We are exploring how we made the selves we think we are for the purpose of understanding that these selves are not real. They are illusions. They were made and not created. They do not exist. Their purpose is to make us forget who we are in truth. These selves have two major aspects. Each self has an atheist and a martyr component.

No right mind can believe that its will is stronger than God’s. If, then, a mind believes that its will is different from His, it can only decide either that there is no God or that God’s Will is fearful. The former accounts for the atheist and the latter for the martyr, who believes that God demands sacrifices. Either of these insane decisions will induce panic, because the atheist believes he is alone, and the martyr believes that God is crucifying him. Yet no one really wants either abandonment or retaliation, even though many may seek both.” (T-9.I.8:1-5)

To better understand the two aspects of every self we made, atheist and martyr, lets look at the three other places where we find abandonment and retaliation together mentioned in the Course.

Guilt feelings are the preservers of time. They induce fears of retaliation or abandonment, and thus ensure that the future will be like the past. This is the ego’s continuity. It gives the ego a false sense of security by believing that you cannot escape from it. But you can and must.” (T-5.VI.2:1-6)

All who believe in separation have a basic fear of retaliation and abandonment. They believe in attack and rejection, so that is what they perceive and teach and learn.” (T-6.V-B.1:1-2)

Pain is but witness to the Son’s mistakes in what he thinks he is. It is a dream of fierce retaliation for a crime that could not be committed; for attack on what is wholly unassailable. It is a nightmare of abandonment by an Eternal Love, which could not leave the Son whom It created out of love.” (W-190.2:3-5)

So these two aspects, atheist and martyr, feel guilty and are fearful. They believe in the separation. They believe they have attacked and rejected God. They believe they have been, are presently being or will be abandoned by God and experience His retaliation because of their attack on Him and their rejection of Him. They believe in attack and rejection and therefore believe in defense and fake inclusion (any inclusion that does not include all brothers is fake). Because we identify as those selves we made, we also share those beliefs. We cannot identify as those selves and not share those beliefs.

We can bring to light more about the aspects of atheist and martyr by looking further into what the Course says about abandonment and retaliation.

You who have played that you are lost to hope, abandoned by your Father, left alone in terror in a fearful world made mad by sin and guilt; be happy now. That game is over. Now a quiet time has come, in which we put away the toys of guilt, and lock our quaint and childish thoughts of sin forever from the pure and holy minds of Heaven’s children and the Son of God.” (W-153.13:1-3)

No one remains in hell, for no one can abandon his Creator, nor affect His perfect, timeless and unchanging Love. You will find Heaven. Everything you seek but this will fall away. Yet not because it has been taken from you. It will go because you do not want it. You will reach the goal you really want as certainly as God created you in sinlessness.” (W-131.5:1-6)

Today’s idea is merely another way of saying “Let me not wander into temptation.” The purpose of the world you see (and the self you made) is to obscure your function of forgiveness, and provide you with a justification for forgetting it. It is the temptation to abandon God and His Son by taking on a physical appearance. It is this the body’s eyes look upon.” (W-64.1:1-4)

Today’s idea will eventually overcome completely the sense of loneliness and abandonment all the separated ones experience. Depression is an inevitable consequence of separation. So are anxiety, worry, a deep sense of helplessness, misery, suffering and intense fear of loss.” (W-41.1:1-3)

Without the fear of God, what could induce you to abandon Him? What toys or trinkets in the gap could serve to hold you back an instant from His Love? Would you allow the body to say “no” to Heaven’s calling, were you not afraid to find a loss of self in finding God? Yet can your self be lost by being found?” (T-29.I.9:3-6)

Yet God can bring you there, if you are willing to follow the Holy Spirit through seeming terror, trusting Him not to abandon you and leave you there. For it is not His purpose to frighten you, but only yours. You are severely tempted to abandon Him at the outside ring of fear, but He would lead you safely through and far beyond.” (T-18.IX.3:7-9)

These few quotes on abandonment show us how integral our choosing to believe in the reality of abandonment is to maintaining the ego thought system. Without the belief in abandonment half of our fear would disappear. Let us look at the other half of our fear by looking at the word retaliation in the Course.

The ego is the part of the mind that believes in division. How could part of God detach itself without believing it is attacking Him? We spoke before of the authority problem as based on the concept of usurping God’s power. The ego believes that this is what you did because it believes that it is you. If you identify with the ego, you must perceive yourself as guilty. Whenever you respond to your ego you will experience guilt, and you will fear punishment. The ego is quite literally a fearful thought. However ridiculous the idea of attacking God may be to the sane mind, never forget that the ego is not sane. It represents a delusional system, and speaks for it. Listening to the ego’s voice means that you believe it is possible to attack God, and that a part of Him has been torn away by you. Fear of retaliation from without follows, because the severity of the guilt is so acute that it must be projected.” (T-5.V.3:1-11)

The shadowy figures from the past are precisely what you must escape. They are not real, and have no hold over you unless you bring them with you. They carry the spots of pain in your mind, directing you to attack in the present in retaliation for a past that is no more. And this decision is one of future pain. Unless you learn that past pain is an illusion, you are choosing a future of illusions and losing the many opportunities you could find for release in the present. The ego would preserve your nightmares, and prevent you from awakening and understanding they are past.” (T-13.IV.6:1-7)

Fear of abandonment, the atheist, and fear of retaliation, the martyr, are the fabric of the selves we made and think we are. This is happening at the level of the mind where all these hidden beliefs live. The shadows of these beliefs can be found in the ego generated stories and the feelings that we experience as we play the illusion’s separation game as if it were real.

The belief in the concept of abandonment and the concept of retaliation are foundational to the ego’s version of the separation story. We abandoned and attacked God and are experiencing, experienced in the past or will experience in the future abandonment and retaliation by Him. We can abandon or reject. We can be abandoned or rejected. We can retaliate or attack. We can experience retaliation or attack. Can you imagine thoughts that could generate a more fearful “existence”?

The ego’s purpose is fear…” (T-5.V.1:3)

This is why examining the atheist martyr construct, which is the building block of the self we made, has the possibility of persuading minds in which illusions still persist that the veracity and benefit of these beliefs is questionable.

Next time – The Atheist Martyr Construct 3