Over the years, the word “illusion” has taken on an almost benign connotation. Think about that for a moment.
Folks watch stage magicians perform their oftentimes remarkable illusions. We regularly see the mirage of water appearing on the roadways on a hot day. And we live in a period when nearly every movie or TV program uses CGI (computer-generated imagery) or green screen effects to create the illusion of the actors or personalities being in an environment that is entirely without reality. In fact, every time you look at the weatherperson on TV you’re witnessing and partaking of this technology.
To be sure, it can often be quite realistic and fool the casual observer causing them to suspend their disbelief and accept the unreal for the real. It can be very entertaining, cost-effective, and even a very useful tool in communicating ideas.
So—what’s the problem?
Well, in Christianly-scientific metaphysical terms, “illusion” is anything but benign. It is the deception of error—the vehicle that is designed to deceive us. It leads humanity into false conclusions about existence—about who we are and who God is. Illusions that attempt to reverse the reality of being by claiming that matter is real and that Spirit—God—is the ephemeral, the illusion, the insubstantial.
It is nothing short of insidious!
And just as the magician achieves his or her “success” by distracting us into believing the deception, so too does error attempt to deflect our thought from that which is real—that which is of God—and have us focus on the illusion: the claims of mortality, of life and intelligence in matter. Of a finite existence. Of separation from our Creator.
And each of these lies would have us believe the blasphemy—and let’s call the lie what it is!—that God is not omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, and omni-active, and that man is not His perfect idea. The perfect idea that is whole and complete at every moment!
But unlike the performance of the illusionist, the effects of believing these illusions—the deceptions of material sense—are disastrous to our health, well-being, and harmony.
So, when you’re next reading any of the 103 occurrences of the word “illusion” or its variants in Science and Health, be alert to not gloss over it and instead strive to recognize the true meaning of the word—a word that is devoid of benevolence or goodness.
And here’s one such instance that you might want to ponder and take to heart (Science and Health, p. 214):
We bow down to matter, and entertain finite thoughts of God like the pagan idolater. Mortals are inclined to fear and to obey what they consider a material body more than they do a spiritual God. All material knowledge, like the original “tree of knowledge,” multiplies their pains, for mortal illusions would rob God, slay man, and meanwhile would spread their table with cannibal tidbits and give thanks.
Nope—nothing benign or entertaining there!