DUALISM, NON-DUALISM, ACIM, AND IDEALISM

        In my training as a philosopher and theologian - BA in Philosophy, Creighton University; MA in Philosophy, the University of Cincinnati; MA Theology, Xavier University) - we studied the thought systems of “the great thinkers and philosophers.” We studied and viewed them from different perspectives among which was whether they were dualistic or non-dualistic (monistic).

        The term “dualism” is applied to a thought system which claims reality consists of two kinds, classes, or types of things. The claim is that reality consists of both the spiritual or mental and the material or bodily.
       A “non-dualistic” thought system, on the other hand, is one that claims there is only one kind or type of thing in reality. Such a system would claim for example, that only matter or bodies are real, and claim that spirit or mind is not real. It might claim for example, that “mind” is simply the result of brain activity, and the mind has no existence, on its own, apart from bodies. It may claim that “spirit” is mere fantasy. “Materialism” is an example of such a non-dualistic, or monistic, thought system.

       But another kind of non-dualistic thought system takes the opposite position and claims that reality consists of only spirit, or mind and idea. In this kind of system matter or bodies are considered unreal, illusory.

       A Course in Miracles falls into this last category. It is non-dualistic. And its type of non-dualism is called “Idealism.” One central claim of any idealistic thought system is “everything is an idea.” The Course affirms this statement. (T-5.1,2:4) The Course also says, “God is an idea, and “you are an idea”. For example:
“What you find difficult to accept is the fact that, like your Father, you are an idea” (T-15.6,4:5). It also says, God is a Mind, and you “are mind, in Mind and purely mind” (L158,1:2).

       To say that A Course in Miracles is a non-dualistic system, does not imply that it teaches that there is only numerically one singular thing in reality. That is not what calling A Course in Miracles “non-dualistic” would normally mean. It means simply that the Course teaches that the spiritual or mental is real, and the non-spiritual or bodily is unreal. In other words, it denies what dualistic thought systems teach, namely, that mind AND body both, are real.

So, we see there is no contradiction in saying, on the one hand, that A Course in Miracles is a non-dualistic thought system, and on the other hand, the Course teaches that this spiritual reality consists of the Mind of God and the Thoughts He creates. Or that reality consists of God the Father, God the Son, and all of the Father and Son’s Co-creations, even though this implies that there is MORE THAN A SINGULAR, SOLITARY, OR ONE IN NUMBER thing in reality.
       In fact, the Course teaches there is an INFINITE NUMBER OF THINGS THAT CONSTITUTE GOD'S KINGDOM! For example, we read from the Course: “Creation is the sum of all God's Thoughts, in number infinite....” (W-pII.11, 1:1). God's “thoughts” are also called God's “creations”, God's “effects”, God's “Sons” and God's “extensions”.

       The Course does teach that they all are “one", but not in the sense of singular, solitary, or “one in number”, but they are “one” in the sense that THEY ARE ALL THE SAME, EQUAL, AND UNITED. That is to say, they are the same kind of thing, (a mind), with the same attributes, (knowledge, power to create, love, happiness, etc.) to an equal degree (perfect, maximum, limitless). They are “united” in the sense that they are “in” one another, "every mind contains all minds." There are other senses in which they are "one", or united or joined.
They are “one” in the sense that they share the same purpose and function, and in that sense, they are “one in mind and will.” They are joined in Their purpose to increase God's kingdom, and They fulfill their function by creating in union with one another and with Their Prime Creator.

Robert J. Hellmann©2023