Old Wives' Tales
Radio & TV
Toxin du jour
Claim: Oprah Winfrey is sponsoring a "New Age Christ" course that contradicts the teachings of Christianity.
Example: [Collected via e-mail, January 2008]
Origins: The course cited above refers to the
A self-study program of spiritual psychotherapy contained in three books. It is not a religion, but rather a psychological mind-training base on universal spiritual themes. The practical goal of the Course is the attainment of inner peace through the practice of forgiveness.The basis of the course is the book A Course in Miracles (which encompasses a textbook, a workbook for students, and a manual for teachers), authored by research psychologist Helen Schucman
A Course in Miracles (often called just "the Course") is an educational program for retraining the mind that is spiritual, rather than religious, in its perspective. Although it uses Christian terminology, the Course expresses a universal experience, and its underlying ontology is reminiscent of ancient refrains, echoing the world's most hallowed traditions.
So, just what is A Course in Miracles? It is often described as "New Age Christianity," a version which posits a Jesus who offers more love and forgiveness while wanting "less suffering, sacrifice, separation, and sacrament." (Some have noted that the concepts contained in ACIM are primarily a hodgepodge of teachings from various world religions.) ACIM (and other similar courses) are available in the form of books, audio/videotapes, seminars, and workshops through the Foundation for Inner Peace (FIP) and through its related organization, the Foundation for A Course in Miracles (FACIM), which operates an academy and retreat center known as the Institute for Teaching and Inner Peace (ITIP). ACIM was popularized in the 1990s by New Age spirituality writer Marianne Williamson, whose version of it is currently being offered on
As for the gist of the e-mail cited above, whether one should be encouraged, discouraged, or something in between over Oprah's association with ACIM is a personal, subjective matter. Some people find ACIM to be spiritually enlightening, refreshing, and satisfying. Some people reflexively mistrust or dismiss anything that amends or challenges their particular religion's established precepts (especially when the source is outside of their religion's recognized authority structure). Some people categorically reject any new form of religion (or anything labeled "New Age") as "cults" or mere money-grubbing hucksterism. The one verity here is that those who don't care for the presentation of ACIM on
Last updated: 17 April 2008
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