|By: Dr. John Ankerberg, Dr. John Weldon; ©1999|
|Religious Science, like religions and cults generally, must agree with Christianity that something is seriously and basically wrong between the divine and the human.|
Religious Science (and Science of Mind), like religions and cults generally, must agree with Christianity that something is seriously and basically wrong between the divine and the human. The question is who has the more accurate diagnosis of the problem and the best solution? The fact that Science of Mind goes out of its way to deny evil, disease and so on, shows that these conditions really do exist. As in atheism, the constant need to deny affirms the reality of that which is denied. Otherwise, there would be no need for denial. No one feels constrained to build a philosophy against the existence of satyrs, because everyone knows they are a myth. If evil did not exist, no one would know it. It is denied because it does exist.
Sooner or later Religious Science [RS] believers will experience evil in ways they cannot deny. This will lead to doubts about Science of Mind views, and at this point especially they should be challenged to re-examine their spiritual values and commitments. For instance, if sin or evil is merely an appearance that does injustice to the Reality of the divine perfection behind it, why do those in Religious Science react to evil like everyone else and fail to manifest perfection? Is not the very reaction to evil and the failure to manifest perfection a betrayal of the principles of Science of Mind? Even Holmes admits, “We only think we believe that God Power is in us.” “In discarding the ancient idea of a huge person in the nature of Deity, we are undoubtedly losing something.... Neither can we hope to get very much satisfaction from thinking of God only as an infinite It.” The following discussion citing Ernest Holmes underscores fatal problems in RS philosophy. The true betrayer is Religious Science itself:
the universe, which is or could possibly be anything other than a manifestation of the One Divine Mind, the One Universal Presence, the One Infinite Spirit.
Universe were not perfect it could not exist for a single moment. It is self-evident that we live in a Perfect Universe; and, if so, then everything in it must also be perfect.
must produce a Perfect Effect. Disregarding all evidence to the contrary, the student of Truth will maintain that he lives in a Perfect Universe and among perfect people; he will regulate his thinking to meet this necessity and will refuse to believe in its opposite. At first he may appear to be weak; but as time goes on, he will prove to himself that his position is a correct one; for that which appears imperfect will begin to slip from his experience.
But as time went on, Ernest Holmes confessed his failure to manifest perfection, just as Charles Fillmore, the founder of Unity School of Christianity, also failed in his own confession of divine perfection and died as a result. Contrary to Holmes’ own experience, he claimed that it was not a matter of choice or conjecture concerning perfection, for “Goodness is already given.” But he could never live it. He even understood that his philosophy was a failure:
afraid. We are not so foolish as to think that people do not suffer; that they do not experience want; that they are not unhappy. But the potential I, the potential you, is just as perfect as the inherent God. This is why the world will call us stupid: that we do not call this perfection into objective manifestation. It is not a matter of choice that we are potentially perfect. It is not a matter of conjecture.... Goodness is already given.
Holmes was correct. It is stupid to remain in imperfection if one can change it. This is a fitting epitaph to Religious Science philosophy: put simply and bluntly, it’s just stupid.
Unfortunately, cherished beliefs can die slowly, even when they are shown to be wrong. We reported the following account in The Coming Darkness, a book documenting the dangers of occult practice. It discusses a famous although fraudulent medium’s shock at learning that people wished to continue to believe in his “divine” powers even after they had been told, by him, that they were fraudulent:
also considered one of the most proficient and would routinely produce alleged spirit messages, materializations, psychic healings, clairvoyance, trumpet mediumship, apports, etc. But he was a fraud. For over 13 years he practiced his wares before his conscience got the best of him and he decided to confess his unethical methods. In The Psychic Mafia he tells his story. “The average person is exceedingly easy to fool,” he says.
Nevertheless, even after he publicly confessed his fraudulent practices, the will to believe persisted. Most of his sitters and even the church board of directors either refused to accept his confession or kept attending the faked séances of Keene’s associate!
did not exist, that they were fakes, people continued to respond to him on the basis of what they learned from the “spirits”! He recalls, “I was crushed. I knew how easy it was to make people believe a lie, but I didn’t expect that the same people, confronted with the lie, would choose it over the truth.”
comfortable than unbelief; this is precisely why so many cults and spiritual cons flourish everywhere in America today.
This “will to believe” explains why RS believers may continue to argue the superiority of their beliefs against those of Christianity. A Religious Science church member will often reply to a Christian, “We teach the positive things,” as if Christian belief in the reality and effect of sin means that Christianity is entirely negative. To the contrary, nothing is more positive and realistic than Christianity. Man is created in God’s image, loved infinitely by Him and capable of an intimately personal eternal relationship with Him. Eternal salvation is an entirely free gift! By contrast, where is the truly positive in Religious Science? Is it a positive thing to deny reality? Is it positive to think you are divine, when you are always confronted with evidence to the contrary? Or, is it positive for a woman or man to attempt to have a personal relationship with an impersonal It? “There is a Divine Something, call It what you will.” Is it something positive to be absorbed or erased into an impersonal essence at some point in the distant future?
