Tag Archives: atheists

Don’t Proselytize

landscape - pennsylvania impressionism“It has been said from the beginning that your role will not be to evangelize or to be convincing. You cannot argue the case of truth in the courtroom of illusion.

“While this would seem to leave some without hope, it will leave no one without choice. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 19.15 – 19.16)”

Affirmation: “I would speak my truth today, but without pressure on another.”

Reflections:

1 – What about Others?

If we aren’t to lead others to our way by convincing of “our” truth, what does that leave for them? Will they have no way out? Will they find another way out?

2 – Skeptics

There is a fine line between telling one’s truth, or the truth as one sees it, and trying to convince a skeptic of the truth of one’s statements and one’s point of view. Anyone who has ever spent time with a skeptic knows that the surest way to turn him/her off is to try to preach to that person.

3 – Jesus

And Jesus knows this, which is exactly why we are bade not to try to convince others of a truth that perhaps those other individuals are not yet ready to see. Not only that, but their way may ultimately be quite different from the form of the curriculum presented in A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love.

4 – What Is It Left for Us to Do?

So what do we do if someone in our inner circle is a skeptic, and is suffering in his/her unbelief? Prayer is very powerful. So is living our message, walking our talk (and, in this case, we are bade not even to talk). Eventually the significant other will see that we are somehow different and will make inquiries. This is what we hope for. It may not always happen.

5 – Atheist turned Believer

I have a friend who moved her husband from atheism (as avowed when they dated) to agnostic to a confirmed believer in the Other Side. All without doing any preaching at all, or at least so she told me. What a way to go! Certainly in living out one’s faith there are moments of teaching that come unbidden. And that is exactly what my friend took advantage of. And, slowly but surely, over the course of more than 25 years, her husband developed a settled good will toward those things that are beyond full knowledge.

6 – Live the Faith

So do not be tempted to share the happy newfound knowledge too soon. Others will not yet be ready. Live the faith, and see if in that living out the proselytizing doesn’t come about without a word from you. The convincing will come, but of a Higher Power than we are.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I know that others who are disbelievers and are preached to by well-meaning friends and family are actually pushed to be stronger in their disbelief. We turn them off. May I avoid doing so today. May the slow but sure way of convincing come unbidden, except by prayer. And may those who seek to know be convinced by the words that are spoken when they are sought.

I wish for a good day. I wish to avoid taking on too much, because I am calm and at peace now, and that is a danger sign that I am prone to take on too much and will become overwhelmed. Be with me as I seek to reduce stress in my life by doing less. You don’t want “do-ers,” in that we are constantly trying merit heaven. You want a still, calm peace that will envelop the others around in the peace that is Yours to give, to them and to me.

Amen.

Pray from Fear into Inner Peace

cezanne.jas-buffan-pool“To pray out of fear is not to pray at all, because such prayer chooses not the union that is the prerequisite.  To pray out of fear is to ask from an unreal state of lack for what is seen as missing or desired.  In contrast, true prayer, formed in union, is a means of creating, recollecting, or recalling a divine memory and transforming that divine memory into a present moment experience.  (Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 6.6)”

Affirmation:  “I will choose to avoid fearful prayers.”

Reflections:

1 – Fearful Turmoil

When we are in fearful turmoil, our emotions are so engaged that it is hard to sense God’s presence.  We are not in union with God, because we cannot feel His presence.  This is the so-called foxhole prayer, i.e., “There are no atheists in foxholes” (a reminder of World War I).  We need in some way to alleviate the fear, and I have found that prayer, in fact, does alleviate fear.  I can pray myself to sleep when I am anxious.  Is there a problem with my experience vs. the words of Jesus in this passage?

2 – Personal Experience

I think not, because I am calmed by the prayer, a calming that precedes receiving an answer (an answer that is sometimes just blissful sleep).  I do not go to sleep fearful, and I do not remain fearful as I pray.  The fear just drops away, and I pray from a relaxed state of mind and heart.

3 – Divine Memory

The latter half of this passage is difficult to understand.  What exactly is a “divine memory”?  I think that Jesus is calling on our Self/Christ at this point.  When we experience the Self/Christ, we are healed from a divine perspective, for the Self/Christ is our part of the God within (an interpretation, not stated precisely in A Course of Love).

4 – When to Pray

We need to begin praying when we are afraid or fearful, but–and this is the important point–we will not remain afraid or fearful.  We will, in nearly all cases, immediately begin calming down, for we will be recalled to trust in God.  We need never cease to pray because we think that we are too overwrought.  God will create the holy instant that will bring us peace.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for guiding me to know that praying to You in the middle of the night, when I can’t sleep, is a very practical way to induce a return to sleep.  I think that You welcome this communion, for our private times together heal and calm me.  Thank You for letting me adopt practical use of prayer for a very human need of sleep.

Thank You for leading me to realize that the best prayer is not one of fear.  The prayer may begin with anxieties, but the prayer will take me out of the anxieties into peace.  Thank You for this blessing.

If I can reach divine healing today, it will be because You have led me every step of the way.  Fort this leading, I am very grateful.

Amen.

False Palaces to Love

“You build your banks as well as your museums as palaces to your love and no longer see the golden calves hiding within the palace wall.  (A Course of Love, 5.8)”

Affirmation:  “I would avoid thinking too often of material things today.”

Reflections:

1 – Is This All There Is?

When we long for material things, we may actually draw those material things to ourselves.  But without a strong certainty that God walks with us, the material will turn to ashes and dust in our hands.  We may be happy for a time, in an egoic fashion, but life will catch up with us, and we will ask (as so many have), “Is this all there is?”

2 – Priorities

We will not be lost in an existential crisis if we keep our priorities in order.  And our priorities need to be for the intangibles–love, peace, tranquility, harmony, joy.  Even an atheist can have these values straight, and he/she will be blessed as a result.  I do not believe that God withholds blessings from any of us who are having trouble “believing” in Him.  Jesus welcomes (in the Manual of A Course in Miracles) those of no religion to be teachers of God.  What does he mean by that?  Perhaps “belief” does not mean what we have often taken it to mean.  God surely knows who struggles and who believes easily.

3 – Agnostics / Atheists

I once had a close friend who went on a search for God when she was about 60.  She said, “I didn’t choose not to believe.”  And I, somehow, understood.  She finally found her peace and died shortly thereafter.  God had touched her, even if she did not formally believe in Him.  And He will do the same for any agnostics or atheists in our midst.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I ask for things today that do not cost anything–excellent habits of mind and spirit, the felt experience of Your Being, the expression of love to those surrounding me, and over it all, the sense of well being that living in the present, even when times are hard, brings about.

Any of us can live successfully if we are not tied to a negative state of mind, if we have enough trust and hope to believe that the healthy functioning of our minds is not dependent on the material or the lack of pain.  We can ask to be shown how to keep a rational head, informed by guidance.  And we can be shown how to live in the present, which is a key to finding You successfully.

Be with those who are hurting today.  May they know that not only do You care, but also their surrounding friends and family care.  May we do all that you bid us to help one another today.

We are in this together.

Amen.