Christian Science: Christianitys Blueprint for Peace
Jean Stark Hebenstreit, C.S.B. of
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
A few years ago when my husband
and I were travelling outside the
That scene can be equated with that of the Christian warrior today, who, in these challenging times, can have that same alert posture, being fully prepared for action, in having the divine equipment to wage peace and to win it. And what is the Christian equipment for the waging of peace? Isn't it the spiritualization of thought, awakened to the power of God in human affairs?
Peace among men and nations isn't an abstraction nor an impossible idealism but is instead an achievable state for mankind. For when we speak of the power of God, of divine Love (as referred to by John the disciple), it's not a reference to a soothing syrup but to an actual power, an operative force, a healing presence in action, right where we are.
It's evidential that the Master Christian, Christ Jesus, was the most successful warrior the world has ever known. He knew how to define and defeat his enemies primarily because he perceived his enemies to be not people or circumstances, as is generally considered, but false beliefs, misconceptions about God and His action.
It was the Master who gave us the Lord's Prayer, directing us to pray "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven." Gods kingdom being come on earth even as it is in heaven; His presence being ever with us; His will being done universally, is natural and factual to the Christian whose weapons across his lap are not "carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds," as we read in the Scriptures.
The weapons of Christian warfare mighty through God are inherent in each one of us, not haphazardly assembled from without. They come from man's reflection of the one divine Mind the Mind indicated by the apostle Paul who said "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus."
This divine Mind in us gives to us the armament of right ideas to meet and defeat every wrong element that is presented to thought. And inasmuch as ideas cannot be outside the Mind that conceives them, man, the idea of God, is inseparable from God; thereby fortified with self-sufficiency and entire adequacy for whatever he may encounter.
In her textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science explains: "The starting-point of divine Science is that God, Spirit, is All-in-all, and that there is no other might nor Mind, that God is Love, and therefore He is divine Principle."
Christ Jesus, the great Founder of Christianity, furnishes a vivid example of what knowing that there is no other might nor Mind but God, actually does in dealing with the difficulties of the human scene. He said "ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." In accord with his precept, Christian Science teaches that "Truth is God's remedy for error of every kind, and Truth destroys only what is untrue." It never destroys, or takes away from man anything good. Its scientific action destroys that which is unGodlike, annuls the laws of matter, and emphasizes man's ability, through the application of Truth, to subdue material conditions. And with divine Truth, there's no possibility of too little or too late.
The truth is that there's never anything wrong with God's creation any more than with God, Himself, because they're not separate. But the so-called human mind mistakenly views God and His creation and then suffers from the faulty concept. Knowing the Truth gets rid of false concepts and their objectification, their negative effects. Truth is concomitant with making free, with harmonizing action, with healing, saving, doing.
Christ's Christianity, the implementation of Jesus' Science of Christ, is more than merely a way of thinking or merely a mode of worshiping, it is a way of living as a Christian with reliance on God and the peace-producing effects of such a life. Christ's Christianity makes plain the demonstrability of God-conferred dominion, and therefore of present superiority over whatever is combated individually or universally. How? In the same way that the great Way-shower accomplished all his healing works through divinely mental means alone, through the action of his consciousness in constant relation with Deity.
Christ Jesus gave to you and me arresting and instructive insight on his healing approach, his Christianity, in his final discourse, when he said so simply: "my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you."
"Not as the world giveth" characterized all that he ever said, and all that he ever did. His healing words and his healing works had their very undergirding in the things of Spirit, not in the things of the world of matter. He proved that the higher laws of God can be appealed to, to rectify whatever appears wrong because Truth, always triumphant over error, is in accord with God's law, as Jesus taught and illustrated.
In his statement "not as the world giveth" could he have been presenting two dominant premises for our enlightenment and for our preservation from war? One, the significance and divine legacy of peace; and two, the way of its obtainment through spiritual, not material means.
The Divine Legacy of Peace
Peace for individuals and for the world has been sought by mankind throughout recorded history, with its so-called civilizations at war.
