THE CHURCH'S GREATEST THREAT SINCE JULIAN THE APOSTATE
by Paul Likoudis
"I am for those who are out of the Church"--Carl Jung, in a letter to
Joland Jacobi, on hearing the news she had converted to Catholicism.
In his 1933 classic, Essays of a Catholic, the English writer Hilaire
Belloc predicted that "when the gods of the New Paganism come they will not
be merely insufficient, as were the gods of Greece, nor merely false; they
will be evil. One might put it in a sentence, and say that the New
Paganism, foolishly expecting satisfaction, will fall, before it knows
where it is, into Satanism."
Six years later, in 1939, in Europe and the Faith, Belloc warned
Catholics that the most evil effect of the Reformation - what he termed
"the isolation of the soul" -"will breed attempted strange new religions:
witchcrafts and necromancies. "
In the period between 1936 and 1939, Swiss psychologist Carl Gustav Jung
began sending out his anointed disciples from Zurich to Britain and the
United States to spread his Jungian doctrines and establish what historian
and psychologist Richard Noll describes as "an anti-orthodox Christianity
cult of redemption or Nietzschean religion."
Fifty-five years later, Noll told The Wanderer Jung poses the greatest
threat to the Catholic Church since Julian the Apostate.
Indeed, Noll concludes his new and startling book on Jung, The Jung Cult:
Origins of a Charismatic Movement, with this rhetorical question:
"Are we witnessing the birth of another religious movement?.... With the
Jungian movement and its merger with the New Age spirituality of the late
20th century, are we witnessing the incipient stages of a faith based on
the apotheosis of Jung as a God-man?
"Only history will tell if Jung's Nietzschean religion will finally win its
Kulturkampf and replace Christianity with its own personal religion of the
At this juncture of history, there are many Catholics and non-Catholics,
including Noll, who would say the answer to his rhetorical question is
moot, at least for many people who consider themselves "religious" and form
the intelligentsia and "spiritual masters" in the Christian Church - for
clearly, Jung has replaced Jesus Christ as the God-man in their belief
In late September, 1994, Princeton University Press released Richard Noll's
The Jung Cult: Origins of a Charismatic Movement. The book has yet to be
reviewed by any major newspapers or magazines, but it is selling briskly,
mostly through word-of-mouth, and is now in its third printing.
Purchasers of the book, Noll speculated in an interview with The
Wanderer, are mostly disciples of Jung, unhappy with his treatment of him,
which is the first examination of "the historical Jung."
This book, however, is especially important to Catholics, who have
witnessed in the past 20 or 25 years Jung's rise to dominance in Catholic
What Noll establishes in his ground-breaking study of Jung and the culture
he emerged from is that Jung's entire life and work were motivated by a
desire to overthrow the Catholic Church, whose religious doctrines and
moral teachings he considered to be the source of all the neuroses which
afflicted Western man.
Jung was born July 26th, 1875, to Paul Achilles Jung, a Protestant
minister, and Emilie Prieswerk, both of whom, Noll writes, were the 13th
children born to their parents. On both his parents' sides, Jung was
descended from a long line of interesting Swiss and German characters. His
grandfather Jung the Elder was weaned away from the Catholic Church by
Friedrich Schleiermacher, and was alleged to be the illegitimate child of
Goethe-to whom Carl Jung attributed his own genius. On his mother's side,
wrote Noll, there was "significant evidence of hereditary degeneration."
Noll situates Jung in the culture of his time, in the fin de siecle
movements popular in Germany and Switzerland, marked by a revival of
paganism, an infatuation with the Nietzschean "cult of personality," and an
obsession with the occult, in which eroticism, mysticism (particularly the
theosophy of Alice Bailey and Madame Blavatsky), and a cult of "neophilia"-
i.e., "the love of the new"-reigned supreme.
And Jung floated on a strong tide of positivism, evolutionism, and
scientism. This was all mixed in with the effluvium of degenerating
Protestant theology, which had become consumed with a desire to undercut
the foundations of the Christian tradition, resulting in the "debunking" of
the divinity of Christ.
By the time he was a 23-year-old student and college lecturer, Jung, writes
Noll, had already opened "the doors of his mind to non-Christian, perhaps
even pagan, sources of inspiration. His reasoning was matched by thousands
of others his age who asked similar questions that guided them along non-
Noll quotes Jung as asking: "What then is so special about Christ, that he
should be the motivational force? Why not another model-Paul or Buddha or
Confucius or Zoroaster?.... If we view Christ as a human being, then it
makes absolutely no sense to regard him, in any way, as a compelling model
for our actions."
