Attitudinal Therapy – The Teachings of A Course in Miracles

By: Dr. John Ankerberg, Dr. John Weldon; ©2000
Continuing our discussion of A Course in Miracles, we come this month to the basic teachings found in this material.



A Course in Miracles teaches people that for physical and spiritual health, they must accept “Proper” attitudes toward themselves, life in general, and the world. What are these proper attitudes? In essence, they are 1) the rejection of biblical understandings about such issues as sin, guilt, and atonement, and 2) the acceptance of New Age occult teach­ings such as pantheism (All is God; God is AlI) and psychic development. Specifically, the Course offers a form of “Westernized” Hinduism with the distinct goal of changing its read­ers’ perceptions into conformity with the non-dualistic (advaita) school of Vedanta Hindu­ism. This school maintains that the world is ultimately a dream or illusion, and that all men are inwardly God. Another chief goal of the Course is to encourage the student to accept psychic (spiritistic) guidance.

Volume I is the “text” itself, which presents spiritual, metaphysical, and theological teachings, including heretical treatments of Jesus Christ, His death on the cross as a vicari­ous atonement, the Holy Spirit, and the doctrine of salvation, to name a few.

Volume 2 is a “Workbook for Students,” which offers 365 spiritual lessons and exercises to help the participant experientially assimilate the new worldview and cultivate an open­ness to psychic and spiritistic guidance. Volume 2 has two specific goals: 1) learning New Age Hinduism, and 2) unlearning biblical Christianity. Thus, “Part I of Volume 2” is an extensive indoctrination into the religious philosophy of New Age Hinduism, although it is couched in Christian terminology.

“Part II of Volume 2” provides a specific theological “reindoctrination” for unlearning the “errors” taught by the Bible. Some 14 doctrines are covered, including, “What is Forgive­ness?” “What is Salvation?” “What is the World?” “What is Sin?” “What is the Body?” “What is the Christ?” “What is the Holy Spirit?” and on through “The Real World,” “The Second Coming,” “The Last Judgment,” “Creation,” “Miracle,” and “Man.”

The Workbook for Students has specific goals in mind. For example:

It is the purpose of this workbook to train your mind to think along the lines the text sets forth…. The training period is one year. The exercises are numbered from 1 to 365….
The workbook is divided into two main sections, the first dealing with the undoing of the way you see now, and the second with acquisition of true perception….
The purpose of the workbook is to train your mind in a systematic way to a different perception of everyone and everything in the world….
… be sure that you do not decide for yourself that there are some people, situations or things to which the ideas are inapplicable….
The overall aim of the exercise is to increase your ability to extend the ideas you will be practicing to include everything. This will require no effort on your part. The exercises themselves meet the conditions necessary for this kind of transfer….
Remember only this; you need not believe the ideas, you need not accept them, and you need not even welcome them. Some of them you may actively resist. None of this will matter, or decrease their efficacy. But do not allow yourself to make exceptions in applying the ideas the workbook contains, and whatever your reactions to the ideas may be, use them. Nothing more than that is required.[1]

Below are some of the titles that describe the mental exercises offered in the Course:

  • God is in everything I see.
  • I have invented the world I see.
  • My mind is part of God’s. I am very holy.
  • My holiness blesses the world.
  • My holiness is my salvation.
  • I am the light of the world.
  • Forgiveness is my function as the light of the world.
  • My salvation comes from me.
  • I am entitled to miracles.
  • I am among the ministers of God.
  • I walk with God in perfect holiness.
  • There is no death. The Son of God is free.
  • Salvation of the world depends on me.
  • I am the holy Son of God Himself.
  • God has condemned me not. No more do I.
  • The glory of my Father is my own.
  • Fear is not justified in any form.
  • Let me not see myself as limited.
  • The Son of God is my identity.
  • My Self is ruler of the universe.
  • Let me remember there is no sin.
  • My holy vision sees all things as pure.
  • The Word of God is given me to speak.
  • The Holy Spirit speaks through me today.
  • The holy Christ is born in me today.
  • I came for the salvation of the world.
  • My Father gives all power unto me.
  • I choose to see my brother’s sinlessness.
  • My sinlessness protects me from all harm.
  • Peace be to me, the holy Son of God.[2]

Volume 3 is a “Manual for Teachers” of the Course, and it offers them a sense of “divine destiny” for their spiritual “mission.” Course teachers are referred to as “teachers of God”:

Except for God’s teachers there would be little hope of salvation, for the world of sin would seem forever real. The self-deceiving must deceive, for they must teach deception. And what else is hell? This is a manual for the teachers of God.
A teacher of God is anyone who chooses to be one….
They come from all over the world. They come from all religions and from no religion….
There is a course for every teacher of God. The form of the course varies greatly. So do the particular teaching aids involved. But the content of the course never changes. Its central theme is always, “God’s Son is guiltless, and in his innocence is his salvation.” It does not matter who the teacher was before he heard the Call. He has become a savior by his answer….
Certain pupils have been assigned to each of God’s teachers, and they will begin to look for him as soon as he has answered the Call. They were chosen for him because the form of the universal curriculum that he will teach is best for them in view of their level of understanding. His pupils have been waiting for him, for his coming is certain. Again, it is only a matter of time. Once he has chosen to fulfill his role, they are ready to fulfill theirs….
When pupil and teacher come together, a teaching-learning situation begins…. The relationship is holy because of that purpose, and God has promised to send His Spirit into any holy relationship.[3]
In addition to the three volumes described previously, an additional manual is suggested: Psychotherapy: Purpose, Process and Practice, for integrating Course concepts with modern psychotherapy. This is for the professional therapist who wishes to use Course teachings in his counseling practice.[4]
Course encouragement toward psychic guidance is also obvious. Brian Van der Horst, writing in New Realities, observes that: “Above all, the Course instructs students in the discovery of their own inner guidance, the revelation of a spiritual voice that counsels one in all situations. The Voice or God or Holy Spirit, as it is called… gives everything from direction for malting decisions on business, career, and life purpose, to advice to the lovelorn.”[5]


  1. A Course in Miracles, Volume 2: Workbook for Students, Huntington Station, NY: Foun­dation for Inner Peace, 1977, pp. 1-2, emphasis added.
  2. Ibid., pp. l-IX.
  3. A Course in Miracles, Volume 3, Manual for Teachers, Huntington Station, NY: Founda­tion for Inner Peace, 1977, pp. 2-5.
  4. cf. John Ankerberg, John Weldon, The Facts on Self-Esteem, Psychology, and the Recovery Movement, Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 1995.
  5. Brian Van Der Horst, “Update on A Course in Miracles,” New Realities, vol. 3, no. 1, August 1979, p. 50, emphasis added).


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