I’ve been a teacher all my life, even before I trained in College for that role in life. Often I helped my classmates to cope with whatever thing they were trying to learn. And now after having retired from teaching students Music in grades Kindergarten through College level I still try to teach via this blog and by writing about A Course in Miracles.
I know what it means to be responsible for a room full of children, teenagers or blooming adults. So this time I was deeply shocked when we all learned that another young man murdered primary school teachers and twenty of their children in their class rooms.
I retired from School Teaching in 1986, well before the mass shootings that began with Columbine, so for me it was incomprehensible to even consider that a gunman could walk into my room and open fire on my students.
Over the years I had from one to over 100 in my care, from private lessons to rehearsals of large music performing groups. We were always safe. I’m glad I retired before this spate of violence. I weep for the murdered children, and for teachers who have to cope day-to-day with the possibility of such horror (we have a daughter who is a Montessori teacher).
What does A Course in Miracles offer that helps us cope with what happened in Newtown?
Quite a lot, but one basic principle is hard to put into practice which is first, don’t deny what is happening in the world and take responsibility for it. And second know that our existence here is a dream from which ultimately we will awaken remember we are still at home with god in heaven. That is why we can forgive ourselves for everything we make happen here.
Another way, which may change minds towards less violent behavior is: join the acts of kindness process which has just begun.
See my previous post about ACIM’s teaching of kindness.

How ACIM helps us to manage the religion vs atheism Debate.

Richard Holms in The Age of Wonder, writes in depth about British scientists who between 1780-1830 explored then unknown places far from England, viewed the heavens with better telescopes, invented lighter than air balloons and made major breakthroughs in chemistry. Holms begins his accounts with Joseph Banks’ time in Tahiti with Captain Cook, then progresses to discussions of astronomer siblings William and Caroline Herschel, African explorer Mungo Park and chemist Humphrey Davy. Holms merges their stories with surveys of the works of leading authors of that time, most notably Coleridge, Keats, Bryon, and Percy and Mary Shelly.
Around 1825 Sir Humphrey Davy, the last and most prominent scientist Holms highlights, took part in a heated discussion about what makes us vital beings? Davy took issue with those who believed that “vitalism” came from God, and sided with those who tried to find its source with scientific enquiry
Galileo’s 1633 run-in with the Roman Catholic Church is but one example of our long-standing religion vs science arguments. The “church” sent him to, “his room” for the rest of his life for proving that the Sun (not the earth) was the center of our solar system. It would take two hundred years for the Reformation and then the Enlightenment to break the Church’s stranglehold on Science and bring us the “Age of Wonder.”
For Course students the “vitalism” debate between William Lawrence and John Abernathy is most interesting. Lawrence challenged his mentor Abernathy in a series of separate lectures. Abernathy believed that “human life [was] based on a semi-mystical concept of a universal, physiological life force.” [309] From his study on the continent Lawrence developed a different point of view, “not [as] an atheist, [but] he had little time for conventional pieties.” [310]* Further, as the Shelly’s doctor, he shared their ideas.
In his first lecture Lawrence criticized Abernathy’s theories, stating, “there was absolutely no such thing as a mysterious life force, and that the body is merely a complex physical organism.”[312] In his most famous and controversial statement, Lawrence claimed that, “the development of this physiological organism could be observed unbroken, from an oyster to a man. (Anticipating Darwin?) In a foot note Holms shows how recently Dennett and Dawkins use Lawrence’s and Abernathy’s arguments.
Two Course Sections stand out which help us with this issue; Text Chapter III, Section V, Beyond Perception, and Clarification of terms Section I Mind-Spirit.
The key line in Beyond Perception is in paragraph 7,
God did Create spirit in His Own Thought and of a quality like to his own. There is nothing else.
(Remember, God creates – we make, which Jesus reminds us of in
paragraph two of section V. )

And in Mind-Spirit, Jesus begins with this paragraph.
The tern mind is used to represent the activating agent of spirit, supplying its creative energy. When the term is capitalized it refers to God or Christ (ie, the Mind of God or the Mind of Christ). Spirit is the thought of God which he created like Himself. The unified spirit is God’s one Son, or Christ.

Lawrence’s thinking, not Abernathy’s, trends towards the Course. Yet both accepted Descartes theory of mind-body unity, and so they both focused on what force causes the body to live. Thus, they both perpetuated the separation
Jesus’ teaching which helps us to manage the Science vs Religion debate is:
the world is an illusion and the belief that promotes the body as central in that illusion perpetuates it. Recall the above sentence from Chapter III.
God did Create spirit in His Own Thought and of a quality like to his own. There is nothing else. (my emphasis)
Therefore, our true being comes from God and is on the level of Spirit. So we view the “debate” as, “Much Ado About Nothing.”

When one of our beloved small dogs passed away I felt her spirit leave and her small body become cold. Did the “activating agent of spirit” depart leaving no sustaining life force? Have millions of fellow dreamers here in the separation perceived the same thing in their departing relatives, friends and pets? I think so.
Will Jesus’ teachings in ACIM still the voices of those on both sides of the debate? Not likely. It helps us; however, that in ACIM Jesus teaches us to rely on Holy Spirit who understands our illusions and knows about our real “vitality” as God’s creation as the extension of that Spirit.

* Numbers in brackets are the pages for the quotes from Holms’ book.