The text of the book "A Course in Miracles" is the product of sevenyears of trance spirit channeling of a Mrs. Helen Schucman. Thespirit that channeled a "new gospel" to Mrs. Schucman claimed to beJesus Christ. The "spirit" made contact with her to correct errorsin Sacred Scripture, and the teachings of the Church. The "spirit"that channeled through Mrs. Schucman wrote that Sacred Scripture wasin error in teaching us that sin separates us from God, and thatJesus Christ did not die on the cross for our sins. The book "ACourse in Miracles" contains a Text (the dictation's of Mrs.Schucman), a Student Workbook, and an Instructors Manual (1).
Mrs. Schucman, a Columbia University professor and psychologist, wasan acquaintance of Fr. Benedict J. Groeschel, C.F.R. (seen on EWTN).
gave a eulogy at her funeral. Fr. Groeschel wrote (2),
"This woman who had written so eloquently that suffering really didnot exist spent the last two years of her life in the blackestpsychotic depression I have ever witnessed." Fr. Groeschel is a holy,practical, wise, no nonsense priest, and psychologist. During anOctober 1994 lecture on "Discernment" given at Holy Cross Church,Rumson, N.J., Fr. Groeschel stated that he believed that HelenShucman's experience with the channeled "spirit" was possibly a truediabolic manifestation. Fr. Groeschel's experience as a psychologistand priest included being called upon by his Bishop to investigatereported diabolic manifestations in his New York City diocese. Inthe lecture Fr. Groeschel described one experience - called as anexorcist - where he witnessed objects unexplainably being thrownabout a room. At the end of a lengthy discussion he attributed thatparticular experience to paranormal manifestations - but not diabolicin nature (3).
Fr. Groeschel is not easily inclined to attribute any experience tothe diabolic. The possible diabolic origin in the spirit channelingof Helen Schucman was one exception given by Fr. Groeschel. Fr.Groeschel's suspicions find support in Sacred Scripture. HelenSchucman's "chan- neled spirit" denies that our Lord Jesus Christcame to the earth in the flesh. An abstract of "the Course" can bewritten based solely on two lines of the "spirit" channeled writings.Chapter 8, Section VII, para- graph 7, page 152 states:
"The Bible says, "The Word (or thought) was made flesh." Strictlyspeaking this is impossible, since it seems to involve thetranslation of one order or reality into another."
Contrast the "spirits" channeled words to the inspired words of St.John (1 John 4:1-3):
" Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to seewhether they are of God; for many false prophets have gone out intothe world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit whichconfesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, andevery spirit which does not confess Jesus is not of God. This is thespirit of anti-christ, of which you heard that it was coming, andnow it is in the world already."
To further stress the assertion to a "student" of "the Course" thatJesus Christ was but an illusion the accompanying Manual ForTeachers, page 87, Clarification of Terms, Section 5, "Jesus-Christ",paragraph 2 states: " The name of Jesus is the name of one who was aman but saw the face of Christ in all his brothers and rememberedGod. So he became identified with Christ, a man no longer, but onewith God. The man was an illusion, for he seemed to be a separatebeing, walking by himself, within a body that appeared to hold hisself from Self, as illusions do."
The "channeled spirit" was not from God.
On page 186 of the Text the "spirit" writes, "I do not bring God'smessage with deception, and you will learn that you always receive asmuch as you accept."
One does find truth in the writings of "the Course." The followingquote would be humorous if it were not for the sad ending of Mrs.Schucman's life, and the influence "the Course" has had onthousands of individuals. Chapter 9, Section IV, paragraph 8, of theText, page 170 states: "Anyone who elects a totally insane guide mustbe totally insane himself." Chapter 25, Section VII, paragraph 8, ofthe Text, page 533, again states: "It would be madness to entrustsalvation to the insane."
The writing style of "the Course" is very confusing - but at the sametime in some way intellectual and emotionally seductive. Thewritings may start with a beautiful, seemingly inspired truth andthan will slowly drift to confusion - logically ending up withconclusions that are contrary to Sacred Scripture and the teachingsof the Church.
The course is "Gnostic" in teaching and practice. The writings denythe reality of physical creation (4). The course acknowledges theneed for a novice student to receive training in "the Course" by ateacher that has already received some enlightenment by studying "theCourse." A separate teacher's guide forms part of "the Course." Aswith all "New Age" teachings, seminars are provided - for a fee - tohelp the individual advance in spirituality.
Some of the beliefs, as written in "the Course" are:
a. REALITY: Reality is illusory.
(1.) From Manual, page 85, "The world you see is an illusion of aworld. God did not create it, for what He creates must be eternal asHimself" (Manual, p85).
(2.) "And therefore all your sins have been forgiven because theycar- ried no effects at all. And so they were but dreams" (Manual,p87).
(3.) "Forgiveness through the Holy Spirit lies in looking beyonderror from the beginning, and thus keeping it unreal for you" (Text,p169).
b. CREATION/TRINITY: The writings teach that God and His creation areone.
