ACIM is neither “religion” nor “New Age”
The explanation Jesus offered to help us with understanding came in two parts. The first was parables delivered orally in the flesh to any individuals willing to listen without committing anything to writing. His lessons were backed up by demonstrations that his incarnation in the flesh was not limited as his listeners were to the “laws” that define their “reality” of spacetime-matter. His miracles demonstrated that he clearly belonged to another dimension. The second part was writing delivered by disembodied Mind-Love through an embodied human scribe, again to any individuals willing to listen. Its purpose is to explain this other dimension and its practical relevance to the human experience.
In both cases, a few absorbed his gift with understanding while many more misunderstood. Part of my project in advancing his cause toward understanding must therefore include helping to correct misunderstanding of both Jesus and ACIM. I accept this responsibility. Minds paying attention to my task also have a responsibility. That is to suspend judgment about Jesus and his work so long as they choose not to reflect on it.
Reading ACIM is their choice. It’s none of my business. But it is my business to call out minds that weigh in on my project and the work of Jesus that inspires it without doing their homework. To familiarize themselves not with the layers of distortion that misunderstanding has covered Jesus with but with who he actually was – and is – and the explanation he actually offers. It’s there in black and white, written in the king’s English and translated into every conceivable language.
His explanation is not “religion.” The concept of “Christ” is front and center in ACIM because of its purpose and the Innocence it means, but with no reference to any of the usual trappings of organized religion – “Christian,” “Christianity,” and especially “Church,” the instrument not of “Christ’s” purity but its defilement. “Church” is anathema. ACIM is not compatible with orthodox biblical Christianity, the guilt- and fear-ridden, top-down authoritarian travesty perpetrated by the Church both Catholic and Protestant.
Jesus’ explanation is not “New Age.” New Age teaches dualistic metaphysics, the idea that the physical universe including the body was created by God. It teaches “prosperity consciousness” and emphasizes people’s positive experiences without acknowledging their unconscious feelings of guilt. It teaches that we are God. ACIM does none of this. ACIM draws upon traditional Freudian psychoanalytic principles, the Neoplatonic tradition, and themes common to early Christianity and the Gnostic systems of the second and third centuries. New Age does none of this. For these reasons ACIM is not categorized by the Library of Congress under “New Age.”*
ACIM is liberal democracy’s deepest philosophical root and its best friend
An honest and principled response to misunderstanding about Jesus and ACIM can’t be to disavow or disguise it for fear of yet more misunderstanding. It must be to include it in the explanation. Going against centuries of conditioning by misinformation and misinterpretation may be “unrealistic,” but then so were Jesus’ miracles. Its title wasn’t given to Jesus’ book for no reason; it’s to be taken literally.
Were minds closed to understanding to open they would discover that not only are Jesus and ACIM compatible with bottom-up liberal democracy, their explanation is its deepest philosophical root. It is the clearest refutation of the lie that is authoritarian rule above the law that all of Logic, reason, passion, and goodwill can muster.
Jesus and ACIM aren’t an embarrassment, an anachronism, an awkward afterthought. They are in fact our best friend. A friend who doesn’t demand acceptance on faith. Who doesn’t demand anything. But who does offer understanding if minds freely choose to accept it. Not knuckling under to superior power. But acknowledging the only “authority” its explanation needs: its internal, intrinsic Logic.
What is the practical benefit?
If the cruel insensitivity of the Joker’s arbitrary above-the-law rule is constructed of a web of lies founded on the illogic-insanity of impossibility then the logical response is to undo its lies with the truth and the practical benefit will be release-Freedom from its cruelty.
*Source: Kenneth Wapnick, "Why A Course in Miracles is not New Age" (Letter to the Library of Congress 1990's, email received by the author from Foundation for A Course in Miracles, April 23, 2019)