The mistake about matter


Sometimes a magazine article or perhaps a resource book on religious beliefs suggests that Christian Science teaches matter, even existence itself, to be illusory. Such a casual statement surprises the Christian Scientist as much as it must surprise most other readers. After all, the Christian Scientist drives a car, eats a meal, picks up a newspaper just as everyone else does. Although such a sweeping statement can easily misrepresent what a Christian Scientist actually believes, it does point to a teaching that deserves to be better understood by those who have a serious interest in religious ideas.

The fact is, Christian Science teaches that matter is very, very real to the physical senses. Mortals constantly see, hear, taste, smell, feel, evidence of matter. And to these material senses nothing could be more substantial. But there is another issue here. What about the material senses themselves? How responsible are they in providing an accurate description of reality? How real, how valid, are they?

There are plenty of times when we dismiss what these senses tell us is real. We believe instead what our education has taught us. For example, I recently admired images in a museum of holography. But as substantial as the holograms looked, I knew that when I reached out to feel the images being projected, there would be no "substance" there. Not long ago I watched a jet fly into the distance. While my eyes told me the jet was becoming smaller, my education preserved my conviction that it wasn't.

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Stake your claim
March 24, 1986

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