Nietzsche and the Church Scandals

FRED MARTINEZ

Therapeutic approaches have a basic assumption that is not Christian. Their starting point is not the Christian worldview, which is summed up in the parable of the prodigal son: a fallen and sinful world with persons needing God the Father to forgive them. Therapeutic thinkers believe there is no sin, only selves needing to reach the fullness of themselves. This denial of original sin and personal sin is, in large part, behind the headlines of the Boston catastrophe and other dioceses.

Professor Allan Bloom, a philosopher who wrote The Closing of the American Mind, thought that Friedrich Nietzsche was the father of modern America. He said, "Words such as 'charisma,' 'lifestyle,' 'commitment,' 'identity,' and many others, all of which can easily be traced to Nietzsche ... are now practically American slang."

But the most important Nietzschean slang word is "values."

"Values" are the death of Christian morality because values simply mean opinions. If opinion is how things are decided, then might makes right.

One must remember that whenever someone talks about values in modern America — family values or religious values or place-the-blank-in-front-of values — they are saying there is no real or objective right or wrong — only opinions of the self and its will to power.

Nietzsche's philosophy is summed up by Bloom as:

Commitment values the values and makes them valuable. Not love of truth but intellectual honesty characterizes the proper state of mind. Since there is no truth in the values, and what truth there is about life is not lovable, the hallmark of the authentic will is consulting one's oracle while facing up to what one is and what one experiences. Decisions, not deliberations, are the movers of deeds. One cannot know or plan the future. One must will it.

As a philologist, Nietzsche believed there was no original text and transferred this belief to reality, which he thought was only pure chaos. He proposed will to power in which one imposes or "posits" one's values on a meaningless world.

Previous to Freud's psychoanalysis, Nietzsche's writings spoke of the unconscious and destructive side of the self. In fact, Freud wrote that Nietzsche "had a more penetrating knowledge of himself than any other man who ever lived or was likely to live."

Max Weber and Sigmund Freud are the two writers most responsible for Nietzschean language in America. Few know that Freud was "profoundly influenced by Nietzsche," according to Bloom. Freud, much more than Weber, profoundly changed America from a Christian culture to a therapeutic or self-centered culture.

The therapeutic approaches, which started with Freud, have a basic assumption that is not Christian. The starting point is not the Christian worldview, which is summed up in the parable of the prodigal son: a fallen and sinful world with persons needing God the Father to forgive them so they can return to be His sons and daughters.

Unlike the Christian worldview, the therapeutic starting point is that the individual must overcome personal unconscious forces, in Freud, and in Carl Jung the person must unite to the collective unconscious, which is shared by all humans.

In both cases, the therapist assists his client to change himself to 'become his real self.' Forgiveness and returning to God are not needed. What is needed are not God and His Forgiveness, but a therapist assisting a self to reach the fullness of its self.

Freud, under the influence of Nietzsche, moved psychiatry away from the mechanistic and biological to the previously "unscientific" model of the "symbolic language of the unconscious."

Freud's pupil Carl Jung took the symbolic language of the unconscious a step further. Unlike his mentor, Jung's unconscious theory is not just about making conscious sexually repressed or forgotten memories. His symbolic therapy used what he called the "active imagination" to incorporate split-off parts of the unconscious (complexes) into the conscious mind.

He believed with Freud that dreams and symbols are means to the unconscious, but for Jung the dream and symbol are not repressed lusts from stages of development. They are a way to unite with the collective unconsciousness.

Many Christians thought this "language of the soul" was a step forward from what they considered the cramped scientific reality of modernity. What they didn't understand was that Jung's theory was part of a movement that led to the rejection of objective morality and truth.

Jungian (and Freudian) psychoanalysis reduces Christian concepts such as God, free will and intelligence to blind reactions, unconscious urges and uncontrollable acts. Even more disastrous, Jung inverted Christian worship.

Christian therapist Leanne Payne considers Jung "not a scientist, but a post-modernist subjectivist. Jung's active imagination therapy is hostile not only to the Judeo-Christian worldview, but to all systems containing objective moral and spiritual value. Within this world the unconscious urge becomes god. What the unconscious urge wants is what is finally right or moral. These psychic personae [complexes] are literally called 'gods' (archetypes),' and so an overt idolatry of self follows quickly."

