Christian Science Reveals the True Brotherhood of Man
Gordon H. Smith, 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:
We hear a great deal today on the
subject of brotherhood. Newspapers editorialize it;
many sermons are preached regarding it; the public service efforts of radio and
television endeavor to do their part. We even have an annual "Brotherhood
Week" in the
Moral Standards Requisite
We also hear a great deal today concerning the moral and ethical breakdown of our culture. Standards of morality, honesty, and just plain decency have fallen in many areas of society. The marriage bond has deteriorated to a point where it is meaningless in many cases. There's a general crumbling of moral values in all walks of life and in all age groups. Juvenile delinquency is on the increase. Through the mass media the indulgence of selfish materialism and sensuality is presented to youth as being satisfying, natural, and inevitable. It's no wonder then that every thinking person thanks God for every home and Sunday School that stresses spiritual values.
We scarcely need any reminder of the present world picture except to emphasize that whether we like it or not we are our brother's keeper on both a "next-door" and a global basis. But perhaps not in the usual way of thinking. As a matter of fact, it's only through establishing in individual consciousness and proving through Christliness what true brotherhood is that this false picture will change. We need to be alert to this. The tyranny of materialism would sweep aside the individuality and the dignity of man. Subtle brainwashing techniques would create apathy and indifference. We need to rouse ourselves from a sense of numbness regarding such silent mental influences. The practical demonstration of the spiritual individuality of man which Christian Science teaches is the key to the solving of problems of brotherhood. For example, in line with false ideologies is the notion that the invention of new processes of automation will more and more take over the initiative of men and ultimately assume even the necessity for their making decisions.
Admiral Lewis L. Strauss, former Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, in his book entitled, "Men and Decisions," makes this very point. He says: ". . . we are told that automation is at the threshold of a new era in which men will be relieved of the necessity of decision – relieved of the responsibility, too. Great computers composed of circuits as yet uninvented and nameless will be fed the elements of our problems and in a twinkling, on the basis of a multitude of facts and assumptions previously memorized, produce an
answer like the weighing machines at county fairs, counseling us to stand firm or retreat, to love or to fear. No man is to bear any responsibility for these decisions, all of them as coldly impersonal as the diodes and transistors and other components of the devices themselves."
And he continues, most significantly, "May that day be far distant. For though machines may show us the preferred way to goals, the goals themselves will continue to be set by men with their eyes on the stars. And what machine can ever supply the elements of justice and compassion which, as man's awareness of his common brotherhood expands, must enter more and more often into the decisions which man must make for his brothers and for himself?" Yes. We are our brother's keeper. Our world today demands that we reflect in ever-increasing measure the qualities of justice and compassion in an ever-expanding awareness of man's brotherhood.
No machine or false ideology can ever blot out man's divine prerogative to be the exact image of an all-intelligent, all-loving God. This individual spiritual identification is the basis of right relationships or true brotherhood. This is clearly brought out in Christ Jesus' teachings on brotherhood. And Christian Science is in full agreement with these teachings.
Christ Jesus and Brotherhood
When a lawyer asked Christ Jesus what he should do to inherit eternal life, he responded by asking him a question, "What is written in the law? how readest thou?" And the lawyer answered, "Thou shall love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself." Jesus agreed by saying, "Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shall live" (Luke -29). However, the lawyer pursued the subject, asking, "And who is my neighbour?" Then follows one of the most outstanding illustrations of true brotherhood, the well-known parable of the good Samaritan. You will recall the graphic way in which Jesus made his point. As you know, the Master often taught by parables. In this instance, he described a traveler who was robbed and wounded and left to die along the roadside. Jesus goes on to tell of first one man and then another who saw this man, even looked at him, but they went their way without trying to help. Finally, a traveler came who looked at his brother with compassion. It's rather significant that the two men who deliberately avoided the one in trouble were respected pillars of society in the community whereas the man who proved himself a true neighbor was really of a despised minority group. He was prompted by love to do what he could to help. He bandaged his wounds, gave him drink, and managed to get him to an inn where he took care of him. The following day when the good Samaritan had to leave he even arranged for further care. Here was a perfect example of loving one's neighbor as oneself. To love another as oneself rightly identities him as God's son, and includes him as an integral part of the Father's universal family.
