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Christian Science Not Superstition
ALBERT F. GILMORE, CSB


         To determine the extent to which superstition has entered into the practice of religions among mankind is quite impossible, but it may be safely said that worship of the mysterious has been very common in religious beliefs and rites. Superstition is defined by Webster as "an excessive reverence for, or fear of, that which is unknown or mysterious; esp., a religious belief regarded as irrational and misleading." Christian Science may be characterized as rationalized religion, that is to say, it is supported by reason and buttressed by demonstration, and is, therefore, devoid of the slightest vestige of superstition. It has no mysteries, although it may appear to have, to those unfamiliar with its teaching and practice.

         Of all the interpreters of the teachings and works of Christ Jesus, Mrs. Eddy is the most practical. She based her claim to recognition as a religious Leader and Founder upon the unanswerable fact that she proved what she taught. Moreover, she furnished the rule and method whereby others could prove for themselves the truthfulness of her teachings. Thus she swings entirely away from the realm of the unknown and esoteric, bringing religion within the light of demonstrable understanding, relieving it of all semblance of mystery and superstition. To the materially-minded, divine truth in all its manifold phases seems remote and mysterious; but to the spiritually receptive, it is the very essence of logic and pure reason. This accords with Jesus' memorable words spoken in reply to Nicodemus, come to inquire of him as to the questions with which he was wrestling. "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit," the Master declared. And later, he assured his visitor that what he was saying was not uncertain and problematical but definite and capable of proof: "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness."

         The unresponsive Pharisees were scarcely able to grasp the meaning of the spiritual facts which the Founder of Christianity was setting before them. Yet their inability to understand in no wise perplexed or mystified Jesus. He fully understood the situation. The "things of the Spirit" were to him Truth itself; and he saw conditions so clearly that he spoke out of absolute knowledge, leaving nothing to speculation and uncertainty. Likewise, Mrs. Eddy, having discovered divine Science and proved its propositions, speaks with authority. She can say with like assurance, "We speak that we do know." The powers that, to the unenlightened material thought, seemed supernatural and mysterious became to her the only reality, operating under the never changing divine law. She stripped the teachings of Christ Jesus of all the superstition and occultism which had come to enshroud them during the centuries, bringing their transcendent truth into the full light of day, and again revealing the means whereby all may utilize the benign power of Spirit.

         In one clarion statement Mrs. Eddy settled forever any question as to a possible relationship between Christian Science and the mysterious or occult. "Between Christian Science and all forms of superstition," she declares in the textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 83), "a great gulf is fixed, as impassable as that between Dives and Lazarus." There could scarcely be a more sweeping statement. "All forms of superstition" leaves no loophole through which any form of mystical worship may enter. In view of this, Christian Scientists are awake to the need to make spiritual truth practical in order to insure its freedom from every vestige of mysticism. To accept on mere faith a teaching which one does not understand, tends in some degree to reduce religious worship and practice to formalism and rite, opening the door to superstition, occultism, and mysticism. This falls far short of obedience to the behest of our dear Leader, who demanded full proof of her teachings, and in itself is reprehensible. Such methods do not make practical Christian Scientists. Demonstration and proof are the remedy for this situation. That which through actual demonstration one has proved to be true is no longer a mystery to him, but a practical reality. To believe in God's immanent power is one thing, and may be no better than blind worship; to prove one's faith through the destruction of erroneous beliefs is quite another, lifting religion and worship out of the realm of the uncertain and mysterious into the light of spiritual understanding, where superstition plays no part. To gain understanding based upon reason, that is, to attain knowledge based upon proof, is the goal of our most earnest desires.

         In speaking of the consistency of divine Science, Mrs. Eddy says (Science and Health, p. 242), "Mere speculation or superstition appropriates no part of the divine vesture, while inspiration restores every part of the Christly garment of righteousness." It is for each of us to supplant mere belief with proved truth, thereby cleansing thought of every vestige of mystery. Of all followers of the Nazarene Prophet Christian Scientists are under the greatest obligation to prove that the Christian religion is a practical guide to right living, for they have the world's two greatest exemplars for their Way-shower and their Leader.

         This of all time is preeminently the age of proof. The world is surfeited with scholastic theology and speculative philosophy. The demand is for practical religion to meet the complex problems of the times. Christian Science furnishes the solution to every problem, both for the individual and for humanity as a whole. It is for Christian Scientists to establish proofs in ever increasing numbers and with ever increasing certainty. Divine Science is exact Science, always demonstrable, and when demonstrated clears our mental skies of both superstition and mysticism.

 

"Christian Science Not Superstition" by Albert F. Gilmore, CSB
The Christian Science Journal, January, 1926
 

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