Yet all the efforts to achieve peace through merely material outlines and plans force, aggression, domination, retaliation even attempted conciliation and appeasement haven't generated a guaranteed safety and security. There's been the ubiquitous challenge of what the Scriptures term "wars and rumours of wars." Certainly the human efforts to obtain peace through conferences, academic courses, and legislated activities aren't to be discounted nor unappreciated. Their dedicated endeavors are meaningful and it's in order to support intelligent diplomatic stratagems and proper armaments. But there is concurrently the need for deeper spiritual perception as to how to execute the terms of the divine legacy of peace left to us by the Saviour of mankind.
Then wouldn't we do well at this time to look to Christ's Christianity to find the blueprint that delineates the present possibility of obtaining the peace of men and nations, the peace of mind and the peace of body that Christ Jesus divinely bequeathed to us.
Such an endowment in no way comes as a provision for us to sit around with folded hands, yawning and wishing that a peaceful condition of body, business, home, government, relationships both private and international, will somehow just drift along into being. Christ Jesus was a spiritual activist. Then wasn't what he gave us a call to arms, to be, like him, a Christian warrior waging peace right where the warfare begins and ends within individual consciousness? Peace is not an external to one's own thought.
Wasn't Jesus recruiting us to be in the peace-preserving army of occupation the vital occupation of thought with the power of Truth in action to obliterate evil. The Master's work of healing, as the Bible shows, came through scientific right thinking alone. His remedial system of metaphysics had its foundation and performance in spiritual right thought. He approached his healing activity equipped only with his God-oriented consciousness. He had no cowardly neutrality regarding the threatening testimony of the physical sense. He acted defiantly, and disposed of the abnormalities of the fleshly scene, through recognition of the presence and power of God, infinite good.
And as is now generally accepted that we see what we believe, we see our own thoughts, then our spiritualization of thought and life will meet the human need today whatever the human need calls itself to you.
With the Master, life was a great deal more than mere existence it was the ultimate of performance. God's responsibility for us doesn't relieve us of our responsibility to God for our own performance to be His likeness, to act as His offspring, to express His qualities, to let that one divine Mind be in us which was also in Christ Jesus.
Then each individual has the opportunity, even the definite responsibility, to divest his own thought of that which would contend against peace in his own life, and in his world around, which, of course, is embraced in his consciousness. Christ must win the way in individual consciousness because there's no mass consciousness. Each of us is an original, an individual manifestation of the divine Mind. There's distinct individuality of expression of the one Mind, unlimited in that expression because infinite in being.
At one time a Christian Scientist called me in near panic because the officers of his company and a larger conglomerate were in process of a possible merger and there'd been such harsh disagreement and quarreling that my friend was fearful about his losing out altogether. Knowing him so well, I felt free to say "Now wait a minute how many minds are there?" Quickly he replied "There're twelve and they'll be meeting in about an hour."
I knew what he meant but we reasoned that the originality and individuality of each one involved didn't nullify the unity that had to ensue with God, the one divine Mind, as the source of all thinking and acting. We rejoiced that there couldn't be authentic action underived from Principle. We were so grateful that God was present and in command. The merger took place; there was accord; and my friend not only didn't lose out, he was promoted.
As Truth and Love take over in individual consciousness, that spiritualization of thought will be objectified, with consequent liberation from conflict in human relations, in family, business, in church, in the community, in the world.
The Power of Prayer
As an example of individual contribution to larger scale easing of tensions, a Christian Scientist found the power of prayer the significant peace-maker. One evening he read in the newspaper about a serious breakdown in negotiations between labor and management in one of the largest corporations in the country. Their differences had become so rancorous that both sides had stormed out, stating that negotiations had ended, not temporarily but permanently. A strike was to be called for stoppage of operations. The media reported that this unpromising state of affairs would have a devastating effect on the entire industry and all its employees, affecting the economy nationwide.
The Christian Scientist had no personal connection with this business nor anyone involved with it, but he felt he couldn't leave uncorrected in his own thinking such a projection of hostility and controversy. He considered this an opportunity to apply the Science of Christianity, or Christian Science, to prove this Science pragmatically in the laboratory of everyday experience.
