1. What is an idol? Do you think you know? For idols are unrecognized as such, and never seen for what they really are. That is the only power that they have. Their purpose is to obscure, and they are feared and worshipped, both, because you do not know what they are for, and why they have been made. An idol is an image of your brother that you would value more than what he is. Idols are made that he may be replaced, no matter what their form. And it is this that never is perceived and recognized. Be it a body or a thing, a place, a situation or a circumstance, an object owned or wanted, or a right demanded or achieved, it is the same.
2. Let not their form deceive you. Idols are but substitutes for your reality. In some way, you believe they will complete your little self, for safety in a world perceived as dangerous, with forces massed against your confidence and peace of mind. They have the power to supply your lacks and add the value that you do not have. No one believes in idols who has not enslaved himself to littleness and loss. And thus must seek beyond his little self for strength to raise his head and stand apart from all the misery the world reflects. This is the penalty for looking not within for certainty and quiet calm that liberates you from the world, and lets you stand apart, in quiet and in peace.
3. An idol is a false impression, or a false belief, some form of anti-Christ, that constitutes a gap between the Christ and what you see. An idol is a wish, made tangible and given form, and thus perceived as real and seen outside the mind. Yet it is still a thought and cannot leave the mind that is its source. Nor is its form apart from the idea it represents. All forms of anti-Christ oppose the Christ. And fall before His face like a dark veil that seems to shut you off from Him, alone in darkness. Yet the light is there. A cloud does not put out the sun. No more a veil can banish what it seems to separate, nor darken by one whit the light itself.
4. This world of idols is a veil across the face of Christ, because its purpose is to separate your brother from yourself. A dark and fearful purpose, yet a thought without the power to change one blade of grass from something living to a sign of death. Its form is nowhere, for its source abides within your mind where God abideth not. Where is this place where what is everywhere has been excluded and kept apart? What hand could be held up to block God’s way? Whose voice could make demand He enter not? The “more-than-everything” is not a thing to make you tremble and to quail in fear. Christ’s enemy is nowhere. He can take no form in which he ever will be real.
5. What is an idol? Nothing! It must be believed before it seems to come to life and given power that it may be feared. Its life and power are its believer’s gift, and this is what the miracle restores to what has life and power worthy of the gift of Heaven and eternal peace. The miracle does not restore the truth; the light the veil between has not put out. It merely lifts the veil and lets the truth shine unencumbered, being what it is. It does not need belief to be itself, for it has been created; so it is.
6. An idol is established by belief, and when it is withdrawn the idol “dies.” This is the anti-Christ, the strange idea there is a power past omnipotence, a place beyond the infinite, a time transcending the eternal. Here the world of idols has been set by the idea this power and place and time are given form and shape the world where the impossible has happened. Here the deathless come to die, the all-encompassing to suffer loss, the timeless to be made the slaves of time. Here does the changeless change; the peace of God, forever given to all living things, give way to chaos. And the Son of God, as perfect, sinless, and as loving as his Father, come to hate a little while, to suffer pain, and finally to die.
7. Where is an idol? Nowhere! Can there be a gap in what is infinite, a place where time can interrupt eternity? A place of darkness set where all is light, a dismal alcove separated off from what is endless, has no place to be. An idol is beyond where God has set all things forever and has left no room for anything to be except His Will. Nothing and nowhere must an idol be, while God is everything and everywhere.
8. What purpose has an idol, then? What is it for? This is the only question that has many answers, each depending on the one of whom the question has been asked. The world believes in idols. No one comes unless he worshipped them, and still attempts to seek for one that yet might offer him a gift reality does not contain. Each worshipper of idols harbors hope his special deities will give him more than other men possess. It must be more. It does not really matter more of what, more beauty, more intelligence, more wealth, or even more affliction and more pain. But more of something is an idol for. And when one fails another takes its place, with hope of finding more of something else. Be not deceived by forms the “something” takes. An idol is a means for getting more. And it is this that is against God’s Will.
9. God has not many sons, but only one. Who can have more, and who be given less? In Heaven would the Son of God but laugh if idols could intrude upon his peace. It is for him the Holy Spirit speaks and tells you idols have no purpose here. For more than Heaven can you never have. If Heaven is within, why would you seek for idols that would make of Heaven less, to give you more than God bestowed upon your brother and on you, as one with Him? God gave you all there is. And to be sure you could not lose it; did He also give the same to every living thing as well. And thus is every living thing a part of you, as of Himself. No idol can establish you as more than God. But you will never be content with being less. 
