Oprah and A Course in Miracles

Written by Darren Hewer

faith_oprahOprah Winfrey is the highest ranked TV talk show host in history, and every day millions of Americans tune in to The Oprah Winfrey Show. There is much to admire about her, including the philanthropic efforts of her various charities. She is deeply respected by her many viewers, and was able to become one of the most well-known media magnates despite a difficult childhood.

A 2004 study concluded that the “Oprah effect” of her endorsement of a book on her show equals on average $80million in sales.[1] With such great influence should come great responsibility. Many of Oprah’s viewers are eager to embrace whatever she recommends, so she should use careful judgment when making endorsements on her show.

Recently Oprah began promoting something called A Course in Miracles” (hereafter ACIM) on her show and website. This course is described on the site as “a self-study program of spiritual psychotherapy” and “an educational program for retraining the mind that is spiritual, rather than religious.” This teaching, by Oprah’s close friend Marianne Williamson, offers a way to live a “more loving and peaceful life.” What is the origin of this teaching, and what does ACIM actually teach?

Although ACIM claims not to be a religion (the website explicitly states the course “is not a religion”) the teaching has a religious foundation. In 1965 psychologist Helen Schucman claimed she began dramatically experiencing an inner voice saying “This is a course in miracles; please take notes.” With help of fellow professor William Thetford she transcribed what she claimed the Voice was saying to her. The result was eventually edited by Ken Wapnick and published in 1975 by the Foundation for Inner Peace (formerly known as the Foundation for Parasensory Investigation) .

Religion scholar Dr James A. Beverley notes, regarding the formative years of the movement, that

it was regularly claimed that Jesus was the ultimate source of ACIM. In fact, Wapnick stated at one point, “It was very clear to me that Helen could not have written it and I just could not imagine it having any other source than Jesus himself.”” [2]

If true, this would be a valuable resource which would help us understand Jesus’ life and teachings better. What, then, does ACIM teach? Among other things, the course teaches that:

“The recognition of God is the recognition of yourself.”
“God’s Name is holy, but no holier than yours. To call upon His Name is to call upon your own.”
“There is no sin.”
“The Name of Jesus Christ as such is but a symbol … It is a symbol that is safely used as a replacement for the many names of all the gods to which you pray.”
“Do not make the pathetic error of ‘clinging to the old rugged cross.’”

Regardless of what we conclude about ACIM, we must at least admit that the Jesus we find here is nothing like the Jesus of the Bible. Much like The Secret (last year’s New Age fad which was also featured on Oprah’s show) ACIM claims that we are all “God”. Also like The Secret, ACIM sometimes uses Christian language, but changes the meanings of the words so that they convey entirely different messages, and even ends up disrespecting Jesus by remaking him how they would like him to be rather than how he really was.

The New Testament documents, which were written in the first century AD by eyewitnesses to Jesus’ life and ministry (or those who consulted eyewitnesses) describe a very real Jesus (ie not just a symbol) who acknowledged the reality of God and sin, and called people back into full relationship with God. There is no evidence of the ACIM‘s Jesus to be found in the New Testament. Why trust ACIM instead of the Bible, which was written about 1900 years before Helen Schucman claimed to have her visions?

Some who embrace ACIM do so, in part, out of rebellion against the perceived dogmatism, blind faith and exclusivity of the Christian faith. Ironically, ACIM is extremely dogmatic. Its purpose is “thought reversal” and it encourages readers to practice its ideas without exception even if they find them to be unbelievable. In other words, simply believe and follow its exclusive truth without questioning … some of the very things many find distasteful about traditional religions.

As it turns out, all beliefs are exclusive, even the belief that there are no true beliefs… that belief excludes those who think there are true beliefs! The question is: Which beliefs are right and which are wrong? We’ve seen that the Jesus of the Bible and the Jesus described in ACIM cannot both be described accurately. Which, then, is true? The question is not merely an academic one; it has practical implications for our daily lives.

Take a look at your life. How would you describe it? Contented? Rushed? Exciting? Stressful? Moving forward? Holding back? For many of us it’s all of the above at times. How do our lives become this way? Is it the case that, as ACIM teaches, there really is no evil in the world, and that we can all have peace in our lives if we merely believe that we can? Or is the deeper problem that our pain isn’t just imaginary, it is real?

If you sometimes feel guilty, you’re … well, just like everyone else on the planet. Why do we feel guilty? Perhaps we feel guilty because we are guilty. Guilty of what? Turning away from God and living a life apart from Him.

The bad news is that all of the self-help lectures and affirmative thinking in the world won’t save us. A person drowning in quicksand cannot struggle their way out. Their struggles will inevitably just pull them further down.

The good news of the Gospel is that, through Jesus’ self-sacrifice on the cross, we may restore our relationship with God, if we accept the gift God presents to us, renounce our former lives and put our trust in God as the center of our lives. Although we lack the ability, by our own efforts, to bridge the gap between God and us, Jesus, being simultaneously and uniquely fully God and fully a human being, took initiative and the punishment we deserved on our behalf so that our relationship with God could be renewed.

You can start a new life (be “reborn”) right now by faith (trust) through prayer. Praying is simply talking to God. Praying gives us the opportunity to begin to know and have a loving relationship with God, who doesn’t answer our requests like a genie from a lamp but instead promises to listen and to love us. God knows your heart and is not so concerned with your words as He is with the attitude of your heart. Here’s a suggested prayer:

Lord Jesus, I want to know you personally. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life to you and ask you to come in as my Savior and Lord. Take control of my life. Thank you for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Make me the kind of person you want me to be.


36 Responses to “Oprah and A Course in Miracles”

  • Elkay says:

    David, I sense within your words a sincere desire to be more loving, more forgiving and an honest search to find God. The Westminster Shorter Catechism asks “What is God?” and answers, “God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable in His being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth.” He is also the Creator of this universe, sustains it and is sovereign over it. If this is the God you are seeking, then this is the God of Christianity and our understanding of Him and how we are to relate to Him is not a matter of individual speculation but must be determined from the Scriptures found in the Bible, as these are His written revelations. If you are seeking some other god, it will not be found in the Bible.

