Para. 5 – 7: The existence of several conflicting Abrahamic monotheistic religions is proof that all are false, because no Abrahamic god, if real, would permit the belief in other gods, who would necessarily be “false gods” (delusions).
1. In our time, the world powers characterized by the monotheistic “Abrahamic” religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam), as well as Russian and Chinese atheism, are waging a war to the death among themselves for dominion over human minds and for control of the resources of the earth. Because the consequences of this struggle may include the destruction of most of humanity, it seems worthwhile to analyze their common, though mutually exclusive, claims of supremacy. For the present, I will focus on the problems and difficulties inherent in the belief in one God, because we are all born pre-disposed to believe in some sort of supernatural being or force; and because, unlike atheism, monotheistic religions, although they lack inner logical consistency, have (through the historical accident of technological superiority) marginalized all other kinds of thought. In doing so, Abrahamic monotheism has become a threat to the human race.
3. Because the concept of God is so bound up in the question of the origin of the world/universe for many people, I will digress for the space of one paragraph: It should be noted here that to ask “Why?” and “How?” is a uniquely human behavior; questions of causation and motivation are uniquely human concepts, arising from the human brain’s reactions to the conditions of life on the planet, and may have great survival value; but many questions, such as those of the origin of the universe, have no perceptible survival value now, and may never have any. And even if they did, it is entirely possible that for this type of question there may be no answer or explanation, now or ever. Certainly the universe has no obligation to provide any. One may therefore infer that the Kalam-itous argument for the existence of a God is worthless. On the other hand, the ways that we treat each other, if not entirely determined by our concept of the deity, are demonstrably influenced, re-inforced or modified by it. Therefore it behooves us to ask, and to try to answer, any and all questions that we may have about it.
6. If there were only one real, objectively existing deity such as the Abrahamic God, that insists on being known, adored, and proclaimed exclusively, wouldn’t this divinity allow only one religion, the one that correctly worshiped the one true deity, itself? (“Real, objectively existing” means “transcending both the natural, physical, spatio-temporal, material world and the human mind; existing and acting independently of, and outside as well as inside, the human psyche.”) In this case, wouldn’t all human beings share the same religion? What reason would the one true God have for creating or permitting mutually hostile religions, only one of which could be true and acceptable, and for setting social groups against each other and fomenting cruel “holy wars” throughout human history, like those that we see emanating from the Middle East today? What would an all-wise and all-powerful God gain by causing such conflict? Unless God were a perverse, sadistic power that desired to cause conflict, and enjoyed the suffering that results from it, wouldn’t all people share the same religion? But we don’t.
9. The traditional attempt to deny God’s responsibility for human destruction and suffering claims that an evil entity, Satan or the Devil (assisted by his subordinate spirits, the demons), causes these things either directly or through the manipulation of gullible and egotistical people; but—leaving aside, for the moment, the ultimately unavoidable questions of why and how the Devil (or Evil) came to exist—this is to advance an idea that contradicts the doctrines that God is all-powerful and all-good. If the Devil causes human suffering without the consent of God, then the Devil’s power defies that of God—that means that God has little or no power over the Devil—and therefore God is not all-powerful. It could even mean that in effect we have not one God, but two, for the Devil would be a powerful evil god, as in Manichaeism or as hinted at in late Zoroastrianism.
11. It is not surprising, because Jung's father, both of his grandfathers, and no less than eight uncles on both sides of his family were clergymen of the Swiss Reformed Church, a strictly Calvinist sect; and his conclusion is what Calvinist theology simultaneously implies and denies. Calvinists assert that the deity creates sentient beings—us—whom it not only deprives of the capacity to choose Good over Evil, but whom it also actively deceives into choosing Evil—after having already foredoomed them to eternal torment in Hell for not choosing Good over Evil! This is clearly stated in Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion, Book III, Chapter 24, Sections 12 and 13. (Amazingly, something very similar to this can be found in the Quran, Chapter 2, verses 7 through 21.) Logically, therefore, if the word “good” has any meaning at all, this is a “God” who is less than “Good.”
12. A typical theological attempt to evade Jung’s conclusion claims that God wants to “test” us through our suffering—but that claim involves a denial of the doctrine that God is omniscient as well as the one that God is all-good: a person is tested when the tester does not know something, and needs to use the test to obtain information. (A test is a procedure devised and carried out to reveal the presence or absence, hitherto unknown or indeterminate, of something.) If God tests us, that means that God does not know something; and, in that case, God is not all-knowing.
