Is There Fire Where There's Smoke?

"Where there's smoke there's fire." This is sometimes stated rather casually as an unquestionable truth. To be sure, in the natural world around us it's a fair statement. But when related to gossip, rumor, and malicious speculation, it can be totally misleading and cruel. It can slip below being a relatively slight remark and have callous consequences.

When Christ Jesus' enemies delivered him to Pilate and asked that he be crucified, they alleged he had dangerous political ambitions. We can't know just what was in Pilate's thought, but isn't it fairly probable that he reasoned along the general lines of the claim that where there's smoke there's fire? In this instance the so-called smoke was merely the fog of malicious material sense and had no fire of actuality to it.

The term "animal magnetism," as it's used in Christian Science, denotes supposititious mental processes that have death—in a broad sense—as their final purpose. Animal magnetism would impose mortality and evil on us not only in a physical sense, killing the body, but would kill goodwill, cooperation, enthusiasm, hope—and sound reputation.

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Feeding the World's Famine
January 8, 1977

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