    Those Scriptures answer many of your questions, about where salvation is found, what forgiveness requires, what the true meaning of love is and much more. It also explains how God comes to be “inside you”. Jesus said, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him” (John 7:37-38). What did Jesus mean? John, the biblical author, went on to explain, “By this He meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified” (John 7:39). The Holy Spirit is thus God’s permanent presence with us (John 14:16,17) and enables us to understand and experience all God has given us (1 Corinthians 2:12).

    We cannot experience intimacy with God and enjoy all He has for us if we fail to depend on His Spirit. People who trust in their own efforts and strength to live the Christian life will experience failure and frustration, as will those who live to please themselves rather than God (See Gal 3:3 and 5:17).

    Obviously what little I have put here just barely scratches the surface of Christianity and so if you are more deeply interested, we have freely available mentors who will come alongside you and explain further, All you have to do is hit the “Talk to a Mentor” button near the top of this page and someone will reply back by email. I hope you will seriously consider this. (No mater what, do read Tom’s post of March 11, 2015 below.)

  • David says:

    Reading “A Course in Miracles” … Is … Different.

    I’ve seen lots of comments on here referencing some Holy Scripture or another, and each comes at it from a view of “this work is the truth because it is, no further understanding or proof is needed.” Sadly this argument, if applies to Dr Seuss, becomes equally valid. None of the arguments are about finding any inner truth, and often none of the scriptures are about helping someone who is lost learn to recognize inner truths vs. the outer truths we are told in to many and varied a form to count.

    One source pointed out a very simple way, I think, to tell the difference. Something along the lines of ensuring that what you do, should only benefit everyone involved. … I’m pretty sure this is in line with every scripture out there.

    I hear plenty argue that every other scripture is wrong, save their own, because they have only studied one, and that one is the truth.

    When something like ACIM comes forward the argument falls back on “that’s not my Holy Scripture, so it is wrong” with no consideration or insight to see how similar the messages are. Even if the messages are the same, not just in a few isolated points, but on the complete work. “Love” … At what point is “my love is right, but yours is tainted, so I have the right to persecute you, condemn you, and perform all manner of unlovable acts upon you, and I do this in the name of love.”

    Is that what you believe love is ? …

    God being perfect, gods creations being made perfectly by a perfect god. … How did an entire teaching turn this into “God’s creations are not perfect?”

    I find in ACIM, not just “some other scripture” but one of the few works of any sort that bring us a means by which we can learn to find within ourselves the truth that is god.

    I have seen many who speak of what ACIM teaches and brings us using quotes from ACIM. This is no different from those who spout the same dogma from the Bible.

    What if found from ACIM is not what is written in ACIM. … When I hear many people’s arguments to promote the work relying on the outer teachings of the course I am a little saddened inside.

    The world of illusion, sure, … But do not dismiss it, for in its own right it is very real indeed. Forgiveness, sure, … But who are you forgiving ? Are you forgiving the sinner their actions and absolving yourself of your responsibility to your fellow brother/sister ? …

    The world around us must be seen as needed. Else it would not be here. And if we see another’s sin, who do we forgive? Them and their sin, or do we search inside and recognize that we saw a stranger who could sin, instead of a brother/sister whom we love ? … Where is Salvation to be found ??

    I have not referenced the Bible here, nor have I referenced ACIM. Instead of being condemned for this seeming oversize to prove “right” one or the other, I would ask instead does your holy work say what I described here is in line with your scripture, or shall I hear condemnation and how I must be saved. Will I hear how I do not understand love? Will I hear how I do not understand god?

    It matters not to me what the differences are if they are all outer, to be found on some page, quoting some scripture or another. I will not hear someone who is searching and finding god in your heart. I can find god in a book, but to find god in my heart. That is divine, that is holy. I do not need a book to hear God, I need to listen. If what I hear does not help everyone involved, I am not convinced I am hearing god. God does not speak in contradictions, and if what God tells you is different from what God tells me, … Then there is a contradiction. Is their love? Is love so important, more important than being right, is love so important I shall see my brother/sister in everyone??

    Or are you going to tell me that I do not understand god because somewhere there is a justification to condemn, to hurt, to inflict upon someone suffering and pain and this is truth because it is being asked of me to do this by God?

    If God is love, could we please speak with love, … Or at least be willing to make the attempt each day to be more loving in thought, word, and deed than we were before ?

    If we struck out and hit someone, or we said something cruel, perhaps just thought to ourselves how we wish the other would suffer, … Could we ask that next time we refrain and hold back ? Could we ask for ourself, with Jesus’s grace, with gods blessings, that we might find it within ourselves to forgive and see not a stranger we can feel exonerated in beating, but a friend we wish to call a friend.

  • Cindy says:

    I must say that after having read and practiced ACIM from start to finish, one cannot really understand its meaning without a great deal of personal effort. This world is “an illusion” compared to heaven. All the suffering really is experienced, but its all of the MIND, which is in reality ONE. Jesus, you can even find in the Bible, TRIED to explain to his disciples that we are all brothers, created in the image of God. You cannot be in the image of God if you are in a body right? And if God is Love, why would He set us up, giving us free will, to commit the heinous acts against one another? We are like young children, with no sense of right or wrong. I prefer to believe that my – our – God is not only loving, but intelligent. Basically, I would have to say that Jesus was BRILLIANT to have figured out how this world came to be AND how we can all get back to Heaven. Bottom line, he’s basically asking us to fake it til we make it. Love others as you love yourself. You will see bad things, but instead of our usual vengeful rampages, we are asked to forgive. “They know not what they do.” Yep, that’s us. I can’t stress enough how highly I recommend ACIM. Reading Gary Renard’s book, Disappearance of the Universe, gave me a MUCH clearer understanding of it. Though I recognize that I am still learning as I practice forgiveness, I am experiencing FAR more peace in my life now, and I see it helping my family, as well.

  • wayne says:

    A course in miracles is pure deception! JESUS said “I AM THE WAY,THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE, NO ONE COMES TO GOD THE FATHER BUT BY ME” ! There is one way, and only one way to eternity with GOD, and that’s through “JESUS CHRIST”. A course in miracles is not only a course in deception; but it is pure BLASPHEMY.

