Chapter 10 is titled (in the Circle of Atonement edition) ‘Religion of the Ego’. It’s an apt title – this chapter focuses on how the ego, takes as its own religion, the ‘God” of the body in particular and implies the ‘God’ of the physical world in place of God as we usually understand God to be.
Whew! What a concept!
Yet true – the ego does take the body and the physical world as all-important, and stronger and more lasting than the metaphysical God. I’m reminded of a friend who attends church almost every week, and when I asked her about “everlasting life”, she told me that she “Doesn’t take that literally.” She couldn’t even conceive of the soul as lasting longer than her lifetime.
Another friend, also quite spiritual, echoed this idea. His viewpoint is that “You live and then you die. When you die, it’s over.” His thought is that there is no actual life beyond this one. When the body dies, you are gone.
Chapter 10 tells us that these kinds of ideas are the ego taking the physical body/world as being stronger than any God. If God were so powerful, then we would not die, be injured, or have natural disasters. Therefore, since we do have natural disasters, we get injured, and we die, then God must not be as powerful as the physical body. If He were, we could just pray for relief and get it – but because we don’t get that relief when we pray, many people take the physical world as being stronger than God.
People don’t usually stop to think about this. Humans are quite capable of compartmentalizing competing beliefs. In real life, we accept that we will die, although many of us fear death. If we believed that we lived forever, as ACIM and many religions tell us, why would we worry about death? Why would this life seem so important?
It seems so important as the ego has made an idol of physical life – it has placed the value and reality of physical life higher than God.
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