CHRISTIAN SCIENCE AND SOCIAL REFORM

It is sometimes assumed that Christian Scientists are oblivious of, or indifferent to, certain deplorable conditions which appear in the present state of society, because they do not use the methods commonly employed to suppress or eradicate these specific phases of evil. The facts of the case, however, do not warrant such a conclusion. For, while the Christian Scientist's apprehension of Truth may render it impracticable for him to try to co-operate with his fellow-religionists and philanthropists in some of the lines of endeavor which they regard as indispensable to the well being of humanity, this attitude is not prompted by a spirit of indifference to such considerations. On the contrary, no class of people has more at heart the amelioration of human sorrow and distress than have Christian Scientists. Although sympathizing with the worthy motives which prompt all humanitarian effort, they are impelled, nevertheless, to seek the solution of these difficulties along more fundamental lines. Working from the standpoint of Principle, and following the guidance of revealed Truth, they are enabled to approach the problems of human existence with a more profound and intelligent understanding of the situation and the ways and means by which the ultimate defeat and destruction of every form of erroneous manifestation is to be accomplished. Not only must the situation and in any particular case be correctly diagnosed, but their source must be discerned before an adequate remedy can be applied. Christian Science proves beyond cavil that all human discord springs from a false sense of existence. The so-called human mind is incapable of self-purification, and is prone to lapse into a state of moral inertia, become a stagnant pool. Its self-originated attempts to break away from enslaving conditions and rise into an ideal atmosphere are sooner or later foiled by the earthward gravitation of mortal propensities. A limited material mentality proves inadequate as a basis of enduring harmony in either individual or collective relations. So long as this erroneous type of mind is acknowledged to be the source of human achievement, the past history of the race must continue to repeat itself; and social régimes, inspired at their inception by lofty ideals and pure motives, are apt to degenerate and fall a prey to materialism and corruption.

In the tragic drama of human experience waves of civilization succeed one another, even as physical forms and organisms appear and disappear to mortal sense. Like all materially conceived things, each new order of society claiming a human origin, and patterned after a finite model, is destined to suffer decay and dissolution. The counteracting influence of reform movements may, for a time, succeed in checking, or even eliminating, the more flagrant symptoms of moral disorder; but no form of protest becomes effectual, in the broader sense, until the human mind relinquishes its self-assured prerogatives, and yields to the sovereignty of the divine Mind. The real offender and promoter of discordant issues cannot be permanently dislonged by measures of a merely reformatory character instituted at the behest of the finite and fallible human mind. So long as a false estimate of man enters into the calculation, it is of comparatively slight consequence whether the individual be regarded as the unit of society, or whether the body politic be treated as the conservator of individual interests. In either case, a materially conceived type of man cannot long retain the ideal status accorded him in the most perfectly wrought out social scheme. The spiritual standard of man must be enthroned in human consciousness before the individual can be adapted to any social scheme, or a social scheme devised which will promote the highest welfare of the individual.

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WHAT GOOD DOES IT DO?
December 22, 1906
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