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"course In Miracles," Etc.


irreverance
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XianAnarchist:

 

I'm not surprised. This is often the result when I mention it.

 

In the "60's", two scientists found themselves the channel for the resurrected Jesus to comment on the Bible and its interpretation for today. The result is an extended series of publications, by The Foundation for the Course in Miracles, now incorporated into a single volume. Included is a text, a workbook, a teaching manual, and a glossary.

 

I have read the text, and the workbook, and now participate in a discussion group in Anaheim, California using Audio Tape and Email.

 

There is a newsletter available from the <MiracleDistributionCenter.org>, and a Q&A service at <FACIM Forum> on line. Further information on the Course can be gleaned from them.

 

Jeep

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re: In the "60's", two scientists found themselves the channel for the resurrected Jesus to comment on the Bible and its interpretation for today.

 

Hence my opinion that this is merely a form of modern-day Gnosticism; i.e. "secret readings" of the Bible, etc..

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I really can't speak for the Course in Miracles community, but I can say that elements of Gnosticism persist in the New Age/Mystic Christian community. The thing to understand about the label of "New Age" for the way I practice Christianity is that there is really nothing all the "New" about it. To me, the term "New Age" doesn't intend to imply a new way of practicing religion so much as it is an expression of hope that we are entering a new age in global spiritual evolution. It's really just a mystical approach to a faith tradition (like the Gnostics in Christianity and the Sufis in Islam). For some, it is a religion in and of itself.

 

For me it means tuning the whole self to God and the Universe, not just the mind. If we choose to live in the world of thoughts, we are likely to experience nothing else but thoughts. Likewise, if we live in the world of the soul, we will experience the soul. Same goes for the body and every point of being (animal, sex, power, emotion, communication, ego self, God self)

 

What all mystic practitioners of a religion have in common is their desire to know God and Truth in the here and now. We develop rigorous spiritual practices in order to calm the mind and awaken to the soul. We calm the chatter in our minds in order to hear the voice of God. We awaken the soul in order to be more like God.

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Father, I hear you, but there Gnosticism and mysticism are not one and the same. Granted, Gnosticism may be a form/subset of mysticism, but not all forms of Christian mysticism involve special secret interpretations of scripture.

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I'm not an expert on either Gnosticism or Helen Schucman's Course, and maybe that's why it is not obvious to me why the Course in Miracles is a modern-day form of Gnosticism.

 

As I understand it, Schucman claimed to dictate a massive revelation from Jesus (more like what Muhammed experienced in the cave). The Course is like psychotherapy. The focus is on letting go, forgiving, accepting, and loving.

 

As I understand it, Gnosticism is most likely born out of Jewish mysticism and Greek paganism. It's focus is on working toward your own salvation by gaining knowledge directly from the source (attaining enlightenment, essentially).

 

I guess the similarity here is the similarity of all religions: revelation, becoming perfected, reading scripture.

 

What do you mean, BrotherRog?

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Fatherman, re: Schucman claimed to dictate a massive revelation from Jesus (more like what Muhammed experienced in the cave).

 

What I mean is that I do not accept Schucman's claim, and IMO, those who do are buying into a "special" interepretation of scritpture that is only accessible to those who buy into the Course on Miracles materials..

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Interesting point - sort of a "upyana" view, but then again, I feel this about certain forms of Hinduism (esp. Bahkti yoga), but again, IMO Hinduism is outside the scope of Christianity. It's a different vehicle.

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My understanding of "A Course in Miracles" is that it is a form of Pantheism. It's psychotherapy seems to consist of a form of denial based on the pantheistic concept that this world is an illusion. It redefines love as being "unconditional acceptance" but there really is no "acceptance" of a one of another, because there really are no "others" and therefore no conditions to accept. In other words, if I can just convince myself intellectually, that nothing matters because everything is an illusion, I can separate myself from reality. I won't have any psychic stress because a lot of stress is caused by trying to prioritize and harmonize values, and according to this form of thinking, there simply are no values. Associated ideas are: God is impersonal, there is no freedom (there are no alternative possible forms of existence), there is a single center of creativity - God (or the ONE) and therefore we, as separate selves, do not really exist.

 

I think we are headed in the wrong direction if we must deny the reality of experience. PanEntheism seems to be a much more intellectually satisfying worldview than either Pantheism or Supernaturalism. Of course, if someone simply can't handle reality, "A Course in Miracles" may be a good prescription.

Edited by PantaRhea
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I can't speak for or defend the "The Course in Miracles" because I am not a student of it, but some of the principles you mention are common to Buddhism, Hinduism, and (yes) Christianity. It is not uncommon to mistake Pantheism

 

the doctrine or belief that God is the universe and its phenomena (taken or conceived of as a whole) or the doctrine that regards the universe as a manifestation of God WordNet ® 2.0, © 2003 Princeton University[/]

 

for Nihilism

 

  1. An extreme form of skepticism that denies all existence.

  2. A doctrine holding that all values are baseless and that nothing can be known or communicated.  The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language[/]

 

You don't have to go very deep into the New Testament to find similiar expressions of oneness and illusion.

 

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Galatians

 

 

 

For the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15 If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body," that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? 18 But as it is, God arranged the organs in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19 If all were a single organ, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. 21 The eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you," nor again the head to the feet, "I have no need of you." 22 On the contrary, the parts of the body which seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and those parts of the body which we think less honorable we invest with the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, 24 which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving the greater honor to the inferior part, 25 that there may be no discord in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26 If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. 27 Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.
Corinthians 12

 

I and the Father are one.

 

The illusion that Christ and others lead us to conquer is the illusion of separateness. We shouldn't lose sight of our individual role to play, but we must also see that we are one. When the illusion is conquered, we will find that God is not impersonal (as you interpreted, PantRhea). We will find that God is so personal that he is in our very breath.

