ACIM and Symbols
There is a significant portion of the ACIM community who do not accept ACIM as written. When they come across something in the Course that runs contrary to their belief system, they will claim that the meaning is not what it says.
Actually, this view is not exclusive to ACIM students but every teaching tradition has such a segment. For instance, many Christiaan theologians believe the miracles of Jesus did not really happen as written but were just symbolic.
A common argument for symbolic interpretation of the Course is a statement like this, “words are just symbols of symbols and they do not convey the true meaning.”
This often implies that the one making this statement is the one with the true meaning which brings up this question. If this student did not get meaning from the words of ACIM then where did he get it, and exactly what is this hidden meaning that is supposed to exist? Pretty much no answer comes forth from this question.
Another argument is that there are obviously some words which are purely symbolic. For instance, the Course speaks of the door to heaven, hell and other things, and obviously it is not speaking of an actual door like on a house. Then it speaks of the hands of God or Christ and it is not speaking of real physical hands.
This obvious symbolic writing is used by all authors including myself, but when used, the symbolism is obvious unless stated otherwise, or the author is just plain lying.
A few years ago, when Elon Musk said he was going to build a spaceship to go to Mars some could have thought he was either speaking in symbols or lying. But now that he has built the most powerful rocket on the planet, we see that he really meant what he said.
The same applies to ACIM. It really means what it says unless the symbolism is obvious and easy to see.
Not only do some students use the idea of words themselves as an excuse to negate the teachings, but they think the meaning of the words themselves are symbolic.
For instance, one may say that the idea of moving actual mountains by your faith was purely symbolic, even though the Course makes it clear it is not.
“It is hard to recognize that thought and belief combine into a power surge that can LITERALLY move mountains.” T-2.VI.9
Some say there are not Sons (plural) in the one united Sonship even though the Course speaks of the Sons of God over 70 times.
Others say that thought is an enemy that needs to be abolished whereas the Course says:
“If I did not think I would not exist, because life is thought,” says the Course. W-pI.54.2
There are numerous teachings about health in ACIM which are difficult for many to take literally. For instance:
“These patients do not realize they have chosen sickness. On the contrary, they believe that sickness has chosen them.” M-5.III.1
There are dozens of statements concerning physical illness and cures which many find difficult to take literally such as:
“All material means that you accept as remedies for bodily ills are restatements of magic principles. This is the first step in believing that the body makes its own illness. It is a second misstep to attempt to heal it through non-creative agents.” T-2.IV.4
Few are willing to dispense of their orthodox “magical” remedies for illness but read symbolism into the many teachings on it.
If we are to dismiss any teaching we do not like as merely being symbolic then what about the many statements accepted by most students as absolute truth such as:
“I am as God created me.”
“Nothing real can be threatened”
“I could see peace instead of this.”
“Heaven is a decision I must make.”
“This is a course in miracles. It is a required course.”
Even though words are symbols, if these symbols are expressed and seen correctly then their meaning can be very clear as in the above statements.
The Course makes this very clear:
“I have made every effort to use words that are almost impossible to distort, but it is always possible to twist symbols around if you wish.” T-3.I.3
If students would take this quote to heart and interpret the Course as written then we all would be several more steps toward union and that much closer to waking up and going home.
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