"..But since we have a body it is indispensable that we exist also as an animal, and each time we invent a new increase of consciousness we have to put a new link in the chain that binds us to the animal, till finally it will become so long that complications will surely ensue." CG Jung

The gospel of self

One of the most popular themes in psychology is that of self-fulfillment. Although this is an extremely popular theme, it is a theme of recent origin, having arisen only within the past forty years [late-1940s] outside of the Church an in the past twenty years with the Church itself. As society moved from self-denial to self-fulfillment, a new vocabulary emerged which revealed a new inner attitude and a different view of life. The new vocabulary became the very fabric of a new psychology known as humanistic psychology. Its major focus is self-actualization and its clarion call is self-fulfillment. And self-fulfillment, with all its accompanying self-hyphenated and self-fixated variations such as self-love, self-acceptance, self-esteem, and self-worth, has become the new promised land. Then as the Church became psychologized, the emphasis shifted from God to self. "Christian" books began to reflect what was accepted in society. Some examples are Love Yourself; The Art of Learning to Celebrate Yourself; Loving Yourselves; Celebrate Yourself; You're Someone Special; Self-Esteem: You're Better than You Think; and probably best known, Robert Schuller's Self Esteem: The New Reformation. Books and examples of a psychological self-stroking mentality are numerous. According to the psychologizers of Christianity, the greatest detriment to a fulfilling life is low self-esteem. In their quest to bring their followers to the realization of their full potential (self-actualization), they substitute one form of self-centeredness (high self-esteem) for another form of self-centeredness (low self-esteem). In either case, self is the focal point of the cure as well as the problem. Low self-esteem is popular because it's much more palatable to accept the idea of having "low self-esteem" than to confess evil, ungodly, self-centered thoughts and then repent through believing what God has said in His Word. While low self-esteem calls for psychological treatment to raise self-esteem, sinful thinking calls for confession, repentance, restoration, and walking by faith in a love relationship with God provided by the cross of Christ. We would suggest that one look to Scripture to discover one's greatest need and to find an antidote to life's problems, rather than attempt to scripturalize some psychological fad. Mankind's greatest need is for Jesus Christ, not self-esteem.