Within the modern French Nietzschean schools of thought, a type of Jungian unconscious urge is replacing the old existential conscious self who chooses. The post-modernist is moving from the idolatry of self to the idolatry of autonomous inner "beings" that, according to Payne, are similar to pagan "gods."

In The Screwtape Letters, his character who is a senior evil spirit said:

I have high hopes that we shall learn in due time how to emotionalise and mythologise their science to such an extent that what is, in effect, belief in us (though not under that name) will creep in while the human mind remains closed to the Enemy [God]. The "Life Force," the worship of sex, and some aspects of Psychoanalysis may here prove useful. If once we can produce our perfect work — the Materialist Magician, the man, not using, but veritably worshipping, what he vaguely calls "Forces" while denying the existence of "spirits" — then the end of the war will be in sight.
Some of the largest audiences for this "scientific" paganism with its inversion of worship and the Judeo-Christian worldview are followers of Christ. By using Christian symbols and terminology, Jungian spirituality has infiltrated to a large extent Christian publishers, seminaries, even convents and monasteries.

Many Christians are using Jung's active imagination as a method of prayer. Psychiatrist Jeffrey Satinover, M.D., thinks this is dangerous "because this fantasy life has no moral underpinnings, because it helps to reinforce an experience of autonomous inner 'beings' accessible via the imagination, and because it is a defense against redemptive suffering, it easily allies with and quickly becomes a Gnostic form of spiritually with powerfully occult overtones."

If one is under the influence of the autonomous inner "beings," uncontrollable urges can overpower the self. One can go temporarily or permanently insane. And in the Christian worldview, the autonomous inner "being" is not always just an imaginary being, but can be a personal being, which then makes possession a rare, but not impossible, occurrence.

In fact, according to one Jungian therapist, Nietzsche himself went insane permanently when an autonomous inner "being" (archetype) overpowered him. So, unfortunately with the widespread acceptance of Jungian spirituality, mainstream Christianity seems to be moving to post-modern Nietzschean insanity and possibly, in some cases, possession.

Jung's autobiography is full of insane or occult experiences. He was continually hearing 'voices.' In his autobiography he said his home was "... crammed full of spirits ... they were packed deep right up to the front door and the air was so thick it was scarcely possible to breathe."

During the Hitler regime, which itself was obsessed with the occult, Jung edited a Nazi psychotherapeutic journal where he said, "The 'Aryan' unconscious has a higher potential than the Jewish." Keep that word "potential" in your mind. It will be used by American psychology.

Once opinion is master, then might makes right. In "Beyond Good and Evil," Nietzsche proclaimed a new morality, "Master morality," which was different from Christian morality — or "slave morality," as he called it. He thought the weak have the morality of obedience and conformity to the master. Masters have a right to do whatever they want; since there is no God, everything is permissible.

In what Nietzsche considered his masterpiece, "Zarathustra," he said the new masters would replace the dead God. The masters were to be called Supermen, or the superior men.

After Freud and Jung came Alfred Adler, also a follower of Nietzsche, with "Individual psychology," which maintains that the individual strives for what he called "superiority" but now is called "self-realization" or "self-actualization," and which came from Nietzsche's ideas of striving and self-creation.

The "human potential movement" and humanistic psychology of Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers are imbedded with these types of ideas. The psychologists of "potential" teach the superior man.

