An Open Mind

Unwillingness to learn has ever been the greatest foe to human progress. This is especially true of questions pertaining to religious teaching and practice. A man's religious belief is to him a thing of vital importance and he guards it with zealous care. This is as it should be. The most sacred thing on earth is the Christian's faith in God. Nothing that this world can afford is to be compared with it. It is the inherent conviction of most persons that some form of religious faith should have a place in every man's life. Without it there is something lacking, and it is believed that the future, if not the present, will reveal the folly of neglecting so vital a matter. It is needless to say that every man is persuaded that his faith is right; that it is based on the correct interpretation of Biblical teaching; and if put into practice will receive, because it merits, the reward of obedience. Many persons have accepted, without questioning, whatever faith was presented to them. There are comparatively few who have considered seriously how or why they arrived at the conclusions which they consider fundamental and essential. The wise Christian is ever alert and he will not be deceived by the subtle suggestions of evil, which would, if possible, deceive the very elect; but the fear of being turned aside from the straight and narrow way has sometimes prevented progress and hindered that natural growth and development of faith which is necessary to a right apprehension of spiritual teachings.

There is occasionally a reluctance even to consider the possibilities of a more practical religious teaching, because of the fear that one may depart from the faith of his fathers if he is led to desire more than he has been taught to believe can reasonably be expected from the exercise of faith. For example, it is the belief of many that the prayer of faith can no longer heal the sick without the use of material remedies, and that it is unreasonable to expect it to do so. Hence the teaching of Christian Science, that the prayer of faith is just as effectual to heal the sick to-day as when the apostle James taught the people to rely on God alone, is regarded with suspicion, and there may be those who, like Saul, verily believe they are doing God service by opposing it.

Jesus was opposed, not so much because he taught the law and the prophets, as because he demonstrated that the truth revealed in law and prophecy could heal the sick, cast out devils, and even raise the dead. To the religionists of his day it seemed impossible that such works should result from the legitimate exercise of faith, and so they not only rejected the teaching but sought to prevent others from accepting it. They boasted that they were the children of Abraham; but how little did they realize that they had long since departed from the faith of Abraham. Because they were unwilling to learn, they could not comprehend even the simple things of the Master's teachings.

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Fleeing from Error
March 29, 1919

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