My Forum on Faith Article is in three Connecticut newspapers today. The point of these articles is to learn something about various faith traditions. I’m asked to write one about twice a year. You can read my past newspaper articles here; there are 66 on this blog since it was started, and countess more before that! You can read today’s current one on line here, here, or here, or in this post below:
Equality and the Power of a Premise
I appreciate that Christian Science relies on logic, God’s goodness, and the of equality of all mankind.
Christian Scientists start with the first chapter of Genesis in the Bible, where God made both male and female in God’s own image and likeness, proclaiming each of us to be equally and without exception, “very good.”
Logically, we know that a premise follows through into the conclusion. For example, when starting with 2+2=5 , an error will result in the end of your math problem, whereas beginning with the correct math facts will pass through to a correct answer. Christian Science teaches that this same law of logic applies to theology.
Starting out with the first chapter of Genesis, we are God-like, very good, thoroughly known and approved of, expressing and manifesting all the qualities and attributes of God. This dominion and spiritual heritage was bestowed equally, with each of us uniquely needed and treasured, designed to honor God. This premise follows through to a conclusion where we all are inevitably welcomed into heaven, harmony, and joy, leaving no one out.
There is another story of creation in the Bible that starts after that, in the second chapter in Genesis. This second account is the Adam and Eve version of creation, which Christian Scientists take to be a cautionary allegory, and not fact. In this alternative premise, man and woman are not equal and wonderful, but disobedient, ashamed, material, contentious, and blameworthy.
This alternative premise leads to strife of every kind, disappointment, punishment and banishment, followed by death, and even possibly hell. Unfortunately for the peace of our world, this second version has been more universally accepted; we are expected to fail and to fall. Christian Scientists reject that premise in favor of the first.
In the words of Mary Baker Eddy, the movement’s founder, “It would be contrary to our highest ideas of God to suppose Him capable of first arranging law and causation so as to bring about certain evil results, and then punishing the helpless victims of His volition for doing what they could not avoid doing.”
Christian Scientists start instead with the original, all-good premise, and submit that the world would be as God designed it, if others would as well. What if all of us were individually and collectively endeavoring to express our highest spiritual sense of self all the time, and looked for and upheld each other doing that as well? It is apparent there would be a very different conclusion.
Christian Science defines God as both Father and Mother, as infinite Life, Truth, and Love. That means that each of us is made of love, is lovable, and capable of expressing love. Each of us has an equal part in the benevolent inheritance of infinite, ever-present good. We strive to look to God more than self, and to overcome lower tendencies with God’s help.
To do this, Christian Scientists “must renounce aggression, oppression and the pride of power.” It may seem like we lose something doing that, but with this first chapter of Genesis premise, there is no envying, dissension, bigotry, superiority or conflict. God has all the power, divine Love meets each of our needs directly, and we all reflect that equally, immersed as we are in impartial good.
This quote by Mary Baker Eddy in her classic book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, sums up the global blessing of this refreshing perspective, “One infinite God, good, unifies men and nations; constitutes the brotherhood of man; ends wars; fulfills the Scripture, “Love thy neighbor as thyself;” annihilates pagan and Christian idolatry, — whatever is wrong in social, civil, criminal, political, and religious codes; equalizes the sexes; annuls the curse on man, and leaves nothing that can sin, suffer, be punished or destroyed.
Christian Scientists earnestly pray for the realization of our God-given goodness and equality. We work for that within ourselves and to have it brought out in all of our dealings. Mutual respect and cooperation, based on how God has made us, in God’s own image and likeness, is our standpoint. We celebrate each one’s important and blessed inclusion in the human family, all parented well by the one Father/Mother God, who is divine Love.
What premise are you choosing? What result will follow?
Polly Castor is a Christian Science Practitioner, and member of First Church of Christ, Scientist, Ridgefield. She can be reached at PollyCastor@gmail.com