  • Sharon says:

    interesting thread on here God bless you all

  • wayne says:

    False prophets and false teachers will abound in the last days. A course in miracles is nothing more than NEW AGE mumbo jumbo. MARIANNE and OPRAH are beautiful ladies; I will pray that GOD will touch their hearts and minds with the TRUTH about GOD’S SALVATION through JESUS CHRIST.

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Hi Paul, thanks for the detailed description of your understanding of “A Course in Miracles”. I appreciate the connection you make to the Bible and the Creation account in Genesis. On what basis do you understand God’s statement, “Let there be Light” to indicate that Light is the mind of God? And then how does that connect to us also being Light? Is there some place that you see humanity receiving the mind of God?

  • Paul says:

    “A Course in Miracles” is quite simple, if one understands what Light is. “And God said, let there be Light.” This is the creation statement in Genesis which is the foundation of everything being taught in the Course. In other words, Light said (or Light created) Light, and we are all this Light in the mind of God, our creator. God’s mind, therefore, is Light and our true Mind, therefore, must also be Light, even though part of our mind (the ego) dwells on and in darkness, denying this Light in our own mind. Thus, Mind/Light exercises like in the lesson “Forgiveness is the key to happiness,” in which one envisions the Light in an “enemy,” the Light in a “friend,” and then envisioning their combined Light being shared with one’s self, that which the Course calls the “Christ vision.” Remember “Love thy neighbor as thyself”? Love is light and light is love, so doing this “mental exercise” is how real forgiveness works, joining the shattered Sonship in the Oneness of God’s Light and God’s Love, which lays the foundation for our Knowing our Father/Creator again. For, how can one hate the son of God and love the creator of the son of God? True forgiveness, therefore, involves our merging in our own mind all the seeming different and diverse parts of the Sonship back into the wholeness of the Light, and God. And yet, the funny thing is that it is really, really hard for us to envision Light, and only Light, in our own mind. Why? Is something blocking our concentrating our mind on this Light? Yes. And in overcoming this blockage, we literally overcome the world and everything in this world (as Jesus, our brother, is said to have done as reported in the gospels). Like I said, the Course is really simple, and is actually a continuation of what Jesus said and demonstrated in the gospels, but going into much more detail, as well as giving a person mental exercises in which to experience the Light, and nothing but the Light, so help them God. Peace.

  • Tom Tom says:

    A Course In Miracles: A Biblical Evaluation
    By Russ Wise

    (Russ Wise has been an observer of the occult and cults, both Eastern and Western, for over 20 years. Russ seeks to create an awareness of these non-biblical teachings in the Christian community, thereby helping to prevent Christians from falling victim to these deceptions. He is a former associate speaker with Probe Ministries and resides in Richardson, Texas, with his wife, Wendy.)

    Historical Background
    In 1965 a Jewish atheistic psychologist from Columbia University began to channel messages from a spirit she believed to be Jesus. She ultimately produced, or she says Jesus revealed to her, well over a thousand pages of revelation during the next seven years.

    According to her testimony, Helen Schucman had a difficult relationship with her department head at the university. In an attempt to move beyond their differences, they set out on a journey to find a base of common agreement. Schucman began having “highly symbolic dreams” and experiencing “strange images.” Her colleague encouraged her to transcribe the content of these phenomena so they might understand them better.

    As she began to write, she was surprised to see “This is a course in miracles” appear on the paper. She went on to say that this was her introduction to the “Voice.” This voice began to give her rapid inner dictation that she took down in shorthand.

    According to the dictated material, the voice of The Course was Jesus. As a result of the influence Christianity has had on humanity, The Course chose Christian terminology to convey its message. A 1977 pamphlet published by the Foundation For Inner Peace states “its only purpose is to provide a way in which some people will be able to find their own Internal Teacher”- -in other words, their personal “Spirit Guide.”

    Key Players
    There are several individuals who play key roles in spreading the message of The Course. Perhaps the most prominent is Marianne Williamson. A former lounge singer and now its most celebrated guru, she has become The Course’s media star, appearing on numerous television programs. Her most-watched and persuasive appearance was on Oprah. She has been Oprah’s guest on several occasions. Because of her personal interest in New Age philosophy, Oprah Winfrey purchased a thousand copies of A Return To Love, Williamson’s book, to give to her television audiences.

    Another high profile individual, well-known in New Age circles, is Gerald Jampolsky, M.D. He is a psychiatrist, formerly on the faculty of the University of California Medical Center in San Francisco and founder of the Center for Attitudinal Healing in 1975. He has written several books based on what he has gleaned from The Course.

    In his influential book, Good-Bye to Guilt, Jampolsky describes his conversion to The Course.
    I began to change my way of looking at the world in 1975. Until then I had considered myself a militant atheist, and the last thing I was consciously interested in was being on a spiritual pathway that would lead to God. In that year I was introduced to . . . A Course in Miracles. . . . My resistance was immediate. . . . Nevertheless, after reading just one page, I had a sudden and dramatic experience. There was an instantaneous memory of God, a feeling of oneness with everyone in the world, and the belief that my only function on earth was to serve God.

    As a result of the moral and spiritual bankruptcy of our society, namely the baby boomer generation, there is a ready-made market for the “feel good” spirituality of The Course. Through the influence of Williamson, Jampolsky, and others, a growing number of Christians are being sucked into this whirlpool of spiritual confusion in which they exchange the truth for a lie.

    The Course and the Mainline Church
    We have already established that The Course uses Christian terminology and its followers believe it to be the revelation of Jesus. As a result, a number of denominations within Christendom have embraced The Course as being legitimate and introduced it into their churches.

    Baptists, Methodists, and Presbyterians have used The Course in Sunday schools and special study groups within the church. Presently there are over 1,500 official study groups that have utilized The Course both inside and outside traditional Christian churches.

    If It’s Not Love–It Must Be Illusion
    Marianne Williamson, author of the best-selling book A Return To Love, says that we have “a natural tendency to focus on love.”
    Only love is real. All that is negative is illusion. It simply does not exist. If anything negative is in your consciousness, it is real only because you give it reality by holding it in your mind. According to The Course, sickness, hate, pain, fear, guilt, and sin are all illusions. The Cyclopedia In A Course In Miracles states that “illusions are investments. They will last as long as you value them.” The Cyclopedia continues, “The only way to dispel illusions is to withdraw all investment from them, and they will have no life for you because you will have put them out of your mind.”

