"True humanhood'

The object of religion is to make the world good. Unfortunately, the pursuit of this object has revealed all the bigotry, hypocrisy, and cruelty inherent in the human mind. Madame de Maintenon summed up the effort, with unconscious sarcasm, when, in the midst of the license of the ancient regime, she declared that she had made religion the fashion. As a consequence, society has smiled cynically at the mere mention of goodness, and the great imaginative writers, in their creations from Tartuffe to Stiggins, have used hypocrisy as a foil for human passion. As a result, goodness has become suspect, and the excuses for evil have been many and generous. Now all this arises out of a mistaken idea of what constitutes good. Good is the atmosphere of God, and God is the term men in all ages and all countries have given to their highest conception of good. The eastern peoples, in the dawn of history, personified these conceptions in the form of personal deities, and, in the same way, personified their conceptions of evil as devils. Gradually, out of this welter of human superstition, there arose the Hebrew ideal of monotheism. A man could not hold that ideal and live in Padan-aram. And so Abram obeyed the promptings of Principle, and came out from the land of the idolators, and was separate.

The story of the Hebrew people, as recorded in the Bible, is the story of the gradual overwhelming of the human conception of God, good, by the spiritual conception of good as Principle. The necessity for this is made particularly clear, by Mrs. Eddy, on page 20 of "No and Yes": "When the term divine Principle is used to signify Deity it may seem distant or cold, until better apprehended. This Principle is Mind, substance, Life, Truth, Love. When understood, Principle is found to be the only term that fully conveys the ideas of God,—one Mind, a perfect man, divine Science. As the divine Principle is comprehended, God's omnipotence and omnipresence will dawn on mortals, and the notion of an everywhere-present body—or of an infinite Mind starting from a finite body, and returning to it—will disappear." There, as the preacher says, you have the conclusion of the whole matter. The Old Testament is the record, in allegory and in history, in poetry, drama, and philosophy, of the development of the idea of humanity as the image and likeness of God, manifesting good or evil in its alternating obedience or disobedience to God; whilst the New Testament is the preaching of good as Principle, and the proclaiming of man not as a material image of Spirit, but as the spiritual reflection of Principle.

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Editorial
The Absolute Beginning
March 19, 1921
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