Jewish psychologists and the God within

 Rabbi Joshua Liebman says in his “Peace of mind” that religion is “at its best” merely “the announcer of the supreme ideals by which men must live and through which our finite species finds it’s ultimate significance.” If people were honest, says Liebman, “they would admit that the implementation of these ideals should be left to psychology.

Psychology can say much, obviously, about the psyche, but nothing about the God of the Bible. For Liebman, part rabbi, part psychologist, the ultimate aim of religion is peace of mind, which results from the discovery of ”ultimate significance.” To whom must a Jew run to find this ultimate meaning? No, not to the rabbi, says Liebman, but to the psychologist, preferably a Freudian psychologist. Oh the irony! Freud, the Jewish atheist is going to tell us how to find ultimate meaning.

The heart of religion is, says Liebman, “something outside ourselves.” I understand by that the existence of a transcendent being greater than ourselves. Alas, Liebman brings us back us back to earth that it is the job of psychology to make this something (someone?) outside ourselves incarnate. If that is so, religion then has little to do with the Bible, and everything to with the “Varieties of religious experience” (William James). Whereas the Scripture (Hebrew and New testament) says ”look up” Liebman says, “look within, because without’s within.”

If Liebman had been a Messianic Jew, he, firstly, wouldn’t have shackled religion to psychology, and second, he would have said that this making something outside ourselves incarnate is not the psychologist’s job but God’s; and this something made incarnate would be Someone, not something. (Some Messianic Jews, sadly, do not believe that God had a divine Son; so they don’t believe in THE incarnation)

 Gerald Jampolsky’s (Yogic) “transformation of consciousness” leads to inner peace. Deep below the dark regions of discord and strife lies the treasure without price longing to find you, the real you. Transform your consciousness and you will find your true self. This “transformation of consciousness” is the “foundation for inner peace” (which is also the name of the publisher of “A course on miracles” on which Jampolsky’s book is based). The “transformation of consciousness” is, of course, also the foundation of Eastern thought systems such as Buddhism and Yoga, which has become a key ingredient in Western psychotherapy. “Hatha Yoga brings about the Unity of the mind, body and spirit. Through this practice, the body is toned, strengthened and healed so that a transformation in consciousness can occur.”

Liebman says go within to find your true self, the real you; but not before you go outside – to Freud. For Jampolsky, in contrast, look within, and that’s good enough to find inner peace.

 

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7 thoughts on “Jewish psychologists and the God within

  1. Judaism, as it exists today, is a new religion with its roots originating after the Second Temple’s destruction. It is a completely new religion since it lacks the provisions of expiation and propitiation of the Torah. What was the message to the Jews when God took away their Temple?

    From a Christian perspective the events of 70 C.E. shows that God is now dealing with humanity under the New Covenant of Jesus’ shed blood where “everyone would know the Lord” through the Spirit given at Shavuot. Jesus building His church through the Spirit is the Israel of God today.

    Also Raph, it is better to say that “God has a Son” instead of “had a Son.” I hold to (along with Lee Irons) the the Son is eternally generated from the Father and the Spirit proceeds from both the Father and Son also eternally, a tri-unity.

    • Alex, I gather from your identification of the church as the Israel of God (Galatians 6) that you hold that there is no place for a future restoration of the Jews as a nation.

      • You are mistaken. I absolutely believe that ethnic Israel will be restored nationally. I am a Premillennialist.

        While I support Israel’s right of existence today in their historic land, future full restoration awaits when Christ comes back in a universal event known as The Day of The Lord. I believe in a normal fulfillment of prophecy (essentially literalistic but allowing for figures of speech). This will be the Sukkot event which pictures a rapture (blast of trumpets), Day of the Lord (Day of Atonement), and Millennial reign (Sukkot feast).

        Pesach was fulfilled with Christ’s sacrifice. Shavuot with the giving of the Spirit.

        I am working on a post that will show how Zechariah’s prophecy was partially fulfilled that The Messiah will be a “priest on His throne.” The book of Hebrews informs us as Christ came as High Priest First, He is yet to come as King.

        • Alex, I’ve never come across a premillennialism who conflates the “Israel of God” (Galatians 6) and the Church. premillennialists say that “Israel” in the NT always means the Jewish nation.

          • Forgive me I did not affirm the Galatian passage. I was not referring to Gal.6 when I wrote the original reply. Gal. 6 may or may not refer to the church, I haven’t thought about it.

            Dispensationalism makes the radical separation between the Church and Israel. I am not a Dispensationalist but I am still Premillennial. There are many of us. I don’t think it is the big deal like it is made out to be. I am not replacing Israel, The Gentiles are an addition.

            The Bible tells us that the church is a building, a field, and a body. So which is it? It is all and then some. Further Jesus is the True Vine (Israel) too. I don’t see the discrepancy, but Dispensationalists will have problems.

            • Alex,I misunderstood owing to the fact that 1. the term “Israel of God” is used only once in the NT (Gsl 6) and 2. Amillennialists say that this expression refers to the church.

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