    The Course sums it up this way, “There is no life outside of Heaven. Where God created life, there life must be. In any state apart from Heaven life is illusion.” There you have it! It is perfectly clear–murder, rape, and other forms of evil do not exist because they do not come from “love.” Try explaining to a mother who has lost a son or daughter that their loss is the result of an illusion.

    The Problem of Evil
    You guessed it, The Course also teaches that evil does not exist. It is an illusion that must be overcome by right thinking. The Text (i.e., volume one of The Course) reads, “Innocence is wisdom because it is unaware of evil, and evil does not exist.” In essence what is meant is that evil does not stand on its own, that it only has reality as the individual believes its existence. So, you might say that the rape victim created her own evil situation and thereby caused her own suffering. The victim is guilty; the perpetrator had no choice.

    The Problem of Guilt and Sin
    A pamphlet published by the Foundation For Inner Peace states, “Sin is defined as a ‘lack of love.’ Since love is all there is, sin in the sight of the Holy Sprit is a mistake to be corrected, rather than an evil to be punished.”

    The Course further teaches that there is no need to feel guilt because there is no sin. Sin does not exist. The problems that man faces are a result of separation from God. This separation is only illusion because it likewise does not exist. It is only a reality for those who believe they are not part of the divine.

    The Text makes this point clear where it declares that “no one is punished for sins, and the Sons of God are not sinners.” As you might anticipate, there is likewise no need for the cross because there was never a transgression that needed to be dealt with by God, only a mistake. If we are a part of God, how then can we become fragmented by sin since separation (i.e., sin) does not exist?

    The stated goal of The Course is to change how one thinks, to change one’s belief system by subtle deception. The individual is for the most part unaware of the transformation he or she is undergoing because The Course utilizes Christian terminology. The Manual for Teachers (i.e., volume three of The Course) boldly says, “It cannot be too strongly emphasized that this course aims at a complete reversal of thought.”

    Religious Recovery–The Thirteenth Step
    Many who become involved in studying The Course are active in self-help groups such as Twelve Step programs. They are seeking to make connections in their lives and discover who they truly are. They are willing participants in this transformation.
    Many are desiring some form of “spirituality” and for those who see the Bible as being too harsh, The Course offers what they believe to be God’s correction of our misinterpretation of the original message of Jesus.

    The Course becomes the “thirteenth step” in recovery for those who are attempting to escape the rigid fundamentalism that has smothered them in the past. For them, the recovery process becomes a spiritual transformation.

    The integration of psychology and spirituality becomes a lure that pulls them deeper into the web of deception and ultimately suffocates them. The biblical teaching of original sin is dismissed for the more palatable “original goodness.”

    This “thirteenth step” regards all faiths as a part of the whole; they are one, and a psychological unity of sorts is achieved. The Course becomes whatever the individual desires it to be, it is “Christian,” but not if you don’t want it to be. It’s psychology, but more than psychology. It’s not New Age, but then again it is.

    The Course claims to have all of life’s answers. It has become the “spiritually correct” solution to bring about peace and unity. However, in the end, this transformation brings spiritual death.

    Helen Schucman’s new do-it-yourself psycho-spirituality is not new. The Hindus have been taught for centuries that the world and all that is in it is Maya, or illusion.

    Sense and Sensibilities
    We must be clear that the message of The Course in Miracles is not the message of Jesus Christ. Schucman and her Course do not teach that Jesus is God incarnate yet fully human, but that He is an highly evolved being who became divine. The Bible does not allow for such an idea.

    The Bible also leaves no room for the idea that evil does not exist, but instead that evil entered the world through disobedience. Likewise, the Bible does not allow for the idea that God is a universal oneness rather than a personal Being.

    Kenneth Wapnick, a Jewish agnostic who later became a Catholic monk, founded the Foundation for A Course in Miracles. Wapnick states that The Course and biblical Christianity are not compatible. He gives three reasons why he holds such a view. First, The Course teaches that God did not create the world. Second, The Course teaches that we are all equally Christ. Jesus is not the only Son of God. And third, The Course is clear in its teaching that Jesus did not suffer and die for man’s sin.

    The above differences clearly show why a Christian cannot in good faith consider The Course as a source for his or her spiritual understanding. It is unequivocally anti-biblical and is without doubt promoted by Satanic deception (2 Cor. 11:14: 1 Tim. 4:1).

    A Short Course in Doctrine
    The Course teaches that there are no absolutes; truth is relative and is determined by one’s experience. According to the Cyclopedia In A Course In Miracles, “only what is loving is true.” So truth is subjective.

    Marianne Williamson, the author of A Return To Love, made this observation about truth in her book: “There’s only one truth, spoken different ways, and the Course is just one path to it out of many.” In other words, no one religious tradition has all the truth, but there are many avenues to the truth and the individual has the freedom to choose the path most suitable to him or her.

    Who Is Jesus?
    According to Williamson, Jesus is one of many enlightened beings. In her text she makes this statement, “Jesus and other enlightened masters are our evolutionary elder brothers.” She continues by saying that “the mutation, the enlightened ones, (including Jesus) show the rest of us our evolutionary potential. They point the way.” So in reality Jesus is a way-shower.
    Williamson makes a telling observation on page 41 of her book by saying that, “A Course In Miracles does not push Jesus. Although the books come from him, it is made very clear that you can be an advanced student of the Course and not relate personally to him at all.” This is an interesting comment regarding the lack of relationship one is to have with their God. For Christians, faith is built on a personal relationship with Jesus. Without it, their salvation would be in question.

    Williamson continues by saying, “Jesus reached total actualization of the Christ mind, and was then given by God the power to help the rest of us reach that place within ourselves.” Such a statement brings to mind Matthew 7:23 where Jesus says, “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'”

    The Christ and Salvation
    The Manual For Teachers states that “Jesus became what all of you must be.” It continues by declaring, “Is he the Christ? O yes, along with you.”