13. A clever apologist might try to evade the latter conclusion by claiming that God “tests” us in order to make us find out something about ourselves—and here the doctrine of “Free Will” is often invoked—but God’s tests involve severe suffering, emotional as well as physical. And this suffering is inflicted not only on the person who is tested, but on other persons as well: family members, loved ones, by-standers . . . whole populations, millions of people, in fact. Why would a benevolent God require and inflict such suffering? Furthermore, an all-powerful God could achieve anything simply by willing it. Why would a benevolent and all-powerful God resort to this extreme of pain and suffering?
15. This objection also applies to the idea that suffering is the punishment for sin: How is it that an omniscient and omnipotent God waits for not only a genocidal leader, but also for an otherwise insignificant person (a drunk driver, or an adulterer, or an abusive parent or spouse), to sin in a way that causes immeasurable pain to any number of other persons, and only then (according to the prophets and the preachers) punishes the sinner by destroying someone else—a loved one—or by inflicting the occasional famine, or flood, or earthquake, or plague on an entire region? And, egregiously, only in some cases, as if at random, but not in others.
18. Perhaps none of them are.
19. In that case, how can these questions be answered? How can these logical objections be met? How can religious belief be justified? What follows here is the best that I can do; if anyone has a better answer that can be demonstrated, I would like to know it.
20. Perhaps the solution to the problem of what to believe, and why, is to be sought not in over-elaborated theologies, casuistically patched up to explain away the contradictions and illogicalities of primitive beliefs, but in the study of the human mind. At present this is dominated by two schools of psychology. In spite of their differences, both agree that in addition to the relatively continuous (though never complete) awareness of ourselves and our physical surroundings that we call “consciousness,” there is another dimension of which we are usually not aware, called “the unconscious.”
21. As for their differences: one school, Freudian psychoanalysis, is frankly atheistic, locating the source of all human behavior in the sexual instinct, and of all human problems specifically in early sexual trauma or in sexual frustration. The other school, the analytical psychology or “psychology of the unconscious” of Carl Gustav Jung, posits an on-going and unending drive toward self-realization and enlarged awareness, called “individuation.” For those who are willing to co-operate in this process of self-transformation, the goal of “individuation” is to become as nearly complete, whole and harmonious a personality as possible; it is perfectly expressed in a popular slogan: “Be all that you can be.” This involves a progressive recognition, reconciliation, and integration of the various conflicting impulses, both conscious and unconscious, that move us.
22. In relation to the idea of God, Jungian psychology seems to be the more convincing approach, since (a) it involves more than a single primitive biological urge, and (b) unlike the Freudian view, Jungian psychology does not deny the existence of God.
23. But in order to explain how Jungian thought is relevant to the monotheistic concept of God, it is necessary to remind the reader of some of the principal elements of analytical psychology.
24. In numerous books and papers, Jung disseminated his evolving concepts of the psyche—among them the collective unconscious, the archetypes, the complexes, and the tendency to produce or perceive spontaneous visual and other manifestations. As I understand it, the word “psyche” is Jung’s term for the total human cognitive (mental) and affective (emotional) functioning, comprising an individual’s ego-consciousness (everything that one is aware of at a given moment, especially as it relates to one’s body and its history), the personal unconscious (everything a person has forgotten or repressed), and the collective unconscious (everything that is not in the individual consciousness or the personal unconscious, but is the result of the evolution of the human race: all the ideas, instincts, and behaviors that it is possible for people to have, all the forms, paths, or manifestations of energy [libido, which is much more than simply sexual impulses] that make possible the various ways in which individuals function).
27. All of the components of the psyche interact, and “individuation” is the growth in wholeness and maturity that results from the back-and-forth dynamic and partial interpenetration between consciousness, the personal unconscious, and the collective unconscious.
29. This archetype, which Jung called the archetype of wholeness, and named “the Self,” is like the center of gravity of a spiral galaxy—everything else in the collective unconscious, as well as the ego-consciousness and the personal unconscious, is held in orbit around it, in a never-completed and never-ending process of approximation to it. Therefore, it might also be called the archetype of “individuation.”
30. The images of the “Self,” (like the symbols of other archetypes, peripheral to it, that the ego encounters during the process of “individuation”) may appear in dreams, visions, fantasies, and hallucinations; they may also be manifested as voices or other physical sensations, as in kundalini yoga. Jung said that he was following the earliest Christian theologians when he called these things “the God-image in the human psyche.”
