Strong Reasons

THE world has not given up idolatry because it has grown too civilized to prostrate itself before graven images. The gods of to-day are not golden calves; are not Olympian deities, with more than the usual share of human vices; they are the vices taken from these deities, and held as images in thought. "Produce your cause, saith the Lord," so writes Isaiah; "bring forth your strong reasons, saith the King of Jacob," in a passage which has been better translated, bring forth your idols. Isaiah knew perfectly well that a man's idols were the desires he was clinging to, and that it was very immaterial whether they were molten calves, images of Dagon or Baal, or anything else. He knew that so long as they were clung to in thought, they were strong reasons. The plain truth is that anything which displaces the realization of Principle is an idol. "It is but a belief," Mrs. Eddy writes, on page 346 of "Miscellaneous Writings," "that there is an opposite intelligence to God. This belief is a species of idolatry, and is not more true or real than that an image graven on wood or stone is God."

The curious thing is that though the Bible is full of warnings on this subject, from one end to the other, its readers are generally content to believe that they have escaped from idols by not worshiping graven images. They forget that their strong reasons are their idols, and that these strong reasons must be treated precisely as the prophets were always adjuring Israel to treat the graven images. That is to say, they must be thrust out of consciousness and utterly destroyed. It is very little good talking about Principle, and clinging to the image of the beast. Jesus made this extremely clear when he said, "Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: but I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart." It is only as the world learns gradually that all causation is mental, that it can begin to understand that evil is entirely mental, that it is nothing but a counterfeit of good, of divine Mind, that it is a hypnotic influence which endeavors to flood the human consciousness, and that it can only be overcome by the realization that its existence is purely supposititious, through the knowledge of the infinity of divine Mind.

The men and women of to-day read the stories of Olympus, and wonder how people brought up on the great Greek philosophers, dramatists, and historians, could have accepted so debased and childish a theology. Yet they have taken the Zeuses and Aphrodites, Ares and Hera, and all their company, and, whilst ridding themselves of their material personifications, retained their mental characteristics. The new Olympus is the catalogue of the lusts of the flesh, so faithfully recorded by Paul: "Adultery, fornication, un cleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like." These are all to be found in the despised Olympus with the names of the gods attached to them, but they are also to be found in the human heart to-day, only that, as Isaiah says, they are called strong reasons instead of graven images.

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June 25, 1921

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