We hear a lot about protest and demonstration these days. There is an emphasis on activism—the dynamic desire to change and improve the human situation. But all too often peaceful gatherings turn into violent protests, and the meaningful goals are lost in the cries of hate. Hate is not destroyed by inciting hate. So an individual may well wonder what he can do if in his university there seems to be only resistance to right student demands and verbal confrontation is unproductive.
To explore this situation, it is helpful to look at Biblical history—a history full of radical people protesting for the truth. Moses saw the injustice of the Hebrew people's bondage in Egypt. His first attempt at righting the situation, however, proved not only impulsive but futile. His killing of the Egyptian (see Ex. 2:11–15) failed to gain the desired end and placed his own life in danger. Moses had to find a deeper, more effective means of protest in the calm of the desert. And look at what his return to Egypt accomplished—a complete liberation of a people through the guidance gained from divine impulsion!
Daniel, another Old Testament figure, fought for religious freedom. He not only accomplished change nonviolently but gained the respect of men.
How about Christ Jesus? Was he a protester? Certainly. He was the most radical activist ever seen on the earth. "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword." Matt. 10:34; He denounced the hypocrisy and injustice of his time. He did not rely on force or on a popular following. And yet his protests changed the course of history. Why?
Mrs. Eddy helps us find the answer. She writes, "It is neither Science nor Truth which acts through blind belief, nor is it the human understanding of the divine healing Principle as manifested in Jesus, whose humble prayers were deep and conscientious protests of Truth,—of man's likeness to God and of man's unity with Truth and Love." Science and Health, p. 12; Jesus protested for the Truth which heals men and their society.
Are these "conscientious protests of Truth" practical? Can prayer really change anything? Well, look at what Jesus did. He healed the sick, fed thousands, raised the dead. The divine Truth he demonstrated is still present to overturn whatever is wrong in individuals and institutions, until social health is established.
Why isn't this real activism more widely practiced today? Jesus answered this question by stating, "The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do." John 5:19; Jesus' demonstrations succeeded because he had the omnipotence of God, divine Principle, behind him. Nothing can resist this living Truth.
Christian Science protests against discord, injustice, hypocrisy, just as Christ Jesus did, healing the sick, showing supply to be present where lack appears, and replacing discord with harmony. This protest doesn't make the headlines, doesn't angrily shake its fist at the Establishment. But it can heal whatever rigidities wrong thinking has fastened upon the institutions of men. The success of Christian Science lies in an understanding of Love's power to revitalize, remold, readjust. Love must motivate our actions.
"In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength." Isa. 30:15. The great nonviolent leaders have recognized this. Gandhi and Martin Luther King will be remembered long after the shouts of angry mobs have ceased. They gained their strength from the awareness that the side of right, although radical, is effective by emphasizing peace, not violence.
Young or old, black or white, we can begin "deep and conscientious protests of Truth" at our colleges. In every situation that is divisive, we can claim the human scene to be under Love's control and see in our fellowmen only the image and likeness of Love.