Ask: Why is the Course so Christian?

…I've found that the Course's context has been a problem for students who have non-Christian beliefs (Muslims, Hindus etc). Why does a universal message such as A Course in Miracles have to come in a specific religious framework? And, does that not inevitably breed separation and at the same time denying the universally of specific religion?Indeed, the Christian language of A Course in Miracles, not to mention the presence of Jesus throughout the material, can pose a great challenge for students of other cultures. If my personal-self is looking for a way to invalidate the material or throw up obstacles, then Jesus and Christian can be helpful allies in this battle against the Truth (God).On the other hand, asking for the Holy Spirit for help can introduce yet another challenge for non-Christian readers. Speaking for myself, I miss the rituals I used to practice my religious upbringings. The Course seems to be directed more toward a Western audience than other cultures. Its language, cultural expressions, and poetic style speak to a reader comfortable within Western Culture. Can you please explain this in plain language.‑J

This is a manual for a special curriculum, intended for teachers of a special form of the universal course. There are many thousands of other forms, all with the same outcome.” (M-1.4)

Even though A Course in Miracle’s message is universal it points out in the quote above that it is only one of many thousands of forms that teach this message. When you want inner peace the means for your attaining it will come into your awareness. The Course has come into your awareness. Perhaps it has done so because despite your background and culture it is the way for you. Perhaps it has come into your awareness to show you that it is not the way for you. Sometimes we learn our way through contrast.

The Course is clearly intended for a western Christian audience, or at least for those familiar with western Christian thinking. (I, too, am not and have never been Christian. But I am certainly western and familiar with Christian ideas). However, it is important to note that it undoes traditional western Christian thinking. It does this by redefining familiar everyday and religious terms. For example, Father in the Course means whole and son means part of the whole. Creation does not refer to the universe of form being brought into being but to God’s limitless extension of God. Some see it as the “correction” for the fearful thinking of traditional Christianity. And when you actually strip it down to its essentials the Course’s ontology is actually closer to eastern religious thought. For example, God in the Course is not an authoritarian being but formless, limitless being. God is an experience of bliss. So just as you struggle with the Course because you are not a western Christian I can assure you that many western Christian’s also struggle with it!
Keep in mind that the Course is intended for study not for just a quick read-through. It does what it teaches. It uses what you (or someone used to western Christian thinking) are familiar with to undo (forgive) your belief and attachment to it.
The Course’s form does not “inevitably” breed separation unless you read it with the personal thought system (ego). With the personal thought system everything “inevitably” breeds separation! When you don’t want what the Course teaches the personal thought system will happily supply you with all of the obstacles that it can find. But if you do want it you will be willing to overlook the form of the Course to learn its universal message.
Like all form spiritual teachings are neutral in themselves. Books are just collections of words. Words are symbols and symbols can mean what you want them to mean. This is why there are so many interpretations of every spiritual teaching. Read them with the personal thought system and they reinforce guilt and fear. But read anything with the Holy Spirit (the Truth in your mind) and It will use it to lead you back to peace. There is no one perfect form of teaching, but the Perfect Teacher is always within you. For It to come into your awareness all that you have to do is be willing for It to do so.


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Comments

Brooke said…
Always such a joy to read your synthesis--such clarity and sanity. Thank you for offering all that you do here.

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