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Getting at the root of racism

From the February 2, 2015 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel

Many of us probably haven’t been subjected to racism. So we haven’t actually experienced the fear and injustice engendered by it.  But all those who desire to love God more, and to love others universally as children of God, can contribute through prayer to the lessening, and eventual dissolution, of racism. Because we are all children of the one God, this must and will happen someday.

There are various issues bound up in this insidious attitude—issues of justice, safety, and the freedom to live one’s life to its full potential, all of which affect people in various parts of the world. But as important as these are, there’s a deeper need to get at the root of racism, which is where consecrated prayer plays a vital role.

The root of racism is deeper than we might think. It goes deeper than history or cultural attitudes. It goes to the very bottom of human thinking, to the fundamental human concept of life itself.

The Bible speaks of one creator, God, who is infinite Spirit and divine Love. It brings out further that all of us individually and collectively are the offspring, the image, of this one God. The universal family of man, then, is the very expression of divine Love, and therefore wholly loved, lovable, and loving. God is the one infinite Mind, and therefore men and women universally express this one and only Mind. Each of us is unique in our expression of God, but we all emanate from the same source. We all have the same Father-Mother, the same Mind. Unity characterizes all true being.

Hatred and injustice proceed from a misperception that reverses reality. Instead of the unity and harmony of infinite divine Mind and its infinite, manifold expression, the material, mortal sense of life constantly sows and reaps the fruits of division and discord. In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy writes, “The erroneous belief that life, substance, and intelligence can be material ruptures the life and brotherhood of man at the very outset” (p. 541).

Wherever we see racial prejudice, we’re seeing a false, material conception of man being played out in people’s thoughts, actions, and characters. If we ourselves are feeling prejudice or hatred, we’re feeling something that is beyond just our own thinking; it’s the basic misconception of life itself that we’ve accepted for ourselves and others.

We each have the ability, however, to change. We can put off this “old man,” as the Bible says—this materialistic sense of ourselves as mortals, capable of ignorance and hate—and “put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness” (Ephesians 4:22, 24). We can pray to gain a loving, spiritual understanding of others, to see each of them as ideas of perfect Soul, God. Every child of God expresses God’s infinite individuality. While each one is unique, each manifests and represents the oneness of Soul, the unity of Mind, the love of divine Love.

In praying about racism, we can place our trust in God to move on the waters of human consciousness and transform it.

The book of Colossians in the Bible also speaks of putting on “the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him”—adding, “where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all” (3:10, 11).

Divisions dissolve in the light of Christ, because Christ is the one infinite manifestation of the one infinite God, in which all of us are found to be one in Christ.  In the Christly understanding of who we truly are—exemplified by Christ Jesus himself—we find God-given dominion over worldly perceptions and attitudes. 

The reflection of Love can’t be unloving. The manifestation of Mind can’t be ignorant or prejudiced. The understanding of who we all really are has a tangible impact on our lives. It regenerates our character. It corrects and softens our view of everyone. It replaces ignorance with understanding, hatred with kindness and appreciation, narrow-mindedness with a more far-seeing wisdom and love that embrace all.

Through our own spiritual regeneration we are able to help on humanity’s progress more effectively through prayer. We are better able to see through the false, mortal concept of others as hateful or hated. We are able to perceive that every child of God is loved, safe, and governed justly by divine Love. 

In praying about racism, we can place our trust in God to move on the waters of human consciousness and transform it. The family of man cannot forever be left in ignorance and hate, because we are already the children of God, having the Mind that was in Christ. God’s love for all cannot be kept from reaching the receptive heart with higher views of manhood and womanhood, or be kept from melting even the most stubborn hate in the cleansing flames of Truth and Love. 

The brotherhood of man is already divinely established. Its evidence in human experience will expand as we do our part in destroying the underlying mortal, material sense of manhood and womanhood that engenders division. This is an ongoing work that will spiritually enrich our lives, open our hearts more fully to all peoples, and bring much good to humanity.

David C. Kennedy

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