Attitudinal Healing-A Course in Miracles

By: Dr. John Ankerberg, Dr. John Weldon; ©2000
A Course in Miracles has sold well over 1,000,000 sets, and has been translated into many languages. It’s influence is seen in business as well as in the church. With this article we will look at the origin of the Course, and the dangers of what it teaches.

Introduction

To date, A Course in Miracles has sold over one million sets and has had great impact. It has been or is being translated into French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Hebrew, and many other languages.[1] Over a thousand Course study groups now exist in the United States and Europe.

The printer for A Course in Miracles, Coleman Graphics, Inc., publishes over 50 addi­tional book titles, most of them written by students of the Course who have incorporated Course philosophy into their writings. One influential example is psychologist Kenneth Wapnick’s book, Christian Psychology in A Course in Miracles. Wapnick, a Jewish convert to Roman Catholicism, has apparently devoted his life to spreading the good news of the Course. His “Foundation for a Course in Miracles” in Roscoe, New York, has published six books on the Course that attempt to show its supposed relevance to Christian belief and practice.

According to New Realities magazine, even a brief, partial listing of the organizations who recommend the Course to their constituents, or who have incorporated it into their curriculum, is impressive: est (The Forum); the Association for Humanistic Psychology; the Center for Attitudinal Healing; the Association for Research and Enlightenment (Edgar Cayce); the Spiritual Frontiers Fellowship (founded by famous trance medium Arthur Ford); the Association for Transpersonal Psychology; the Institute of Noetic (consciousness) Sciences; Stuart Emery’s Actualizations seminar.[2] From university presidents (such as Glen Olds, former president of Kent State University) to owners of football teams—to “vari­ous researchers and authors that read like a ‘who’s who’ of the consciousness move­ment”,[3] the Course continues to expand in popularity. Psychic researcher Willis Harmon, head of the Institute of Noetic Sciences, has called it “the most important book in the En­glish language”.[4]

Also, scores of individuals in numerous occupations have incorporated Course teach­ings into their professions. New Age pianist Steven Halpern has set material from the Course to music. Michael Stillwater has used its concepts for gardening in his A Course in Marigolds. Centerlink, Inc., has even put the Course on computer disk.

In light of its sales, the number of its teachers, and its indirect influence through other mediums, a conservative estimate would be that at least five million people have been exposed to the Course teachings. For example, prominent New Ager Marianne Williamson is author of the million-copy bestseller, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles (Harper-Collins, 1992), which is heavily based on the Course. Her promotions of the Course on TV are also numerous. Popular TV host Oprah Winfrey was so enthralled with Williamson’s book that she bought a thousand copies for her friends and others, many of noted influence.[5]

Influential psychiatrist Gerald Jampolsky also extols Course virtues throughout the country, in his lectures and books. He has appeared on the “Phil Donahue Show,” “Today,” and “60 Minutes.” Robert Schuller has hosted Jampolsky at his famous Garden Grove Community Church.[6] Jampolsky’s bestselling books, There Is a Rainbow Behind Every Cloud, Good-bye to Guilt, Out of Darkness into the Light, Love Is Letting Go of Fear, Teach

Only Love, and Children as Teachers of Peace condense basic themes of the Course. His Center for Attitudinal Healing was founded in 1975 under the direction of an “inner voice,” which instructed him to establish a center where the principles of the Course could be taught and demonstrated.

Jampolsky’s Teach Only Love asserts that the Course is “central to attitudinal healing”.[7] In Good-Bye to Guilt he describes his conversion to the Course and its relation to the Center:

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.
Because of my Jewish background, however, I found that, as I got into the course, I developed a great deal of resistance to its Christian terminology….
Because of the profound effect the course had on my life, I decided to apply its principles in working with catastrophically ill children. In 1975, my inner guidance led me to help establish The Center for Attitudinal Healing in Tiburon, California, to fulfill that function.[8]

He explains that the Course itself is not used at the Center (the full Course program requires a minimum of a year to complete); however, the staff are expected to “adopt and demonstrate the principles of attitudinal healing” taught by the Course.[9]

The Christian church has also been influenced by the Course. “Evangelical” Christians, such as author and lesbianism supporter Virginia Mollenkott, in Speech, Silence, Action, attest to its alleged benefits in their lives.[10] Some mainline churches use it as part of their educational programs, because it has received glowing endorsements by numerous Catho­lic and Protestant clergy.

In fact, the Course specifically commends itself toward acceptance within the Christian church. For example, its spirit author claims to be “Jesus Christ” Himself; and distinctively Christian terminology is utilized throughout. SCP [Spiritual Counterfeits Project] researcher Robert Burroughs observes:

It has also found a ready and expanding audience within the Christian Church, which is not surprising either. Biblical illiteracy is rampant and commitment to orthodoxy often less than vigorous and sometimes consciously absent. Those conditions are aggravated by the very nature of the Course writings. Couched in biblical terminology and allegedly dictated by Jesus Christ, they easily confuse and seem designed specifically for that purpose.[11]

Of course, other non-Christian spiritistic writings have these themes, i.e., 1) the biblical God or Jesus is the alleged author, 2) spiritistic contact in one form or another is encour­aged, and 3) a claim to be a message for the Church (e.g., medium Levi M. Arnold’s His­tory of the Origin of All Things [12]; the occult Oahspe: A Kosmon Bible [13]; A.J. Russell’s (ed.) God Calling.[14] In each case new revelations seek to revise and discredit biblical teachings, usually through sophisticated-sounding spiritual explanations and methods.

Nevertheless, in all such revelations, “God” denies His earlier teachings in Scripture.[15]

Notes

  1. . Brian Van Der Horst, “Update on A Course in Miracles,” New Realities, vol. 3, no. 1, August 1979, p. 48; cf. New Realities, vol. 1, no. 1, lead article, 1977.
  2. Brian Van Der Horst, “Update on A Course in Miracles,” New Realities, vol. 3, no. 1, August 1979, p. 48; cf. New Realities, vol. 1, no. 1, lead article, 1977.
  3. Ibid.
  4. Martin Gardner, “Marianne Williamson and “A Course in Miracles,’” The Skeptical In­quirer, Fall 1992, p. 19.
  5. Ibid., p. 21.
  6. Frances Adeny, Re-visioning Reality: A Critique of A Course in Miracles, SCP Newslet­ter, vol. 7, no. 2, 1981, p. 3.
  7. Gerald Jampolsky, Teach Only Love, New York: Bantam, 1985, p. 23.
  8. Gerald Jampolsky, Good-Bye to Guilt: Releasing Fear Through Forgiveness, New York: Bantam, 1985, pp. 4,11.
  9. Ibid.
  10. Adeny, Re-visioning, p. 3.
  11. Dean C. Halverson, Kenneth Wapnick, “A Matter of Course: Conversation with Kenenth Wapnick,” SCP Journal, vol. 7, no. 1, 1987, p. 9.
  12. Willis H. Kinnear, ed., The Creative Power of Mind, Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1978.
  13. Ibid.
  14. John Weldon, Christian Science, mms.; cf. Edmund Gruss, “God Calling: A Critical Look at a Christian Best Seller,” Personal Freedom Outreach Newsletter, vol. 6, no. 3. L. M. Arnold’s text and Oahspe are much more blatantly anti-Christian.
  15. Gruss, “God Calling”.

 

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