We might consider the good Samaritan's treatment of his brother in the light of a statement of Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. She says in "Miscellaneous Writings" (p. 318), "Mine and thine are obsolete terms in absolute Christian Science, wherein and whereby the universal brotherhood of man is stated and demands to be demonstrated." This is the challenge of today. "The universal brotherhood of man . . . demands to be demonstrated," – not just talked about! Merely talking about it isn't enough. The demand is upon each one of us to contribute his part in the demonstration of universal brotherhood. The demand is individual and the demonstration is individual. Only as this is recognized and really practiced can the fulfillment of genuine and lasting world brotherhood be experienced and peace realized. We must follow the teaching of the master Christian.
Christ Jesus' active ministry of healing and teaching was quite brief according to the usual measurement of time. It lasted only three years. But what he did for the world is permanently established. His words and works are probably more frequently remembered and quoted than those of any other individual in all of world history. They are based wholly on the truth that God is Love. Jesus knew that in the infinitude of Love there is no dissension, no division between the children of God.
The theory of many personal minds accounts for the conflict among individuals and nations. It denies the Christian Science thesis of one God, one Mind, one Love that is infinite, individual, all-inclusive, all-supplying. It is the result of the mistaken belief that each of us has a material mind of his own. The spiritual fact is that each of us is the reflection of the one divine Mind, God. The joy, the peace, the calm of an active sense of loving another as oneself is experienced only in proportion to the realization that there is just one Mind expressing itself – expressing itself as the consciousness, or Mind, of every individual in the universe. To love one's neighbor on a scientific basis means more than for one mortal to love another mortal. We're not called upon to love the imperfections and errors presented by the physical senses as a caricature of man. This isn't what Jesus meant when he set forth the command to love our neighbor as ourselves. This command surely means to recognize one self-existent Mind as the intelligent life-giving power and presence from which all true individual consciousness stems. This is tangibly experienced as the legitimate life-experience of man, of each one of us! As a matter of fact, this is the only way we can fulfill the first command which, as you know, is to love God supremely – to love Him with every fiber of our being.
Christian Science and Brotherhood
Mrs. Eddy writes in the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 205), "When we realize that there is one Mind, the divine law of loving our neighbor as ourselves is unfolded; whereas a belief in many ruling minds hinders man's normal drift towards the one Mind, one God, and leads human thought into opposite channels where selfishness reigns." This is the very basis and method of implementing what Jesus proved to be the Principle of true brotherhood in our daily experience. We can make it our own achievement only as we actually realize that because God is Mind there is just one Mind and this Mind is the Mind of man. You don't have a separate, private mind even though this is the way it appears to you humanly. Your real and only Mind is God, the only conscious self-existence to be found in the universe. And this Mind is my Mind too, – it's the true Mind of everyone! Intelligence isn't something infused into matter or brain lobes as is popularly believed.
The spiritual fact that every individual in the universe has or reflects the same Mind in no way implies a dull, uninteresting, uniform kind of existence. This divine Mind is infinitely versatile in expression. It's the very source of the spontaneous variety of endless being. Although it is the same Mind it doesn't express itself in the drab garment of sameness as humanly evaluated. It's always new in ever fresh individual unfoldment of its grandeur and purpose.
An excellent statement of this important point is made by Mrs. Eddy in her autobiography, "Retrospection and Introspection," where she writes (p. 56), "All consciousness is Mind, and Mind is God. Hence there is but one Mind; and that one is the infinite good, supplying all Mind by the reflection, not the subdivision, of God." She continues, "Whatever else claims to be mind, or consciousness, is untrue. The sun sends forth light, but not suns; so God reflects Himself, or Mind, but does not subdivide Mind, or good, into minds, good and evil."
The futility of attempting to love another as yourself from the standpoint of many minds or physical personalities is apparent from mankind's slowness in bringing any lasting peace and harmony to a world in convulsion of discord. In this connection it is interesting that Mrs. Eddy emphasizes in the textbook (p. 88), "To love one's neighbor as one's self is a divine idea; but this idea can never be seen, felt, nor understood through the physical senses." It is utterly impossible to see, feel, or understand an idea through the physical senses or sensation in matter. Yet this is what false material sense testimony insists on doing. Further, it claims that whatever can't be interpreted from the focus of these deceitful senses isn't to be counted as real. But we can never meet the demand for universal brotherhood on such a basis. It has no validity.
