The #1 question Jews and Israelis ask about A Course in MiraclesFeb 16, 2021
By Eldad Ben-Moshe ✨ (Reading Time: 5 minutes)
❤ Hey there Better Lifers!
Here's a question that came in from David (I changed his name for privacy).
It's so common that I wanted to share it with everyone - for us to learn together.
And while it speaks of Judaism and A Course in miracles, the principle it speaks of is relevant to almost any spiritual or religious path.
I love learning the course in miracles. I have both the books and audio versions that I always have on in the car.
As a jew, I struggle with both the prescribed application of asking 'Jesus' for help and the use of the word ''Jesus''.
I do understand that both Helen and Ken Wapnick were Jewish, as is Marianne Williamson, but somehow, I feel a sense of betrayal and shame to ask Jesus for anything, regardless of whether it's guidance or help.
The same goes for the ''Holy Spirit".
I grew up in a conservative middle-class Jewish family and I know it would shatter my mother's heart to know I am talking to Jesus.
Can you POSSIBLY SHED SOME LIGHT and help me with some guidance here?
I do want to embrace the course, but here I find myself stuck.
It's a good one, right?
And super common.
It's the #1 question Jews and Israelis ask about A Course in Miracles.
Here's what I had to say about that:
Hi dear David, Thank you for your beautiful question.
I'm Eldad, founder of the Better Life Awareness Center, and I'd be happy to shed some light on this, as you've asked.
First, I want you to know that this is a very common issue.
Both to Jews (I was born and raised in Israel and lived there until recent years, and I know the ACIM community there well) and for non-Jews.
Non-Jews who are not Christian have this issue sometimes as well.
However, I'd suspect that for Jews, it's more profound because of the way Jesus is being seen by the orthodox Jewish establishments
(at least in Israel, he is seen by the orthodox Jews as a false messiah who took people away from God).
Unsurprisingly to students of the course,
your situation is yet another example of the sin-guilt-fear mechanism in action:
Feeling like talking to Jesus or the Holy Spirit is a sin, then comes guilt, and fear - from god's wrath, and our mother... or anyone else for that matter.
Makes sense? Sounds familiar?
After all, this is exactly the cycle the course is speaking of, right?
Well, while the course gives us the tools to deal with that cycle (e.g., forgiveness as the Course sees it, and the truth of our sinlessness & holiness, the inexistence of sin, etc.),
I'm happy to say there is another piece to the puzzle that relates to your specific form of the issue.
So here's the good news:
1. The course speaks in symbols, not literally.
It tries to explain things beyond our brain's ability to grasp, such as the absolute reality/heaven/perfect oneness/God,
and to do that, it needs to use words because it meets us where we are.
Being "a special form of the universal course," this form happens to use Christian symbols, but the course's essence stays universal,
regardless of the form/symbols/words any specific form of the universal course utilizes.
As the course says:
“...words are but symbols of symbols. They are thus twice removed from reality.”
- A Course in miracles, Manual For Teachers - What Is The Role Of Words In Healing?
2. But even more specifically, the course even literally says that about Jesus:
"The Name of Jesus Christ as such is but a symbol.
But it stands for love that is not of this world.
It is a symbol that is safely used as a replacement for the
many names of all the gods to which you pray."
- A Course in miracles, Manual For Teachers - Does Jesus Have A Special Place In Healing?
It's a specific form of a general principle: Words are symbols of symbols,
and so is the word Jesus.
Notice even the name of the section in the course this quote is taken from. "Does Jesus have a special place in healing?".
As you might know, the course tells us not to believe in the specialness of anything - including the course itself.
It's an ego trap that serves the teachings of the wrong teacher. And it leads to idol worship - which is not where the course wants us to go.
On the contrary. The same goes for the Holy Spirit, by the way.
It's just a symbol for the memory of God's love. It's not an entity.
In the Clarification of Terms, the course even says that Jesus the man was an illusion - just like all bodies are:
"The man [Jesus] was an illusion, for he seemed to be a separate being, walking by himself, within a body that appeared to hold his self from Self, as all illusions do...
And Christ needed his form that He might appear to men and save them from their own illusions."
- A Course in Miracles, Clarification of Terms, 5. Jesus-Christ, 2
It then goes on to speak of how Jesus is just another form of the essence that can be called Christ, and all those forms are one (as everything is one):
"Helpers are given you in many forms, although upon the altar they are one. Beyond each one there is a Thought of God, and this will never change. But they have names which differ for a time, for time needs symbols, being itself unreal...
Is he [Jesus] God's only Helper? No, indeed. For Christ takes many forms with different names until their oneness can be recognized."
- A Course in Miracles, Clarification of Terms, 5. Jesus-Christ, 1+6
Keep in mind it's just a specific form of the universal course, and other forms switch the word Christ with terms like Buddha.
And each one of us is also "The Christ":
"Is he the Christ? O yes, along with you."
- A Course in Miracles, Clarification of Terms, 5. Jesus-Christ, 5
As a side-note, I'll add that in the case of the Holy Spirit, even the symbol here is not really Christian btw -
the Holy Spirit is simply the Christian reiteration for Sheckina, a very well-known term in the Jewish path.
But the ego will have us believe in sin and feel guilt and fear in any way it can. So worry not, dear David.
You are not alone in this.
This is a super-common issue people are having with the course.
And while it'll be great to use the situation you're in to practice overcoming the unholy trinity of sin, guilt, and fear,
you can also rest assured that there's no real issue here as far as the course is concerned:
You can use the word Jesus without offending the Jewish path as you're merely referring to "love that is not of this world", i.e., God's Love
(what a particular person will think of that is beyond your control though);
And you can use any other name instead of Jesus -
any other symbol for "love that is not of this world", or God's love.
For example, you can ask Love for help. Isn't that wonderful?
I hope this helps, dear David.
I can also recommend further reading on this:
- and also question #2 here: Jesus Christ! Can it be that A Course in Miracles teaches the opposite of Christianity?
I hope this helps to shed light and that it helps you deal with the sense of betrayal and shame you've described.
From the course's point of view, it is to be expected,
as such are our ego's ways, but it is also totally unnecessary.
The word Jesus is but a symbol that can be replaced, and besides -
Love loves you either way and sees you as holy and sinless, always and forever.
Please feel free to share with me your thoughts and feelings about this,
and any other question - related or unrelated.
To your better life,
with tons of 💖
Founder, Teacher & Coach
Better Life Awareness Center