A Healing Reaction to Barbarity
"What kind of person could do a thing like that? How can anyone be so inhumane, destructive, barbaric? It's unbelievable!"
Society turns away in horror and amazement from reports of vandalism and atrocity. Civilized people find it hard to comprehend how any sane man, woman, or child could possibly be motivated by such bestial thoughts as to commit the senseless, destructive, brutal acts against fellowmen and their property that we sometimes hear about today.
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Such lack of comprehension is healthy. It indicates a deep-seated faith in the innate goodness of man's true nature. It is a reaction against the claim of evil to be able to govern mankind, and provides a basis for proper human action to be taken to rid the world of barbarity. Mrs. Eddy writes in Science and Health, "Disbelief in error destroys error, and leads to the discernment of Truth." Science and Health, p. 346; And, farther on in the same book she says, "When we come to have more faith in the truth of being than we have in error, more faith in Spirit than in matter, more faith in living than in dying, more faith in God than in man, then no material suppositions can prevent us from healing the sick and destroying error." ibid., p. 368:
The lens of Christian Science enables us to discern the truth of being—to discern the actual, God-derived, perfect, intelligent, loving nature of men and women as the sons and daughters of God. This does not mean that we are blind to the bestial acts that occur on the human scene. We focus on the spiritual fact that the qualities of the divine Mind, Truth, and Love must inevitably and invariably be represented in God's offspring. Then, from this basis we are able to reject as illegitimate the false belief that anyone can, in truth, be cruel, hateful, vindictive, and destructive.
When we deny reality to barbaric thoughts, we are not shutting our eyes to the false belief that they exist and are apparently manifested in bestial acts. Rather are we taking a step toward destroying them. By exposing and denouncing both thoughts and acts as contrary to God's law, we help the miscreant to get free.
Christ Jesus was quick to challenge evil thoughts on the basis of the allness of God, good, and the perfection of God's universe and man. He did not ignore the claim that an evil mind had presence and power. There were times when he strongly rebuked false motives. "Get thee behind me, Satan," he once said to Peter. "Thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men." Matt. 16:23: When it was voiced, he immediately reacted against his disciple's wrong thinking and identified the offense as emanating from Satan, or the devil, of whom he said, "There is no truth in him." John 8:44: He demanded a change in thought by exposing to Peter the error and showing that he was free to "savour" the things of God—to entertain God's true spiritual ideas rather than the materially-based, false concepts of mortal belief.
God, divine Mind, the creator of the universe and man, is infinite Love. From Him flow only intelligent, harmonious thoughts, which can produce only good, progressive, constructive, loving action in His ideas. In proportion as we understand the perfect nature of the one divine creator, God, we can demand that there be no evidence of the existence of barbarians, vandals, sadists, or of hating or destructive individuals anywhere in our universe. The thoughts that would make a person act vindictively or unkindly are illegitimate. They come from an evil mind, the devil, or Satan, not from God, the divine Mind; and Satan, or this devilish mind, has "no truth in him." We therefore have the right to deny the claim that there exists an evil mind, and to get the victory over the belief that there is such a mind, by so exposing the error to the evildoer that he abandons it.
Our integrity will demand that we make every effort to demonstrate in our own experience this understanding of the pure, sinless consciousness of man's real nature. Only in this way have we the right to require the overcoming of evil thoughts in others. While making a reality of evil in ourselves by savoring "not the things that be of God, but those that be of men," we have not the power to reduce to nothing the negative thoughts that are apparently possessing the minds of others and causing them to act destructively.
The evidences of evil thinking are all too common in the world today. It comes to our attention in accounts ranging from petty thievery among children to wanton, large-scale destruction of property and sadistic murder. These reports will continue so long as we accept the belief that there exists an evil mind apart from God and condone its expression in human experience.
As we gain an understanding that the only Mind that exists is God, good, our instinctive disbelief in barbarity will be strengthened to the point where we are able to think and speak with authority as Christ Jesus did. We shall be able to "cast out devils" Matt. 10:8. —not only deny the belief that there is an evil mind which can utilize man, God's idea, but rebuke the error so successfully that it will be destroyed.