Joseph and Brotherhood
Perhaps one of the most striking
instances of true brotherhood actively demonstrated in daily affairs is found
in the experience of Joseph. You may recall the story. His brothers hated him
because of their father's partiality toward him. They abandoned him in a pit
and he was sold into slavery. He became the servant of one of Pharaoh's high
officers and ultimately one of Pharaoh's most trusted men. But before this happened Joseph faced and overcame innumerable problems of
human relationships that would have embittered most men. One such instance was
his refusal to yield to the false attraction of Potiphar's
wife. His high sense of brotherly love wouldn't permit him to betray his master
who had placed great trust in him. When Joseph spurned her, she turned Potiphar against him and as a result Joseph was imprisoned
for a time. But never once do we find Joseph crying out in anger at the many
injustices done him. Through his divinely inspired wisdom and judgment
In a certain sense, Joseph had intuitively seen that the evil thinking which had prompted his brothers to try to eliminate him from their lives was no real part of them. And because he bore no resentment he turned the bad deed into an opportunity to bless many. He humbly turned from the human picture to serve his God and his fellowmen in true brotherhood. Would we here this evening have had the spiritual insight and moral courage to do the same? Each of us has the spiritual capacity to do so! We need only recognize this capacity as inherent in us because man is God's very likeness and God is Love.
Mrs. Eddy has clearly defined man in this way in Science and Health (p. 475): "Man is idea, the image, of Love; he is not physique." Man, therefore, as Love's image, is not only loving but lovable. Mrs. Eddy has had a good deal to say on the subject of brotherhood and who is our neighbor. It's very enlightening to study the references to these words given in the Concordances to Science and Health and Mrs. Eddy's other writings. To those of you who are new in the study of Christian Science and may not have the Concordances in your homes, you can obtain or borrow them and all of Mrs. Eddy's writings at any Christian Science Reading Room, or you may use them there.
Mrs. Eddy and Brotherhood
Mary Baker Eddy had many opportunities to demonstrate love for her fellowmen. Her observance of Jesus' commands was the motivating purpose of her life-work, the discovery and founding of Christian Science. The scope and magnitude of her work are deeply appreciated by anyone willing to appraise it without bias. In an era of masculine dominance when women's rights were hardly acknowledged, she set out to search for Scriptural answers and authority for healing through spiritual means alone. This activity was spearheaded as a result of her own healing through spiritual means of serious internal injuries after an accident.
The spiritual impact of this healing experience is told by Mrs. Eddy in her book "Miscellaneous Writings." She says (p. 24): "On the third day thereafter, I called for my Bible, and opened it at Matthew ix. 2. As I read, the healing Truth dawned upon my sense; and the result was that I rose, dressed myself, and ever after was in better health than I had before enjoyed. That short experience included a glimpse of the great fact that I have since tried to make plain to others, namely, Life in and of Spirit; this Life being the sole reality of existence."
Mrs. Eddy's discovery of scientific
Christianity ultimately led to her founding and establishing a new religion in
The resistance to the Christliness of her works was remarkably like that which Jesus encountered from the cold theology and religious hypocrisy of his times. But Mrs. Eddy's vision was inspired. She saw that such resistance to the Christ, Truth, was but a phase of the belief that another power exists to resist the all-power of God. In other words, she saw that the resistance did not originate in persons, but in the carnal mind.
Throughout her writings Mrs. Eddy has brought to light the real basis of universal peace in what she says about it. And the foundation for her teaching in this respect rests upon the spiritual reality or scientific fact that there is only one God, one Mind, not many minds to be brought into harmonious accord. The teachings of Christian Science then logically show that the only Mind there is is continuously expressing itself in the individual mind or consciousness of man.
It was Mrs. Eddy's unselfish devotion to God and her understanding of how to love one's neighbor as oneself which her discovery of Christian Science revealed to her that led her to establish the many activities of The Mother Church. Among these was the founding of The Christian Science Monitor, an international daily newspaper. In the words of the inspired Leader of the Christian Science movement, "The object of the Monitor is to injure no man, but to bless all mankind" (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 353). The purity of this purpose is being carried out today by its publishers with this Christly objective ever in mind.
Business and Brotherhood
A recent cartoon in a national magazine shows a businessman sitting at his desk, his arms crossed, staring straight ahead with a fierce look on his face. His secretary is standing alongside of the desk answering the phone, and saying to the caller, "I'm sorry, but Mr. Burny isn't talking to anyone today. He's mad."
