All the religious denominations believe that theirs is the only true faith and that all the others must represent the machinations of the devil. Then it becomes their duty, as organizations, to take whatever steps they can to offset each other and, when they believe themselves threatened, to pray for the elimination of any movement opposed to their creed. Even in our Movement, you will encounter very churchy Christian Scientists who, because of their institutionalized sense of religion, instinctively fear larger religious organizations – which must look to them like competitors of overwhelming magnitude (S&H 563:7 only).
Such misguided people will attribute all their difficulties to "organized malpractice" and urge you to handle it incessantly, as though it were going to require you and all the others you could muster to gang up with God in a desperate battle for survival! This is no plea for apathy. We do not ignore malpractice. But neither must we build it up. There is no Science about engaging in controversy with any denomination, mentally or otherwise. Whoever warns you constantly of Romanism or Judaism or any other ism is the sure victim of his own denominationalism. We don't need a scapegoat in Christian Science. If there is any specific instance of "opposition" that you know of – and we never presume – it must be handled as mortal mind, never as person, place, thing or organization (S&H 405:1 only).
Evil does not work through people, places or things, but appears as people, places or things. So the claim that there is evilly directed mentation appears to you concretely in the only way it could gain acceptance: as evil persons or events. But whether you see it as a troublesome microbe, a fatal accident or a ruthless organization, the claim is simply that there is evil mind manifest as malicious mentation. Where is such malpractice? Exactly where its evidence is. And where is that? Why, where it is appearing as thought, of course. Malpractice is effect, not cause, and if evil results are appearing by way of your universe, they are necessarily what you are thinking, and must be handled as such (Mis. 83:12-19).
How can the claim be my thinking if I do not accept it? Your question implies a contradiction. If you are conscious of a claim, you are accepting it as experience, even if you are theoretically rejecting it. Your universe, good or bad, is what you dub your thinking (Un 8:5-8). You thought mortal mind was the culprit? Indeed, yes. You do not initiate your thinking. Thinking is effect, and your thinking is you. You are always the creature, never the creator, whether in error or in Truth. But aren't people channels for evil sometimes? No, no! Effect does not operate through effect. It is not relayed, transported or transmitted. Effect is cause manifest, and there is nothing ever between cause and effect. Is malpractice, then, never deliberate? Yes, always, for it is the claim of purposeful operation of evil, or mortal mind. But it is not people (Ret. 67:1-3).
No evil can arise in your experience except by your consent, inadvertent though it may be. It is all a matter of acceptance. Evil has no more power in belief for you than you grant it in belief (S&H 234:31-32). Universal redemption is hardly to be achieved through the finding of a corresponding fact to offset each error – an endless task – but through finding the Mind of the universe divine. Merely mentalizing your universe does not transform it in either character or appearance, of course. Instead of lingering at this point, you should at once begin to understand that, ultimately, the only thinking that could actually be going on must be the divine unfoldment of Mind, governed, controlled and directed in keeping with the nature of Mind, Love. The mere enunciation of these facts leaves them impotent as theory; but to really see that evil is inverted good and that mortal mind is divine Mind stated in reverse, good can no longer appear negatively as evil in one's experience, or universe.
This is not an arduous undertaking. Without delving into error, you consider the erroneous form in which existence comes to you at the moment just long enough to correct your interpretation in the light of scientific understanding. To pursue the thread of error farther is to become lost in the labyrinths of belief or misinterpretation, in the vicious circle of finite mentation. Salvation lies not away from the light, but leads directly into the glowing effulgence of radiant Principle. Your thinking is all there is to you and constitutes your consciousness or world. What that thinking is like depends upon what you are accepting as Thinker. With divine Mind as the only Mind to you, the thinking, the world, will be divine (S&H 170:22-24).
Sometimes it is asserted that only by banding together mentally against our adversaries can we hope to combat "the aggregate malpractice of the whole world," as if the realization of divine consciousness were contingent upon numbers of people working together. In support of this contention, Mary Baker Eddy is cited as having told a handful of followers that there were enough of them in the room to convert the world "if we are of one Mind." What she was clearly saying there was that it makes no difference how few of us appear to be thinking rightly, the essential thing is that we think rightly, and that this would be enough. There is no such thing as collective demonstration, and she has warned against raising the belief of confliction by attempting such a thing (My. 292:15-19).
