May 20-21, 1988: Philip T. Zabriskie, M.Div., D.D.

Lecture: Jung, son of a Swiss pastor, wrestled all his life with religion and particularly with Christianity. He was convinced that humans are by nature religious, and that the issue of developing a solid religious attitude lay at the heart of psychological problems and growth, especially in the second half of life. He also believed that the psyche continually produces symbols for the otherwise unknowable mystery, and that such symbols have become the focus of religious life and the source of great energy for peoples throughout history. These symbols are not “invented” by human thought, nor are they (in Jung’s view) reducible to images derived from nature or designed to compensate for human frailties and fears. They arise from the autonomous workings of the collective psyche, similar symbols often emerging in very different cultures or periods of time. Not uncommonly they become transmuted into systems of doctrine and worship and into religious institutions, within which the archetypal symbols may retain-or may lose-their original psychic power, and they may or may not serve as carriers of deep religious experience for future generations. 

Workshop: In relation to Christianity, Jung’s position evolved during his lifetime, the evolution being affected by both his own developing inner experience and by historical events in the west, especially the two world wars and all that surrounded them. He had immense respect for the psychic depth of historic Christian symbolism; he had little respect for effort by the churches to turn the symbolic power into literal and rigid dogma; he had indeed little respect for literalism of any kind, nor for efforts to set aside the great symbols in search of acceptable liberal thought or modernity. He had, further, some profound misgivings about some areas of Christian thought and belief, especially those dealing with evil, and with the feminine.

 

Philip Zabriskie was educated at Princeton, Oxford, and Virginia Seminary. A diplomate of the C.G. Institute, Zurich, he is a practicing Jungian analyst, a member of the New York and International Association for Analytical Psychology. He is Chairman of the Board and member of the faculty of the C.G. Institute of New York and has served as President of the C.G. Jung Foundation and treasurer of the National Board of Archives for Research in Archetypal Symbolism (ARAS).

Like Jacob and the Angel: Jung’s Confrontation with Christianity