An important formative influence on Jung, asserts Noll, was the German
zoologist and monist Ernst Haeckel (1834-1919), from whom Jung picked up
the idea that the only way to restore health to the troubled psyche of
Western man was by "deliberately cutting through centuries of strangling
Judeo-Christian underbrush to reach the promised land of the 'impersonal
psyche,' a pre-Christian, pagan 'land of the dead,' and thereby be
Other major influences on Jung were the "god-building" movement of Russian
atheist Anatoly Lunacharsky, a friend and disciple of Lenin, Wagnerian
spiritual elitism, volkisch sun-worshiping movements, along with dozens
of other movements "that wanted to institute a new Germanic paganism."
By 1912, writes Noll, Jung was totally absorbed by eroticism and entranced
by the occult, particularly the ritualistic liturgies of Mithras. That
year, he announced he could no longer be a Christian, and that only the
"new" science of psychoanalysis-as he defined it -could offer personal and
cultural renewal and rebirth.
To Jung, honoring God now meant honoring the libido. Indeed, observes Noll,
after quoting from Jung's Wandlungen, "Jung offers the psychoanalytic
term 'libido' as a mystical substitute for 'vital force' or even 'God.'
Just as we feel the surge of vital power within us as living biological
beings, so then are we also experiencing the god within.
".... The experience of the god within was always a key promise of Jung,
and his method of psychotherapy . . . and it is indeed a central part of
Jung's repudiation of traditional Christianity that offered a God that was
distant, transcendental, and absolute. In the pages of Wandlungen, we see
the first liturgical exegesis of these core Jungian concepts.
"Having a god within could lead to the experience of becoming one with God,
or merging with this God-force in some way. It is clear from his many
statements in Wandlungen that Jung felt that the central experience of
transformation in the ancient mystery cults of the Hellenistic world
involved just such a process or experience of self-deification."
Repairing The Damage
To Jung, only the revival of the ancient pagan cults of Mithras and the
earth goddesses could repair the damage caused by the imposition of
Christianity (with its Semitic origins) on Western European peoples.
"Two thousand years of Christianity," writes Noll in summing up Jung's
belief, "make us strangers to ourselves. In the individual, the
internalization of bourgeois-Christian civilization is a mask that covers
the true Aryan god within, a natural god, a sun god, perhaps even Mithras
himself.... In society, too, Christianity is an alien mask that covers our
biologically true religion, a natural religion of the sun and the sky....
"In 19th-century German scholarship, Christianity was more often than not
portrayed as a Semitic religion alien to the Aryan cultures of Greece and
Rome. This was also very much the view of those German Protestant
theologians known as the Tubingen School whose iconoclastic ideas gained
ascendancy in the 1860s. Jung shared these views of vast spiritual and
psychological differences between Aryan and Semitic ancestries, and they
are reflected frequently in much of his work until the late 1930s.
"Hence for the educated volkisch neopagan circa 1911 or 1912 who may have
stumbled across this work, it would seem that Wandlungen und Symbole der
Libido was the scientific confirmation of everything that one would
believe about the necessity for the repudiation of Christianity and the
practice of sun worship. Jung's volume is indeed the ' liturgy'."
What Jung Was Searching For
As Dr. John Kerr showed in his important book, A Most Dangerous Method:
The Story of Jung, Freud, and Sabina Spielrein, Jung's drive to formulate
a new religion was the result of trying to justify his own sins: the
betrayal of his wife and the betrayal and seduction of his patient Sabina
Spielrein. He needed to conceive a "better" religion, wrote Kerr, one that
wouldn't condemn him for his sins.
At bottom, Jung betrayed his father, his wife, his patient, and, of course,
Christ, in trying to ease the rebukes his conscience delivered.
Another early important influence on Jung was the German physician and
psychoanalyst Otto Gross (1877-1920). From him, Jung picked up his ideas on
the "life-enhancing value of eroticism," which, wrote Gross, "is so great
that it must remain free from extraneous considerations in laws, and above
all, from any integration into everyday life.... Husbands and wives should
not begrudge each other whatever erotic stimuli may present themselves.
Jealousy is something mean. Just as one has several people for friends, one
can also have sexual union with several people at any given period and be
'faithful' to each one.... Free love will save the world."
According to scholar Martin Green, quoted by Noll: "Otto Gross was familiar
with every kind of heresy" and "his teachings attacked not just
Christianity but the whole complex of secular faiths that had grown up
around Christianity in the West, and had largely stifled and supplanted
Gross and Jung spent a considerable amount of time together, sometimes
analyzing each other for 12-hour stints, which Gross would have to flee
from to feed his drug habit. But until his suicide, Gross was very much
Jung's mentor, and Jung could write approvingly of Gross' use of sex orgies
to promote pagan spirituality, as he did when he wrote: "The existence of a
phallic or orgiastic cult does not indicate eo ipso a particularly
lascivious life any more than the ascetic symbolism of Christianity means
an especially moral life."
