In the 22nd Chapter of Luke’s gospel, as well as in the 18th Chapter of John’s gospel , is related the story of the arrest of Jesus following his betrayal by Judas. In angry response to the arrest, it is recorded that “Simon Peter having a sword drew it, and smote the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. ….Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?” (John 18: 10,11) Luke’s account of this event records in verse 51 “And Jesus answered and said, Suffer ye thus far. And he healed him.”
What was the difference between Jesus’ perspective on this situation, and that of Peter? Did not Jesus possess and exercise a superior understanding of the presence of divine safety, and the illegitimacy of physical violence to cause harm? On page 494:15-19 in our textbook, Mrs. Eddy wrote “Jesus demonstrated the inability of corporeality, as well as the infinite ability of Spirit, thus helping erring human sense to flee from its own convictions and seek safety in divine Science.”
Where is our safety? Is it in material and human laws? Jesus understood that this entire material presentation was invalid, and that his own safety, and Peter’s safety, as well as the safety of the Centurion’s servant, were uninterruptable spiritual facts. Therefore, Jesus had absolutely no fear that Peter’s irrational use of the sword, wielded in anger, could harm anyone. That understanding perception of spiritual reality healed the high priest’s servant’s ear.
On page 19 of our textbook Mrs. Eddy also writes “Jesus urged the commandment, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me,” which may be rendered: Thou shalt have no belief of Life as mortal; thou shalt not know evil, for there is one Life, -even God, good.” (Emphasis added) When Jesus was arrested and betrayed, Jesus continued to know with impeccable clarity that there is no evil, and that neither his life, nor Peter’s, nor the life of the offending servant, could ever be touched by evil.
What if we found ourselves in the middle of a battlefield, with bullets flying fast all around? As a Christian Scientist, how would we establish that our salvation is immediately at hand? Wouldn’t we do this by powerfully declaring the truth of Love’s ever presence, and by denying the reality and ability of the evil situation to bring us harm? Could we really escape from the danger by continuing to fear death from the bullets, and fearing the violence of the situation? Or would not the second option in fact falsely affirm the presence of desperate danger? Which of these two options, to the Christian Scientist, would be the most powerful and wise approach to facing and defeating the claim of danger?
The apparent danger we meet in violent situations is enforced only by animal magnetism – the world’s false belief in the reality and potency of evil. There is no power outside of God. Christian Scientists learn through prayer, study, and practical experience that every human situation, every human law, every human experience is harmonious in the proportion that human thought patterns the divine. Human law, which operates in a distorted human sense of the divine consciousness, does not exist as an independent set of laws, operating separately from God. There are no human laws to fear. None. God is All-in-all. The Christian Scientist strives to put this spiritual fact into practical experience. Christian Science proves that human laws most closely pattern the divine in proportion that they are based upon spiritual fact. Unjust human laws are those which are based upon the reaction of human fear, in contradistinction to sound divine Principle. Humanly and politically, the Christian Scientist strives to ensure that humanly, civil law coincides with moral and divine law.
Let us examine first a case of unjust civil law in a context with which most practicing Christian Scientists are accustomed to thinking. Then we will address an independent example of unjust civil law which has received quite a false backing from world belief, or animal magnetic influence, in terms of Christian Science.
A Common Case Known by Many Christian Scientists
Inoculation and vaccination laws assume that power exists in viruses, germs, and diseases in various material forms, and they insist that unless we protect our material bodies from their presence, we are subject to their attack and influence. The belief of the world is that our material body governs our experience. In Christian Science, we learn that the opposite situation is true. We learn that the body manifests that which is entertained in the mind, and that the body is not really self-acting nor is it really susceptible to external material forces or laws. The student learns that in proportion as we know and understand our relationship to God as the very self-witnessing of God of Himself, in that proportion does that consciousness more closely manifest an approximation of its perfect and natural state of perfection. The apparent conscious condition of the body continuously corresponds with the state of thought entertained. Thus we gradually learn to prove that we are not susceptible to the supposed external power of virus, germ, or disease. And in proportion as we understand that the virus itself contains no inherent evil or detrimental qualities, and that it is not included in the realm of God’s infinite perfection, in that proportion does its perceived threat to our health diminish.
