Chapter Twelve: The Problem of Guilt
II. Crucifixion By Guilt
3 The darkest of your hidden cornerstones holds your belief in guilt from your awareness. For in that dark and secret place is the realization that you have betrayed God's Son by condemning him to death. You do not even suspect this murderous but insane idea lies hidden there, for the ego's destructive urge is so intense that nothing short of the crucifixion of God's Son can ultimately satisfy it. It does not know who the Son of God is because it is blind. Yet let it perceive guiltlessness anywhere, and it will try to destroy it because it is afraid.
4 Much of the ego's strange behavior is directly attributable to its definition of guilt. To the ego, the guiltless are guilty. Those who do not attack are its "enemies" because, by not valuing its interpretation of salvation, they are in an excellent position to let it go. They have approached the darkest and deepest cornerstone in the ego's foundation, and while the ego can withstand your raising all else to question, it guards this one secret with its life, for its existence does depend on keeping this secret. So it is this secret that we must look upon calmly, for the ego cannot protect you against truth, and in its presence the ego is dispelled.
5 In the calm light of truth, let us recognize that you believe you have crucified God's Son. You have not admitted to this "terrible" secret because you still wish to crucify him if you could find him. Yet the wish has hidden him from you because it is very fearful, and you are afraid to find him. You have handled this wish to kill yourself by not knowing who you are and identifying with something else. You have projected guilt blindly and indiscriminately, but you have not uncovered its source. For the ego does want to kill you, and if you identify with it, you must believe its goal is yours.
6 We once said that the crucifixion is the symbol of the ego. When it was confronted with the real guiltlessness of God's Son, it did attempt to kill him, and the reason it gave was that guiltlessness is blasphemous to God. To the ego the ego is god, and guiltlessness must be interpreted as the final guilt which fully justifies murder. You do not yet understand that all your fear of this course stems ultimately from this interpretation, but if you will consider your reactions to it, you will become increasingly convinced that this is so.
7 This course has explicitly stated that its goal for you is happiness and peace. Yet you are afraid of it. You have been told again and again that it will make you free, yet you react as if it is trying to imprison you. Most of the time you dismiss it, but you do not dismiss the ego's thought system. You have seen its results and you still lack faith in it. You must, then, believe that by not learning the course, you are protecting yourself. And you do not realize that it is only your guiltlessness which can protect you.
8 The Atonement has always been interpreted as the release from guilt, and this is correct if it is understood. Yet even when I have interpreted it for you, you have rejected it and have not accepted it for yourself. You have recognized the futility of the ego and its offerings, but though you do not want the ego, you do not look upon the alternative with gladness. You are afraid of redemption, and you believe it will kill you. Make no mistake about the depth of your fear. For you believe that in the presence of truth you will turn on yourself and destroy yourself.
9 Little children, this is not so. Your "guilty secret" is nothing, and if you will but bring it to the light, the light will dispel it. And then no dark cloud will remain between you and the remembrance of your Father, for you will remember His guiltless Son, who did not die, because he is immortal. And you will see that you were redeemed with him and have never been separated from him. In this understanding lies your remembering, for it is the recognition of love without fear. There will be great joy in Heaven on your homecoming, and the joy will be yours. For the redeemed son of man is the guiltless Son of God, and to recognize him is your redemption.