“Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.”

Mk 12:17

+ + +

These are Jesus words when asked by the Pharisees and Herodians if the Jews should pay the census tax levied by the Romans.

His answer: give to Caesar what is Caesar’s.

But are we required to give to rulers what is not their’s to command?  His answer tells us “no.”

We are to retain for God what is God’s.

In his excellent little book The Undiscovered Self, Carl Jung, M.D., raises this issue: What do you do when the state and mass culture demands of the human person that which interferes with the person’s full development?  What do you do when either the state or the culture exacts from a person their soul, interferes with their full human and spiritual development?

Jung observes in his 1957 book that this is precisely the cost imposed on the human being in centralized states, and particularly in states that are driven by ideology.  These states, we know from experience, see religion as an adversary and oppose religion in public life.

Says Jung in discussing the role of the omnipotent ideological and secular state: “the more power it has, the weaker and more helpless the individual becomes.” Or think of this from Jung: “… every tyranny is ipso facto immoral and ruthless, it has much more freedom in choice of it methods than an institution which still takes account of the individual.”

Jung is making the point that the centralized ideological, secular state (Caesar) diminishes what God makes in the human person, and that its growth in power thwarts the individual’s development, and creates sickness.

Think about it.  Are you giving Caesar that which he may not claim?

Shalom.

Advertisements