Educated Narrow-mindedness

Ignorance is the father of narrow-mindedness and the grandfather of intolerance. The more limited their mental horizen and the more impoverished their mental environment, the more flagrant usually are the narrow-mindedness and intolerance of the ignorant. Such was the attitude of rulers in Jerusalem who were forced to admit the wonderful healing of the lame man by Peter and John; yet they contemptuously characterized the apostles as "unlearned and ignorant men," because the knowledge which these apostles possessed was beyond their ken, though they claimed for themselves a profound knowledge of divine law. Mrs. Eddy makes a telling plea for Christian Science when she says, "Give to it the place in our institutions of learning now occupied by scholastic theology and physiology, and it will eradicate sickness and sin in less time than the old systems, devised for subduing them, have required for self-establishment and propagation" (Science and Health, p. 141).

Ignorance is worse than illiteracy. Frequently those who are literate must be classified as really ignorant. There is a marked tendency of those who are truly educated to become humble; for none are so keenly aware as they how limited are the boundaries of human knowledge. Self-complacency, however, is too often the brand of literate as well as illiterate ignorance; and the literate ignorance seems, as a general rule, to be more stubborn and difficult to influence than the illiterate. Besides, there are some branches of study which, when a person permits himself to deal with them too exclusively, narrow instead of broaden the mental horizon, even as would a lifetime devoted entirely to hard labor.

Such a person may have been inclined at the start to be broad and liberal in his view-points, but gradually and surely he gets into a few ever deepening ruts of rule and formula; and it comes to pass with him that when anything falls under his impatient attention which his rule and formula cannot measure or estimate satisfactorily to himself,—such, for instance, as the teaching of Christian Science,—he proves himself to be pitiably narrow-minded and intolerant. And his bigotry seems too often to be mimicked by those who are disposed to admire him and who seek to pursue his particular pathway. Some of those who have studied and practised materia medica for a long time, even though ranked with the intelligent, well illustrate this fact. The basis of their profession is materialistic, and their habits of observation and reasoning are therefore likewise materialistic. Gradually and surely they get into ever deepening ruts of materialistic thinking, and thus often become wholly irreligious.

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Peace and Peacemakers
March 13, 1915

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