So he turned to God in prayer to realize that in a divinely conceived universe all action must stem from and conform to Principle. He recalled a line from a hymn which reads "Thou (God) wilt bind the stubborn will." He reasoned that stubborn will wasn't a quality of man, made in the likeness and image of God; that God, Himself, binds, restrains anything unlike Himself. He rejoiced that all had to be under the control of the one Mind, God. My friend prayed earnestly to uphold the First Commandment for himself, refuting the suggestion to his thought of any other god, any other cause, any other creator, any other mind, but God. He was assured by the teaching in the Christian Science textbook that man "has no separate mind from God" and "not a single quality underived from Deity." He prayed until he felt he had come to grips with, or had come to disbelieve the presentation to his thought of an imperfect creation so an imperfect God. He knew that as in heaven, so on earth, God is the only real power, He is supreme.
The following day a bulletin was issued with the announcement that one of the principals involved in this feud had wakened that morning with an idea for a solution unthought of before. Contrary to his inflexible stance that he would never again contact anyone of the opposition, he unhesitatingly called to see if they would back off from their equally adamant position. They were amazingly amenable. The meeting was called; it was brief; the differences were resolved; and all concerned and then some were blessed.
In the book of Isaiah it says "Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free?" Where would the individual do that, but within his own consciousness? And how would he do it, but with the power of Truth casting out the errors of belief? Didn't the Master Christian show us the way?
When any of us can come to see that the failings, the shortcomings that appear to be manifested by the other fellow aren't a correct appraisal of the other fellow, but only a mesmerism presented to one's own thought that must be cast out, then brotherly love and intelligence can take over. No one can express divine Love unavailingly. No one can take the name of the Lord in vain.
The power of prayer enables the
recognition of that which already is the
What else can be in one's consciousness but one's own thought? Then isn't that where all strife must be rejected, and ejected, because that's where it tries to gain a foothold and be projected into human experience. That's where it assumes reality to human belief. Then that's where it must be seen to be unreal. So the weapons of our warfare are aimed at the hub of the invasion one's own false beliefs, not at people or things.
The Master had multiple choices for a curative method in his healing mission. There were medicines in his day, and drugs, and physicians and politicians (and probably the prevailing cliche of that era: that you can't fight City Hall) but Christ Jesus never left the precincts of his own divinely inspired consciousness to heal anything that needed healing. He utilized the power of Truth as the remedy for error of every kind. Doesn't that present a blueprint for you and me for the construction of a present and lasting peace? The great Teacher dealt with all evil, not as if it were something or someone, but from the standpoint of light dispelling darkness.
And his entire mission was impeccably successful. His magnificent healings came about through his spiritualized consciousness at-one with God, where the power is. As the Psalmist told us: "power belongeth unto God." And the Master Christian was explicit in directing his followers in all ages to look to that power, to God, to heal just as he did. Then healing is natural, an essential element of Christianity.
In our day there's marked popularity for "How To" books: How To Make Money; How To Win Friends; How To Improve Your Golf; How To Fix The Plumbing. In Biblical times, Eliphaz would have likely qualified for a best seller list because he presented a cogent treatise on How To Achieve Peace. The essential format necessary for peace was clarified in his concise statement to Job: "Acquaint now thyself with him, (God), and be at peace: thereby good shall come unto thee." It's knowing God, what He is, what He does, and man's unity with Him, that furnishes the answer to the question of how to achieve peace.
The Obtainment of Peace
Under a heading "How Strife May Be Stilled", published in the Boston Globe, Mrs. Eddy wrote: "Peace is the promise and reward of rightness. Governments have no right to engraft into civilization the burlesque of uncivil economics. . . . The First Commandment in the Hebrew Decalogue 'Thou shalt have no other gods before me' obeyed, is sufficient to still all strife." And what does it mean to obey the First Commandment that will still all strife? Isn't it for you and me to have no other gods but the one omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent God, good, to hallow His name not only in word but in practice? Obedience adequately protected the Master Christian, enabling him to turn back error's assaults in all its forms disease, disaster, deficiency, danger. Obedience will do the same today.
War, strife, whatever is the antithesis of peace, is a symptom of universal materialism. And that symptom isn't to be ignored, but treated, with the "most potent and desirable remedial agent on the earth," described by the Discoverer of Christian Science as "Thought imbued with purity, Truth, and Love, instructed in the Science of metaphysical healing."
