Conventional: The state or status of someone who has broken the legal code, the ethical code or the law of God (we will call this the state of guilt). An inner experience of the state of guilt, a feeling which says you are bad because you sinned (the feeling of guilt).
ACIM: The emotional experience of the belief that a) because you committed a sin, b) you have made yourself into a bad person and c) deserve punishment and death. Guilt’s ultimate basis is the belief that a) we attacked and separated from God (see separation), thus b) murdered our divine innocence and turned ourselves into egos, who now c) deserve death and hell. This belief is utterly false, for a) we are incapable of sinning or separating, b) cannot remake ourselves and c) cannot die. Hence, there is no such thing as the state of guilt. There is only the unfounded feeling of guilt. Guilt is at the core of our experience here. It maintains linear time, for it rests on past mistakes and demands future punishment (see T-13.I.8-9). It made the physical world, which is why the world constantly seems to be punishing us (see T-13.In.2-4). It is the essence of our perception of the world. It is the sole cause of all pain. We think that feeling guilt is honest humility which motivates us to obey God’s laws. Yet guilt is purely an ego device for arrogantly demonstrating that we are separate from God and should fear Him. Guilt maintains the ego’s existence. For this reason, the ego is attracted to guilt (see attraction of guilt). Thus, the ego tells us to “sin” in order to obtain certain pleasures, to attack in order to find safety, and to project guilt onto others in order to rid ourselves of guilt. Yet the real motivation behind all of these, and their real result, is the accumulation of more guilt. Since guilt is the only thing that keeps us from God, the journey home consists entirely of teaching and learning the unreality of guilt through forgiveness. See T-5.V.