Where will the iconoclasts finally stop? What will be...

The Oregonian

Where will the iconoclasts finally stop? What will be left of our venerable beliefs and cherished illusions when they get through with their mad work of destruction? One would have suppoed that John Milton and "Paradise Lost" at least were safe from the hand of the spoiler; but not so, Francis J. Fluno, M.D., C.S.D., says there are no angels; and what is "Paradise Lost" without its serried ranks of serphim and cherubim, its angels and archangels? Satan himself was, or is, an angel, and to be left as Dr. Fluno would leave us, in a world without Satan, without a solitary minor devil to lay the blame of our sins upon, would be lonesome, to say the least of it. But they must all go. The last little imp has heard his doom. "There are not spirits many of spirits at all." declares the bold apostle of Christian Science. "The so-called embodied spirits and spirits are alike false and unreal; they "exist only as mortal beliefs, and have no more existence than the gods of mythology." Since diseases are also, according to Christian Science, mere "mortal beliefs," and since things that are equal to the same thing are equal to each other, it follows with fair facility that the angels and devils which have all adown the ages played such a part in religion, literature, and art and in the last analysis nothing better has made as much mischief in the world as the belief in disembodied ghosts, spirits, or angels, or whatever one may prefer to call them. We have all been taught from our youth that the air is full of these invisible creatures. floating around much as jelly-fishes float in the sea and interfering in all sorts of ways with human affairs. ...

If Dr. Fluno is right, and there are no such things as ghosts, angels, and devils, then the human race is rid at a stroke of a terror which has impended over it and paralyzed its best energies since time began. If there are no devils, they cannot lead us into temptation, they cannot roll us about in a lake of brimstone with red-hot pitchforks, they cannot interfere with the benevolent designs of Providence and thwart constantly its plans, as we have been taught that they do. If there are no ghosts, they cannot lie in wait for us in deserted houses, they cannot assail belated wait for us tin deserted houses, they cannot assail belated travelers past we may cease telling our children that they abound in vacant rooms and dark closets, ready to pounce out upon naughty. It must be admitted that supernatural beings have been a valuable sort of police auxiliary for a long time; but the good they accomplished was entirely through terror, and we have discovered of late that human beings can be led to do right more economically than by keeping them stupefied with fear. That clearing of the air from its supernatural inhabitants which christian Science seems to have effected must have a wonderfully emancipating effect upon the wills of its votaries. To feel sure that they are no longer to be watched and hectored and thwarted by a host of invisible creatures whom they can neither reason with nor placate, can hardly fail to set them rejoicing. ...

But how about those gone before? Dr. Fluno's doctrine here chimes precisely with the New Theology, which we may perhaps suspect of having made some surreptitous borrowings from Mrs. Eddy. At any rate, Mrs. Eddy was first in the field. The problem of an individual personality in heaven is identical with the problem of individuality here. When we can understand how we come to be distinct persons on earth, then we can understand how the same thing will happen in heaven. Christian Science predicates no change whatever in our relations with the Deity after the "change called death." If we are one with Him now, so we shall be then; and inasmuch as we can will, remember, and think now, ... what is to hinder us from doing the same things then? Thus or something in this way, we understand Dr. Fluno to reason upon the most important and most fascinating of all problems. Some will agree with him, some will differ; but everybody must that what he has to say is of the deepest interest.

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December 28, 1907

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