This reminds me of an experience I had many years ago in business although I was on the other side of the desk. This experience proved to be an important one in teaching me the basis for practicing true brotherhood. I learned how to rightly identify the other fellow. This turned my own sense of animosity toward him into one of respect and appreciation.
I was a salesman for a large manufacturing firm at the time covering a good-sized territory. I was quite conscious of a strained, uneasy feeling on my part every time I was in the office of the executive vice-president of the company. I regarded him as cold, critical, and difficult to reach. Because of this I found myself unable to speak freely or even coherently in his presence. Now although I wasn't quite as belligerent as the man in the cartoon, the situation did make me mad. I knew I was making a very poor impression on this superior. The sales manager became aware of this, too, from remarks made to him by the vice-president. The sales manager was a Christian Scientist, and knowing that I was also, he mentioned this unfortunate situation in an effort to be helpful. He called my attention to a statement in Science and Health (p. 454): "Love inspires, illumines, designates, and leads the way. Right motives give pinions to thought, and strength and freedom to speech and action."
I began to think about what this really meant. It became clear to me that it was Love and not fear or limited thinking that had the capacity not only to inspire and illumine but also to designate – to point out and lead the way out of this abnormal situation – if I would but let it. I knew that my motives were right. So all I had to do was to know that they would inspire my thinking. They would give my speech and action the moral stamina and freedom necessary to establish a good understanding between this executive and myself. I saw that all that would obstruct this was my own personal sense of the two of us as two mortals with two separate minds, two sets of motives, inclinations, and desires. I saw that this false sense couldn't have any power because in reality we both were reflections of the one Mind, God.
Perhaps, most important of all, I saw that it was absolutely necessary for me to free my thought from the negative concepts I was entertaining about him. That I had to see him as God's perfect expression, Love's own reflection. This was the true sense of him and not what I was falsely picturing him to be. I realized that all I had to do was to maintain this spiritually correct view of him in my thinking instead of wishing to have him changed into the human standard of perfection I was mistakenly holding. As I did this consistently each day, it was my own thought that was lifted above a limited, personal sense of myself and this man. Mutual understanding and appreciation developed in our meetings. We became good friends. I have since had occasion many times to remember this practical lesson in brotherhood, with much gratitude and inspiration. There's no doubt about it. Right identification is necessary for loving our neighbor as ourself – for bringing out true brotherhood. To get mad at ourself – or at the world – or at the other fellow doesn't help at all.
Now this experience was an example of the operation of the Christ, Truth, in human affairs. Mrs. Eddy has made plain in her writings that the Christ as the true ideal of God has always existed. That many spiritually-minded individuals throughout history have caught wonderful glimpses of the Christ. She clearly recognized that the human Jesus expressed the Christ-idea more perfectly than anyone else.
The spirit of the Christ is as present and as actively potent today – right now – as it was in the days of Jesus. It is as available, as reliable in its healing activity today – right now – as it was in the days of Jesus. No one realized more clearly the impersonal nature of the Christ than he did. He knew that it was no personal endowment belonging exclusively to him. On the contrary he recognized that the Christ constituted the true selfhood or divine nature of man – of every one of us. In fact his terminology was so broad that it applies to you and me as directly today as it did to those who heard him speak.
This was the emphatic way in which he expressed himself, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also" (John ). But Jesus wasn't trying to center attention or belief on his human selfhood as possessing any ability to heal. The "me" to which he referred was his true being or the Christ. He said, "I can of mine own self do nothing" (John ). The human sense, which is all there is to the belief of being human, can't solve the problem which it has created. The impersonal Christ, Truth, alone can do this. It's doing so today in innumerable instances through the teaching and practice of Christian Science. It can do it for you! It's a matter of scientific prayer, of claiming the right kind of identification that we've been talking about.
Prayer in Christian Science
It's in keeping with the enlightening
practicality of Christian Science that prayer or treatment is truly scientific.
We have a good example of it in Mrs. Eddy's discussion of the regeneration of
Jacob's thinking. Let's turn to his story for a moment. In the account in
Genesis, we learn how Jacob tricked his brother, Esau, out of his inheritance.
When Esau threatened to kill him, Jacob fled and found refuge in
By this time Jacob had come to the point in his own spiritual awakening where he had decided to go and meet Esau rather than to avoid him and cower before his fear of revenge. In the Bible account of what then happened we learn that even though Jacob was alone a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day. This angelic messenger wanted to withdraw. But Jacob refused to permit this without receiving a blessing from the experience.
