The Hidden Dangers of Carl Jung
Several years ago, after giving a message on New Age spirituality at a church in Berkeley, California, I was approached by a distraught middle-aged woman. She asked if I was familiar with Jungian therapy. After I said that I was, she spoke briefly of her mental problems, which were being treated by a Jungian analyst. Looking at me intensely, she asked, “As a Christian, should I be treated by someone like this?” I answered that although Jung provided a few helpful psychological insights, his overall world view was Gnostic and anti-Christian. Therefore, a Jungian analyst would not be able to help her work through her difficulties in accord with her own Christian beliefs. In fact, such a view could do much harm to her soul.
Although I am not a trained counselor, psychologist, or psychiatrist, I did not offer this advice lightly. I warned of the dangers of Jungian analysis not because I reject all psychotherapy as unnecessary or dangerous, as do certain incautious and unsophisticated Christian critics. I accept the legitimacy and importance of integrating a thoroughly Christian world view with psychological insights. However, as a student of new religious movements, I have repeatedly found Carl Jung to be a fountainhead of all manner of spiritual aberrations, whether in non-Christian movements or in Christianity itself. More recently, psychologist and best-selling author, Jordan Peterson, has drawn attention to Jung’s philosophy, which he draws on and uses as a lens to interpret the Bible. Christian counselors and other Christians, however, may be drawn to the fascinating figure of Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961) for several reasons. Before summarizing some of the hazards of Jung’s thinking, we need to understand something of his strange magnetism…
1. Richard Noll, The Jung Cult: Origins of a Charismatic Movement (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1994).
- Stanton L. Jones and Richard E Butman, Modern Psychotherapies: A Comprehensive Christian Approach(Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1991).
- Paul Vitz, Psychology as Religion: The Cult of Self-Worship, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1995).
Douglas Groothuis, Ph.D., is Professor of Philosophy at Denver Seminary and the author of nineteen books, including Fire in the Streets (a critique of critical race theory or wokeness) and Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for Biblical Faith.
Find more from Dr. Groothuis at www.DouglasGroothuis.com.
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