Example research essay topic: Paradoxes, Mythology, And Emotion In Western Religion – 1,224 words

Jung embarks upon a psychological discussion of
religion through means of analysis, comparisons,
and critiques of Western and Eastern tradition in
hopes of finding a medium ground between the two
cultures and a more stable, more fulfilled and
healthy, spiritual self. As we shall discover,
Jung, a Western Christian, places a great emphasis
of enlightenment on the religions of the East
while pointing out the inherent problems of
Western discourse. The disjuncture between Jungs
biography and status as a 20th century European
and his apparent praise of the Eastern self point
to an inherent problem in the reliability of
Western ideas for this particular Westerner. While
we will take the time today to outline the basic
tenants, as Jung sees them, of Western and Eastern
religion, I shall begin with a discussion of Jungs
analysis of the Book of Job so that we might all
be on an equal footing for the proceeding
comparisons and analyses of the East. If we take
Jungs rather lengthy comments on the Western God,
and more specifically of Yahweh (the Old Testament
version), in comparison to the people of the
Pre-Common Era world, we will see how Jung
deviates from standard psychological analysis in
favor of a literary one performing a character
study of Christian mythological figures. Taking
Job as his text, Jung applies the criticism of
psychological thought to get at the literary,
figurative, and performative aspects of the
relationship between the God of the Old Testament
and his most notable creation, man.

While the
Answer to Job is quite different from the style of
Jungs discussions to which we have become
accustomed, let me suggest this text to represent
Jungs old age, his failure to reconcile his
religious beliefs earlier, and the necessity to
find the spiritual next step so common of elderly
people. While not seeking to discredit this work,
let me merely suggest that we take this text not
as a precise and innovative psychological
discussion but rather as a religious epithet of a
man facing the Ever Lasting. That said, let me now
turn to the summary of Job Jung provides and
attempt to outline the conflicts of the text as
Jung sees them. In brief, Job is the story of
Yahwehs approval of Satan to tempt a righteous man
so that Yahweh might justify his creation, prove
the loyalty of his subjects, and claim his
almighty power in the presence of his fallen
angel. Jung provides the Biblical mythological
background necessary for understanding this text,
namely the ancestral heritage of the first family,
so that we might understand the similarities
between the heavenly relations of the pre-creation
period to the post sixth-day relations of mortals.
According to legend, Yahwehs companion throughout
the creation was a mortal woman, Sophia-later
becoming Wisdom-with whom God acted out his
masculine, passionate, and omnipotent lust. Sophia
is likened to the first wife of Adam, Lilith, who,
after refusing to bow before Adams masculine
domination, was exiled, along with her children
(the whores of the East) from Eden and promptly
replaced by the more submissive and domicile Eve.
From Yahwehs relations with his first wife and his
second, Jerusalem, he begat two heavenly sons: the
elder Satan and the younger Jesus.

Satan is
obviously a heavenly prototype of Adams eldest,
Cain, just as the perfection of Jesus comes
through the murder of the innocent and favored
Abel. The status of Satan as a banished son of
Yahweh and the status of Cain as a banished son of
man obviously point to the reliance of literary
prologue and foreshadowing so inherent in the Old
Testament works. The problem here lies in the fact
that although Yahweh has banished his first son,
Satan, he is still compelled to listen to his
temptations and play along with his evil games.
Jung points to the fact that just as Yahweh is
everything in its totalitytotal justice, and also
its total opposite (Campbell 534) he has a
terrible double aspect: a sea of grace is met by a
seething lake of fire, and the light of love glows
with a fierce dark heat of light (627). The
paradoxes of Yahwehs love and justice coupled with
his anger, violence, and injustice are problems
Jung identifies as issues of universal moral law
to which Yahweh refuses to abide. Jung continually
reminds that Yahweh is not split but is an
antinomy-a totality of opposites in attempts to
not reconcile but only accept the inherent
conflicts within the image of the Old Testament
God. Perhaps we might find a better, while
slightly heretical, description of Yahweh in the
archetype of the Trickster as opposed to the
standard Universal Father.

Jung holds particular
contention with Yahwehs inability to stand up to
Satan and simply state that Job is a righteous
man, end of discussion. Instead of confidently
defying Satans question as to whether any one
righteous man exists through means of his
omniscience, Yahweh allows himself to be led into
a cave of uncertainty in which Satan easily
conjures the truth as he want it to be; the
unconfident Yahweh buys into Satans tricks and
allows the torture of an innocent man to begin.
The moral problem here is whether a being (man,
god or otherwise) has the authority to interrupt
the peaceful existence of another being (again,
man, god or otherwise) in order to calm its own
insecurities. Yahwehs disruption of Jobs life can
be seen, as Jung would have us believe, as the
retreat into insecurity-acting as a child-leading
to an abandonment of enlightened, confident, and
secure adult reasoning. Furthermore, we must
understand the abandonment of moral code on
Yahwehs part to be even more consequential as we
understand God to be omniscient. Couldnt Yahweh
have easily consulted his omniscience in order to
find the answer to Satans accusation? The failure
of Yahweh to fully utilize his omniscient powers
while allowing the suffering of an innocent man
causes great opposition in the image of a loving
and caring God. While Yahweh is obviously
interested in the state of man, as opposed to say
Zeus who may be a figure but is definitely not a
personality, Jung calls attention to the
inconsistency of his nature and questions the
reliability of the Western God.

If Westerners put
all their faith, which they do, in an external
force-God, Grace, Fate, etc.,-they set themselves
up for a continual state of disappointment when
the force abruptly changes its mind or otherwise
decides to withdraw from its covenant. The state
of Westerners as being particularly reliant on the
external, as opposed to the internal reliances of
the East, is seen through the example of Jobs
faith in Yahwehs ultimate purpose even as he loses
all his earthly property, his loved ones, and his
own health. The problem with Western religion, as
Jung sees it, is this very inconsistency of action
by God and the failure of man to recognize their
own powers because of the blindness of faith in
the external force; With us, man is
incommensurably small and the grace of God is
everything; but in the East, man is God and he
redeems himself (Campbell 486). This reliance upon
the external is, as Jung believes, the innate
difference between the West and the East: You
cannot be a good Christian and redeem yourself,
nor can you be a Buddha and worship God (489)..

Research essay sample on Paradoxes Mythology And Emotion In Western Religion