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On not being "error's advocate"

From the August 1987 issue of The Christian Science Journal


I had been pondering the concept of fidelity to truth and wanted to be more faithful to the demands made on me as a Christian Scientist, when I came upon this sentence by Mrs. Eddy in Science and Health as if for the first time: "Neither sympathy nor society should ever tempt us to cherish error in any form, and certainly we should not be error's advocate." Science and Health, pp. 153-154.

Mrs. Eddy includes this sentence in a paragraph with the marginal heading "Source of contagion." But I asked myself a broader question: What did it mean in every situation to "not be error's advocate"? How could I be more faithful to this command? I sought answers to these questions through prayer, and the resulting change in my everyday thought and life has been wonderful.

An advocate is one who defends or pleads by argument in support of something. The idea of pleading for or supporting error was offensive to me, but as I honestly probed my thinking, I realized that I was often guilty of doing just that! Any time I thought or spoke in a destructively critical or negative manner, for instance, wasn't I advocating, arguing on behalf of, error? As Christians we are taught to be charitable and forgiving, and I was startled to realize how often I had been arguing in defense of an erroneous, unchristlike concept of my fellowman—a concept I didn't even believe in!