The only Mind is not collective, but individually infinite. Unity is not the basis of demonstration, but the evidence of it. Oneness cannot be a quality shared by many, but must be the literal fact of being, manifest humanly in agreement, cooperation, harmony. Unison is not oneness, and thinking in unison does not mean indivisible Being, but many minds thinking alike. It would be absurd to believe that the larger the number of persons involved, the greater the divine realization, that spiritual force could be increased by increasing numbers, that a bridge of thinkers placed end to end could reach closer to God! What may appear humanly as more and more people thinking rightly would simply be the evidence of Mind's redemptive power in operation. But the realization of Mind does not originate with people. Indeed, we lose sight of people, as such, in proportion as we are experiencing Mind as infinite (S&H 264:15-19).
It is frequently said that such things as weather involve "so much of the universal beliefs of humanity" that the individual can do little about them – and then it is usually added, hopefully, that the "cumulative effect" of one's work is bound to bear fruit eventually! This represents an unfortunate misunderstanding of the very rudiments of Christian Science practice. Weather, understood as a state of Mind, is under the jurisdiction of Principle (S&H 427:23-25). Recognized as the atmosphere of Soul, it can be demonstrated as always perfect, so that it must appear as what is most useful, needful and appropriate to the occasion: rain where water is needed, sun where that is best. As Mrs. Eddy said to Martha Wilcox: "God does not make sultry weather, and if we, through belief, make weather sultry, we must unmake it! The belief of bad weather is as easily healed as the belief of disease."
If you really do understand that it is the power of God with which you are engaged, you will not be thinking of yourself as a frail mortal standing against overwhelming odds (Un. 5:9-13). Can't you see that what you call "the thought of the world" is your own sense of being as collective? The direction of its trend appears to be universal, of course. But must you be reminded again that the individual is forever alone with his own consciousness as the reality of things? The ability to still the tempest is not a lost thing of the past. There is not a successful practitioner today who has not seen the fury of the elements subside before the metaphysics applied. Such instances of divine power humanly attested constitute the scientific proof that demonstration is the inevitable outcome of understanding.
Why should it be thought a thing incredible that we prove God does hold the wind in His fists? Why shouldn't we expect to encounter, ever more frequently, such reassuring evidences of the supremacy of Truth over all physical conditions, however violent or entrenched? The Master at the very time when he was demonstrating strikingly the sustaining and redemptive force of divinity in human affairs, not only prophesied that we too should perform these selfsame feats, but added that we in our turn should do even greater things than these. Now what could be greater than these mighty works of the humble Nazarene? What exactly could exceed the tremendous import of such deeds as the opening of the eyes of the born-blind, the reclamation of the raging dement from the tombs, the restoring to the grieving widow of her son from the very bier of death?
If Jesus met the most desperate human needs individually, and even transcended death itself in his own case, what step remains? If there was not anything which he failed to achieve with the sufferers who called upon him for help, is it not obvious that he must have meant that our demonstration is to be more than merely individual – that it must be universal in scope? "Greater works" necessarily must mean, then, more universal works. We must needs accomplish for the whole world what we would accomplish for ourselves: full salvation (S&H 565:13-18). The new heaven must embrace the new earth and the whole earth. God's rain falls alike upon the just and the unjust, and His rainbow and starry gems must emblazon the sky for all mankind. God's chosen peoples are not races or nations, or even select individuals, but His own idea that is you and I and all others. If this is true, it is humanly demonstrable. If demonstrable, the demonstration is mandatory (S&H 37:22-25).
Jesus even told us how and why this must be so. Speaking impersonally, for all times and peoples, he declared: "He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father." (John 14:12). In other words, Because I turn from matter to Mind, I leave a finite sense of the infinite for the infinite itself, thereby showing you the way (S&H 216:30-1). Thus he did indicate, illustrate and demonstrate unequivocally the means by which we are to see the redemption of our universe, to its uttermost parts. Lest there be any lurking doubt as to his precise meaning, he said, "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me." (John 12:32). We must see for all humanity what we would see for ourselves individually.
We cannot ignore the all-too-obtrusive human tendency to shrink before anything in the way of a universal trouble, a world catastrophe, a general scourge. Yet the simple recognition of who it is and what it is that initiates and carries through all that is really done – that God is the impulsion, power and substance manifest in Christian Science healing – does away with that frightened sense of one against many. Either world problems are bigger than God or else they are not. Which is it? Your answer is inescapable. Regaining the correct perspective, it is readily seen that the claim to magnitude on the part of evil adds not one whit of reality to its seeming power and presence (S&H 563:7 only).
