Making a Decision

[Written Especially for Young People]

Sooner or later every young Christian Scientist comes face to face with the uncompromising attitude of his church toward the use of intoxicants and tobacco. On page 289 of "Miscellaneous Writings" Mrs. Eddy has said, "Strong drink is unquestionably an evil, and evil cannot be used temperately: its slightest use is abuse; hence the onlytemperance is total abstinence." Does this seem a rigid and joyless standard, shutting out young people from gaiety and placing those who are obedient to this ruling in the position of self-righteous critics of their more "broad-minded" friends?

Perhaps the experience of one young student of this Science will be interesting to others who are facing this perennial question. Feeling no desire to use either tobacco or alcohol to excess, she felt that total abstinence implied a narrowness of view which reflected unfavorably upon her beloved religion and its adherents. Self-will arched its back and said: "Why be so rigid? A little indulgence along this line means no more to me than an occasional piece of candy at a party. Besides, I have many worse faults than this—surely the overcoming of envy, hatred, and revenge is more important than never taking a cocktail or a cigarette!"

A Parable of the Sacrament
September 3, 1938

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