The practicing Christian Scientist accepts and understands this. How would a Christian Scientist face the suggestion of impending legislation which would require every citizen to be inoculated against a disease which is generally perceived to be dangerous? Would he favor the law requiring inoculation, or would he favor making the receipt of vaccination voluntary?
Of course we know the answer. Let us analyze the logic behind it. The Christian Scientist is endeavoring to eliminate the effects of belief in discord, belief in anything at all appearing to oppose God’s infinite goodness. He constantly consciously does this by affirming God’s omnipotence in every avenue of consciousness. If he were to favor the requirement of inoculation upon every citizen, he would be mentally affirming a supposed power in the virus which belief insists must be feared.
But a Christian Scientist knows with absolute assurance that there can be no power outside of the singular omnipotence of God. The Christian Scientist also recognizes that every individual is the manifestation of the infinitude of God’s expression of individuality, and is hence under no obligation to be directed by anything or by anyone outside of the realm of God, of which there is no realm. In other words, although man is constantly under the jurisdiction of divine Mind, God’s man is a free thinker, free to know anything and everything within the infinite realm of God. No human being can compel God’s man to act. Man is a free moral agent. Thus, the Christian Scientist is wise who practices the exercise of freedom of choice with respect to inoculation.
Let’s return to the hypothetical and humanly possible situation of being faced with human legislation which would restrict the freedom to choose or deny inoculation. What political involvement might a Christian Scientist choose in such a situation? We are all familiar with our Committees on Publication, who take political stands on behalf of Christian Scientists to ensure that the individual rights of man are not trampled upon by unjust human laws. Is it not then also correct for the concerned Christian Scientist to take his own stand against unjust laws requiring inoculations? It certainly is correct, and it is common.
This case of inoculation law is a clear cut and common situation which has been resolved many times. The world’s belief in fear of disease drives the human push for inoculation laws. It is always fear which drives mortals to take material steps which they perceive will provide protection from perceived evil. The disease itself does not drive the push, but the fear of disease. In disease, the presentation of evil appears as suffering and sickness. It cannot be over emphasized that the presentation of evil, no matter what its form, is not the driver of human safety measures. Fear drives the desire to invent human safety measures. The effect of fear believed, is to turn the presentation of evil into a virtual reality in human consciousness. Once such fear is entertained, the disease is pictured by the public at large as a very real threat. That fear is the driver of political policies favoring forced inoculations.
A More Subtle Case
We have covered a familiar subject. Now let’s move on to a slightly more subtle presentation of animal magnetism. Animal magnetism in the form of world belief, works in an infinitude of subtle ways. “Why”?” you might ask. We know it to be powerless. From whence could it derive subtlety?
For every real and Principle-based truth there exists an opposite and invalid supposition of its opposite. That is the realm of the unreal, the realm of so-called mortal mind. Inoculation law is only one of an infinitude of ways in which the hypnotic effect of world belief presents to human consciousness the false reversal of Truth. We must look closely at every human issue and examine it through the same metaphysical lens. The inoculation example provides a solid example of how a human issue is to be taken apart by projecting it through the metaphysical lens.
Let us examine the subject of the appearance of a violent killer. Where should the attentive Christian Scientist begin in addressing this situation? On page 275:6 Mrs. Eddy says “The starting point of divine Science is that God, Spirit, is All-in-all, and that there is no other might nor Mind, – that God is Love, and therefore He is divine Principle.” Just as in the case of inoculation law, the Christian Scientist begins by having no fear of the presentation of disease by a powerful affirmation of the Allness of God – in equivalent manner must the Christian Scientist consider the case of gun control law. He must begin by having no fear of the presentation of the horrible killing scene, and he does so by affirming the Allness of God. To heal such a tragic situation for the world, to the Christian Scientist the horrible killing scene must be just as unreal, just as devoid of reactive fear, as is the presentation of the terrible disease against which those entertaining the fear of demand their mandatory inoculations.