Simply to say glibly, "There's no materialism, there's no threat of war, there's no sin," is to ignore the error that is to be overcome with Truth. Such an untenable attitude comes under the heading of what Mrs. Eddy called "supercilious consciousness."
And in explaining that divine Science derives its sanction from the Bible, Science and Health says; "Divine metaphysics is now reduced to a system, to a form comprehensible by and adapted to the thought of the age in which we live. This system enables the learner to demonstrate the divine Principle, upon which Jesus' healing was based, and the sacred rules for its present application to the cure of disease."
Its present application to the cure of disease is relevant to its present application to the cure of the cause of wars, the cause of discords, the cause of inharmonies of all kinds. Conflicts among families or nations, or within one's own self, are resultant from material-mindedness, sometimes from self-centeredness, self-seeking, self-aggrandizement. To worship God is to be spiritually-minded and spiritually-activated then spiritually sustained. To be spiritually-minded is to think on the things of Spirit, God, and to incorporate them into one's conduct with unselfishness, forbearance, and loving-kindness. The eye-opening teachings of the Bible evaluate peace as more than an absence of altercation. They indicate a spiritual activity, an uninhibited moral courage, a consistent practice of the Science of being. Then any of us can demonstrate the divine Principle, upon which Jesus' healing was based waging peace and winning it.
The dynamism of peace denotes a state of spiritual knowing and doing, dominion over one's own thought and consequently over one's own body and action, a vigorous confidence in God's presence and unceasing care not a passive, dull, monotonous inactivity.
Do you remember in Mark Twain's book, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, the account in which the widow undertook to reform Huck, telling him in great detail about the rewards of being good. She described heaven as having pearly gates, with streets of gold, how life in the great city would give him nothing to do eternally, but walk the golden streets, playing on a harp. Huck listened to her version of heaven of nothing to do eternally but walk around playing on a harp, and said he reckoned he wouldn't try for it! I reckon not many of us would want to make a big try for it either.
Happily, the Science of Christianity furnishes a more enlightened concept of heaven in equating it with spiritual consciousness, the knowledge that God's government of man and the universe is uninterrupted; that God expresses Himself unceasingly and always sufficiently to meet every human need. Then God is in control of all that concerns you today.
The heavenly peace that the Master Metaphysician called his peace was what the apostle Paul had reference to when he wrote: "Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord." Holiness, wholeness, integrity a component of Christ's Christianity, is a key diagram in the blueprint for peace. Mrs. Eddy comments: "To attain peace and holiness is to recognize the divine presence and allness."
The Divine Presence and Allness
To recognize the divine presence and allness of God is to know no other God beside Him, no power but His, no presence but the all-presence of good, spiritual reality, beyond physical phenomena.
The First Commandment is unequivocal in its command to have no other gods before God. Christian Science and its demonstration of Principle is thereby based, and lays its foundation squarely on the Bible. The First Commandment states the fundamental postulate of Christian Science, with the other nine commandments comprising an elaboration of the First.
Biblical Accounts of Reliance on God
In the Biblical account of David, wasn't it apparent that it was to the divine presence and allness of God that he turned when he was confronted by the Philistine? When David fought with Goliath, wasn't the real issue a threat of massive destruction? David wasn't helpless in his embroilment with Goliath because his response to this militant antagonist was from spiritual comprehension. David said: "Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name the of the Lord of hosts." David identified himself with the name, the nature, the inherent character of the essence of the Lord of hosts. He wasn't indulging any inferiority complex when he refused the weapons of Goliath, weapons he hadn't used. He had proved his weapons, his knowledge that the law of God takes precedence in human affairs. Thus he didn't postpone facing up to that giant menace, but moved quickly to deal with the problem. He knew he was armed by the Lord of hosts to do battle with the enemy defying him, and to be victorious.
Wendell Phillips said that "one with God is a majority." A loved friend of mine once said that one with God is, in fact, a monopoly. The monopoly of good precludes an opposite. Isn't the knowledge of the exclusive presence of good a sure defense for us today?
