Course Meets World Commentary Greg Mackie

On this page, I will post short commentaries relating A Course in Miracles to a topic "in the news." Here's how it works: I will present material drawn from the world's media—a newspaper article, a blog, an Internet discussion, etc. (with a link to the original source). Then, I will discuss the relationship I see between it and A Course in Miracles. For example, I might show how it echoes things said in the Course, or contrast what it says with the Course's view of the same topic. The goal is to bring a Course perspective to topics being discussed in the larger world.

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  • Another "Loving the Armed Robber" Story - With a Twist Those of you who frequently read these Course Meets World pieces may recall the story of Mohammad Sohail, the convenience store clerk who responded to an armed robber with love and forgiveness. Recently I read a story that was strikingly similar — but with an unexpected twist that has given me rich food for thought about miracle workers and the effect of their miracles on those who receive them.
  • Another "Loving the Armed Robber" Story - With a Twist Those of you who frequently read these Course Meets World pieces may recall the story of Mohammad Sohail, the convenience store clerk who responded to an armed robber with love and forgiveness. Recently I read a story that was strikingly similar — but with an unexpected twist that has given me rich food for thought about miracle workers and the effect of their miracles on those who receive them.
  • "Now You Have Prayed for the First Time in Your Life" I've been reading a lot about near-death experiences lately. I just can't seem to get enough of these amazing stories. Besides being uplifting and inspiring, there is so much that is Course-like in them. Here, I'd like to share a story that in my mind offers an especially Course-like account of the real cause of illness and the true nature of prayer.
  • The Healing Power of Love: Can It Undo the Impulse to Murder? The more scientists are learning about the brain, the more they are inclined to believe that human behavior is largely determined by the brain's structure and chemistry. In particular, recent research has shown that psychopathic murderers have a distinctive brain pattern and genetic markers that seemingly predispose them to criminal violence. However, I recently came across an intriguing story that says, "Not so fast." Nurture as well as nature plays a significant role, perhaps even the predominate role in determining one's destiny. There is evidence that, as A Course in Miracles would certainly affirm, the healing power of love can overcome even the deepest inborn impulse to murder.
  • The Horrible God Within? It is a basic teaching of A Course in Miracles that we can contact God within us. It depicts us as part of God, and tells us that God's Voice, the Holy Spirit, "is in you in a literal sense" (T-5.II.3:7). However, I recently read a blog by New York Times columnist Ross Douthat that presents a starkly different view. As far as Douthat is concerned, turning to the "God within" is a downright horrible idea, because such a "God" is nothing more than the ego dressed in royal robes. As a Course student, I certainly don't agree with such an extreme view, but I have to admit that what we call the God within certainly can be our own self-centered wishes in disguise. What can we do to be more confident that we're really hearing the Voice for God?
  • A Truly Perfect Game I love great forgiveness stories, and recently I saw a remarkable demonstration of forgiveness that touched my heart. It is a story about a Major League baseball pitcher who threw a perfect game, an umpire whose inexplicable mistake took that perfect game away, and the deeper, truer perfection that revealed itself in what followed. As the umpire faced angry condemnation for robbing a young pitcher of a glorious moment, many people-including the pitcher himself-chose to do what A Course in Miracles calls the "one perfect thing" (T-25.VI.5:1): they chose to forgive. In my mind, that choice made this a truly perfect game.
  • What Is the Most Important Thing? While I was at my Unity church recently, I noticed a line prominently written on a whiteboard by an unknown hand. It said this: "Nothing is more important than to flow my energy and feel good." This prompted in me a long series of thoughts on the question: What is the most important thing in our lives? This is a crucial question, because our answer makes a huge difference when it comes to how we live on a daily basis. I want to suggest that the line I saw on the whiteboard, while well intentioned, is probably not the best answer we can come up with.
  • Let Me Remember All I Do Not Know I had an experience this past weekend which gave me a new window into the curious phenomenon of different people being absolutely convinced of diametrically opposed opinions. This experience underscored for me just how much our assumptions and biases color our opinions, how much we really do not know with certainty no matter how insistently we proclaim certainty, and how important it is to recognize all this if we want to uncover real truth — including the truth we Course students believe is contained in A Course in Miracles.
  • Is ecological interconnectedness really oneness? This question has been in my mind a lot as I've witnessed all the excitement around the movie Avatar. Personally, while I thought the movie was technically brilliant and enjoyable (though predictable) as entertainment, I didn't see anything especially spiritual about it. But ever since, I've heard countless people, including Course students, rave about how spiritual it is because it's such a lesson in oneness (a oneness the Na'vi in Avatar apparently experience through those tendril thingies in their tails). But my view is that ecological interconnectedness, the primary "oneness" highlighted in Avatar, is not real oneness—at least not the oneness affirmed by A Course in Miracles.
  • Do We Create God in Our Own (Fearful) Image? My academic adviser in college, a dyed-in-the-wool atheist, used to say (with an impish smile) that "Man created God in his own image." As a student of A Course in Miracles, I certainly don't believe that we made God up out of whole cloth. But a recent study has provided empirical evidence for a phenomenon many of us, believers and nonbelievers alike, have noticed: People have a tendency to project their own beliefs onto God, making their view of God a picture that is indeed an image of themselves. This finding is very much in accord with the Course, which claims that God as traditionally understood is very much a product of our projection — especially the fearful and condemning elements of that traditional God.

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