The decision as to whether or not Christian Science is true does not rest with the opinions of men, however eminent in their own line some of them may be; and those who attack it or its believers from no better motive, or upon no more reliable basis than their difference of opinion, have no reasonable justification or defense. A difference of opinion indicates nothing more than that all but one of the disputants are in error, and who that one is can be settled only by an appeal to the facts involved. That others believe differently from us does not necessarily prove them in the wrong, and until one can furnish definite proof of his position he had better maintain that generous, unbiased attitude of mind which welcomes truth even at the expense of cherished opinions. The almost countless phases of belief that have emanated from the popular concept of God should preclude mutual intolerance or antagonism, so long as these beliefs are honestly held and their influence is for the betterment of mankind. If one is confident that he is right, he can well afford to leave the establishment of this fact to divine wisdom and the fruits of experience; whereas the manifestation of bigotry or uncharitableness towards the views of others is a sure sign that if one's beliefs are right at least his practice of them is not.

The Leader of the Christian Science movement in a recent article sums up the entire wisdom of the question when she says: "It is of comparatively little importance what a man thinks or believes he knows; the good that a man does is the one thing needful and the sole proof of rightness" (Mrs. Eddy in The Independent). If this rule were the guide of judgment, the attacks upon the Christian Science movement and its revered Leader would cease, and the great blessings which they have bestowed upon humanity would be recognized and acknowledged. And what other right way is there whereby to judge of one's own or of others' beliefs than by the good resulting therefrom? Men do not abandon the opinions of a lifetime, nor leave the legacy of their ancestral faith, without a weighty and sufficient reason. They do not change their beliefs for the mere love of change, and the very fact that they have done so should appeal to the considerate judgment of others even if it does not win their approval. Those who have turned from their former beliefs to accept the teachings of Christian Science have done so because of the larger good received by them, and for nothing else. If they are deriving more help, physical, moral, or spiritual, than they found possible before, what rational cause is there why they should not make the change? To pass upon their course from any other point of view than the welfare of those most concerned, is to be guilty of the overweening dogmatism that says, "No one can be right that does not believe as I do."

Is it not true that humanity would never have progressed out of its cruder conditions had not some brave spirits dared to cross the boundaries of popular opinion and open the way to better and higher things? One has but to look back to the darker ages of the race to see that the spirit of intolerance is the spirit of savagery and of animalism. Had mortals remained content with existing opinions regarding the universe and the so–called laws of nature, we should never have had the telephone or a railroad, we should never have had the Copernican system, nor the discovery of our western hemisphere, nor the Reformation. Think of this, and what it means! Coming to our own age, if Mrs. Eddy had not dared to cross swords with popular material and theological opinions, the world would not have received Christian Science at this time; but that she had the courage to do this, and to give to mankind the results of her discovery, delivering thousands from sin and suffering, should forever shield her from persecution in a country whose people have struggled through oppression and bloodshed for their liberties.

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March 16, 1907

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