Jesus instructs us not to let the forms in this world deceive us for they substitute for our reality, they do not complete us, they do not offer us safety, no matter how many of them we get to be on our side, they cannot take the place of the Christ within us. In other words, if we mistake forms for the reality which they obscure, we will give them power and believe that it is the images we summon that supply our needs and adds value to our little lives in the flesh. We will consider ourselves superior to those who have less; and bow to those who have more. In other words, we enslave ourselves to the idols of this world by believing they are the source of our happiness.
We fall into idolatry by seeking outside the Sonship for our strength and our purpose. We believe we need the trinkets of the world to increase our worth and keep us safe from all that would take it away. We penalize ourselves by not going to the inner Kingdom where the truth about us relieves us from the worries and cares of the perceptual world. While others are trumpeting for this candidate or that one to save them from despair, worrying and fretting about the trending diseases and calamities, losing sleep over the misdeeds of others – we go to the Christhood within and there we find our freedom from the constant worries and mounting cares of this realm, there in the certainty of Sonship we find our peace. The idols of this world cannot give this peace to us, nor can the idols take it away. The inner Kingdom is always there for It is what we are, It is who we are, It is our reason for Being.
You are not your body; you cannot be defined by your weight, your beauty, your hair, your ethnic background, or your private parts. Your name is not the name that God gave you. When all that I perceive about you is false, it is anti-Christ because my flesh eyes can only see what obscures the Christ in you! All the facts that I have gathered about you form little meaningless stories in my mind that determine how I am going to see you and how I am going to keep seeing you. I may make up a story that determines you are one of the good guys or I may make up a story that you are one of the bad guys or perhaps you have your days when you are good and other days when you are not. It does not matter what I make up about you – it is all an idol. It can never be you as God created you because all my perceptions about you are based upon the gap between us. All my perceptions about you oppose our oneness and unity in Christ and so they are anti-Christ.
My perceptions of you do not take anything away from Christ or the Sonship for which Christ stands. Just because I cannot see Christ in you with my flesh eyes, certainly does not banish it from existence. But because I cannot see it, I will feel separate from you. I will feel it is perfectly reasonable for me to make up stories about you and believe in them, and yet what I am making up about you does not exist in any world, in any time. It is a figment of my imagination and when I share it with another person, I am sharing an anti-Christ perception.
There is no place for the anti-Christ perception in the reality of God. There is no place for falsehoods and idols in the beautiful, certain, and everlasting Kingdom of God. There is no place for that kind of specialness that would want something other than perfection, peace, love, and joy. To make something other than that up is the stuff of nightmares and illusions. And nightmares and illusions are not real, and they can never become real, no matter how much we believe in them, no matter how many people martyr themselves for their false gods and selfish beliefs, no matter how much money we spend trying to make it real. An idol is not true because it is nothing. As all figments of imagination it passes away, it dissolves in the dust, it is eventually forgotten because it fails to bring us happiness and peace.
When we believe in the perceptual world, we give life and power to that which opposes Christ. In the midst of the legions of images, forms, and idols, the miracle restores our true vision. The miracle does not restore Reality, for it was not Reality that changed or went away. Our enchantment with the perceptual world never changed the Sonship. The miracle simply sweeps away all that would blind us to it!
Our world deserves no allegiance for the world of idols is based upon the mad idea that there is something more than All that is and so we dream impossible dreams that creep us out in fear of each other. Here in the perceptual world our separate forms and images take the place of Creation, we come to duke it out and kill each other off, to gain and lose, to enslave ourselves to work that does not satisfy us or bring us joy. In the false kingdom all that is changeless changes, peace is sought through war, love is sought through hate, justice is sought through murder, revenge, and punishment. Here the perfect Son of God created in Love and by Love and for Love comes to hate, to suffer pain, and to die a thousand little deaths and then some.
The world believes in idols because the perceptual world is an idol and like all idols it opposes the oneness and unity of Christ. We come to the world to worship idols, to believe in opposites and practice opposition. We make idolatrous gods who give us more, who make us special, who pit one part of the Sonship against the other.
There is only one Son, and this is the Christhood. In Christ, our equality and mutuality are made manifest – there are no favorites and no special treatments. To save one is to save all. The Kingdom of Heaven cannot be contained in forms and images – there is no purpose for forms and images in the place where all are One. There is no more to be had than the Kingdom and as we stop seeking outside of ourselves for God and go within, the idols of the perceptual world lose all meaning, all cause for fear and lack and worry. I have no reason to want your jewels, your hair, your privilege, your car, your mansion in the Home where I belong for in the Kingdom God has given All there is to all there is. And thus we belong to each other even as we belong to Him.
A Course in Miracles. Chapter 29 The awakening viii the anti-Christ. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).
For daily 2021 Workbook lessons visit www.i-choose-love.com courtesy of Linda R.
Audio credit: www.eckiefriar.com