It was Gross, writes Noll, who "unlocked these mysteries for Jung and paved
the way for the formation of Jung's own mystery cult of redemption. "
The New Revolution
With Gross, Jung held that patriarchal family structure was a major cause
of neuroses and "imprisonment of the individual."
"The revolutionary of today," wrote Gross, "with the help of the psychology
of the unconscious fights oppression in its most basic form: the father and
patriarchy. The coming revolution is the revolution for matriarchy."
Jung took up the cause for matriarchy and its symbol, goddess worship and
the cult of mother earth -which glorified the body and the earth-but, as
Noll observed, Jung "reframe[d] the practice to make it seem less occultic
and more scientific by making an analogy to archaeology-a style of
translating or repackaging arcane or occultist ideas to make them congruent
with the psychiatric and scientific terminology of his day."
What Jung was increasingly concerned with was justifying sexual
libertinism, and his efforts extended not merely to reviving the lost gods
of paganism, but in transforming Christ and Christianity.
In a letter to Freud, from whom Jung would eventually be estranged because
of the latter's infatuation with matriarchy and sexual libertinism, Jung
reflected that "the ethical problem of sexual freedom really is enormous
and worth the sweat of all noble souls. But 2,000 years of Christianity can
only be replaced by something equivalent ... an irresistible mass
"I imagine a far finer and more comprehensive task for [psychoanalysis]
than alliance with an ethical fraternity. I think we must give it time to
infiltrate into people from many centers, to revivify among intellectuals a
feeling for symbol and myth, ever so gently to transform Christ back into
the soothsaying god of the vine, which he was, and in this way absorb those
ecstatic instinctual forces of Christianity for the one purpose of making
the cult and the sacred myth what they once were-a drunken feast of joy
where men regained the ethos and holiness of an animal. That was the beauty
and purpose of ancient religion, and from which, God knows what temporary
biological needs have turned into a Misery Institute. Yet what infinite
rapture and wantonness lie dormant in our religion, waiting to be led back
to their true destination. A genuine and proper ethical development cannot
abandon Christianity but must grow up within it, must bring to fruition its
hymn of love, the agony and ecstasy of the dying and resurgent god, the
mystic power of the wine, the awesome anthropophagy of the Last Supper-only
this ethical development can serve the vital forces of religion."
In 1912, Jung published his New Paths in Psychology, which, writes Noll,
was the equivalent of Lenin's What Is To Be Done?
In this work, Jung "calls for an intrapsychic overthrow of custom, a
revolution in the internalized European traditions that enslave the
individual personality." The only way to overthrow the neuroses inducing
Judeo-Christian religion and its sex-fixated ethics, said Jung, was to
establish a new religion-the religion of psychoanalysis.
In 1913, Jung began inducing visionary experiences through his "active
imagination" which led him, ultimately, into revealing that he had become a
god, and was now immortal.
By revealing in detail his religious experiences, writes Noll, Jung "was
modeling the way for his disciples to follow if they, too, wanted to be
redeemed by initiation into mysteries that would give them the 'certainty
of immortality'.... By contacting and merging with the god within, true
personality transformation would then follow. Jung had, then, by this time
very much left the realm of science (even in its 19th-century sense) and
had founded a mystery cult or personal religion. This was a mystery cult
that promised a direct experience of the transcendent and that rivaled the
major occultist (theosophy, anthroposophy) and mystical volkisch
movements of his day in their common search for renovation."
In 1917, Jung authored his Seven Sermons to the Dead in which he counsels
the dead on the true way to find redemption: by looking within.
In the final chapter of The Jung Cult, Noll describes the phenomenal
spread of "the secret church," which Jung established and through which he
transmitted his charismatic authority.
Beginning in 1912, writes Noll, Jung "seems to have deliberately developed
his psychological method and organizational plans along an ancient-
mysteries model," recruiting former patients and Jung-worshipers-primarily
women-to be the high priests of his new religion.
Today, Noll comments, "for literally tens of thousands if not hundreds of
thousands, of individuals in our culture, Jung and his ideas are the basis
of a personal religion that either supplants their participation in
traditional organized Judeo-Christian religion or accompanies it."
Moreover, Jung is fueling the widespread fascination with all areas of
witchcraft and the occult and is a "source of inspiration and affirmation
for the neopagan religious movements ... [which] have adopted Jung as a
Richard Noll's wise and scholarly study of Jung should raise a cry from
Catholics throughout the West: What is Jung doing in our Church?
This article was taken from the December 29, 1994 issue of "The Wanderer,"
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