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The long and the short of my opinion is this: If you want to read a book that DOES NOT teach the truth about what Catholics believe and if you want to read a book that confirms your personal opinion that all Catholics are going straight to hell and if you want to read a book that is merely another re-hashing of some of the glaring misconceptions that Protestants have about the Catholic faith, then read this book.
But before you do that, you might want to find out what Catholics really believe about salvation, which is this: We are saved by grace through the shed blood of our Lord Jesus. Our lives, then, will be a testimony to that saving grace by the way we live. A person who is truly saved will be bearing the fruit of the Spirit in his life (see Galatians 5, 22-26.) A person who is saved will be running the race in order to win the prize, as Saint Paul said in Philippians, the prize being heaven, of course. No, this isn't the sola fide ("by faith alone" or alternately, "once saved, always saved") doctrine that some Protestant groups espouse, but then the doctrine of sola fide isn't Biblical anyway.
Doesn't it seem odd that I, a person who has never written a book, can do more to explain true Catholic doctrine in less than 1,000 words when Noll and others of his ilk can't even do it in their books? Doesn't that make them seem curiously biased and bigoted and as if they are people who are more concerned with promoting an anti-Catholic agenda than the real Truth of the Church? Think about it BEFORE you spend the money on this book.
to read it. This book provides evidence of the truth to an open and searching mind.
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Anyway the author is a psychologist,not a psychiatrist, and it shows.
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That said, the book does have some good points. The pictures are nice and it does include a lot of detail about the relationship between many German thinkers of the time. It situates Jung in his historical context and presents a picture of him that contrasts with the fluffy image popular among many of his "followers" today. It astounds me however to see the rudeness of some reviewers who call the ideas circulating in Germany at the time, and Jung's unique form of self-understanding "crazy" or "insane". We can learn a lot from the so-called insane (insanity by the way is a modern myth and an attempt by a degenerate society to get rid of undesirables). And, even if Jung were mentally ill (much evidence suggests he may at times have been), he certainly did not harm anyone, and this does not take away from his discoveries. Jung was not a megalomaniac or a cult leader a la Jim Jones. And, this type of hysterical nonsense is unfortunate. Jung brought light to Freud's abysmal views of human nature, and has been hated by the academic establishment ever since. As such, he is a Prometheus-Christ figure, who dared to challenge the psychoanalytic Freudian movement, which remains second only to the Marxists in their use of abusive ad hominem attacks to discredit.
Jung was not a pagan, but a Christian (of sorts, albeit perhaps unorthodox). And, psychoanalysis in its Jungian form is not a religion or a religious anti-religion, but rather a compliment to traditional orthodox religion. Many disparage Jung because his views will place man at the whim of forces beyond his control (as Jung had posted above his door, "Invoked or uninvoked the Deity is always present!"). These forces used to be called God and the Devil; however, it has become more fashionable in recent times to call them the Unconscious. Nevertheless, the principle remains the same. Jung's discovery of the Collective Unconscious, his regression into deep trance and his meeting with the archetypal forces of the human mind, should not be seen as a sign of madness, but rather as the attempt of a brilliant man to perpetuate his own unique form of self-understanding. In our smug self-satisfied life, we refuse to hear of such things, and we view ourselves as in complete autonomous control of our own destiny. While we are able to use our conscious thoughts as feedback into the unconscious (we are Aristotelian rational animals afterall), this is not exactly the case. One has only to be called out from one's apathetic existence by the presence of tragedy to realize the truth in this, i.e. that control is a myth. And, this is the lesson we can learn from the Jungian Unconscious.
Much more can be learned from the kind of thinking circulating in Germany before the World War. However, if we ignorantly ignore it, for fear that it may be contrary to our modern ideologies then we will miss out. Of course, we must sort the wheat from the chaff, and not engage in racism. But, to blindly regard anything Germanic as necessarily racist or anti-Semitic is a prejudice of the highest order. This is the historical context of Jung and his time.
On the other hand, I remain unconvinced concerning the nature of Jung's 'revelation' in 1913 and how he saw himself subsequently; i.e., whether he really believed he was the "Aryan Christ". Noll quotes extensively from dozens of documents, and many of them are very suggestive of this, but when actually coming to this point, I feel Noll loses his grip a little; in each case where this is stated, Noll momentarily leaves the historical evidence behind and infers this final point, which is, unfortunately, the basic thesis of the book.
Still, despite that consistent flaw, which pops up about half a dozen times in the book, Noll's thesis that Jung saw himself as a god or savior is compelling, and I suspect that, if and when the Jung estate opens its archives, he will be proved correct. In the meantime, however, I must remain doubtful.
The rest of the book concerns the development of Jung's various theories and is critical of the concept of the 'collective unconscious' while occasionally lauding Jung's contributions to personality typology. In contrast to critics of this book, I see no evidence that Noll has a 'hidden agenda'. In fact, for the most part I think he has been more than fair to Jung and his movement.
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