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THE INANITY OF MATERIALISM

From the August 1907 issue of The Christian Science Journal


Although the Christian Science teaching, that a material sense of man and things is not real because not of God (Spirit), is largely rejected, the experience of mortals compels them to admit that from the material side they derive no unmixed or permanent good, but instead an almost endless succession of disappointments, sorrows, pains, diseases, and miseries. Their objection to the statement of matter's unreality is thus shown to be groundless, for that which metes out such evil conditions to men must stand self-condemned before God, from whom only good can come. King Solomon in his day taxed to their utmost the resources of materialism, to give pleasure and satisfaction, but at the end he declared that they were all vanity and vexation; that is, destitute of reality or substance. The daily history of mankind affords conclusive evidence that matter does not really supply a single element of human need; for with an abundance of material things around them, and in spite of all that matter claims to do, mortals in their belief continue to sicken and suffer and die. What other relation can this belief of matter have to divine Truth than that of negation, nothingness?

Since mortals turn unsatisfied from even the best that materialism offers, how can one rightly conceive of it as filling any place in the divine plan of creation? What is called material existence does not express "enduring life," but the absence of it, a state in which life is not apprehended save as a passing shadow which eludes the grasp. According to their own asserted laws, mortals are born to die, not to live. Therefore, considered in its relation to divine Life, God, this mortal sense of existence is a vacuum, a condition devoid of every quality of immortality, incapable of imparting to mankind any true knowledge of God or of Christ. Their projected belief that life and intelligence are something apart from God, returns to mortals in the disasters and ceaseless woes which make up their too common life-history. Thus materialism reveals itself as possessing nothing to compensate for the vanity of believing that life is in or of matter, a belief that is as pitifully poor and mean, and as prolific of evil to-day, as at any point in its record.

Nature involuntarily protests against a vacuum as foreign to its character and design, and seeks to replace it with the presence of normal conditions. A vacuum cannot fill its own emptiness, any more than one error can correct another or a dream embody the truth of being. The endeavor to be satisfied with, what material sense provides must ever be as fruitless as the attempt to appease one's sense of hunger with dreams of a feast. It is difficult to say which is the more pitiful, the awful belief entertained by mortals that God is absent from the world, or their efforts to be satisfied without God, the effort to accept the evanescent material dream for the spiritual reality.

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