The Religious Function

The human condition is weird. We are simultaneously the shitting ape and also the consciousness that creates. The ape is our root that connects us to nature. S/he is nudged along by primordial instincts. Consciousness is our crown of choice. We are free to choose how we regulate, dissipate, and creatively express our instincts.

One of humanities instincts is the religious function. Jung argued that the pragmatic purpose of this instinct was to alleviate the paralysis consciousness creates. Our freedom of choice leaves space for the fear of acting incorrectly. For primitive man to overcome this fear, he needed some kind of reassurance, some kind of experience that validated her choices.  

This is only speculation, because the why doesn’t particularly matter here. What matters is that there is a potential within every individual to experience something which imbues the individual with the deepest sense of trust and security. What matters is this feeling, something no assemblage of words can ever convey. This event, Jung calls the religious experience.

“(The religious experience) is a rapture whose breadth and depth is the despair of prose.”

RAWism note: The experience is an instinct we all have. The metaphors and symbols we use to assimilate the experience into consciousness and to convey to others, is entirely subjective. Do not get tripped up by the metaphors and symbols. Use whatever reality tunnel helps you understand the experience. What is important is that you directly experience the manifestation of instinct.

Rationalism, Dogmatism, and Patriotism

These three reality tunnels have unique relationships to the religious function. The rationalist thinks he’s thrown the religious function out without realizing that his devotion to reason and logic is the religious function itself. He is like the man riding the donkey who exclaims to his friends how he’s gotten rid of his donkey.

The modern religious person who ascribes to a certain belief system is also confused. Jung draws a distinction between religion and creed. Religion is a subjective relationship to certain metaphysical beliefs, while a creed is a collection of beliefs which are taught and accepted. Religion is an experience, a creed is taught. Most modern religions subjugate the individual to relay on external symbols and institutions for a connection with the divine. A true religion is a system that helps the individual cultivate a genuine, personal relationship with the divine.

And now the patriots. These people are the loudest because they are the most insecure. These are the people who project the religious function onto the State, the Government, or a political party. A neurotic is an individual who has a split psyche. Man is the microcosm of the macrocosm. Our society looks like a neurotic who unwillingly but slowly is becoming aware of his neurotic consciousness.

The Individual Experience

The religious function is an instinct all humans inherit. What most of us overlook is that we are riding the donkey. The God metaphor, whatever it means to you, is a representation of some part of your Unconscious. Whatever you understand of God are qualities that exist within you. The thing the metaphor “God” tries to convey is completely incomprehensible. The most we can do is experience a slice. This slice is the unique religious experience your unique psyche can perceive.

God is within. Everything is. Whatever is without is unknowable. Don’t let any belief system (BS) keep you from your personal experience with the divine.

“The world is not governed by facts or logic. The world is governed by BS. Never believe totally in anybody else’s BS. Never believe totally in your own BS.”


If you’ve had a religious experience, and you’re willing, please share it with me on social media in a message.

Namastay. I love you.