In the last installment in this series we established that identifying as Tim is the same as identifying as the self I made and the same as identifying as the ego and that this identification has me and everyone else in hell.

So we made a self that thinks and believes with the ego. This self then splits into two selves each with its own set of attributes. For example, the whole self believes guilt is real. Guilt has two components, unworthy of love and deserving of punishment. The atheist believes something is wrong with them. They need to be fixed. They are irreparably damaged. They are unworthy of love. This is why there is a very fearful possibility of them being abandoned.

The other half of guilt is deserving of punishment. The martyr holds this belief. They believe that they have attacked God. They believe that God will retaliate and punish them and rightly so. Unworthy of love plus deserving of punishment equals guilt. This is the basic thinking of all selves.

If you did not feel guilty you could not attack, for condemnation is the root of attack. It is the judgment of one mind by another as unworthy of love and deserving of punishment.” (

My self, Tim, believes I am guilty of something and by definition that I, if I identify as the self I made, am unworthy of love and deserving of punishment. What self on this planet does not believe that?

We can find out much about the characteristics of both the atheist and the martyr that all selves possess by looking for pairings in the Course. For example…

The ego’s fundamental wish is to replace God. In fact, the ego is the physical embodiment of that wish. For it is that wish that seems to surround the mind with a body, keeping it separate (martyr) and alone (atheist), and unable to reach other minds except through the body that was made to imprison it.” (W-72.2:1-5)

The martyr wants to be separate as a safety precaution from its enemies. The atheist believes it is alone because it has been abandoned.

Here is another pairing…

Seek not for this in the bleak world of illusion, where nothing is certain (atheist) and where everything fails to satisfy (martyr).” (T-16.IV.9:4)

The atheist tries to bring order to chaos. Having been abandoned by God, the atheist steps up to the plate to bring stability to madness. The atheist is unstable which in this quote reads “nothing is certain.” The martyr wants to find hope in a hopeless situation. If God’s retaliation is imminent the possibility of not surviving is high and induces despair. In this quote “everything fails to satisfy” would make the martyr dis-spirited.

Why do you believe it is harder for me (Jesus) to inspire the dis-spirited (martyr) or to stabilize the unstable (atheist)?” (T-4.IV.11:8)

If we collect all of these descriptive pairings from the Course we can get a fairly good description of the attributes of both atheist and martyr that are the two halves that make a whole self. The ego made the atheist to deal with the perceived chaos of the separated world and the martyr to deal with the perceived threat found there.

How is looking at the selves we made in this way helpful? Knowing that every self has the same components cuts down on the belief in differences, emphasizing sameness. We all have an atheist and a martyr lessens the specialness conversation. Asking, “Is that my atheist or martyr talking?” encourages us to step out of the belief that we are the self we made. To name a few.

Next time – The Atheist Martyr Construct 5