Free «Religious Studies» Essay Sample

Carl Gustav Jung was born in Switzerland in the family of a pastor, Paul Achilles. It was his father who had created a foundation so as the son indulged much into religion to the point of coming up with his own theory on analytical psychology. The major influence to Jung on the study of religion came from Sigmund Freud when he was his pupil. The time he spent with Freud impacted his later theories on religion and eventually helped him in developing an enthrallment towards the comatose mind (Carl Jung Biography, n.d.).

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Sigmund Freud used the theory of Oedipus complex towards his explanations on the origin of religion and went further to reconstruct the biblical history according to his general idea. Moreover, he speculated that religion is an illusion from which a man hasto be released from the fantasy structure so that a person can grow to maturity. All these ideas of Freud influenced Jung greatly towards religion. However, the differences between spirituality and sexuality was what separated them and this was majorly attributed to the fact that Freud strived towards being objective and therefore terming religion as an illusion (Nielsen, n.d.).

While Jung was under the influence of Freud, the psychological views of Freud impacted on his later theories and helped him a lot in coming up with theories towards the human unconscious mind and therefore wanted to advance his perception towards the human mind in philosophy, art, myth, and dreams. Even though it might be argued that Freud’s theory on sexuality was a main instrumental in understanding psychology, it was also the influencing factor for Jung towards branching to a new set of thinking and disagreeing with his mentor on the concept that sexuality was the exclusive basis of behavior enthusiasm. Therefore, Jung underwent powerful self-analysis which made him become more interested in religious symbols and dreams (Carl Jung, n.d.).

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Through the basis which the Swiss psychoanalyst Jung attained from interacting with Freud made him adopt a completely different posture from that of his mentor, a position which was additionally sympathetic towards religion and further apprehensive with an optimistic appreciation of the religious symbolism. Nevertheless, Jung considered the issue of the subsistence of deity or rather God to be completely unanswerable through the psychologist and seemingly adopted a type of agnosticism. The view of agnosticism basically stated that the non-existence or existence of any divine being was unknown (Nielsen, n.d.).

Jung roughly adopted Freud’ concept towards personal unconscious and came up with collective conscious which generally meant the depository of the human understanding and it contained archetypes which were indispensable and universal images as they recurred because of culture. The spontaneous upsurge of these subconscious images from the unconscious mind to the dominion of consciousness was viewed by Jung as the foundation of spiritual experience and it often revolved around artistic creativity (Carl Jung Biography, n.d.).

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The perception that Jung had towards psychological development differed from that of Freud whereby he emphasized what role spirituality had played towards the development of human psychology while Freud had another opinion. Nevertheless, he dwelled on empirical perception though he sought to find a common opinion between West and East religions. Therefore, it was quite evident that Jung’s family together with his mentor, Freud, were the key influencing forces which changed his way of perception towards religion and come up with adoptive theories towards religion (Carl Jung, n.d.).

Edward Evans-Pritchard was an English societal anthropologist and he majorly pioneered massive research on religion, history, and social structure of the Arab and African people. Born in the family of Anglican clergyman, he did expansive ethnographic research on the Nuer and Azande people even though they were considered to be primitive by the earlier scholars. Therefore, he contacted an extensive continuing fieldwork amongst the so called primitive society, and through studying their religion and culture he was able to come up with facets touching the modern religion. He made arguments that for people to understand the religion of a community they had to understand the social context as well as the social function of the activity to the community. In this case, he studied the religious conviction of the Azande community surrounding oracles and witchcraft and he noted how these two factors were significant in resolving any disputes in the community (Launay, 1992).

Moreover, he acknowledged the views of Tylor and Frazer who postulated that religion had within itself the  scholar explanatory aspect and he showed how the Azande’s belief in oracles and witchcraft was so logical and consistence as long as elemental creed was accepted. In this case, the belief in the community’s doctrine was more covered on the social importance of oracles and witchcraft and the community always had a convoluted system of excuses or rather explanations against any disproving of evidence. Therefore, Evans-Pritchard brought a new perception towards the study of religion. The arguments about primitive communities their religion and religious activities make sense only within the context of a specific community, and scholars need to have sufficient knowledge of the community inside to make statements about them. This was quite a new approach brought forward by Evans-Pritchard towards the study and understanding of religion within any setting of a community. He really achieved a lot by trying to show how oracles and witchcraft spread amongst the community. Azande presented explanations for daily occurrences and, moreover, presented the supposition of causality (Launay, 1992). 

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