We live in a time of unprecedented “connectedness” throughout most of the world. Never before in history has humanity had access to the plethora of ideas, philosophies, opinions, medical hypotheses, religious and non-religious views that a simple “click” on the Internet or a cable TV remote will nearly instantly provide.
There’s no doubt that this wealth of information can provide a richness to our understanding of the world we live in.
But, as Christian Scientists, what’s our responsibility toward this constant input of views? Obviously, we need to be praying about the challenges that our world faces.
However, what about ourselves? Is this influx in any way adversely affecting us?
Mary Baker Eddy wisely counseled Christian Scientists about the importance of watching and praying—about the need to be alert and awake:
The members of this Church should daily watch and pray to be delivered from all evil, from prophesying, judging, condemning, counseling, influencing or being influenced erroneously. (Church Manual, p. 40)
Given her statement, can we risk thinking that it is not of paramount importance to pay attention to the flood-tides of information being presented to our thought?
Remember, Jesus told his followers:
16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. (Matthew 10:16)
The Master was clearly aware of the need to be alert and not fall into the traps that evil—error, the carnal mind, mortal mind—would lay for us. And it is the alertness and awareness of spiritual discernment—sourced entirely in God—that lifts us above those pitfalls. That keeps us from being erroneously influenced.
If Christian Science is the Science of Being—and it is—then we need to be very clear as to what that means, and who we are as Christian Scientists. How can we heal effectively—based solely on the principles of Christian Science—if we are letting other forms of religious and secular philosophies enter unchallenged into our thinking? And since healing is at the core of this religion, we can’t afford to be naïve in any way to the strong attempts of error to try to encroach on our thought with suggestions such as: “This sounds very similar.” Or “Meditating is just like prayer.” Or “Look, they believe in God, too!”
I understand that, to a certain degree, all of these may appear to be true—but sounding or looking similar, does not make them the same as Christian Science.
We need to ask ourselves: Are we inadvertently seeking validation—as if healing the sick and reforming the sinner weren’t enough—by trying to find alignment with a variety of very different philosophies? Philosophies which may even be diametrically opposed to the foundations of Christian Science—philosophies such as New Age thought, psychology, mindfulness, and Buddhism, to name a few.
Let’s not kid ourselves here! There is no connection or similarity to Christian Science with any of these.
Eddy wrote in The First Church of Christ, Scientist and Miscellany (p. 119):
Think not that Christian Science tends towards Buddhism or any other “ism.” Per contra, Christian Science destroys such tendency.
Strong words, indeed! Nevertheless, essential.
Because our Bible Lessons frequently cite one or both of the following sentences from Science and HeaIth (p. 249), I think that we’re all familiar with them:
Let us feel the divine energy of Spirit, bringing us into newness of life and recognizing no mortal nor material power as able to destroy. Let us rejoice that we are subject to the divine “powers that be.”
But are we equally familiar with the one that immediately follows these healing truths?
Any other theory of Life, or God, is delusive and mythological.
We might feel a little uncomfortable with the clarity and directness of this statement—especially in light of today’s cultural atmosphere in which every philosophy, regardless of its intent, is promoted, admired, and respected.
Yet it comes down to this: if we are truly striving to be followers of Jesus and Mary Baker Eddy, we don’t get to pick and choose which aspects of Truth we’re going to accept. It needs to be the whole, seamless cloth.
The success of our healing work—and our Church’s forward movement, as well as the salvation of mankind—depend on it.