In a recent issue of the Journal the sermon of a Jersey...

Jersey Journal

In a recent issue of the Journal the sermon of a Jersey City clergyman against Christian Science was reported. Our friend, seeking for a telling catch phrase to hurl at Christian Science, falls back upon the overworked and overworn banal jingle, "ostrich philosophy." Strangely enough, this clergyman's first gun is fired at "Mrs. Eddy's contention that the five senses cannot be trusted and that impressions gained through them are synonymous with error." This, he says, is "playing the ostrich to get away from trouble." Evidently, then, our clerical friend constitutes himself a champion of the trustworthiness of the five senses and the testimony they offer, and we are therefore perforce left to wonder if he understands the task he has undertaken. Surely he cannot be entirely unaware that human education is principally directed toward the correcting and overcoming of sense testimony, and that human progress has been largely based upon the demonstration of the fact that "the five senses cannot be trusted." Perhaps the most notable instance of this is the Copernican theory, which is the completest triumph over sense testimony, and it might be well to recall the fact that it is less than three centuries since ecclesiastical ignorance and narrow-mindedness, relying upon sense testimony, condemned the aged Galileo to incarceration and prolonged penance, even after he had been forced, under menace of torture, to recant his belief in the Copernican theory. Since the days of Copernicus and Galileo, almost every triumph of science and invention has been won in the face of all sense testimony to the contrary, and often in spite of bitter clerical antagonism. To-day technical schools and chemical laboratories are equipped with many appliances and instruments designed expressly to correct and overcome the evidence of the five senses. Mrs. Eddy only went a step beyond the physicist and natural scientist in this respect, and since the publication of her great textbook, those scholarly scientists have been hastening to reach her advanced standpoint.

Our clerical friend should agree with us that Jesus is good authority for any Christian, but he has evidently overlooked what Jesus said upon the subject of sense testimony. He said, "Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment." And St. Paul wrote, "For the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal." Moreover, in Hebrews faith is expressly defined as "the evidence of things not seen."

September 11, 1920

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