    The Course identifies with much of New Age thought in that it teaches false Christology. New Age proponents teach that The Christ is the one who is the most highly evolved being during a given age. This Christ, whether it be Buddha, Krishna, or Jesus, is the messiah for a given age. They believe, for example, that Jesus was The Christ for the Church or Piscean Age. According to their philosophy, Jesus achieved Christhood and by right-thinking we too can achieve Christhood.

    The Text says that, “Christ waits for your acceptance of Him as yourself, and of His wholeness as yours.” Keep in mind that these words you have just read are, according to The Course, the “spirit-dictated” words of Jesus. Now hear the true Word of God from the Bible where we read, “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many” (Matt. 24:4-5). The Scripture is crystal clear about the deception of multitudes by signs and wonders based in experience rather than His Word.

    The Scripture teaches that Jesus alone is the Christ, the Son of the living God. John 1:20 and 20:31 indicate that we are not His equals.

    Abandoning Your Miracle
    There are a growing number of people waking up to the fact that The Course cannot adequately meet their growing need to worship a being beyond themselves, much less defend them in spiritual warfare.

    Warren and Joy Smith are examples of how The Course is totally inadequate when it comes to defending one’s spirit from the evil one and his dominion. The Smith’s were deeply involved in the study of The Course. Warren relates Joy’s story in his book, The Light That Was Dark.

    Joy was being spiritually harassed by a man who was highly proficient in astral projection (projecting his spirit for great distances). Warren relates how they faced the attacks. “We tried every metaphysical and spiritual technique we had ever learned–we repeated our Course in Miracles lessons, did visualizations, prayed as best we knew how, sent the spiritual intruder blessings, and kept the whole situation surrounded in white light–but none of it had any effect. We had to wait it out. The spiritual presence was calling the shots.”

    After an intense time of frustration, they went to their course study leaders for help. Joy explained that they “had repeatedly applied their Course in Miracles lessons, such as: ‘There is nothing to fear,’ ‘In my defenselessness my safety lies,’ and, ‘I could see peace instead of this.'” After explaining that nothing had worked, Frank, their study leader, “made it clear that he agreed with the Course’s metaphysical teaching that evil was only an illusion and that the experience was probably something that Joy was working out within herself.”

    Frank’s wife, Trudy, was dazed when she heard herself say, “Put on the whole armor of God and stand fast against the wiles of the devil!” In amazement at herself she added, “Ephesians 6:10. It’s in your Bible.”

    Trudy went on and said, “I’m sorry, Frank. There is a devil . . . read Ephesians!” In the days ahead Joy continued to undergo the harassing attacks. During this time of uncertainty Warren visited a bookstore and discovered a book entitled The Beautiful Side of Evil by Johanna Michaelsen. He read it through and decided its message of deliverance was worth a try.

    It wasn’t long before he had an opportunity to test his newly found discovery–biblical exorcism. Joy fell into a depression as she had on so many occasions, and Warren seized the opportunity to act.

    He relates the incident in his book this way, “Reading from my notes the exact words that I had taken from Johanna’s book, I firmly addressed the presence. ‘Satan, in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, I command you to be gone! I forbid your presence here. I claim the protection of the blood of Jesus upon us. Go where Jesus sends you!” Immediately Joy’s face cleared and the oppression was gone.

    Warren later remarked, “We were amazed that the presence left every time we called on his [Jesus Christ’s] name. Nothing in A Course in Miracles or any other metaphysical teachings had ever talked about this aspect of Jesus.”

    Warren and Joy’s encounter with personal evil ultimately convinced them that the Bible was the spiritual teaching that they could rely on. Warren said it best, “So far it hasn’t let us down.”

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Thanks John, I appreciate your input in the conversation.

    How do you know that what we see around us is an illusion? When you say that we are living in a realm of illusion I then become dependent on others to tell me what truth is, or I create my own truth. On what basis do you determine what is real and what is true?

  • John says:


    I would first like to say that I have read both the Bible and I am currently practicing ACIM. I have read all of your conversation and it seems that both of you fail to see the truth in each other’s words. I can see how Jaime’s argument makes sense even in light of using the course as its basis. A lot of what you say Jaime is in line with the course, except that you would have to see it in a different perspective. You are caught up in technicalities of language and fail to recognize the importance of the message you both are sharing. Instead of attributing the sin to humans because we are inherently sinful and selfish, think about it through the experience you are having right now, as a human in this life. it appears that humans are sinful because I mean, look around right? This world appears to be all chaos. But when you get into the realm of illusions, all of these seemingly sinful people are the “physical” representation of the guilt you talk about. Even science is teaching this now. Quantum theories like the “Holographic Universe” are getting to the same place the course and other teaching have been explaining for thousands of years.

    The guilt of seemingly being outside the kingdom of God has let us to project these illusions within our mind. They seem so real because we created them, and because we created them, we love them. Even if these illusions are based on a dreamlike thought that we are having, we love them. They can be illusions but we want them to be real, because they take us away from feeling the guilt of the seeming separation with God and his kingdom. It seems Jaime that you are open to other views, and maybe Tom and I are not able to really explain things through typed words on a computer, but ask God and Jesus to show you, to show you the real truth, and keep yourself open, God will answer, every time. [=

    Namaste brothers

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Thanks for your willingness to have the conversation Tom. I do have to disagree with you though: I don’t see it as ‘greatness’ for God to reveal Himself in contradictory ways. How can it be true that God tells you that everyone is pure and innocent, and then in the Bible He says that our nature is wickedly selfish to the core? To have a relationship with Him that is built on deceit does not seem healthy. So is God is coming to us in unique ways, or is one of us projecting our own expectations on how He will relate to us? What is at stake is not bragging rights of being right, but actually knowing God for who He truly is; that has eternal consequences.

  • Tom says:


    I think you make very valid points, I can and have been wrong about many things. I don’t think debating these issues is a bad thing. That being said, opinions differ, I like to be right, sometimes I think I would rather be right than happy :) I believe in God, you obviously do also, we have that in common, I believe that our paths will ultimately lead us to Him, and His Truth. I have an idea that what makes Him so great, is that He comes to each of us in His own unique way, to build a personal relationship with us. I will give you the last word on this subject. God Bless.