33. In spite of the fact that monotheists define “God” as a transcendent, omnipotent, omniscient and exclusively benevolent supernatural entity (at least in Judaism, Christianity and Islam), this divinity is conceived of or imagined as a personality like ours; we ascribe to it a number of personal characteristics:
a. A sense of identity (“I Am Who Am”);
b. Various desires (“Thou shalt have no other gods before Me,” as well as multifarious Commandments and literally thousands of Laws and taboos);
c. Sympathies and antipathies (Abel over Cain; Isaac over Ishmael [vice versa for Muslims]; Noah and Lot and all the other favored “just men” of the monotheists’ traditions; the designation of Chosen People or True Believers, in contrast to other groups which are to be partly enslaved and partly exterminated by systematic genocide so that their territories and their women and the fruits of their labors may be taken by the Chosen People / True Believers);
d. Irritability; feelings that can be offended or pleased (“I the Lord thy God am a jealous God … ”);
e. Vengefulness, which we call “punishment for sin” or “Divine Justice” ( “… punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and fourth generation ….” )
34. As a description of the supposed all-wise, all-powerful, all-good, transcendent creator of the universe, this is a very limited and anthropomorphic conception! (Strangely, both the description and the fulsomeness of the approved formulae for addressing the Deity seem to suggest the attitude that an abused child is forced to adopt toward its abusive parent.) And yet that is how believers conceive of God.
36. In addition, many Christians claim to see Jesus or the Virgin Mary in clouds and in the imperfections of tree trunks, walls, window panes, and screen doors. And of course the apparitions of angels, as well as of the Virgin Mary at Guadalupe, Lourdes, Fatima, and Medjugorje, have all appeared as persons. A clue to the nature of these Virgin Mothers may be seen in the fact that none of them has ever given the least indication of knowing of the existence of the others. Neither does any of them say that her name is Mary, nor that her Son is Jesus of Nazareth. As for the angels, Joan of Arc’s “Voices,” two saints and an angel, promised that she would never come to harm. But she did. All of this suggests that the apparitions are personifications of subjective psychic phenomena.
37. Another strong piece of evidence is the fact that we personify even Death. For modern English speakers, Death is “the Grim Reaper,” who is imagined as a skeletal figure, draped in a long black robe and hood, carrying an hourglass in one hand and a scythe in the other. For medieval Europe, Death was represented by the animated skeletons of the “Danse Macabre” in church frescos and tomb carvings, and as a character in homilies and literary works. Death also appears as a character in traditional stories from cultures around the world. One of the most recent examples of the personification of Death is “La Santa Muerte,” a Mexican and Meso-American atavism of pre-Columbian Aztec and Mayan death cults that assumes the form of a perversion of the Roman Catholic cult of the veneration of saints. It is apparently the result of the massacres that characterize the wars between rival Hispanic gangs and drug cartels. And the Thuggees of the Indian subcontinent worshiped (worship?) Death as the murderous goddess Kali, whose violent myths involve a whole slew (pun intended) of loves and deaths.
39. All this means that we cannot avoid being confronted with non-ego personalities that apparently emerge from the unconscious; this fact is the origin of the life-like characters in novels and plays as well as in bedtime and campfire stories—personalities, each with its own definite traits. Indeed, I would go so far as to say that we recognize other people as persons only through the faculty of personifying. It is an archetype, innate in all human beings.
42. And among the monotheistic religions, Jesus claimed to be sent from his Father in Heaven, and taught his disciples to address Yaweh in prayer as “Abba” or “Abun,” the equivalent in Aramaic of “Father.” In addition, at the baptism of Jesus in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, a voice from Heaven described Jesus as “my beloved Son.” Furthermore, early Christian church councils established that the Christian God was composed of three “Persons,” of whom the first two were the “Father” and the “Son.”
43. In some polytheistic religions, the matriarchal figure may be subordinate, and in others she may be dominant, reflecting the social structure in which she arises; there are many examples among the many goddesses of the Shakti tradition of the Hindu religion. In classical Antiquity, she appears as the domineering and vengeful goddess Hera, wife of Zeus, and in the various avatars of the Greek goddess Artemis as well as the Diana of the Ephesians, and was even imported into Rome from Asia Minor as the Great Mother Goddess, Cybele, and from Egypt as the goddess Isis.
45. An educated Westerner has only to think of Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Norse, Hindu, African and Native American myths as well as Christianity; the basic pattern exists in myths all over the world. Again, which one, of all the possible concepts of the divinity mentioned above, is the most believable?
48. Among religions, the drive to dominate and exploit is especially true of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, each of which has justified its violence and cruelty as obedience to a supposed divine command to reduce the world to conformity with its god. I have read that it was also true of the ancient Egyptians; this is a reasonable idea, given that the Egyptians and the ancient Hebrews clashed and interacted with each other; and given the claims of some historians that the Hebrews’ monotheism was inspired by that of the Egyptian pharoah Akhenaton (Amenhotep IV).