Whats Necessary About Religion?
Neil H. Bowles, C.S.B., of
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
The lecturer spoke substantially as follows:
With all the expansive thinking and mental upheaval that's going on in the world today, it's only natural that religion should be coming into its full share of scrutiny and criticism. Indeed, with some it's more than scrutiny and criticism. People are boldly expressing their doubts as to religion's practicality and relevance to present-day life.
Why? Frankly because they haven't found rational answers to their questions about religion, nor have they seen the practical worth of its teachings demonstrated. A new generation is skeptical about their parents' faith and are asking, "How do you know there's a God?" Even prominent clergymen are questioning their own faith, even its moral teachings. In fact, people of all shades of thought are putting the spotlight of reason on religion.
It's being freely said today that traditional religion has failed. It's said to be declining and that it will continue to decline. Some even say it's irrational to believe in religion. What they really mean is that it's irrational to believe in God.
It's not entirely true that religion has failed. Through the centuries religion has made substantial contributions to humanity, despite the many conflicting concepts of it and its turbulent history. Even the skeptic will usually admit this. But, we all must agree, it can't be said that traditional religion has really taught men how to gain protection, health, and peace from God, the things men originally sought from Deity. Can it be said that religion has stopped wars? Or crime? Why hasn't religion stopped them? Has Christendom by its own conduct given evidence to the atheistic social and political systems that it has been genuinely concerned with suffering humanity on a meaningful scale? Or that its religion is rational and practical, even necessary?
The plain fact is that traditional religion has been preaching faith in God without presenting a concept of Deity that ordinary people can recognize as rational a concept that in turn would produce a spiritual climate and a healthier, more peaceful race. Yet who can doubt that the production of a more spiritual climate and of a healthier, more peaceful race are the works the Apostle James referred to when he bluntly said, "But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?" (James 2:20).
The deepest respect is due to the labors of many dedicated individuals and groups, but as most religionists would be the first to admit, religion has not succeeded in doing nearly enough about the suffering and strife in the world today. Why? Because people have really never understood God, and many have been told that they are never to know God. That drives thinkers away from religions that preach like this. Naturally they ask, "How can what is never to be understood be of any use to me?"
How could the chemist work in chemistry without understanding the subject? The clothes we wear today are often completely synthetic, the product of chemistry. Without an understanding of the basic workings of chemistry those fabrics could not be produced. Well, how intelligent is it for us to expect religion to produce practical evidence of its relevance to human problems without our having an understanding of its basic Principle which must be God? So perhaps it's not altogether to be wondered at that many people have come to think of religion as only an emotional experience and as something impractical and very far removed from daily living. All of us who are interested in religion must regretfully recognize this.
But there's a necessity for religion, a crying necessity for it. It's the greatest necessity in the world, and that necessity is to explain God and to demonstrate this deific power as relevant to human life over the widest possible area.
God's True Nature as Principle
So let's sec what God, the basic Principle of religion, actually is. Let's start our explanation from the standpoint of answering atheism, because it's not an uncommon thing to encounter atheism today even in countries where religion is encouraged.
I recently had a highly intelligent and well educated man tell me he had never believed in God. He wasn't hostile toward religion. He said he just didn't understand how there could be a God. He couldn't accept what he'd been taught about God. He said that only what he could take in through the physical senses was real to him. That's the great stumbling block for many people. What they don't see with their eyes they don't believe. But I think in some ways that's understandable until reason and practical demonstration show people otherwise.
This man went on to say that what he'd heard taught about God didn't make sense to him it didn't appeal to his intelligence. I told him I knew of many concepts of God that didn't appeal to my intelligence either but my own concept of God did. Then I asked him if he believed there are laws governing the motion of celestial bodies and that they had been discovered. He agreed. I asked him if he agreed that it took intelligence to discover and work with those laws, and did he further agree those laws could be considered intelligible? He agreed with both points. So here we had two points of agreement: that something could be intelligible that isn't taken in through the physical senses, and that intelligent reasoning could discover something the physical senses couldn't cognize.
We went on with this line of thought and agreed that there must be an unseen law by which the movements of each star, planet, sun, and constellation in the entire physical universe can be explained. And finally, we agreed that it's reasonable to conclude that the action of everything in the physical universe, including mankind, could be explained in terms of such an unseen law. In other words we both of us believed in unseen but intelligible law.
