Our Moral Responsibility

The question of moral responsibility is one which is often debated. How often one finds oneself reasoning as to some line of conduct, desirous of knowing the right thing to do, whether or not one is obligated to pursue a certain course of action, or, having done something, if one is in duty bound to adhere to it. The whole round of daily living makes its appeal to us in this way: it is insistent on its moral demands upon us. The workshop, the office, the factory, the home are continually calling upon us in our contacts with our fellow men to make right decisions, and to act upon these decisions.

In Christian Science faithfulness to moral obligations is inculcated and stressed, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mrs. Eddy, making it clear that we are free moral agents. On page 60 of "Unity of Good" she writes: "Mortals are free moral agents, to choose whom they would serve. If God, then let them serve Him, and He will be unto them All-in-all." This is highly important, because sometimes it is argued that one may not be free to choose between good and evil, being in circumstances which are believed to be beyond one's control. For example, it is held by some that a child who has been brought up in evil surroundings may be unable to free himself from the influence of those surroundings. Mrs. Eddy's words just quoted deny this. How reassuring it is to know that everyone, no matter what the nature of his upbringing may have been, is morally free to choose the right and to break away from whatever is unlike good!

We can, then, choose whom we will serve. We can decide to serve God, good, not evil. Indeed, as Christian Science shows, in reality we can serve only good, since God, good, is infinite. This understanding opens up an instructive and helpful line of thought. What are mortals doing when they indulge in evil? They are harboring in thought an illusion, and acting upon it. What are they doing when they believe they cannot break away from evil beliefs and practices? They are failing to understand that, because of its unreality, evil is powerless; they are failing to know that they are free moral agents, endowed with power from God to hold fast to that which is good and to dissociate themselves from supposititious evil.

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"Unwinding one's snarls"
January 9, 1937

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