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Hi Tom, I recognize that many people don’t agree with you. That is my point exactly. How could God trust HIs truth to our inward experience when so many people’s inward experiences point them in different directions? They can’t all be right because they are in opposition to each other. I think the reasonable assumption is that our inward experiences can be impacted by many different influences and so to trust totally on inward experiences alone can be misleading.

    Have you ever had an inward experience that turned out wrong? A trust in another person that eventually betrayed or hurt you? A feeling that something was true but later was shown to be false?

  • Tom says:

    (“But at the same time I also know that sometimes my inward experiences can point me in the wrong direction. Emotions are not always reliable”)

    I didn’t say anything about emotions, Lol, you see what I mean about illusions? You see what you want to see.

    (“I have had opportunity of interacting with people from many different faith backgrounds and I think we all would say”)

    99% of the population does Not agree with what I believe. :) It doesn’t change any reality, I may be wrong, they maybe wrong. A majority opinion does not a mean a thing. For instance, the majority of the people voted in every president we have, I may be wrong, but, this country is up to it’s neck in debt, crime is on the rise, Americans are still dying every day in wars , and the war on drugs is out of control, shall I go on? I can. Interact all you want, if that works for you.

    (“If He wants to be worshipped”)

    I’m pretty sure He doesn’t need or want us to worship Him, He has no ego that needs stroking.

    (“Or does the evidence confirm what God says, “the human heart is desperately wicked”?”)

    I’m guessing all of your “evidence” comes from the bible, and that you believe it to be the word of God, every bit of it right? Are you sure everything in the bible is the word of God? After all is followers were so brilliant right? These apostles, seems to me were none to bright, Jesus was constantly correcting them. Then purely from memory, 30, 40, up to 70 years later, they are writing the bible from pure memory. Then the words were translated through several languages, broken down and changed to some degree. Research it.

    Then we were born 2000 years later, and were programmed, taught that it was all true. Do not question the bible, do not question the church, just believe sweetheart. Do not have an open mind, Do not have your own experience with the Holy Spirit that dwells inside of you, and examine the evidence of that experience and let Him guide you to truth., No indeed not. And last but not least, don’t examine the difference between and emotion and an inward Spiritual experience.


  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Sorry Tom, I mixed up that Danny had spoken to a Guru not you.

    I think I understand the importance of having an inward experience. I know that my confidence in Jesus comes in part from an intimacy I experience with Him. But at the same time I also know that sometimes my inward experiences can point me in the wrong direction. Emotions are not always reliable and can be influenced by other things. If the foundation of our evidence is your inward experience how can you be sure it is accurate? I have had opportunity of interacting with people from many different faith backgrounds and I think we all would say about our worldview, “It feels right” and yet the things we believe are sometimes diametrically opposed to one another. Obviously we are not all worshipping the same “God”(however we might define that) and some of us must be wrong in our inward experience of God. My understanding of God is that He would not leave it up to our inward experience to judge truth. If He wants to be worshipped He would communicate Himself to us in ways that we can be certain about.

    You say we are Pure and Innocent, yet I see a world full of self-centred humans making choices that are best for themselves at the expense of others. The evidence points to a different reality than what you suggest. Can we just say, “I feel Pure and Innocent inside” and accept that? Or does the evidence confirm what God says, “the human heart is desperately wicked”?

  • Tom says:

    “Are you able to point me to the parts of the book that gave you the evidence you needed to accept that humans are Pure and Innocent, that it is ego that corrupts, that everything in this world is illusion? Will I find your guru’s evidence that we are all one consciousness?”

    I don’t have a guru. I don’t measure evidence by written word, or spoken word. I measure it by inward experience, and I am thankful for that. At times the written, or spoken word will open up the opportunity for an experience.

    Words are open to interpretation, as is perception. I am not here to prove anything to you, I only asked that you be open to an experience.

    You might like me to quote parts of a book I read, which would enable you to debate them. I realize that this forum is for exactly that. I have no interest in that, debate is an ego characteristic. I am already an ego maniac, Lol, no need to add fuel to it.

    I respect your opinion and your beliefs, after all if they serve God and you well, isn’t that all that matters?

    Peace !

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Sorry Tom, I didn’t realize that ACIM was too complicated to be discussed in a forum like this and can only be understood by reading the book. Are you able to point me to the parts of the book that gave you the evidence you needed to accept that humans are Pure and Innocent, that it is ego that corrupts, that everything in this world is illusion? Will I find your guru’s evidence that we are all one consciousness? I was hoping that you could give me some compelling evidence that would give good reason to explore the issue further. But I guess the evidence is something that can only be explained through the book.

    That’s one of the things that I appreciate about the message of Jesus: the essentials are easy to explain and easily match the evidence we see in around us. Yes, there are complex parts to it because it describes an unlimited God using limited human language but the part that deals with the brokenness of humanity and our only hope being God Himself is straightforward and fits with what can be observed in the world around us. Generally speaking, the simple message is the accurate message.

  • Sharon says:

    good article thank you for posting this

  • Tom says:

    “So again, what evidence do you have that humans are Pure and Innocent? How do you know that it is the ego that corrupts and not the nature that is already corrupted?”

    You have convinced me that you are not going to read ACIM, I would discuss it with you had read it, otherwise it is futile. I will say that you are right, as a child of God, you are always right. I have enjoyed the conversation, but I think I am done here. God Bless

  • Aldo says:

    God’s Word is Truth-John 17:17, “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.”

    Jesus is the Word of God-John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with
    God, and the Word was God.”

    The Truth is incontrovertible-Malachi 3:6 “For I am the Lord, I do not change.”

    incontrovertible- not able to be denied or disputed.
    synonyms: indisputable, incontestable, undeniable, irrefutable, unassailable, beyond dispute, unquestionable, beyond question, indubitable, beyond doubt, unarguable, undebatable; certain, sure, definite, definitive, proven, decisive, conclusive, demonstrable, emphatic, categorical, airtight, watertight

    Consequently, the truth remains the truth whether it (He) is believed or not.

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    So again, what evidence do you have that humans are Pure and Innocent? How do you know that it is the ego that corrupts and not the nature that is already corrupted?

