Jungian Therapy, Jungian Analysis, New York

Religious attitude

from Jung Lexicon by Daryl Sharp

Religious attitude. Psychologically, an attitude informed by the careful observation of, and respect for, invisible forces and personal experience.

We might say . . . that the term “religion” designates the attitude peculiar to a consciousness which has been changed by experience of the numinosum.[“Psychology and Religion,”CW11, par. 9.]

Religion . . . is an instinctive attitude peculiar to man, and its manifestations can be followed all through human history. [“The Undiscovered Self,”CW10, par. 512.]

The religious attitude is quite different from faith associated with a specific creed. The latter, as a codified and dogmatized form of an original religious experience, simply gives expression to a particular collective belief. True religion involves a subjective relationship to certain metaphysical, extramundane factors.

A creed is a confession of faith intended chiefly for the world at large and is thus an intramundane affair, while the meaning and purpose of religion lie in the relationship of the individual to God (Christianity, Judaism, Islam) or to the path of salvation and liberation (Buddhism). [Ibid, par. 507.]

Jung believed that a neurosis in the second half of life is seldom cured without the development of a religious attitude, prompted by a spontaneous revelation of the spirit.

This spirit is an autonomous psychic happening, a hush that follows the storm, a reconciling light in the darkness of man’s mind, secretly bringing order into the chaos of his soul. [“A Psychological Approach to the Trinity,”CW11, par. 260.]