Nothing that error might claim could in any way contribute to its fictitious substantiality or potency, increase its stature or convert its essential nothingness into somethingness. Error is real only from the standpoint of error, and that which seems to be but is not disappears just in the ratio that we turn to the conscious Principle of all being as our basis of thought and action. Since God alone is Mind, to be of this Mind is to exchange finite concepts for the divine consciousness (S&H 531:12-13). This is the Pentecostal day, in the light of which we find ourselves truly "all with one accord in one place" – the accord not attunement to each other but accord with Principle, the only place that is inclusive divine consciousness (S&H 304:16-18). When Mrs. Eddy said that there were enough of them right there to accomplish total redemption, she was making the unequivocal statement that it matters not how few of us there may appear to be standing for Principle, since the essential thing is that we are so standing. It is not a question of how many of us are working toward righteousness, but of how we are working. Oneness, not togetherness, is the point (Mis. 264:10-12).
It is not, then, concerted effort which we are called upon to exercise, but a correct attitude. Divine power is not multiplied by numbers, but it is amplified for us by clarification. Familiarity with the fundamental teachings of Christian Science precludes the acceptance of the belief, sometimes advocated, in the efficacy of minds many working together as a body to accomplish something, however desirable. Aside from the danger of confliction involved in any attempt to bring many minds into agreement, the basic fact must not be lost sight of that Mind is individual because indivisible; that is, not numerical but infinite, being by nature single instead of collective. Thinking in unison is not one Mind. Oneness can only be demonstrated as One (My 239:17 only).
Significantly, Mrs. Eddy writes that she has abandoned any notion that strength lies in unification, having come to see that human strength is derived from the divine unity that is Mind's indivisible infinity (Mis 138:17-19). The demonstration of the power of right knowing does not originate in nor spring from human unity; on the contrary, unity results from or is the demonstration of real understanding, manifesting as it does Mind's infinity. Human unity is effect, not cause. Absolutely speaking, there is only one thinker, whom we call "God," and our every conclusion to be scientific must not depart from this premise. Individual being is, perforce, the one Being individualized. Divine Mind does not depend upon a few people, or upon many people; it does not depend upon people at all.
In the official report of the second annual meeting of the National Christian Science Association, it is recorded that a student asked whether we should take literally or figuratively the Bible story of Abraham's prayer, that if fifty, or even ten righteous men could be found in Sodom, that city should be saved from destruction. Mrs. Eddy replied that the story was allegorical, but did convey an important metaphysical point: namely, that salvation was in proportion to moral weight. A life or a nation is saved, she said, in proportion to the predominance within of purity and right motives. To the extent that the concept called Sodom City embodied reality, it would stand – or "be saved" – but not otherwise. In other words, it is not the quantity of thought, but the quality of thought, with which we are concerned (Journal, Vol.5, p.99).
The prayer of the righteous – a state of thinking – does indeed avail much, despite any seeming, for the realization of the allness and onlyness of God is the individualization of infinite power. Those students who are active in the work of the Movement are convinced that Christian Science is today leavening world thought, in an age when all human means and methods have signally failed. Should the practical evidence thereof in human experience seem at the moment somewhat meager, this does not disconcert the alert worker, whose conclusions are never based on the vagaries of human belief. Indeed, such a challenge to the genuine Scientist serves only as a stimulus to more consecrated endeavor, as he continues to walk unfalteringly into the spreading dawn that is the sure harbinger of God's glorious day for all His children.
The Christian Scientist is in no sense an isolationist, for he knows that he cannot segregate himself from his universe (S&H 259:3-5). This is not only true metaphysically, but it is becoming more and more apparent in human experience every day as the consolidation and coordination of one world. Materially, this seems to come through speedier transportation and more rapid communication erasing national border lines; politically, it is appearing as the dissolution of national, racial and geographical barriers through world cooperation rather than selfish competition, with international order rather than international anarchy the goal. How else could the brotherhood of man appear?
