
Wormwood. Today, we come to the third and last of what he hopes will lead you
and I away from orthodox Christianity, and salvation itself.
Freud was the man who tried to
convince us that all things, eventually, come down to sex, or at least to our
material needs and wants. To him, supernatural beings were no more than the big
people from whom we once derived comfort and life, writ large on the clouds for
our continuing emotional succour. He has a point.
Jung, by contrast, is a
different matter altogether. He is religion-friendly. Like his contemporary
explorers of the human psyche, he saw similarities, over the centuries and
across the continents, between the gods people worshipped and the symbolic rites
by which they communicated with them. There were, he concluded, archetypes to be
found in the human soul. The basic building blocks of our inner life were more
than our own constructs from experience: they were the standard, commonly shared
hardwiring of the human soul.
We could pause, and learn,
from all of this. There are things to be gleaned here about our common
relationship to our
Our children, broadly
speaking, now learn that one religion is as good as another. They learn a bit
about Hinduism, go to a mosque, take in the holy things of Sikhism, and get a
bit of Christianity thrown in. The comparativeness of Comparative Religion may
never be made explicit, but the method holds its own message: 'One religion is
as good as another: why not construct your own from the components we've given
At this point, Jungianism can
provide the scaffolding on which we build our shining new world religion. We can
go beyond what many Comparative Religionists are wont to do, and point out the
many similarities between the different religions' ethical systems, or ritual
practices. We can say that this is so because they are a priori the same.
To the Christian, such similarities show that God is not without his witness
throughout what he has made. The Religionist draws different conclusions. To
him, the sameness of it all witnesses to the sameness of our destination. If we
all deal in the same symbolic currency, we're all OK
at the bank. With a logical sleight of hand, the realities of judgement and hell
are spirited away into non-existence, as though by magic.
How many people do you know
who would unquestionably trust everything they were told by a second-hand car
salesman or an estate agent? Far fewer than forty years ago! This is because, in
the intervening years, we have all had experience of these people and learnt
that behind glossy brochures and honeyed words lurk half-truths and deception.
The similarities of the gods men worship may well show they are approaching the
same supernatural beings, albeit under different titles. They are hard,
blood-demanding controllers of men: they are the agents of an Enemy from whom
Jesus came to free us.
'In this world you will have trouble', says Jesus. 'But take heart! I have overcome the world' [John 16.33]. Does one have to be a bleak Calvinist to believe in 'the world', a system of things divorced from the will of its creator? Or can one see it for what it is - a subtle, ever-hanging chameleon, making itself look as much like God's salvation as it can? Type 'Jung' into Google, and it is not long before you find yourself wading through the cloying mud of New Age thinking. The words 'touch' and 'barge pole' come to mind.
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