Edvard Munch said:
Alfred Adler translated Nietzsche's philosophical idea of "will to power" into the psychological concept of self-actualization. Thus, Nietzschean thought forms the foundation for and permeates Alfred Adler's Individual Psychology, Abraham Maslow's Humanistic Biology, Carl Rogers's Person-Centered Psychology, and has influenced many other psychological ideas and systems. ... Alfred Adler was the first psychologist to borrow directly from Nietzsche, making numerous references to the philosopher throughout his works. Adler took Nietzsche's idea of "will to power" and transformed it into the psychological concept of self-actualization, in which an individual strives to realize his potential.
Mary Kearns, in an address to the Catholic Head Teachers Association of Scotland, spoke of the Nietzschean ideas now being taught in Catholic schools in the name of "scientific" psychology. Kearns said:
The methods are based on "the group therapy technique" first developed in America in the 1970's by two psychologists, Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow. They described how emotional conditioning should be carried out by a group "facilitator". The facilitator does not impart knowledge like the old fashioned teacher. Instead he/she initiates discussions encouraging children to reveal their personal views and feelings. The facilitator's approach is "value free". There is no right or wrong answer to any religious or moral question. Each person discloses what is right or wrong for them. All choices are equally valid even if they are opposites. Everything depends on feelings or emotions. Reason and conscience are discouraged. If anyone attempts objective evaluation, they are to be treated as an "outsider" and there will be a strong emotional reaction against such "judgemental intolerance".
If it is true that Catholic education now uses these techniques in "teaching religious and moral education," then the Catholic education system has entered into the Nietzschean insanity. If these are the techniques being used in education and in the seminaries, then sexual misconduct charges against priests are a symptom of "scientific" paganism replacing Christianity.

Santa Rosa priest Don Kimball, who is charged with sexual misconduct, is an example of someone whose "approach" was "value free" — that is, there was "no right or wrong answer to any religious or moral question."

In 1996, Karyn Wolfe and Mark Spaulding of Pacific Church News said, "THE WEDGE! You can't do youth ministry (any ministry for that matter) without it. ... Basing his theory on psychologist Abraham Maslow's 'Hierarchy of Needs', the Rev. Don Kimball developed this model for the growth and maturity process of a group."

Another example of the value-free approach is Thomas Zanzig, a major leader in the Catholic Church for youth ministry, plus an editor and writer of Catholic textbooks.

According to Marks S. Winward, Zanzig, in a book on youth ministry, "bases his 'Wedge Model' on a similar model developed by Fr. Don Kimble." Homeschool leader Marianna Bartold said, "Sharing the Christian Message by Thomas Zanzig has students come up with as many slang or street words as possible for the male and female reproductive organs in three or four minutes."

Now, many might say these are only isolated cases of misuses of Maslow and Adler until one reads the original text. According to William Coulson, a former collaborator of Carl Rogers,
Maslow was always a revolutionary. ... In 1965, working a radical idea about children and adult sex into his book about management, "In Eupsychian Management: A Journal," [Maslow said]: "I remember talking with Alfred Adler about this in a kind of joking way, but then we both got quite serious about it, and Adler thought that this sexual therapy at various ages was certainly a very fine thing. As we both played with the thought, we envisioned a kind of social worker ... as a psychotherapist in giving therapy literally on the couch."
As one can see, the basic therapeutic assumption leads to certain results in the real world. These thinkers don't believe in the basic Christian assumption that there is a need for forgiveness from God. Instead, they believe there is no sin, only selves needing to reach the fullness of themselves.

It is understandable that atheists such as Nietzsche, Maslow and Adler could hold these basic assumptions, but that Christians and priests hold these assumptions is a disgrace. The denial of original sin and personal sin is, in large part, behind the headlines of the Boston catastrophe and other dioceses.

The failure of these Catholic bishops is a failure to teach the faith and moral teachings of Jesus Christ. Getting rid of a few priests will not solve the problem if these basic assumptions stay, because more — only cleverer — sex abusers will rise up to take their place.

I feel sorry for these bishops and other Church leaders if they don't take a look at themselves and repent of these basic assumptions in their dioceses. They must eventually come face to face with the Living God. He is the Father of these little ones who have been scandalized and abused.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

Fred Martinez. "Nietzsche and the Church Scandals." Catholic Exchange (May, 2002).

This article reprinted with permission from Fred Martinez. Articles by Fred Martinez can be found on his web site Conservative Monitor.

THE AUTHOR

Fred Martinez is staff religion editor of the Conservative Monitor and a frequent contributor to the San Francisco Faith, a Northern California newspaper. He can be reached at MrtnzFred@aol.com.

Copyright © 2002 Fred Martinez


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