A Course in Miracles


#1

I was having lunch with an old friend today and we started talking about religion. We have pretty different views on the world and on religion but we usually get along well. Today he kept bringing up Jesus repeatedly during the conversation. This piqued my curiosity enough to ask what he’d been reading lately to make him get all gushy about Jesus. Turns out it was A Course in Miracles. The weird thing is, he was using a lot of Christian terminology but it obviously meant very different things to him. Even terms like Holy Spirit seem to have a different meaning in A Course in Miracles. It was like we were having two paralell conversations because of the differences in meaning. Does anyone have any experience with A Course in Miracles? How different is this from Christian theology? Apparently it was trance channelled to some woman in 1975, but other than that I don’t know much about it. My friend kept gushing about having finally found the authentic voice of Jesus.


#2

Apparently it was trance channelled to some woman in 1975,

So she claims, and that should tell you all you need to know about it. The woman was Dr. Helen Schucman who was a research psychologist at Columbia University during the 60s and 70s. From '65 to 72 her and a fellow psychologist authored the CIM.

What it is is a series of three books, a text, a workbook, and a teachers manual. It’s designed to be an ongoing course that takes a year or more to complete. Its center focus is on learning to forgive, and through perfecting that skill, one is better able to see/appreciate a more “miraculous” existence. Sounds pretty good so far.

But like much of this sort of material, private revelation gives way to private redefining. This is the sort of stuff that appeals strongly to New Age and New Thought religions, because the terminology of established faiths are used, but there the similarity ends. The reason you felt like you were having a parallel conversation is because you were. You were using the same words but to each they meant different things.

My friend kept gushing about having finally found the authentic voice of Jesus.

Now I don’t know your friend, but I offer this analysis so you can hear it from someone you don’t know and put it to the test by comparing it to what you know of your friend. I would speculate that your friend is the sort who is put off by established religions, and the reasons could be few or many but will center on the notion that they are “too dogmatic” or “too rigid.” When you get to the essence of it, it really boils down to they don’t like the idea of sinning and having to pay for it in some way, either by suffering with their guilt or seeking traditional (depending on the faith) methods of forgiveness. For Catholics, that would be Reconciliation.

The appeal of this material, as well as many of the “New” type religions (and I use that term loosely) is that they reject the traditional notion of sin having, if you will, a horizontal (against a person) and a vertical (against God) component. They place God as a spirit that lives in each person, be they good, bad, or indifferent. Sort of like white blood cells are in humans no matter who they are.

As a consequence, “sin” becomes a mere mistake, as though you “temporarily” forgot that “Divinity within you” when you [fill in your sin here]. Thus when it comes to forgiveness, you still must square it with the person whom you injured, but the “vertical” part of it becomes a matter of you promising yourself not to do it again.

Now I am greatly simplifying this for sake of clarity, but I think you get the picture. The idea of a Creator God becomes some kind of psychic “force” that the individual projects, an “energy,” rather than a true Divine Being. God the Father is replaced by Universal Love, so it follows that the more forgiving one is, the closer in love they are to this Universal Love. In Christianspeak, we would say we deepen our personal relationship to God. Since their “God” is not a Being, there is no personal relationship substance, only a better “feeling” of being connected with (not God, but) “all things.”

Does it have any value? I suppose that depends on who you are. If you were a person who had no religion and no background in any religion, AND you had social problems centering on human relationships, I suppose for those it would be helpful. For any Christian I don’t see how you could accept the teaching, given that it takes the terminology of Christianity and applies it to mysticism and far eastern religious ideas. If you know anything about Jungian psychology, you’ll immediately recognize many of his ideas in the course. That should be expected; Schucman and Jung were in the same field and had very close to the same beliefs.

And I’ll add one other thought, a question, and leave it for you to ponder as you consider the worth of such a course.

If Jesus TRULY revealed Himself to YOU, regardless of his revelation to you, how much would you charge people to access it?


#3

Satanic. Stay away from it.


#4

Short answer from Catholic Answers’ Apologist that CIM is bad.

Long answerfrom Catholic Answers’ Apologist that CIM is bad.


#5

I suggest stay far away from this book. It’s new age and very false…dangerous even.

the author claims it’s private revelation from Christ. It is not…it goes against not only Catholicism, but Christianity in general. If it was revelation, it’s demonic.

It’s sad that this book became popular :frowning:
it certainly is easier for many non believers to accept its teaching than the truth of Christianity…and maybe that’s why it’s such a bestseller. I find that both sad and frustrating.


#6

The more I read about A Course in Miracles the more creeped out I get by it. I thought it was just the usual Oprah type new age garbage, but this seems much more harmful. Father Benedict Groeschel even goes as far as to say it might be diabolical, and he doesn’t seem like the type to see the devil behind every tree. It really seems like the exact opposite of Christianity, while using the same terminology. My friend even says he’s a Christian, while at the same time saying there is no such thing as sin, We’re all divine sons of God just like Christ, and that the bible got everything wrong. How do you argue with a person like that, who thinks there’s no value to the historical claims of Christianity because the world is just an illusion anyway? It seems like a recipe for insanity. I’d like to be able to talk to my friend about the dangers of this course, but he’ll just blow off anything that has to do with organized Christianity.