Let us examine the fearful political reaction which demands gun control laws as a solution to this problem And let us use logic as it was used in analyzing the political demand for mandatory inoculation laws to prevent disease. The caring Christian Scientist took a strong political stand against the mandatory inoculations. Why? Because, he understood the powerlessness of the disease. He understood that it was fear, not disease itself, which causes an epidemic of disease to appear real. So then, what should the thinking Christian Scientist do in the case of this crazed attacker who used a gun? Should he begin by fearing the gun? Does not a fear of the gun turn the entire horrible scene into a false virtual reality? Should he not in this case also take a logical position with respect to divine law and the false respect of fear?
Exactly what position did he take with respect to mandatory inoculation? Did he not affirm that the disease had no power, and that it was therefore correct for him to take a position which excludes any fear of the disease? Did he not oppose the inoculation law on the basis of 1) the infringement of personal rights on the part of those who oppose mandatory inoculation, and 2) an understanding that the disease had no inherent power or right to exist to begin with? The Christian Scientist knows that the inoculation does not truly eliminate disease, but that it does temporarily placate irrational fear while providing no real solution for the ultimate elimination of the disease.
Let’s apply the same logic. How should the Christian Scientist approach the politics of a terrible massacre committed with a gun? Should he begin by fearing the gun? Should he fear anything? Does human fear need to be somehow managed, or must it be eliminated? Will more restrictive gun laws, which falsely assign an inherent characteristic of evil to an in animate object, “inoculate” society against future violence? Will any human laws inoculate society from future violence? If one were to answer in the affirmative, this faulty logic would necessitate an admission of belief that inoculation actually eliminates disease. Should we simply temporarily placate human fears to make everyone falsely feel secure, or should we “lay the axe at the root of the tree of evil?”
So, what will inoculate society against the appearance of evil? Certainly no human measure at all! Just as a thinking Christian Scientist makes the logical decision to oppose mandatory inoculations on the basis of invasion of personal rights, and on the basis of his understanding that such measures falsely empower fear in disease, so would he make the logical decision to oppose the regulation of guns, which he understands to be no more powerful to cause evil than is disease! The axe must be laid at the root of the tree! To pass inoculation laws is to temporarily chop off one of the many branches of disease on the tree of evil. The branches will grow back unless the tree is cut down. To pass laws humanly controlling guns is but to chop off one of many branches of violence from the tree of evil. And that branch will also grow right back, unless the tree is cut down.
Here is a good point at which to return to the case of Peter, who sliced off the ear of the high priest’s servant. Jesus did not condemn Peter. And Jesus did not condemn the sword, with which Peter, one of Jesus’ best disciples, obviously was knowingly armed, in Jesus’ presence. Jesus condemned Peter’s anger and offensive actions, but he never condemned Peter’s intent to protect his Lord and Master.
Animal magnetism is “spreading himself like a green bay tree” (Psalms 37”:25) within our movement. If we would detect it, we must rouse ourselves to a new sense of awareness of the sneaky and subtle ways in which evil would accomplish its supposed self preserving purpose. We must carefully guard our doors against the approach of offensive intruding thoughts. Many come wearing benevolent disguises. Watch for them! They present false identification at the door of thought. When we let them in, then we unwittingly entertain them. Then they proceed to wreak havoc, until we perform our office as mental bouncer, detect them, and toss them back out. Beware of their disguises, and beware how they gain false credibility through the establishment of long term acceptance and belief. Animal magnetisms finest and proudest work will have you arguing for it, protecting it, standing up for it, in the false name of goodness, in which it convinces you to believe. Let us awake and begin the task of identifying and eliminating the imposters.