Religious Science practitioner may also respond to a Christian, “But Jesus Himself taught Religious Science when He stressed the power of faith.” However, when Jesus said, “Be it done according to your faith,” He was clearly and specifically referring to faith in a God beyond the limited resources of the individual. He was referring to a faith that realizes its own creaturely need, rather than one that believes in its own divinity. He was referring to a faith that trusts in God, not in its own arrogance. Had Jesus intended to teach RS, He would simply have said, “Be it done according to your faith in your divine self.”
Another Christian response could surround the RS aversion to sin and separation from God. After all, in Religious Science, Christianity represents one of the “greatest handicaps to spiritual progress,” due to its insistence upon man’s innate separation from God. A Religious Scientist may believe that Christians live in “hell,” because hell is defined as “a discordant state of being. A belief in duality. A sense of separation from God.”
But is this is not primarily true of Religious Scientists? (Christians, for their part, are no longer separated from God.) Do Religious Scientists not live in a discordant state of being, wrestling with their perpetual sense of separation from the perfections of “Divine Mind”? Do they not more or less recognize their own constant “separation” from God? Do they not have “sin” constantly in their consciousness? Their own experience cries out “yes!” Man is either one essence with God, or he is not. Religious Science members need to see the logical consequences and expectations of both claims. Do they act like a God according to Religious Science or do they act like a sinner according to Christianity? If they can be helped to answer that question honestly, the battle is half won, and the truth about man’s separation from God and Christ’s atonement may be introduced.
One good approach may be to center the discussion around Holmes’ own teachings that:
claim. What we should do then is find out exactly what Jesus believed, and why.
meaning.... We should re-read the words of Jesus as though we had never heard of them before—start all over again, get a completely fresh outlook.
One may then sit down with a Religious Science follower and “start fresh” in the area of biblical study, specifically the teachings of Jesus on sin and salvation and God’s love for the person (John 3:16). The RS practitioner will soon see that the Bible teaches something quite different from Science of Mind, and that anyone who interprets the Bible in a normal sense cannot achieve a Religious Science outlook. If Holmes himself was the one who emphasized, “We must have clarity, not confusion; truth, not lies,” where then is “the clarity” (or truth) in Holmes’ interpretation of Scripture? Where is “the truth” (or clarity) in his interpretation of experience?
In 1959, Ernest Holmes challenged: “You find me one thousand people in the world who know what Religious Science is and use it, and live it as it is, and I’ll myself live to see a new world, a new heaven and a new earth here.” But within a year, Holmes had died, having never seen his new millennium. Of course, there have been millions of RS practitioners who have known what RS is, who have used it and lived it faithfully, even valiantly. And it changed nothing fundamentally. Holmes was wrong because he refused to accept the world as it is and had forsaken the one true God who created it. This is the God who declared, “It is given for every man to die once, and then comes judgment” (Heb. 9:27). If RS practitioners do not wish to take the risk Ernest Holmes took, then they must be certain that their philosophy of life is true. Indeed, the difference between being God or being a sinner is the difference between living in heaven or living in hell:
add to his words or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar. Two things I ask of you, O LORD; do not refuse me before I die: keep falsehood and lies far from me. (Prov. 30:5-8)
not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed in the witness that God has borne concerning His Son. And the witness is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life. (1 John 5:10-12 NAS)
In concluding, we can only agree with Science of Mind writer Rev. Margaret R. Stortz in her online article “Science of Mind and the Spirit of Christ,” when she writes the following: “In all of Christianity there is no more important single figure than Jesus, the wayshower and inspiration from which the Christian religion began. As an inquirer into Science of Mind, it is very important for you to have a clear understanding about Jesus’ relationship to God and to you.”
|The birth of Christ is not an historical event, but is an eternal incarnation (Keys to Wisdom, p. 39).||But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the Law (Gal. 4:4).|
| It would seem unthinkable and certainly illogical to
believe that such states [heaven, hell] could be created by God. (Ibid., p. 18)
| Then He will also say to those on His left,
“Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matt. 25:41 NAS).
| This is why the Bible says there is but one mediator
between God and man; Christ in us, the cosmic man (Know Yourself, p. 94).
| For there is one God and one mediator
between God and men, the man Jesus Christ, who gave himself a ransom for all men... (1 Tim. 2:5).
| Creation is eternally going on (Questions and Answers,
| And by the seventh day God completed His
work which He had done; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done (Gen. 2:2).
| It is never the will of God or universal harmony to have
any person suffer (Ibid., p. 24)
| Therefore, let those also who suffer
according to the will of God entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right (1 Pet. 4:19 NAS).
| Born of the Spirit, your child is changeless, perfect,
completely safe and secure in Divine Mind (Ibid., p. 69).
| Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but
the rod of discipline will drive it far from him (Prov. 22:15). The rod of correction imparts wisdom, but a child left to itself disgraces his mother (Prov. 29:15).
|The devil is an hallucination (Gateway to Life, p. 19).|| He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning
from heaven” (Luke 10:18; see Luke 22:3; Rev. 12:9)
| There is no God that heals just because someone
crawls up to Him and prays for it. There are no special dispensations of Providence.
| And the prayer offered in faith will restore
the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him. Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much (James 5:15-16 NAS)