#7

I would not recommend you argue about it at all; instead I’d recommend that you pray for your friend that his eyes might be opened to the Truth. The entire history of the Church is one where, every so often, someone would find a way or come up with a heretical interpretation of something that had increased appeal to people. Sadly, some viewed this as some kind of divine force working in their ministry, making it all the more real to them. As these churches grow, and they do grow considering how our society has frowned upon any kind of open discussion of God and these misinformation centers are happy to fill that void, they view it as some kind of validation their Age of Aquarius rhetoric is true.

This sort of New Age/New Thought stuff is exactly that. It is designed to raise people above the guilt of their God-given conscience by pretending it doesn’t exist, or even more bizarre, by claiming the individual is the one responsible for those thoughts. Thus if they’d just “grow” and learn to stop thinking like that, they become sinless and more in tune with that Universal something they slap the label of God upon.

If you wanted to ask a question that might start your friend on a journey to truth, you might consider asking these:

  1. Where is the complete doctrine of this belief written down for reference?
  2. Is the doctrine complete, or will another author add to the belief in two years with another “I got a secret” type self-help book?
  3. Why, in all of the Scripturally-recorded instances of God revealing Himself to man, did He never bother to mention ANYTHING remotely resembling these ideas?
  4. Why, when these ideas were first mentioned (Gnosticism), did those with the authority to judge them denounce the ideas as heresy? Why only in the 19th-21st century have these ideas gained any sort of credibility?

That’s where you’d have to go to show this stuff is not inspired and not true. I have dealt with believers of this stuff and it is not easy to pry them away from something that makes them feel good. And that is really what it is all about to them - feeling good. They could simply go to confession and partake in the Eucharist and feel just as good, but Ahhhh! who wants to drive all the way to church just for that when you can light an incense in your living room and sit yoga-style with palms upward and feel just as good? Why put up with Psalm-based hymns, organ music, and chant when you can go to their “celebration” and dance in the aisles to the Beatles ‘All You Need Is Love’ and be just as “connected” to the Universal Spirt? That’s the mindset you’re up against.

I liken it to a door on a fortress. If you try to get in from the outside, it takes a long time and lot of effort; but if the person on the inside wants to come out, all they have to do is lift the latch and open the door. That’s why I’d recommend prayer and continuing to show love and compassion toward that person even though you reject their heresy rather than a frontal assault against what makes them feel so good.


#8

I would not recommend you argue about it at all; instead I’d recommend that you pray for your friend that his eyes might be opened to the Truth. The entire history of the Church is one where, every so often, someone would find a way or come up with a heretical interpretation of something that had increased appeal to people. Sadly, some viewed this as some kind of divine force working in their ministry, making it all the more real to them. As these churches grow, and they do grow considering how our society has frowned upon any kind of open discussion of God and these misinformation centers are happy to fill that void, they view it as some kind of validation their Age of Aquarius rhetoric is true.

This sort of New Age/New Thought stuff is exactly that. It is designed to raise people above the guilt of their God-given conscience by pretending it doesn’t exist, or even more bizarre, by claiming the individual is the one responsible for those thoughts. Thus if they’d just “grow” and learn to stop thinking like that, they become sinless and more in tune with that Universal something they slap the label of God upon.

If you wanted to ask a question that might start your friend on a journey to truth, you might consider asking these:

  1. Where is the complete doctrine of this belief written down for reference?
  2. Is the doctrine complete, or will another author add to the belief in two years with another “I got a secret” type self-help book?
  3. Why, in all of the Scripturally-recorded instances of God revealing Himself to man, did He never bother to mention ANYTHING remotely resembling these ideas?
  4. Why, when these ideas were first mentioned (Gnosticism), did those with the authority to judge them denounce the ideas as heresy? Why only in the 19th-21st century have these ideas gained any sort of credibility?

That’s where you’d have to go to show this stuff is not inspired and not true. I have dealt with believers of this stuff and it is not easy to pry them away from something that makes them feel good. And that is really what it is all about to them - feeling good. They could simply go to confession and partake in the Eucharist and feel just as good, but Ahhhh! who wants to drive all the way to church just for that when you can light an incense in your living room and sit yoga-style with palms upward and feel just as good? That’s the mindset you’re up against.


#9

That’s good advice, DOshea. It almost seems pointless trying to logically argue someone out of their belief system, especially a new age one. It’s seems like seem a lot of new age teachings lead you to reject logic and, as you said, rely only on your feelings. So when my friend says these teachings are from Jesus because he gets a warm fuzzy feeling every time he reads them, there’s no arguing because he knows he’s right. As Catholics we believe faith and reason are never in opposition, but new agers seem to turn that around and make logic the enemy of truth. I guess prayer is the order of the day.


#10

Catholic Answers Live radio has Sharon Lee Giganti, a New Age expert as a regular guest at least once a month. She is scheduled for this coming Monday at 4:00. Check the archives on the CA homepage and listen to some of her stories about her involvement with the New Age. Her monthly CA show is usually called Opra and the New Age. Look for the following shows: Jan 26, March 31, April 27, May 27, June 29 She was scheduled for July and I faithfully tuned in to listen to her but Satan decided to put a hex on the show. She was in the studio but the phones were not working on that particular day.


#11

I hope you all listened to Sharen Lee today. She described the Course in Miracles and it was mentioned about two more times on the show. If you missed it you can listen to the show on the archives in about 24 hours.


#12

Sharon Lee’s website is newagedeception.com/ for more information:)


#13

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