The Drawback of Religious Education

Excerpt from The Problem of the Puer Aeternus:

As you know, Christ is the shepherd and we are the sheep. This is a paramount image in our religious tradition and one which has created something very destructive, namely, that because Christ is the shepherd and we are the sheep, we have been taught by the Church that we should not think or have our own opinions, but just believe. If we cannot believe in the resurrection of the body – such a mystery that nobody can understand it – then one must just accept it. Our whole religious tradition has worked in that direction, with the result that if now another system comes, say Communism or Nazism, we are taught that we should shut our eyes and not think for ourselves, that we should just believe the Fuhrer or Kruschev.

As long as the leader is a responsible person, or the leading ideal is something good, then it is okay. But the drawback of this religious education is now coming out very badly, for Western individuals of the Christian civilization are much more easily infected by mass beliefs that the Eastern. They are predisposed to believe in slogans, having always been told that there are many things they cannot understand and must just believe in order to be saved. So we are trained to be like sheep. That is a terrific shadow of the Christian education for which we are now paying.

Marie-Louise von Franz, 1959.