Source: A guided tour of the collected works of C. G. Jung / Hopcke

In Freud’s view religion is an irrational illusion created out of a defense mechanism. Jung takes a broader look.

  1. Religion as a set of beliefs and rituals that also allows for a relationship with something greater.
  2. Religious beliefs may be real and valuable in the person’s psyche. Depth psychology can allow us to understand those beliefs rationally.
  3. We must account for more than just western beliefs. As we take this broader look we see that there is more than simple transference.

Jung was not interested in judging the validity of religion or religious systems. He did not believe that as a psychologist he was capable of that nor was that his task. Jung sees religion as a way to understand the human psyche.

From the universality of religion, Jung deduced that religion is a product of the collective unconscious. In Jung’s view there are two components of religion:

  1. Religious experience or contact with the numinosum (in dreams, visions, etc.)
  2. Religious practice, dogma, ritual, etc. This is necessary to protect people from the power of numinous experience.

Jung makes religion once again accessible to modern people who may have lost their faith in organized religion. By making it a vital aspect of our lives and at the same time something that we can explore ourselves he redeems religion in the modern age.

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