Mrs. Eddy indicates in Science and Health that Jacob's wrestling was not with another person for he was actually alone. Undoubtedly he was wrestling with his own thinking – with the usual assortment of fears, doubts, and pressures which attack most of us today. The setting may be different, but the underlying causes of mental disturbance are very much the same in any age. If we recognize this it helps us to impersonalize these hidden mental causes of sickness and other discord and deal with them effectively. So you see, Jacob was undergoing regeneration. He was combating the false suggestions coming to him in the guise of his own thinking. He was wrestling with the belief that he was a mortal separated from all other mortals, including his brother, each having a little mind of his own controlled by differing motives, wills, and ambitions.
The great spiritual fact, however, is that there is but one Mind, God, governing man and the universe in unfluctuating harmony. The force of this truth permeated Jacob's thought until he saw the utter unreality of the lying suggestion of hate-ridden impulsions. It's clear that his wrestling was a subjective experience. With his realization that existence is not material but spiritual, a wonderful thing happened to Jacob. The strength of the error that had dominated his conduct was broken. He was at peace. His spiritual awakening was so great that the bond of hatred between him and Esau was replaced by a bond of love and their ultimate meeting was a happy one. And Jacob said to Esau (Gen. 33:10), "I have seen thy face, as though I had seen the face of God, and thou wast pleased with me."
Now, what really happens when such mental struggles take place with us, whether we're Jacob or just plain you and me? It isn't the changing of an evil man into a good man. It's the recognition that the only man that exists is already perfect, the immaculate idea of the only Mind that exists. And this is the basis of prayer in Christian Science – right identification. Such prayer is orderly and logical in its affirmations of God's allness and man's perfection. It is specific and uncompromising in its denial of any concepts of being that would set themselves up in opposition to this absolute allness. Such true identification invokes the unlimited energy of divine Mind as constituting a law of obliteration to anything unlike God's allness. It acknowledges without reservation that God's presence is the only presence there is anywhere. It affirms without hesitation that His power is the only power there is anywhere.
There is no place in Christian Science treatment or prayer for the slightest departure from this absolute, radical standpoint or scientific approach. The release and calm which accompany this spiritually mental activity dissolve the fear of any evil power. What is really taking place then as the result of such prayer is a lessening of the belief that matter has actual reality, whether good or bad, sick or well, old or young, robust or infirm.
This spiritually scientific viewpoint realized without any mental reservation replaces the theories of fear-ridden material sense and is tangibly experienced as healing.
Right Identification Is the Answer
This then is the answer to the demands of today's world. The willingness, our willingness to turn to God and find the true brotherhood of man, to accept the spiritual truth that God's power is all the power there is, that His presence is all the presence there is. Then, feeling God's presence is the only legitimate feeling there is for man, the only real man – the man you are, right now. The man I am right now! When God revealed Himself to Moses as I AM THAT I AM, He conclusively revealed Himself as the only consciousness or Mind in the universe. And Mind being the primal cause and motive power is infinitely making itself known through the only effect. And this effect is man and the universe, the spiritual unfoldment of Spirit, God. The one Mind is the only basis for true brotherhood.
Christian Science is pointing the way and showing the way out of materialism in a world floundering under this enslaving yoke. Mrs. Eddy, through her enlightened discovery of scientific Christianity, is enabling you and me to experience the practical blessing which comes from learning how to really love, – through right identification of one's neighbor and oneself as children of the one indivisible, eternal, infinite divine Mind – the All-loving. Then we see that loving another as oneself is possible only as we realize that there is but one Mind; that this Mind is not broken up into millions upon millions of separate minds. As we begin to claim the presence of this one Mind we increasingly bring to light the unity of its ideas, or expressions. God, or good, remains indivisibly one Mind, individualizing itself in the mind or consciousness of each one of us. True brotherhood then is based on right identification from the standpoint of the one Mind.
In the Church Manual, Mrs. Eddy has laid down the By-Laws for the government of The Mother Church. One of these is a daily prayer. It's a universal prayer – a prayer of true brotherhood. It points the way to loving one's neighbor as oneself. " 'Thy kingdom come;' let the reign of divine Truth, Life, and Love be established in me, and rule out of me all sin; and may Thy Word enrich the affections of all mankind, and govern them!" (41:21-25.)
[Published in The Palma Ceia-MacDill (Florida) News, Jan. 16, 1964.]