Of course, right there I told him that the unseen law I believed in is absolute, immutable, and spiritual. It's really the law of God, the causative, sustaining, and governing Principle of all reality. And this law holds God's creation in perpetual order and harmony.
My friend said he wasn't quite sure he understood my explanation of God as the Principle of man and the universe; yet it was the first explanation of God that appealed to his intelligence, and he wanted further explanation.
At this point it's important to understand that what appears as physical law and admits of discord in man and the universe isn't the law of God, or divine Principle. Indeed, reason should tell anyone that discord and disaster have nothing to do with Principle and law. If you'll reason about it, you'll see that the natural effects of Principle and law are order and harmony.
But ignorance of God as the creative and governing Principle of all that really exists has caused men to misinterpret creation and call the universe material and its so-called laws variable. These misconceptions of God, man, and the universe, like any misconceptions, are the producers of their own apparent discordant effects, both visible and otherwise. By this I mean that the discords and imperfections of the physical universe and material existence are the manifestations of mankind's ignorance of God. A correct understanding of the spiritual nature of the universe and its laws reveals the harmony that has never really been disturbed.
Our Starting Point in the Bible
Well, in answer to my atheist friend's request for further explanations this is how I began. For the Christian Scientist, any discussion that's aimed at gaining an understanding of God must have its start in the Bible. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, spent many years making a comprehensive and detailed study of the Scriptures. The result was her discovery of the divine Science contained in their inspired teachings. In fact the religion she founded is largely an educational system based on the spiritual and scientific facts revealed to her in her study of the Bible. And the textbook she wrote is entitled "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures."
It's true, the Bible, as many of us know it, isn't in present-day language. And that's perhaps one reason why some people have shied away from the word God. The inadequacy of human terms to define the divine has seemed to obscure the true nature of God. Nevertheless the Bible was originally conceived by highly discerning men with spiritual insight. They were really spiritual researchers spiritual discoverers and their writings need to be spiritually and scientifically interpreted.
As a result of their deep thought and desire for enlightenment, these early seers discerned that God, the divine Being, is the causative and governing creator, source, or Principle, of man and the universe. God, you see, was the earliest name given to that creative power, which Christian Science teaches is the causative and governing Principle of man and the universe. When you come to understand that God and true causation are one and the same, you'll then have the answer to the question, "What started all this the universe and man?"
Those ancient writers knew what they were talking about. The very first sentence in the Bible reads, "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth" (Genesis 1:1). So the first mention we find of God refers to Him as creator, cause, or Principle of the universe. And this concept of God isn't just a theory or abstraction. It can be understood and demonstrated; the word Principle implies that.
Science and Health also contains a chapter entitled "Genesis." This chapter has an explanation of the word beginning. It reads: "The infinite has no beginning. This word beginning is employed to signify the only, that is, the eternal verity and unity of God and man, including the universe. The creative Principle Life, Truth, and Love is God" (p. 502). Well, of course you can see that Principle is without beginning or ending. It has always existed. It just had to be discovered.
A Fully Scientific Definition of God
It's important to emphasize here that Christian Science is a scientific discovery. It's strictly Christian too, because it's based completely on the teachings of Christ Jesus.
Jesus used terms for God that describe God's nature and character. He referred to God as Father and Spirit. Now he certainly didn't think of God, Spirit, as being like a human father with a world full of mortal children. Thinking people rebel against such teaching, and they should. Clearly Jesus considered God to be source, cause, and Principle. He said, "But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth" (John ).
There's nothing in the Bible to lead one to believe that Jesus thought of God having a physical body or personality, and yet for centuries people believed in a God like that. But scientifically interpreted the term Father refers to God as source or cause, as creative Principle, and the term Spirit refers to the substance of God.
Through Mrs. Eddy's study of the Bible God's complete nature and essence were revealed to her. She describes God with seven synonymous terms. Each of these terms has Biblical support. Through these terms the word God takes on expanded meaning, and every aspect of His nature becomes understandable. These terms are Mind, Spirit, Soul, Principle, Life, Truth, Love. Each of these terms describes a distinct facet of God's nature. Each term, as used in Christian Science, is a complete name for God. So each term spiritually understood describes the nature and essence of the divine Principle of man and the universe.
