According to news reports this week, bestselling author, speaker, and social activist Marianne Williamson plans to run next year for the U.S. House of Representatives in California’s 33rd District. That seat is currently held by 74 year old Democrat Henry Waxman. Williamson will run against him as an Independent.
So, just who is Marianne Williamson and why would it concern us in this blog? Actually, Marianne Williamson has for two decades been one of the foremost leaders in the New Age Movement. Her 1992 bestseller, A Return to Love, is a classic of New Age philosophy. Her other books and speaking tours have made her something of a celebrity guru. She has appeared on numerous television programs and was heralded especially by Oprah Winfrey. She was also the founder of a New Age organization called The Peace Alliance that is dedicated to promoting a “culture of peace.”
The most important thing to understand about Williamson, however, is the source of her unusual ideas. All of her works and lectures are based on a 1975 New Age book and program called “A Course in Miracles” (ACIM). That book was written by Helen Shucman (1909-1981), a Psychology professor at Columbia University. Shucman claimed that, beginning in 1965 and continuing through 1972, she received and dictated to scribes revelations from what she called “The Inner Voice”, who she identified as Jesus. With the help of a Columbia colleague, William Thetford, and others, she formed an organization called The Foundation for Inner Peace which published her works.
The volumes did not originally name Shucman as the author but eventually the story was revealed. ACIM uses Christian and biblical vocabulary but is clearly a New Age system of philosophy akin in some ways to New Thought (Unity School of Christianity). That belief system, which calls itself Christian and theistic, is actually a hybrid worldview based in Far Eastern Thought. Its doctrines of the nature of reality, God, and Man are thoroughly monistic and pantheistic. ACIM is often taught in Unity Churches and, incredibly, has even been taught in some mainline Christian churches.
Marianne Williamson’s books and lectures have widely disseminated ACIM principles. Wise Christians should be wary of her books, teachings, and now her political ambitions.