    I have seen “A Beautiful Mind”. My recollection is that it tells of the devastation of paranoid schizophrenia. It is a very troubling thing to be unable to trust your perceptions. I have known a few schizophrenic people in my life and I have seen the frustration of living without an anchor to know what is truth. For some the solution is to take medications that adjust the chemical make-up of their brain and, ideally, realign their perceptions with reality, Others, like Nash-the real life person the movie is based on, find some other anchor point that they trust and use that to realign their perceptions.

    I think that in many ways, that describes our human condition quite well: because our nature is corrupted we cannot trust our perceptions. We need to find an anchor point that around which we can realign our perceptions with reality. I guess that’s why I keep on coming back to “What evidence do you have…” If your evidence is based on “this is what makes sense to me” then it lacks credibility because your perceptions are unreliable. I have confidence in “This is what God has said…” because the anchor point is not dependent on my corrupted nature but on God’s incorruptible nature. I can know that He is truth and trustworthy to point me towards truth.

  • Tom says:

    “We don’t have to teach children to do the wrong things because it is our nature to act selfishly.”

    Oh my Goodness, you speak as if our nature is our ego, or what religious people call satan. You my dear are Pure and Innocent, you are exactly as God created you. Your ego on the other hand is selfish, and fearful. Your perception is upside down, your nature is Love. You are completely identified with your ego, which is not a bad thing, it is just where you are now. You will not be left there, you are not an ego, or a body, you are Spirit.

    We believe that we are of a split mind, light, and darkness. When darkness is brought to light, it is shined away into the nothingness from which it came. The body also disappears back into the nothingness from which it came, even science tells us this.

    We are always being taught, even in our sleeping moments, the mind never sleeps. Our teacher has been our ego, as long as we listen to it, we will not hear the Holy Spirit, who waits patiently. Salvation is found in changing the teacher. Seek not to change the world, but choose to change your mind about the world.

    “With the world seeming very real to our senses I would think that significant evidence would be required to convince a person that it is all illusion.”

    There is a great movie which stars Russell Crow, based on a true story. It is very entertaining also. “A Beautiful Mind” It deals with illusion and how real it seems, Maybe if you have time you can watch it, I would like to hear your thoughts on it. Thanks

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    I am sorry Tom. I am not trying to shoot down ACIM, I just am curious what led you to have the conviction that the world we live in is an illusion. With the world seeming very real to our senses I would think that significant evidence would be required to convince a person that it is all illusion.

    The Bible does talk about a spiritual reality the we are not fully aware of that does impact our reality but it does not diminish the genuine nature of our physical existence. One of the amazing aspects of God’s love for us is that He chose to enter into our physical reality in order to rescue us from the darkness of our own hearts. So the evidence of that reality is the testimony of God, not the perception of our own spirit. As much as I would like to think that I have clear perceptions, when I am honest with myself, I have to admit that even the good things I do comes from a selfish darkness in my heart. We don’t have to teach children to do the wrong things because it is our nature to act selfishly.

    When a person puts their trust in Jesus He begins a transformation and purification of their nature so that they become more and more a reflection of the image of God that we were called to bear originally. To me, that explanation of the problem and the solution for humanity rings true. What part of ACIM makes sense with your observations of human nature’s problems and the solution?

  • Tom says:

    “Tom, you say that the world is what we have dreamed: on what do you base that conviction? Is there evidence that everything is illusion?”

    I think that we are all on a journey, and that God comes to us all in His unique way. Your evidence is Bible based, mine comes from ACIM. I’ve read the bible, if you would read A course in miracles , we could have an evidence based discussion. The course text is about 679 pages. I can’t really do it justice here. But I’m sure that someone shooting it down without reading it is not doing it justice either.

    I have read numerous religious and spiritual books. I base my beliefs on how my Spirit responds to what I am reading, and what experience it brings. Words are but symbols, twice removed from reality, a spiritual experience cannot be described accurately with words, at least mine cannot.

    If what you are doing works for you, then I encourage you to continue it. My only advice is to remain open, God may want to show you something you won’t find in the bible.

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Thanks for sharing that analogy Danny. I would imagine that a duck thinks of himself as a “quack”. That is similar to me identifying a guy as ‘German’ when they would refer to himself as ‘Deutsch’.

    What evidence did your Guru give to explain that we are all one consciousness?

    The Bible would agree that all of humanity is connected because of how God created us to reflect His image but God also created us as physical beings with unique identity apart from all the rest of the human race. It is kind of captured in that famous verse John 3:16, “God loved the world [that would refer to our collective community as Image bearers] that He gave His only unique Son, so that anyone who believes in Him [this speaks of our individual responsibility to believe and follow Jesus] will not perish but have everlasting life.” The choice to believe in Jesus or not by each human character has an impact on their consciousness. To choose to believe brings life, but to choose not to believe results in perishing.

    Knowing Jesus and following Him in every part of your life is the best way to live. That is what we were created for. That’s why we all have a longing within to be joined to something greater than ourselves. I can understand why the idea of a single consciousness is appealing; it helps answer that longing for connecting. But being connected to every other life-form in a single consciousness ignores that the source of our longing is to be connected to God, living out the purpose for which He created us. If you want to find out more about how that longing can be fulfilled in Jesus have a look at this http://powertochange.com/itv/spirituality/the-void/ I would be interested in hearing what you think of it.

  • Danny says:

    After reading the course in Miracles 3 times, I came across a Guru who explained it perfectly, he said, imagine that a TV screen is Consciousness and that the characters on the screen is the mind. What ever happens to the characters on the screen will never have any effect on the Screen or consciousness. Since we are all sharing one consciousness, you can see how the world is just sitting on this conscious screen. Here is a good one, we each have a name that we were given. It is not what you actually are, when you see a duck and say, there is a duck! Do you think that the duck thinks he is a duck? You are only consciousness. With light and dark, black and white, good and bad, consciousness knows them both. So whatever that is happening on the screen is only as important as the value you give it. Hope this helps some of my brothers obtain the fun of recognizing yourself completely!
    Peace to everyone, everywhere!

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Hi Tom, thanks for helping me to understand your position more clearly. It is good to be able to share ideas like this and through that get a better understanding of God, each other and the world we live in.