I'd like to consider with you just one way the world already accepts divine Principle as a standard to live by; and yet comparatively few people know that they do accept it. How many people who say they don't believe in God would knowingly trust a crooked businessman, banker, or lawyer? Wouldn't they insist on dealing with a highly principled man? Whether they believe in God or not, they demand certain standards as safeguards to their affairs. Even human codes demand penalties for unprincipled conduct.
Well, where did Christendom's standards of conduct originally come from? They came from the Ten Commandments and from Jesus' Sermon on the Mount. They came because Moses and Jesus discerned that God, or divine Principle, is the source of life and the governor of it; and these spiritual seers set down rules for human living that would help men to be conscious of and respond to the government of divine Principle. The Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount have been waymarks through the centuries for the Hebrew and Christian people.
So the thing we call principled behavior in human relationships and worldwide commerce is really based on the divine Principle that is God. Without the control of its unseen law there would be complete chaos in the world. Wouldn't you say that these demands for right conduct that have their origin in religious teachings are an absolute necessity?
Now what have we seen thus far? We've seen that the religion of Christian Science accepts the inspired Word of the Bible as the basis of its teachings. In fact, it considers the Bible to contain rules for scientific study and application. And we've seen that it teaches an enlightened understanding of God.
Christian Science does, indeed, offer this rational and intelligible explanation of God's real nature. We've seen that it takes a number of terms to completely describe the divine nature and essence; but in this lecture we've been concerned primarily with coming to sec God as the living Principle of all true spiritual being, governing and sustaining the universe through spiritual law.
We have to understand that this divine Principle is all-intelligent; that it's spiritual, yet substantive; that it's pure, indestructible, and good. And the not least important point to understand of Principle and its law is this scientific fact, which follows logically: the all-pervading nature of Principle precludes the existence of any other power, presence, or source, able to introduce discord into God's universe.
So, now we've taken a look at God in a way that awakened the interest of my atheist friend; and I hope this view of God may have done the same for any of you who have been asking the same questions. Next, let's get on to see that religion besides being rational is also practical to learn how to apply the understanding of God as divine Principle and of His laws to the solution of human problems. This is the second phase of religion's necessity.
Our Basis for Applying God's Law
Application of God's law starts from divine Principle, so perhaps we should do a little more reasoning on the nature of divine Principle. And you think with me.
Certainly we can understand that Principle is self-sustained. It doesn't take anything extraneous to itself to sustain itself. Like Truth, it wasn't made; it is, because it is. It is absolute, unopposed always present. It isn't something that comes and goes. When we want to employ its divine laws, it's always right at hand. We don't have to put Principle into action it is omniaction.
Remember, I mentioned earlier, when we were discussing the synonymous terms Christian Science employs to describe the nature of God, that these terms also describe the nature of divine Principle. One of these terms is Mind. So Principle is also divine Mind. Now the nature of divine Mind is to communicate or unfold its ideas. This is also the nature of divine Principle. It is ceaselessly unfolding or communicating all ideas and laws.
Well, since Principle implies something to be understood and demonstrated, we don't just beseech Principle to do something for us. We've seen that Principle is omni-active, is eternally communicating itself. Those who learn something of divine Principle are able to utilize its ceaseless unfolding of intelligence. And when this intelligence is applied to human problems, it solves them. But one must be in tune with this Principle in order to hear its unending communications and be governed by its laws.
Then the question comes: "How do you get in tune with divine Principle?" Let's think about this tuning-in process as a method of praying, because prayer has always been associated with the term God and with communication between God and men. The word prayer holds a special significance to millions seeking comfort and release from suffering and from all the other frustrations of mortal existence.
I know that to others prayer is associated with belief in a sort of magic and its effectiveness is doubted, even ridiculed. But I referred to prayer as a method. Mrs. Eddy discovered Jesus' method of prayer, and with it she repeated his demonstrations of spiritual power.
This method of prayer might be described as a tuning-in process, became in a certain way it's like tuning the dial of your radio or television to a frequency carrying a program of beautiful music. When your set is in tune with the station carrying the program, you hear the music.
Well, divine Principle is omniaction, the All-in-all of action. When you're in rapport with that divine action that is, when your thought is open or receptive to its harmonious, ceaseless activity this activity becomes a corrective to whatever is in need of healing or adjustment in your human experience.
