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PROBLEM OF GOOD AND EVIL

From the January 1916 issue of The Christian Science Journal


THE fallibility of human knowledge is the lament of the ages; yet the thirst of intellect has based the highest achievements of the race, for despite the siren lure of personal attainment, which has wrecked many a brave quest, the honest desire for truth, and truth alone, has ever pervaded the search for satisfying knowledge.

Seeking for results, we find that physical science, perplexed by many and deep questionings, confesses mind beyond its scope; while no system of ethics or metaphysics has convincingly reduced to law the phenomena of consciousness. On the other hand, the students of Christian Science with one voice declare that this teaching meets the demands of reason, while furnishing religious inspiration and at the same time effecting bodily healing.

The crux of the problem of knowledge has always been the irreconcilable nature of phenomena, the seen and the unseen; intangible thought and tangible object; truth and error; love and hate; good and evil. All idealists agree that if we do not postulate an ultimate, eternal, self-existent good as our basis of thought, then existence is meaningless and hopeless; but how evil can be related to this good is the question. Here the most prevalent modern idealistic philosophy under the ægis of Hegel boldly steps into the arena with the proposition that this perplexing contradiction apparent in life is not a problem at all, but is the very basis of knowledge. A thing, it is said, is known by its opposition to what it is not; that without contradiction knowledge would be impossible. Hence the justification of the popular belief that we could not know good unless there were evil; that love would be meaningless apart from hate.

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