I am a regular contributor to the Danbury News Times Forum on Faith column, which is also picked up by the Connecticut Post and the Stamford Advocate. You can read it online here, and here and here, respectively. Today’s article is about evil.
Please note that I do not choose these titles, and in the actual newspaper and online versions, they changed my appropriate Christian Science capitalizations for names of God – Life, Truth, Love, Mind, Soul, Spirit, Principle– to lower case, which is not only unfortunate and incorrect, but I feel is also misleading and confusing. Below is the correct version, without that mistake in place.
Do Your Part to Overcome Evil: Prefer Good
Evil is a troubling concept in theology. We don’t have to look as far as ISIS or Ebola to find scary atrocities; we all live too close to Sandy Hook Elementary School to think that evil is only something that happens to other people. It appears to be everywhere, and if it is not actively pouncing, then we fear it is lurking in the shadows.
I used to be an atheist for many reasons, but one of them was that if there was a God, why would evil be created, allowed, and condoned?
It is quite common to believe that God is good, and perfect, and does not change, but I could not accept what many people simultaneously believe: that God allows evil. This seemed inconsistent to me. Those two points of view are the antithesis of each other, and cannot be reconciled.
It wasn’t until I entertained the concept of God described in Christian Science that I found an understanding of Deity that I could embrace.
In Christian Science, God is identified primarily as infinite, all-powerful, ever-present, and good; the term God is also considered interchangeable with seven synonyms: Life, Truth, Love, Mind, Soul, Spirit, and Principle. I definitely did believe in Life, and Truth, and Love!
But when deeply contemplating these concepts as Christian Science uses them, it became clear to me that if Life, Truth and Love are an infinite, ever-present, supreme power, that fact obliterates the possibility of anything opposed to God.
I was relieved to discover that Christian Science teaches that good is natural and normal and that evil is illegitimate and abnormal. Evil is not, after all, an indestructible entity that we have to put up with by design. It cannot ultimately prevail when faced with God’s all-power.
Christian Science explains that since like springs from like, the emanation of God cannot be God’s unlikeness. Evil is not remotely divine, and has no place in the kingdom of heaven.
In her book, which changed my life, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy claims, “God, good, being ever present, it follows in divine logic that evil, the suppositional opposite of good, is never present.”
So why does it seem to be present? In Christian Science, evil is seen to be a false concept of what the Bible calls “the carnal mind,” and teaches that everyone has dominion over the evil in their own consciousness, if only they will exercise that by choosing against sin in every circumstance.
Since Christian Science identifies sin as behaving in a way not aligned with God, our focus becomes one of casting evil out of our own thought and actions, and instead, to consciously express the countless positive qualities and attributes of God in every way possible.
I believe that when this approach is compounded among each and every last person on the planet, we can finally experience the kingdom of heaven on earth collectively. Although I can’t hurry the day by waiting for everyone else to do their part, I can do mine. It has been my joy through learning about God in Christian Science to be a little more alert each day to the supremacy of good in the world.
So when something terrible happens, it surely helps me to know that it is definitely not God’s will. To me, it is often about unenlightened choices or a straying from God’s will. This perspective helps me have compassion, and to become part of the solution instead of gaping fearfully and helplessly at the future.
As a Christian Scientist, I am convinced that every last person will make it –whether fast or slow, here or hereafter– to the kingdom of heaven, since God is an all-powerful redeemer that never fails.
I think we will all ultimately experience evil as impotent, because we will each realize that we prefer to do and experience the will of divine good. I am trying to do my part, and I am confident you can do yours. I believe divine Love is supporting, guiding, and guarding us in this effort.
By Polly Castor, a Christian Science Practitioner, who is a member of First Church of Christ, Scientist, Ridgefield. She can be reached at PollyCastor@gmail.com