After reading ACIM several times over a number of years and after researching the author I've come to the conclusion that while it does undoubtedly have some insight and value and I personally have benefited from it the book's stated origins are a fraud. After decoding the bible-based language into plain English and then boiling away the superfluous prose we end up with a residue of ideas that the writer almost certainly got from other sources; a mix of Eastern thought and more modern psychological theory grafted onto a Christian ideology. The overly long and repetitive text is written in such soft and vague language that it becomes a blank canvas that allows the reader to paint whatever he wishes on it, encouraging the day-dream like quality seen in the course's more slavish followers. It has to be realized how easy it is to become hypnotized by revered texts, be they literary or philosophical, and be falsely convinced of their profundity. Instead of the hoped-for monologue of truth from them we find ourselves in a dialogue formed from one's own dreams and memory. Rather like gazing into a still pool expecting depths but finding only self reflections.
There are clues sprinkled throughout the book to its true origin. It is heavily psychoanalytical in flavor which just happens to be the profession of the woman who 'channeled' it and there are other biographical pointers which I won't go into here. The work is most variable in quality and in places (the second half of the Workbook for example) is very weak and uninspired. To be frank, wouldn't a divine being produce better metaphors and imagery than the catalogue of cliches the book is stuffed with?
Having said all that I still believe the book has considerable merit as psychological description and can be profitably used as a tool for spiritual exploration and refinement. After all, should it matter where it came from as long as it has value? The book does stand by itself in spite of rather than because of its Christian structure and terminology. The author herself clearly struggles within these self-imposed confines and causes wonderment at what a more honest book would have been like. It's in the parts where ideology is discarded that the book is most effective.
The concept of projection, central to the course's philosophy, which I wasn't aware of before even though many earlier thinkers (such as Freud) have used it is perhaps the single most important explainer of human behavior. The sections on 'Special Relationships' and seeking within rather than in worldly changes are vivid and eloquently stated . Other themes such as 'The Holy Instant' and the defense of a artificial self are well chosen but are handled better by others such as J. Krishnamurti.
Reading the reviews here it seems that people either bow down in awe to ACIM or else dismiss it in disgust. Why does it have to be one or the other? Take away the florid religious prose and cut it down to a third (less?) of its original length and what we have here is a handy if not indispensable guide to the human psyche, well worth owning and reading if you keep a careful eye on it. I'd like to give my thanks to Jacob Glass whose lectures and humor brought this to my attention.