Again, in the thrilling account of Daniel, protected in the lions' den, wasn't he fighting off the intimidation of likely fatality? His enemies weren't actually the lions. They were only symbolic of the real battle which seems to go on in consciousness. Isn't that where we have to meet all the beliefs of life in matter, with its hazards, its demoralizations, and terrorisms? In that experience, the Bible says that Daniel prayed. Now where would his prayer have been directed? Certainly not to the king, nor to his human enemies, and hardly to the lions his prayer was to God. And that prayer obviously wasn't for the destruction of the lions, nor for the destruction of his human enemies, nor for the destruction of the king. Could that prayer have been to be undeceived by the false concepts of envy, hostility, jealousy, rage that, if believed, would have obscured his knowing and proving the divine presence and allness of God? Could he have been praying to disbelieve in a mind apart from God that could indulge such evil, such violence?
In any event, Daniel was the winner in the encounter, because he wasn't fooled by the deceptive appearance of the absence of good.
The Scriptures tell us that "Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no manner of hurt was found upon him, because he believed in his God." According to the Bible, Daniel was safe because he believed in the power of God, good an unmistakable reference to his state of thought as the determining factor in his experience. Science and Health teaches: "Understanding the control which Love held over all, Daniel felt safe in the lions' den." Apparently Daniel was aware that God controlled not only him but the lions. He didn't even need to get out of the lions' den to be safe. Understanding the control which divine Love holds over all today will invoke that law of Love to bring peace to a troubled world.
The Application of Divine Science to Humanity
Then wars and rumours of wars, terrorism, violence, must be the objectification of a misconception of creation, the one seen through the mist, described in the second chapter of Genesis and by which mankind has been long deceived. Misconceptions and their objectifications are corrected only with the knowledge of Truth as the Master Christian made evident.
To believe a lie is then to experience a lie. Believing a lie blocks the truth from our thinking. And our thinking objectifies itself, from the minutiae of activity to the grand scale of world events.
The Discoverer of Christian Science presents a mode of corrective thinking in this way: "First: God never made evil. Second: He knows it not. Third: "We therefore need not fear it." That enlightened thinking as to the unreality of evil because of the allness and presence of good, is with power to counteract evil thinking and evil action. Material misconceptions can't resist spiritual facts. So it is to one's own thinking that one must look for his own all-important contribution to peace.
Which leads us to ask ourselves: Do you ever indulge in a fight with your neighbor, your spouse, your children, your parents, your boss or that clerk in the shipping office? That's a microcosm of the macrocosm called war. If little wars were consistently overcome, there wouldn't be the escalation of big wars. Each of us has a major role to play.
Mrs. Eddy notes: "Many sleep who should keep themselves awake and awaken the world. Earth's actors change earth's scenes; and the curtain of human life should be lifted on reality."
The Christian is prepared with truth for immediate action to awaken the world in its search for peace. And that isn't abstract philosophy but a practicality in proof, whether the challenge is 'the burlesque of uncivil economies' or all-out war.
Earth's actors do indeed change earth's scenes. And the change of thought with earth's actors, from the material, with its enmities, inequities, injustices, to the spiritual, with its harmony, equality, and peace, must be aimed primarily at changing one's own thought.
The individual practice of Christian Science, the application of divine Science to humanity, isn't wishful thinking, nor a whistling in the dark, nor an exercise of human will. It's based upon the recognition of one God who is wholly good and powerful; and being undeceived by any appearance to the contrary. It follows in the way of Christ Jesus who brought healing and salvation to the world through the scientific action of the divine Mind on human minds and bodies and events.
Mary Baker Eddy, Discoverer
When Mary Baker Eddy discovered the Christ Science she found that all real causation is divinely mental. But she was cognizant that to share what she'd discovered, she'd have to prove that healing resulted from the demonstration of Principle, according to a fixed law. So she withdrew from society for three years, as she said, "to ponder my (her) mission, to search the Scriptures, to find the Science of Mind that should take the things of God and show them to the creature, and reveal the great curative Principle, Deity."
In a letter, she wrote: "A real Metaphysician knows that Mind is the all and only power and the mental word inaudible more effective as a rule than the audible . . . . I beg you will demonstrate our God in Science as the Principle that moves man's actions . . . . Think before you act and your thoughts will govern yours and other men's lives more than your acts can."