The whole trend of civilization's progress, as attested by irrevocable history, has been toward the recognition of the world as a unit, with a consequent breaking down of national, racial, political and religious barriers, proving that "one infinite God, good, unifies men and nations." (S&H 340:23-29). The story of the Good Samaritan advances a principle, not merely a sentiment. In the parable, Love coming as the Samaritan puts to shame the Priest that is bigotry (whether national, racial or religious), as well as the Levite of vested interests. The whining selfishness that is materiality asks, Am I my brother's keeper? The answer is an inexorable, Yes!
Is Germany "over there"? Is there anything of Germany, France or India for you which does not come as a form of awareness, a state of mentation, an experience of thought? The only place is the all-embracing here of consciousness. Your premise remains ever the same. Nothing is out yonder. If these things appear to you in any way, they must be thought and so are your responsibility. Everything you know as Europe or Asia, with all the ramifications, is constituted of consciousness and so is subject to the power that is originally and ultimately divine. As for war, does it make any difference to omnipotent Principle that the claim is a person's anger or the anger of a billion persons – seeing that the claim is anger and not persons at all?
All that you designate as the Great World War, with its bitter conflict, its frightful devastation, its tragic aftermath, must be operating as thought where you are thinking. You are not deceived by the claim that there is malice, whether appearing as one person or a million. In the very last and only right analysis, all that is meant by countries or races, money, mountains or mammals, is God appearing in His own majestic nature and character. To see this clearly is to unmask the claim that there is evil mentation going on which would misrepresent all the facts of being, so that this claim can be disposed of in the inevitable reversal of Mind's negation. Must this not seal the Pandora box on conflict and controversy?
Since the above was written, the age of atomic fission has burst upon us with all its staggering potentialities for devastation and/or achievement. With the dropping of the epoch-making bomb on Hiroshima, the world is brought up sharply to re-evaluate its position and to revise its basic concepts of being, for in the splitting of the atom – the irreducible essence of matter – matter per se disappears entirely and energy alone is left. This energy is, of course, the one and only power as we see it. In the case of uranium explosions over Japan, this power appears as both destructive and constructive; destructive to the aggressive war machine of Nippon and constructive to the institution of international peace. It is not a little poetic that the disintegration of matter results in the integration of humanity, for it compels mankind to find a solid unity in universal brotherhood, or else perish.
How can you begin to save your world without acknowledging at the outset that it is, in its entirety, subject to the demonstrable (if not yet demonstrated) law of divine Principle? (My 210:9-11). The impossibility of any evil aspect to being can be proved, and to admit this is to begin to witness evil's disappearance through Truth revealed. Accepting God as the sum and substance of all appearance is to enter upon omniscience. Such omniscience cannot come to you as personal superiority, but only as the finding of your true, spiritual selfhood in God as Principle.
"God's being is infinity, freedom, harmony, and boundless bliss." (S&H 481:3-4). What says this? What knows it? What proves it? Mind. This that is Mind is limitless in its capacity for active, present satisfying realization in every direction, and this that is the realization (and which I call myself) of reality is boundless, free, harmonious and eternally joyous, here and forever. In this that is infinite, pure, unfettered Spirit, there is nothing to obscure, obstruct, divert, delay, pervert, misrepresent or misinterpret all the glorious verities of Mind's infinite variety, and there is certainly nothing external to all-constituting consciousness to imperil or even challenge Soul's confident sovereignty.
"Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." (Revelation 3:20). Only where the Voice of Truth is acknowledged can it be heard. Your study here has been the experiencing of Mind as revelation. It is immaculate unfoldment – but only as you recognize it. Even though it may seem at the moment to come to you from someone else, it must be authenticated as pure Mind's communion. If you would profit by all this, you must concede it to be a divine event. Do not belittle it by considering it a human episode. By now, you surely could not rob Mind by calling it matter? Through scientific perception, or right identification, you can establish this as the priceless gift of God. Appreciation alone gives you permanent recourse to the inexhaustible resources of Mind, guaranteeing total salvation.
"Jesus said, Let him who seeks cease [not] until he find, and when he finds he shall be astonished; astonished he shall reach the kingdom, and having reached the kingdom, he shall rest. The kingdom of heaven is with you and whosoever shall know himself shall find it. Strive therefore to know yourselves, and ye shall know that ye are in the city of God, and ye are that city." (From an ancient manuscript found at Oxyrhynchus in Egypt, by the Egypt Exploration Fund, and approved by Mary Baker Eddy in the Christian Science Journal, Vol. 16, p. 114).