Bridging Religious Divides

Over time, our myths and religions changed as we grew more self-aware. Change was always met with powerful resistance from religious authorities, but outdated beliefs are no match for the tidal wave of expanding mind and evolving morality. Then during the last century Freud and Jung founded depth psychology and this new science led to one of the most shocking and revolutionary awarenesses of all: that whatever the truth may be about the sacred Mystery of Life, our beliefs about it originate in us! We create the gods and goddess in our own images. We write the sacred scriptures and interpret them from our biases.

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Bridging Religious Divides

Myths describe humanity’s relationship to the gods and goddesses who we perceive to be far superior to our puny, flawed selves. Throughout history every culture of which we have any record told stories about how the world was created and by whom, where we came from, how we pleased and disappointed our deities, what is good and what is evil, how we will be rewarded or punished for our deeds, and so on. We told these stories to help ourselves and our children gain control over our potentially damaging instincts so we and our tribes could prosper and thrive in a dangerous world.

Over time, our myths and religions changed as we grew more self-aware. Change was always met with powerful resistance from religious authorities, but outdated beliefs are no match for the tidal wave of expanding mind and evolving morality. Then during the last century Freud and Jung founded depth psychology and this new science led to one of the most shocking and revolutionary awarenesses of all:  that whatever the truth may be about the sacred Mystery of Life, our beliefs about it originate in us! We create the gods and goddess in our own images. We write the sacred scriptures and interpret them from our biases.

What are we to do with this knowledge? We’re riding a spinning blue marble through deep space, walking on an unknown path in a dark and dangerous forest. Who knows what lurks beyond the bend?  How will we satisfy our spiritual longing and find the purpose of our lives without our old myths to guide us? What lessons did they teach that can guide us to safety? Will there be new myths to lead us to a better place?

We’re living in the midst of a psycho-spiritual revolution such as the world has never seen, and as usual, we’re responding with fear and resistence. The human race has reached the end of a very long youth and is approaching maturity. As we stand in the threshold between adolescence and young adulthood we are nostalgic for the traditional values that nurtured us, yet we cannot help but notice that they did not create the love, peace, meaning and fulfillment we assumed they would. If our family and religion were right, why do we still feel this internal conflict? Why do we think there must be something more? What is it for which we still yearn?

We’re beginning to get that the problem is not our gods, myths or religions.

The problem is us. We haven’t connected with our fullest sacred potential and don’t know how to bring it into our lives. For all our extraordinary advances over the millennia, when it comes to self-knowledge humanity is still in its adolescence.

We are still fearful, divided and incomplete. Our spiritual yearning is very real, but we’re learning that spirituality is not about believing but about repairing the separations in ourselves and with each other so that we can experience intimacy and feel lovingly connected to everything that is.

We’re unhappy because we’re not whole and we know it. We’re dissatisfied because we don’t know how to love ourselves or each other.  We’re unfulfilled because instead of bringing benefit to the world we’re still contributing to its problems. We want love but don’t know how to get it. We want to be better but can’t seem to change.

 So what’s the next step? We’ll never feel good about ourselves until we complete ourselves.  The only way to do that is to know ourselves and build bridges to otherness. Namaste.

Dr. Jean Raffa is an author, speaker, and leader of workshops, dream groups, and study groups. She maintains a blog called "Matrignosis: A Blog About Inner Wisdom." Her job history includes teacher, television producer, college professor, and instructor at the Disney Institute in Orlando and The Jung Center in Winter Park, FL. She is the author of three books, a workbook, a chapter in a college text, numerous articles in professional journals, and a series of meditations and short stories for Augsburg Fortress Publisher.

Her book The Bridge to Wholeness: A Feminine Alternative to the Hero Myth (LuraMedia, 1992) was nominated for the Benjamin Franklin Award for best psychology book of 1992.

Reviewed in several journals and featured on the reading lists of university courses, it was also picked by the Isabella catalogue as a must-read for seeking women. Dream Theatres of the Soul: Empowering the Feminine Through Jungian Dreamwork (Innisfree Press, Inc., 1994) has been used in dreamwork courses throughout the country and is included in Amazon.com’s list of the Top 100 Best Selling Dream Books, and TCM’s book list of Human Resources for Organizational Development.


Filed under: consciousness, enlightenment, Ethics, Evolution,God-images, Living, Love, Mythology, Psychology, Relationships, Religion, Spirituality

Tags: introspection, Religion, self-awareness, Spirituality, uniting opposites

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