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The difference between pantheism and panEntheism (and no, it's not simply a mistaken spelling of "pantheism" ;) ) is that the "many" are either derived from the ONE of Pantheism (which can be shown to be incoherent), or the "many" are an illusion since there can "be" only ONE, but according to the thought of PanEntheism, reality is a process whereby the "Many become One, and are increased by One". Rather than being an illusion, change or creativity is responsible for all actuality. There was never a primordial One without the Many. Therefore, relationality is fundamental. Because the ONE includes, or has sympathetic awareness of the Many, it can be claimed that God IS Love.

 

Yes, forms of pantheism are found commonly in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Christianity, but panentheism as it is developed today, was not even an alternative way of thinking in those early traditions - although it should be said that it was partially conceived in Buddhism.

 

It's not so simple a matter, imo, of seeing that the "Course in Miracles" is wrong, because none of our concepts are "right", but I think it is important for us to be open to concepts and ideas that are more inclusive or integral or synthetic as well as coherent, adequate to explain our experience, and powerful enough to create more questions.

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not all forms of Christian mysticism involve special secret interpretations of scripture.

 

I'm so glad you made that distinction.

 

It's frustrating to see mysticism confused with supernaturalism and/or gnosticism.

 

I don't doubt that gnostics have mystical experiences, but gnosticism is NOT mysticism.

 

Don't get me wrong, I find gnosticism interesting intellectually. Studying it has broadened my horizons. However, I can't subscribe to it as a cosmology.

 

I get a kick out of telling fundamentalists that I'm a Panentheistic Perrenialist Progressive Christian Mystic. :D

 

(Please don't ask me to explain that. Just blame Matt Fox and Joseph Campbell.)

 

Aletheia

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AlethiahRivers:

 

Thanks for that label"panentheistic perennialistic Progressive Christian Mystic". I think I know just enough about what you are saying to conclude I may be one too!

 

I love it!

 

Jeep

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What all mystic practitioners of a religion have in common is their desire to know God and Truth in the here and now. We develop rigorous spiritual practices in order to calm the mind and awaken to the soul. We calm the chatter in our minds in order to hear the voice of God. We awaken the soul in order to be more like God.

 

I had to come back to this thread to reread fatherman's post on mysticism.

 

I realized that while I commented that gnosticism isn't the same as mysticism (you can be a gnostic and not be a mystic or be a mystic and not be a gnostic), I didn't comment on the above quote.

 

My comment? Wonderful definition and understanding of mysticism!

 

I want to share a couple of quotes that I really enjoy:

 

"Normal conciousness is a state of stupor, in which sensibility to the wholly real and responsiveness to the stimuli of the spirit are reduced. The mystics, knowing that man is involved in a hidden history of the cosmos, endeavor to awake from the drowsiness and apathy and to regain the state of wakefulness for their enchanted souls." - Abraham Heschel

 

"There must be new contact between men and the earth; the earth must be newly seen and heard and felt and smelled and tasted; there must be a renewal of the wisdom that comes with knowing clearly the pain and the pleasure and the risk and the responsibility of being alive in this world." - Wendell Berry

 

"Everything is full and pure at its source and precisely there, not outside." - Meister Eckhart

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Uh... I am currently of the opinion based on personal research, that Huxley's Perennial Religion and Panentheism are not compatible systems. The Perennial Religion is Pantheism. I don't know if anyone is familiar with Ken Wilber's thought, but it is the difference between Panentheism and Pantheism which led him to reject the latter.

 

Is it a big deal? I don't know. Most people don't follow a concept through to its logical conclusion. However, the historical complaint against Pantheism is that it provides no foundation for ethics. IS = OUGHT.

 

And this is not my hobby horse! (Disclaimer offered just in case it is needed.)

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Hmm.. seems to me that there may be two forms of pantheism; e.g the manifold pantheon of deities such as sound in Norse, Greco-Roman, Hinduism, and in Mahayana Buddhism; AND the other form being, the specific theological perspective on God that suggests that God is found in all of creation - if not that God actually IS all of creation (that God is fully immanent within creation).

 

Whereas, with PanENtheism (e.g. in Process Theology), God is understood as fully immanent within the world/creation AND as being fully transcendent from the world/creation. To this extent, PanENtheism radicalizes traditional Christian orthodoxy.

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Hmm.. seems to me that there may be two forms of pantheism; e.g the manifold pantheon of deities such as sound in Norse, Greco-Roman, Hinduism, and in Mahayana Buddhism; AND the other form being, the specific theological perspective on God that suggests that God is found in all of creation - if not that God actually IS all of creation (that God is fully immanent within creation).

 

Whereas, with PanENtheism (e.g. in Process Theology), God is understood as fully immanent within the world/creation AND as being fully transcendent from the world/creation. To this extent, PanENtheism radicalizes traditional Christian orthodoxy.

Yes, there are many forms of Pantheism, but - and I'm open to correction on this - they all share in one way or another the idea of the primordial ONE. The philosophical problem has always been (since Parmenides probably), how are the Many derived from the One? Also, it would seem that logically there is no ultimate source for values either.

 

As for Process Theology, I see it as a correction of traditional Christian orthodoxy which adopted the philosophy of Aristotle through the influence of Aquinas.

 

Both Pantheism and traditional Christian orthodoxy understand God as a non-relational impassive Being.

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However, the historical complaint against Pantheism is that it provides no foundation for ethics. IS = OUGHT.

Can you share a little more on the historical complaint. This is still new territory for me.

 

 

Also, it would seem that logically there is no ultimate source for values either.

 

Please reveal the "logic" here. It is not obvious to me.

Edited by fatherman
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