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Web Original

The antidote to systemic racism: Spiritual oneness

From the September 28, 2020 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel

First appeared as a Web Original on August 6, 2020

My first real breakthrough in understanding how Blacks have experienced racism historically and continue to do so today came from a family friend. Her great-grandfather’s experiences as a slave and her own dealings with racism in work, church, and social environments were appalling, but they also revealed her inner strength and spiritual power, which left a deep and lasting impression on me. She shared how she prayed and overcame such unjust circumstances with the assurance of God’s omnipotence and her conviction of everyone’s oneness with God and with all of God’s spiritual creation.  

I live in the Twin Cities in Minnesota, where George Floyd was so tragically killed on May 25, 2020. When videos of his death first surfaced, the spiritual strength of my friend came to my thought with an urgent desire to pray as she did, leaning on the healing ideas of Christian Science, as revealed in the Bible and the writings of Mary Baker Eddy. I realized racism is a form of hatred—hatred stirred up by deeper currents of thought that have been unchallenged and left festering. If our prayers are sincere in their efforts to eradicate this blight, we need to radically counter those ingrained currents with spiritual truth in order to effect lasting change.

So how can we counter the evil expressed in the systemic racism that still polarizes many of our institutions and social interactions? The Bible gives a good starting point: “Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us?” (Malachi 2:10). Christ Jesus’ teachings resound with an unequivocal “Yes!” to these questions. Jesus taught that we belong to God and to one another under “one Father, even God” (John 8:41), divine Mind, the only cause of all that really is. This is the reality, or truth of being, and every time we yield to the consciousness of this reality, it destroys a little more divisiveness, complacency, callousness, and hatred. This truth of being “is an alterative, reaching to every part of the human system. . . . and it restores the harmony of man,” as it says in Eddy’s primary work on Christian Science, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures (p. 423). 

We need to radically counter ingrained currents with spiritual truth in order to effect lasting change.

Eddy discovered Christian Science, the Science behind Christ Jesus’ words and works, which heals sickness and overcomes hatred and evil. She writes: “Evil is not something to fear and flee before, or that becomes more real when it is grappled with. Evil let alone grows more real, aggressive, and enlarges its claims; but, met with Science, it can and will be mastered by Science” (Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896, p. 284).

Christian Science teaches that as we call out all evil on the basis of the permanence and all-power of God, good, the temporary, flawed, material foundation of systemic racism is revealed. Neither the fear that good is limited and needs to be hoarded preferentially for one group over another nor the fear that we or others can be dominated by evil has any spiritual substance. Fear falls when we stop feeding it, no matter how long it has been perpetuated.

Both fear and hatred are dismantled by what my friend knew: the omnipotence and supremacy of God’s all-inclusive love and the safety of all God’s creation. As light destroys darkness, divine Love swallows up evil. Science and Health says, “Evil is not supreme; good is not helpless; . . .” (p. 207).

Christ Jesus knew and embodied this saving power of our individual and universal oneness with God. By it he triumphed over hatred, healed disease, overcame death, and transformed lives. These victories were and are signs of man’s unity with God—revealing Immanuel or “God with us.” Science and Health says of Jesus, “He plunged beneath the material surface of things, and found the spiritual cause” (p. 313). We can follow suit and acknowledge God, divine Love and Truth, as the only real cause, the truth of being, thereby annulling the claim that evil and hate have either heritage or influence. We can stand for the divine right of all of humanity to experience God-given freedom and God’s unfailing love. 

We can stand for the divine right of all of humanity to experience God-given freedom and God’s unfailing love.

If the aggressive picture of hopelessness looms large, our prayers can go higher. We can persist in knowing the truth of our oneness with God and each other until we see proof of the law “Love never fails” (I Corinthians 13:8, New International Version). It is evil’s nature to self-destruct, and divine Love understood, acknowledged, and lived will continue to “overturn, overturn, overturn” (Ezekiel 21:27) until evil does destroy itself. 

We each have a role to play in bringing that about. When teaching her students about the healing work of reflecting God’s love, Eddy encouraged them to remain persistent and consistent by repeating what they knew to be spiritually true and defeating the doubt that would tempt them to feel they couldn’t make progress. She said: “Never become discouraged, dear ones. This work is not humdrum, it is growth. It is repeating and defeating, repeating and defeating, repeating and defeating” (We Knew Mary Baker Eddy, Expanded Edition, Volume 1, p. 263).

We can defeat hatred through repeatedly perceiving and proving the universal truth of our unity as the offspring of one spiritual creator in our daily living, thinking, speaking, and acting. As we do, our universal unity with God will grow ever more apparent and will be manifested as honoring each other’s dignity, expressing broader compassion, and increasingly securing equality. 

One God has created us. We can return to this spiritual truth of God’s oneness, and our inherent oneness as God’s sons and daughters, again and again and again. The architecture of our unity with God and each other can shape our thoughts and actions until the human experience conforms to this divine Truth and we see permanent change.

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