How Jesus Prayed
In order that we may understand this method of prayer more completely, let's consider together how Jesus prayed. He didn't beseech God for favors. A study of the Gospels shows you that. His referring to God as Father, Spirit, and Truth, shows he didn't think of God as a personalized deity with an auditory nerve whom he had to implore for help.
As many of you know, there's an account in the gospel of John that relates how Jesus restored to life a man named Lazarus who had been in the grave for four days. The account reads, "And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me" (John ,42).
Here is a method of prayer the world hasn't understood. It has thought of Jesus as talking to God as one would carry on a conversation with another human being. Well, the account goes on to say, "And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth" (John ). And Lazarus did. And Jesus commanded those around to help Lazarus out of his grave-clothes and set him free.
Now Jesus taught his followers how to pray. And we should note here how he prayed. He didn't say, "Dear God, please restore this man to life again, his family needs him." He didn't beseech God for help the way people did. He said, "Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me"' (John ,42).
Jesus' method of prayer, then, was his recognition and acknowledgment of the all-power of divine Principle and an intelligent use of that power. Jesus had called God Father. He fully understood and proved that God, the Father, is the perfect Principle of all life and the governor of all life. To put it in a very simple way Jesus understood divine Principle, so he was able to use its divine law to solve human problems.
The world greatly needs to understand the nature of Jesus' life and his use of spiritual power. It's understandable of course that Jesus' life and the things he did are not comprehensible to people who aren't spiritually perceptive.
But it was his life purpose to show men the power of the divine influence on human life and how to demonstrate the Principle that is Life itself. This he did. And it's now the responsibility and necessity of religion to interpret that divine Principle to humanity.
It was Jesus' clear understanding of God as the creative cause and Principle of man and the universe that earned for him the divine titles of Christ, Wayshower, and Saviour. Mrs. Eddy refers to Jesus' understanding of God as the Christ, Truth. The Christ, Truth, presents the absolute spiritual facts of man and the universe.
In Science and Health, Mrs. Eddy defines the word Christ as "The divine manifestation of God, which comes to the flesh to destroy incarnate error" (p. 583). What was the nature of that divine manifestation? Through Jesus' strict adherence to divine Principle, his only religion, and the application of its divine law to human problems, the divine manifestation of God came as answered prayer producing healing and other mighty works.
When Jesus prayed and said, "I knew that thou hearest me always," he indicated clearly by the tenor of his words that his prayer was a method of communication between God and himself; it was his recognition of and response to the divine facts. He also clearly showed that his God wasn't going to leave him dangling in uncertainty with unanswered prayers. The God that is divine Principle, Love, isn't like that.
Jesus' method of prayer, then, was to acknowledge the all-power of God, divine Principle. Acknowledging the all-power of God, he denied the existence of another power opposed to God. Similarly the Christian Scientist acknowledges the all-power of God and strengthens his conviction of God's all-power by specifically denying, as a logical conclusion, any other source or power. This puts him in tune with, in rapport with, the ceaseless governing law of God. It can bring healing and the solution of all human problems.
Mrs. Eddy's Discovery of Christian Science
Mrs. Eddy saw that religion without proof of its relevance to human problems couldn't survive in an enlightened age. She saw too that spiritual healing could never be separated from the Christianity Jesus taught and lived; and she saw that this healing must be effected by the same method of prayer that Jesus used.
Spiritual healing by prayer the scientific prayer used by Jesus is, therefore, an integral part of the religion Mrs. Eddy founded. But before she presented this religion to the world she herself proved the practicality of its metaphysical healing system; she did healing works like those of early Christianity. And those today who understand her teachings are successfully employing, in the degree of their understanding, the metaphysical system of healing she founded.
After her discovery of Christian Science, Mrs. Eddy's immediate desire was to share her great blessing with all churches, but to her amazement she was rebuffed. Her teachings were rejected, strangely enough, by those who should have been quickest to recognize that through these teachings the greatest need of the Christian churches was being met. Not since three hundred years after Jesus' time had Christian healing been practiced by the churches in any significant degree. Yet Jesus had told his followers to go out into the world and heal.
But Mrs. Eddy pressed on with her healing ministry. She knew she had discovered the Science of Jesus' teachings. She recognized that the resistance she was encountering was the same thing Jesus had encountered. And she met this false claim with the same compassionate understanding that characterized Jesus' ministry.