(1.) "There is no separation of God and His creation." (Text, p147)
(2.) "If you are part of one you must be part of the other, because
they are one. The Holy Trinity is holy because It is One. If you
exclude yourself from this union, you are perceiving the Holy Trinity
as sepa- rated" (Text, p146).
(3.) "Creation is your will because it is His" (Text, p196).
c. JESUS CHRIST'S ORIGIN: The writings state that Jesus Christ wascreated (made not begotten).
"God would not have us be alone because He does not will to bealone.That is why He created His Son, and gave
him the power to create withHim" (Text, p150).
d. SALVATION: We do not need a savior. Salvation is nothing more thanright mindedness. We are the source of our own salvation.
(1.) "Never forget that the Sonship is your salvation, for theSonship is your Self. As God's creation It is yours, and belongingto you It is His. Your Self does not need salvation, but your mindneeds to learn what salvation is." (Text, p200).
(2.) "My holiness is my salvation." (Workbook, Lesson 58, p97)
(3.) "My salvation comes from me. It cannot come from anywhere else."
..."My salvation cannot come from any of these things. My salvation comes from
me and only me."....."My salvation comes from me.
Nothing outside of me can hold me back. Within me is the world'ssalva- tion and my own." (Workbook, Lesson 70, p120)
(4.) "Whenever two Sons of God meet, they are given another chance atsalvation." (Text, P142)
(5.) "We cannot be separated. Whom God has joined cannot beseparated, and God has joined all His Sons with Himself." (Text,p150)
(6.) "Yet all loss comes only from misunderstanding. Loss of any kindis impossible." (Text, p152)
(7.) "He will teach you how to see yourself without condemnation, bylearning how to look on everything without it. Condemnation willthen not be real to you, and all your errors will be forgiven."
e. GOD: God is your identity, you will be like God.
(1.) " The recognition of God is the recognition of yourself. Thereis no separation of God and his creation." (Text, p147)
(2.) "God's Name is holy, but no holier than yours. To call upon hisName is but to call upon your own." (Workbook, p342)
(3.) "My decision cannot overcome yours, because yours is as powerfulas mine. If it were not so the Sons of God would be unequal." (Text,p145)
(4.) "Our creations are as holy as we are, and we are the Sons of God
Himself, as holy as He is." (Text, p150)
(5.) "God Himself is incomplete without me." (Text, p177)
(6.) "God is not jealous of the gods you make, but you are."(Text,p186)
f. SELF: We are sinless and are like God.
(1.) "My true Identity is so secure, so lofty, sinless, glorious, andgreat, wholly beneficent and free from guilt, that Heaven looks to Itto give it light." (Workbook, Lesson 225, p403)
(2.) "You do not know yourself, because you do not know your Creator.You do not know your creations because you do not know your brothers,who created them with you.... He is the co-creator with God and you."(Text, p137)
(3.) "Glory to God in the highest, and to you because He has sowilled it." (Text, p141)
(4.) "What God and His Sons create is eternal, and this only is theirjoy." (Text, p148)
(5.) "God does not contradict Himself, and His Sons, who are likeHim, cannot contradict themselves or Him. Yet their thought is sopowerful that they can even imprison the mind of God's Son." (Text,p149)
(6.) "God gave you the function to create in eternity." (Text, p168)
g. LAST JUDGMENT: Have no fear of God's Judgment
"Do not fear the Last Judgment, but welcome it and do not wait, forthe ego's time is "borrowed" from your eternity."..... "The SecondComing is the awareness of reality, not its return." (Text, p170)
In dealing with individuals who teach and follow "the Course" onemust realize that they probably believe they are truly seeking God intheir studies of "the Course." Those trying to follow the teachingswould consciously reject all evil. Unfortunately, their beliefs are"Gnostic" and they probably consider a Catholic's devotion to theFaith , given to us by our Lord Jesus Christ, as unenlightenedmedieval superstition to be rejected by all in this enlightened "newage." The teaching's in "the Course" are particularly attractive toindividuals who have fallen away from the faith and find themselvesseeking something to fill their spiritual void.
Reading Sacred Scripture is nourishment for the soul, since the wordshave been inspired by the Holy Spirit. Taking the words of "theCourse" into one's heart will lead to a slow spiritual death. It is abook to be avoided at all costs. Unfortunately celebrities such hasJohn Denver have been taken in by the book and have spread itsinfluence.
(1) The quotations are taken from "The Course in Miracles", published
by the Foundation for Inner Peace, P.O. Box 1104, Glen Ellen, CA95442, second edition, second printing, August 1992.
(2) Page 79 of, "A Still, Small Voice, A Practical Guide On ReportedRevelations", by Fr. Benedict J. Groeschel, C.F.R., Ignatius Press1993
(3) For an good discussion of the para normal see Fr. Groeschel'svideo series "Religious Experiences", distributed by the Daughter'sof Saint Paul.
(4) The Spiritual Counterfeits Project, SPC Journal, Vol 7, No 1,1987 analyzes the teaching found in "the Course" in an article byDean C. Halverson, "A Course in Miracles, Seeing Yourself asSinless." The SPC claims to be a non-denominational evangelicalChristian organization; the organization has demonstrated ananti-Catholic bias in its recent publications.