    When Jesus said, “The Kingdom of God is within you” he was responding to a question about when the Kingdom of God would come. This is a question of when God would come and reign over the Earth. It was a reflection of the prophecies in the Bible that refer to the judgement of God over the sinfulness of humanity. Prophecies like what God spoke through Daniel, “and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.” That was what the people to whom Jesus spoke were looking for and if they were going to believe in Jesus, He had to prove Himself by doing exactly that.

    But Jesus’ response to them was that first, the Kingdom of God must come to your heart: if anyone hopes to see God reign in the world they must let God reign in their own hearts. There will be a day when Jesus will come in great power. In the verses following this statement Jesus goes into detail about what the signs are when that great day will come, but His statement, “the Kingdom of God is within in you” is an encouragement to allow God to reign first in your heart or when He does establish His Kingdom, you will find yourself on the outside as an enemy of God.

    God’s goal is not ‘world domination’: He created the world and is more than able to establish a kingdom that no one could oppose. But His passion is to be the King of our heart. That’s why Jesus came and showed us who God is in a way that we cannot ignore. That’s why Jesus died, so that we could have a way to be a part of God’s kingdom.

    Tom, you say that the world is what we have dreamed: on what do you base that conviction? Is there evidence that everything is illusion?

  • Tom says:

    “How does the Urantia Book and the Course on Miracles deal with the demand for justice?”

    We assume that life takes place outside of us, because we see things, they look so real, so vivid, so solid. Jesus said ” The Kingdom of Heaven is within you ” This means that life takes place inside, not outside. I don’t mean inside of the body, but inside of the Mind. I really am sorry Jamie, but there is nothing outside of you.

    God did not create this world, bodies, are anything else we think we see here. It’s very arrogant to blame God for what we have dreamed up. There is a reason for the phrase “Spiritual Awakening” We sleep, and we dream. What God creates is not subject to the laws of time. What God creates does not change, age, suffer, die and decay. Please don’t sell the Creator short.

    Do you demand justice from the figures in a dream, as you wake up frightened in the night? There is no injustice, there is no physical form of any kind.

  • Tom says:

    As long as you believe you deserve punishment, you will certainly be punished, but please don’t don’t pin that on God. Behavior is dictated by perception, no one of sound mind and clear perception is able to harm anyone. If your perception is distorted you will behave selfishly, and badly, causing what seems to be harm to self and others.

    Do you believe someone with a *sound, * healthy mind would choose heel over Heaven? Ponder that, who of sound mind would choose eternal torture over Heavenly Bliss?

    That being said, an unhealthy mind, distorted perception is an illness. Would a Loving God punish a sick person?

    I am pretty sure I will get nowhere with this conversation, as your mind is likely closed, and you believe what you believe, which is judgment. I speak from experience, I have been where you are, Bless you.

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    “We deserve punishment?” That is a fair question Tom. I think we all recognize that we have acted selfishly in life at different points but why do those actions deserve punishment? Are they really that bad? Our sense of justice recognizes that the more valuable the victim of our selfishness is the more severe the penalty must be. In my selfishness to get from one place to another I can kill a lot of insects with my car. Nobody pays much attention to that because of the value of those insects. Now in my selfishness, if I happen to hit someone’s cat suddenly the consequences are more severe; that cat is important to someone and our society values pets. Even more so, If I were to hit a person with my car the penalty for my action becomes much more intense: humans have great value and the consequence of taking that life is significant. God, as the Creator of everything, who has created us for a purpose, is of infinite value which means to act selfishly towards Him has extreme consequences. It is not that God is so ‘full of His own importance’ but it is inherently an injustice and deserves punishment. We have all seen people be mistreated but the victim does not press charges. There is an inherent injustice that we feel when selfishness like goes unpunished. If our selfishness toward God were unpunished there would be an outcry against such an injustice.

    The wonder of this though is that God loves us so much that He sacrificed Himself in order to pay the penalty for our selfishness towards Him. Since He is of infinite value, His death is of infinite efficacy to cover all of our selfishness toward Him. Justice is served, the penalty is paid and we now are free from the cost of our sin against God. That is the Good News of Jesus for you.

    How does the Urantia Book and the Course on Miracles deal with the demand for justice?

  • Tom says:

    Jamie, The nonsense Dave is referring to the statement below, and he is right.

    “Jesus, being simultaneously and uniquely fully God and fully a human being, took initiative and the punishment we deserved on our behalf so that our relationship with God could be renewed.”

    We deserve punishment? Really?

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Hi Dave, that’s good that you have found something that helps you make decisions in life on how to treat other people, especially your children. Our relationships with our kids is such a crucial part of society because those years of child rearing are so formative for them. The foundation of how our children make decisions and live their lives happens during those years at home and the responsibility of parents to help build a solid foundation can be very daunting.

    The Bible really helps me understand why my kids need love and direction. It also helps me understand why I feel so inadequate for the task but gives me hope that God can help guide me to love and direct the development of my children. I realize that we all seem to have this bent towards self-centeredness and that creates a lot of issues in our relationship with others, the environment around us and even with ourselves. God lovingly brings discipline to help me recognize my self-centeredness and change those attitudes. I can follow the example of Jesus on how to live and love selflessly. Jesus helps me to know how to relate to other people including my children. My kids need that same kind of loving discipline and I can trust Jesus to help me do that well.

    How has the Urantia Book and the Course in Miracles helped you to understand your kids and guide their development?

  • Dave says:

    The whole idea of slapping one kid for the wrongdoing of another never turned my crank and never will! That is why I turned to the Urantia Book and the Course In Miracles, because neither of them preach that kind of nonsense.

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Hi Danny, I appreciate your desire to help reveal truth. There are a lot of ideas around that are misrepresentations of truth and can do a lot of damage to people and relationships, so knowing what is true is very important.

    What has led you to discern that A Course in Miracles is teaching truth? What is the standard of truth that you used to measure A Course in Miracles?

  • Danny says:

    A Course in Miracles is a book which teaches Truth. You cannot claim to know the Truth more than Jesus. If any student studies the course they will find the Truth and not a Truth that you think you own as a group called Christians! That mentality is only the Ego hiding the Truth from you. Do not be afraid to look upon it for yourself before judging.
    God Bless Brother!

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