Mrs. Eddy's great gift to mankind is the rational and practical religion of Christian Science. It awakens in men the same spiritual perception that enabled Jesus to understand God and to demonstrate that spiritual power is applicable to physical healing and to the solution of all human problems.
I want to tell you here about one of many experiences that gave me undoubted proof that, when the minds of men are attuned by scientific prayer to God or divine Principle, their prayers are answered.
It was during the time when I was a Christian Science Wartime Minister serving the United States Armed Services. I had just finished conducting a Sunday service in an army camp and felt very much inspired by it. I was on my way to my headquarters when the thought came to me that one of the Christian Science boys needed my help. At first I dismissed it. But the prompting persisted.
I had never been to this boy's barracks so had to go to his orderly room in order to locate him. When I asked permission to see him the officer of the day said, "It's too late, they've already taken him to the hospital." Someone spoke up and said, "No, he's still in his barracks. The ambulance took another boy first."
I went at once to his barracks. As I approached his bed, he looked up and said, ''Oh, Mr. Bowles, I've been praying all day that you would come to see me. I'm very sick and in great pain.''
At the hospital his case was diagnosed as spinal meningitis, and he was immediately placed in quarantine. That was on a Sunday. Christian Science treatment was started at once. By Thursday he was pronounced well and was returned to active duty that day.
The hospital staff was amazed at his recovery because all attending the patient insisted their diagnosis was correct. Medicine and medical treatment had no part in this healing. His confident reaching out for spiritual help brought him the help he needed. Here was a clear instance of communication from God to man of answered prayer bringing spiritual healing.
The Requirement of Effective Prayer
A point in spiritual healing that needs to be understood is that its method of prayer is not merely a repetition of words declared in a prescribed order. No, it's far more than that.
The divine Principle, which is also divine Love, always meets the human need at the point of that need. But the meeting of the need may often be accompanied by demands on the one who seeks to have his need met, his prayer answered. The gospels record a number of instances where Jesus compassionately healed the sick and sinning; but then he followed up the healing by a strict command that they should cease sinning.
If we want to live consistently by prayer, we must seek to be worthy of what we pray for. Here again Jesus is the Way-shower. Those acquainted with Jesus' life must admit that he conformed to good and loved it. His whole nature expressed good. He showed throughout his ministry with every word and act that good is the fundamental and scientific fact of Life. Mrs. Eddy says, "Good is natural and primitive" (Science and Health, p. 128).
Whether one is religiously inclined or not, he must admit that good is a standard to live by. History rates men as evil or good according to their thoughts and acts. Mention the name of Judas and people instantly think of an evil man. Mention the name of Jesus and, whether or not men fully accept him as Christians do, they always classify him as a good man. So, to a greater or lesser degree, good is a worldwide standard for men to live by.
Only religion can bring about men's adoption of good as the fundamental fact of Life and the one intelligent rejection of evil as being real. Only religion is capable of awakening in men the necessary spiritual perception that discerns the scientific fact that God or divine Principle, being wholly good, admits of no evil. Human observation will never lead men to this conclusion but spiritual discernment will.
Each individual through scientific prayer can gain this spiritual perception. Then he will be able to discover for himself that good is the fundamental and scientific fact of Life. This realization revolutionizes his thinking and gives him an entirely new standard of values. It frees him from any belief that evil is desirable. In short it reforms his nature and causes him to repent of any unprincipled acts. To heal as Jesus did, one must be free from the indulgence in evil thoughts or acts.
The Need to Repent
I want to talk a bit about repentance, for this is a theological term that gives many people trouble. But I want to assure you right off that the Christian Science teaching on this subject isn't the familiar teaching. Far from it!
Christian Science differs vastly with traditional theological dogma on this point. It refutes the teaching that man was born to be a sinner and that the sin, which needs to be repented of, is a real entity. Sin certainly needs to be corrected, but it's not an entity. It's a condition of deluded thought. The teaching that sin is an entity is not scientific; it derives from ignorance of God as divine Principle, as infinite good.
No, Christian Science doesn't go along with traditional religion and point an accusing finger at men and say, "You were born into sin, so you must repent." Teachings like this arc driving intelligent people away from religion. Christian Science refutes the unscientific belief that God made man both good and evil, and then gave man the free will to make a choice between them and so become a sinner.
