Oftentimes I notice people who delve into A Course in Miracles becoming puzzled, if not outright offended, by the unilateral use of masculin pronouns. The words ‘she’ or ‘her’ never once appear in its entire 1500+ pages. The text is replete with references to ‘my brother’, but not once does it refer to ‘my sister’. For some folks, that in itself is reason enough to close the book, discarding it as ‘sexist’. They then go and find a spirituality that seems to do justice to the equality of the male and female aspects of life.
Another major objection that I oftentimes notice with Course ‘novices’ is about its use of biblical language. In the Course, we read a lot about God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, as well as typically Christian concepts such as the crucifixion and the Last Judgment. Additionally, when it becomes clear that the author of A Course in Miracles is no-one less than Jesus himself, he is immediately mixed up with the historical Jesus as depicted in the Bible. Since spiritual aspirants are usually not too hot about religion, again the book is closed and discarded as being “overly religious”. Such people find non-religious “new-age”-like spiritualities much more attractive.
The more analytically inclined people object to the Course because of its many seeming contradictions. For example, at one point we read that God did not create this world and knows nothing about it (W-pI:14); but several chapters later we read that God is lonely without his children, weeps for their suffering, and even thinks that they must be awakened [by Him] (T-6.V.1:8). Similarly, at one point we read that Jesus only asks ‘a little willingness’ from us, while at other times he explicitly talks about ‘abundant willingness’. Moreover, oftentimes the text feels more poetic than scientific. Again, such analytical people discard the book as being ‘filled with contradictions, surely by an incompetent author.’
And last but not least, many novice students consider the curriculum to be simply too vague or complex, especially the text. Sentences such as “It is sure that those who select certain ones as partners in any aspect of living, and use them for any purpose which they would not share with others, are trying to live with guilt rather than die of it.” (T-16.IV.4:5-7) only make sense once you fathom core Course concepts such as “Projection makes perception“, “Ideas leave not their source“, and “Together, or not at all.” Until then, many passages simply do not seem to make sense, because they are still read by a mind that’s in ego-mode.
However, as scholar Kenneth Wapnick never tired of explaining, all such objections always focus on various aspects of form of the Course’s curriculum. For example, every time we read about ‘he’, ‘him’ or ‘his’ in the Course, Jesus refers to all people. That’s the content he discusses. It would be rather awkward to explicitly mention both genders all the time. What’s more: to Jesus, gender is completely irrelevant anyway, since he and his curriculum focus exclusively on the mind, which has no gender. So objections about the text using only masculine pronouns focus on form, not on content.
As for the biblical language, A Course in Miracles came to our Western world in this particular time frame, in this particular language with this particular biblical terminology because that is the religious frame for the vast majority of the western world. Heck, we even count our calendar years based on the new Testament! But again, that’s form. A very similar message, in content at least, came through some 3,000 years ago in ancient India, in their particular religious terminology (Krishna) and in their particular language. It’s called the Bhaghavad Gita. The source of both messages is the nondual voice for Love, that is, the Oneness Love of God. In fact, the same message of Love can be found in many cultures, each in their own particular religious framework.
The central point behind all these objections on the Course’s form is the underlying fear of the content of its message. And what is the core of its content, bottom line? No less than the message that you and I actually do not exist as autonomous individuals; nor are time, space and perception in any way related to reality. God is Fact, and all else is illusory. As Ken Wapnick often explained, once you really start to grasp the essence of the Course’s message, fear and anxiety are bound to rise sharply, consciously or not. After all, no-one likes to read that the fact of the matter is that he doesn’t exist. Yes, we are told that we are a timeless extension of of God’s Love, but to our linearly programmed brains that doesn’t mean anything. And so, at first the Course only seems to lead to the loss of what I cherish the most: my self. That’s why A Course in Miracles will never be hugely popular.
Many a first-time reader of A Course in Miracles hopes to find in this curriculum a way to be a happier ego in this world. It can be rather disconcerting to discover that this curriculum asks of you to reconsider all the values that you still hold dear (T-24.In.2), with the ultimate purpose of relinquishing the little self you still intimately identify with. It’s only when the clarity and stark logic of the Course’s metaphysics are understood to some degree, that you start to realize that this is a Course that leads us Home, out of the nightmare the seemingly sleeping Son of God has constructed to be able to hide from Oneness, in an insane attempt to try to be a god in our own little separated kingdom.
Slowly realizing and accepting that this ‘tiny, mad idea’ of separation doesn’t work, we can slowly learn to again hear and choose the Voice for Love in our mind. This ultimately is our own voice, which gently guides us back Home to nonduality. As Jesus once said to his scribe Helen Schucman (published in Ken Wapnick’s Absence from felicity): “The thing to do with a desert is to leave.” This is exactly what the Course’s content is about. Would this simple message be a reason to attack its form? Yes, it would, until we start to realize that our personal version of Heaven turned out to be a desert, “where starved and thirsty creatures come to die” (W-pII.13.5:1). Gladly realizing this is but a dream we made up, A Course in Miracles falls like drops of rain from Heaven. Once we see through the form and are willing to look at its content, where we first thought the Course asks us to sacrifice our very self, we find that we lose nothing and gain everything.
See also my “Miracles or Murder: a guide to concepts of A Course in Miracles“. This guidebook, endorsed by Gary and Cindy Renard, was published in March 2016 by Outskirts Press and is available at Amazon.com:
See also my Feb. 2019 Course workshop at www.youtube.com called “Farewell to your self, to find your true Self”. (English captions/subtitles available)
Dutch visitors may also be interested in this Dutch page: ikzoekvrede.nl.