Dealing with “doomerism”
“All it takes is one person to poke a hole through the bottom of a boat in order for everyone else on board to be affected,” remarked a friend, referring to the impact that the negativity of others can have on our own thoughts and lives. A helpful metaphor, but even more, a great reminder of the importance of keeping our collective boat afloat through a better understanding of the inviolable goodness of God.
This understanding isn’t something that originates in our head. It’s inspired by Christ, God’s spiritual idea communicating to human consciousness, revealing the presence, power, and activity of good in each of us, including our fellow shipmates.
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Of course, there are any number of circumstances these days that would challenge our efforts in this regard: persistent warfare, a lingering pandemic, an erosion of democracy, and so on. And to the extent that such circumstances are left unaddressed through prayer—through a humble yielding to Christ—they might leave us feeling as though we’re drowning in a sea of “doomerism,” as it’s often termed, even the conviction that nothing is ever going to get better.
But even if there are those who fear that the world is at the end of its rope, that’s not the end of the story. It’s not even the beginning of the story. It’s simply a belief that somehow God, infinite good, has been, or is destined to become, separated from His own infinite reflection, separated from us. The real story begins—and ends—in the first chapter of Genesis where God recognizes everything that He made as “very good” (Genesis 1:31).
By refusing to believe that we live in a world beyond the reach of infinite Love, we were able to glimpse something of God’s care for one and all.
It was just such a recognition of man’s innate goodness, our spiritual substance, that enabled Christ Jesus to heal both physical and mental challenges, and enables us to do the same—that is, to see ourselves and others as the essential expression of God’s love, unimpressed and unencumbered by whatever the latest news headlines, and even our own lives, would suggest about the world’s prospects for health, happiness, and genuine security.
Not too long ago, I received a call from someone feeling anything but loved, who said that she was having another one of those “If it’s not one thing, it’s another” kind of weeks. And my immediate response was, “There is a God.”
That might sound a bit simplistic. But sometimes all that’s required in order for us to be lifted up or to help lift someone else up and out of a feeling of despair is to be reminded that we’re not alone, that there is a God and that this God is always and only good.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science and founder of this magazine, writes: “All substance, intelligence, wisdom, being, immortality, cause, and effect belong to God. These are His attributes, the eternal manifestations of the infinite divine Principle, Love. No wisdom is wise but His wisdom; no truth is true, no love is lovely, no life is Life but the divine; no good is, but the good God bestows” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 275).
For this individual who called—and I have to say, for me, too—our conversation about the reality and practicality of such goodness, brief as it was, was more than sufficient to buoy our thought. Perhaps the most meaningful inspiration for me was Christ’s assurance that there’s not a power in this world, not a problem we might face, that could actually deny the all-power and all-presence of God, of divine Truth and Love.
Although on the surface it may seem as though this exchange did little more than lift the spirits of someone who had become overwhelmed, even mesmerized, by so many denials of the good in her life, it actually went much deeper than that. By prayerfully denying the denials, so to speak—refusing to believe that we live in a world without God, beyond the reach of infinite Love—the two of us were able to glimpse something of God’s care for one and all, including those facing especially difficult situations.
It’s this sort of prayer—this surrendering to Christ’s revelation of the allness of God, good—that naturally and inevitably benefits more than just the one doing the praying. With this in mind, we can trust that every right and true and divinely inspired thought that we entertain is making a difference for everyone.
Eric Nelson, Guest Editorial Writer