The biographer who shared this insight about Mrs. Eddy was a member of her household. He reported that she was always alert to world problems, seeing clearly that the difficulties and troubles of international disputes can never be healed by ignoring them. He said: "The author of Science and Health knew that the way to universal peace must begin in the consciousness of the individual."
That puts you and me as individuals right at the negotiating table to promote peace.
As an example of the power of consciousness to determine what goes on in experience, a story was told by a friend of Mrs. Eddy's, who said she keenly enjoyed this account. It concerned two men sharing a room in a hotel. One man felt that he just had to have outside air at night in order to rest. The other man was fearful about breathing the cold night air coming into the room. So the window was left shut. However, the first man, feeling such a compelling need for fresh air, finally got up to open the window. In trying to get it open in the dark, he inadvertently broke a pane of glass. But that solved the problem for him so he went back to bed to sleep in comfort. Unfortunately, the other man came down with a cold. In the morning they found that the pane of glass that was broken in the dark was a pane of glass in a bookcase.  Each man experienced what he believed.
The power of thought to determine individual and world happenings is evident on all sides. Hence the need to look to God, our divine Mind, to formulate the actions particularized in Christianity's blueprint for peace.
That was the pattern set by the Galilean Prophet, our Exemplar, who accomplished more of consequence than anyone in history. And he did it all through the power of Truth acting on human belief. He embodied the Christ more fully than anyone else. The Bible speaks of "Christ in you, the hope of glory." It's the Christ in you, not outside of you, that makes all the difference. The Christ in you will rule out of you reaction, envy, contentiousness those impulsions of strife even all false beliefs about God and His creation. And we're assured, with every individual, that there never was an entrance of the Christ without an exit of the error.
This nation was founded on faith in a supreme Being governing the universe and all mankind. Even on our coins is found the inscription "IN GOD WE TRUST." Our trust in God, our faith in His present righteous government, our obedience to His law, is the premise for our prayer for all the nations of the earth. Fighting the good fight of faith is the most peaceful thing anyone can do.
The Discoverer of Christian Science observes: "Christianity, as taught and demonstrated in the first century by our great Master, virtually annulled the so-called laws of matter, idolatry, pantheism, and polytheism. . . . Christianity, as (Jesus) taught and demonstrated it, must ever rest on the basis of the First Commandment and love for man. 
The First Commandment of having no other gods before God obeyed is indeed sufficient to still all strife. Love for one's fellowman is coincident with that obedience.
Christ Jesus gave us a priceless gift when he gave us his peace. Let's take that gift home tonight and not put it on a shelf or away in a drawer, but use it every day for the world to know and feel the power of Christ's Christianity to bring freedom from all the ills that emerge from the mortal theater of operations.
For you and me to have no other gods but the one omnipotent God, good, will change earth's scenes. It's Christianity's blueprint for peace that charts the present and final realization of God-bestowed dominion over the whole earth. Through the power of prayer which isn't confined in a statement, but is a state of thought the curtain of human life will be lifted on reality, with its permanently established peace on earth, good will to men, fully demonstrable now.
1. I John 4:8
2. Matt. 6:10
3. II Cor. 10:4
4. Phil. 2:5
5. S&H p275:6
6. John 8:32
7. S&H p142:31-2
8. John 14:27
9. Matt. 24:6
10. Hymn 304
11. S&H p475:19-20
12. Isa. 58:6
13. Message for '02 p 10:2-5
15. Job 22:21
16. Miscellany p278:23-25; p279:11-13
17. Misc. p4:1-3
18. Message for '00 p15:12
19. S&H p146:23; p31-5
20. Hebr. 12:14
21. Message for'02 p17:12
22. I Sam. 17:45
23. Dan. 6:23
24. S&H p514:26
25. Un. p20:12-14
26. Message for '02 p17:12
27. S&H p 127:16
28. Ret. p24:22-2
29. Twelve Years with Mary Baker Eddy, Tomlinson, p134
30. ibid. p196
31. We Knew Mary Baker Eddy, p99
32. Col. 1:27
33. Pan. p8:14-16;p21-23