More on Ego-Ridden Faith

Yesterday I addressed dualistic thinking and the “saved” vs “unsaved” emphasis of some religions, portraying that emphasis as merely an expression of an “us” vs “them” approach to life. This expression of faith is very guilt-ridden and must have very rigid boundaries and often appears to be searching daily to find things “that we don’t do that others do” which “make us good, and them bad.” Looking back on my life, I realize that my tenuous identity was explicitly based on this false premise and consisted of a relentless list of “thou shalt nots” which I religiously sought to adhere to to compensate for a deep-seated self-loathing. And even though I was a professing Christian, that approach to spirituality was intrinsically antithetical to the teachings of Christ who said that He accepted us “as is.”

Now, in this “second half of life” (to borrow a Richard Rohr term), I find that spirituality is letting down some of these rigid boundaries and acknowledging some of those unsavory impulses, a process that Karl Jung described as “embracing your shadow” or “withdrawing your projections.” For, as Jung also pointed out, “What you resist, persists” and is therefore created in your outside world. To illustrate, the notion of “saved” would not have any meaning, would not even exist, without its complement of “unsaved” much like “green” would have no meaning or existence without “un-green.”

But recognizing this spiritual subtlety is antithetical to the interest of the ego who, should it recognize this ambiguity, would have its authority in jeopardy. So usually when an ego-bound person encounters teachings like this, they will respond with something like, “Of the devil” or “straight from the pits of hell” or “damn New Age stuff.” Thus the ego continues merrily on its way, smug in its faith, not listening to Shakespeare who noted, “With devotions visage and pious action they sugar o’er the devil himself.”


One thought on “More on Ego-Ridden Faith

  1. Anne-Marie

    I can relate so much to all of this! I’ve had a deep seated self-loathing and now I’m learning to bask in the unconditional acceptance of Christ. Thank-you.



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