Such a belief reminds one of the preacher who asked a small boy, "Do you know the first thing you have to do to be forgiven of sin?" The little boy said, "Sin!" The scientific fact is that God made His image sinless. That's the basis of Christian Science reasoning. What makes a sinner is sin, not God, divine Principle. Like produces like. If you plant beans you don't get corn.
Then what is sin? The religion of Christian Science teaches that sin is the ignorant belief that good is not the fundamental fact of life. This ignorant belief is the basic form of sin. The imputing of evil to God, or divine Principle, is a very grievous sin. The willing acceptance of specific evil or the indulgence in any form of unprincipled conduct is also sin.
Then how does one repent? Some religionists preach that we should repent for fear of punishment. But that wouldn't bring real reformation. Science and Health says, "Fear of punishment never made man truly honest" (p. 327). Repentance isn't just changing one's mind from one human position to another for fear of consequences.
When you're speeding along at eighty miles an hour in a fifty-mile an hour zone and slow down when you see a policeman, that's not repentance. That's dishonesty. Fear of the policeman didn't make you an honest driver. Only the intelligent recognition of and whole-hearted compliance with the moral demand on you to obey the law is repentance.
Repentance is a purifying and corrective process, a reforming process too, bringing willing conformance to the demands of divine Principle. It erases guilt and cancels the suffering imposed by guilt.
The Prayer of Repentance Heals Sickness
Did you ever have a guilty conscience about something? Few people haven't. A guilty feeling can have a depressing effect on the entire human system and make you sick. Doctors will tell you that.
I recently read a book by a deeply religious medical doctor. I think he's as much a theologian as a medical doctor. He shows a deep knowledge of the character of men. He discusses what he has observed of the effect of guilt on people and how it reacts on their mental and physical health. He also points out how guilt can be a latent thing in human thought and how we unconsciously suffer from its effects. This indicates a welcome advance in medical and theological thinking.
But Mary Baker Eddy saw these things over a hundred years ago through spiritual discernment, not human observation. She says, "It were better to be exposed to every plague on earth than to endure the cumulative effects of a guilty conscience." And she continues, "You are conquered by the moral penalties you incur and the ills they bring" (Science and Health, p. 405).
I want to tell you about a man I know who was suffering from moral penalties. He was so willful and greedy he didn't care about what happened to others as long as he got what he wanted. Well, that attitude is an infraction of the moral law that demands justice for everybody. This man was driven by a fear of lack and he broke the moral law. He was sick too with several physical complaints.
There's nothing unusual about such a man. The world seems to be full of them. This kind of thinking is the reason why we have crime and war and little peace on earth. Such men don't know God as divine Principle, the infinite source of good. This was a case of sin that needed to be repented of for him to be healed morally and physically.
When he looked to Christian Science for healing, he was shown how his rancorous, selfish, and dishonest thoughts were producing chronic disorder in his system. He was shown the need for sincere repentance and reformation. He saw the moral necessity of observing the rights of others. This kind of change of thinking, from the mortal and material standpoint to the moral and spiritual, put him in rapport with the ceaseless healing action of divine Principle. This healed him.
Divine Principle, God, will heal and bless all who understand it and abide by it. Its all-pervading power is a ceaseless, irresistible, civilizing, and spiritualizing influence that must eventually rule the lives of all the people of the earth. And it is religion's necessity to interpret this divine Principle to all mankind. A stupendous order you say? Yes! But nothing else will ever heal mankind and establish peace on earth.
Achieving the Goal
Now what have we seen tonight? We've seen that the necessity of religion is to convince us of its rationality and to offer practical proofs of its usefulness in its healing and purifying influence. How?
1. By giving us an understanding of God as the source, cause, and Principle of man and the universe.
2. By showing us how to pray or intelligently communicate with God. Or, saying it another way, by showing us how to apply our understanding of God as divine Principle to the solution of human problems.
3. By enabling us, as the result of scientific prayer, to bring our conduct into line with divine Principle, to live by the highest standards of good.
So we've seen that religion does satisfy reason and proves its relevance to human life by its healing, purifying, and reforming influence.
When the understanding of God as the divine Principle that is Life itself becomes preponderant in world thought, suffering, crime, and war will cease. Then we'll see the establishment of peace on earth, goodwill toward men. For this, religion is indeed necessary.
©1968 Neil H. Bowles
All rights reserved
[Oct. 10, 1968.]