We do it all the time—number the people. The news media constantly publish the results of polls on topics ranging from the popularity of political candidates, to the state of people's finances, to their daily habits. It's often comforting to find ourselves aligned with the majority. We sometimes feel frightened if the numbers indicate that the "other side" or a lifestyle other than our own is gaining strength.
The course of history has been changed by those who have been willing to make unpopular choices in support of a righteous cause. When Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, he freed the slaves but angered those whose very livelihoods and lifestyles appeared dependent on this form of cheap labor.
In the early days of the Christian Science movement, Mary Baker Eddy knew what it was like to write and talk about a subject that went against the tide of prevailing thought. Her growing understanding of God as all-loving, all-powerful Spirit, who created only good, and of man as His image, wholly spiritual, brought her ridicule and persecution. But the Church she founded, "designed to commemorate the word and works of our Master, which should reinstate primitive Christianity and its lost element of healing," Manual of The Mother Church, p. 17. grew in strength and respect and now has branches all over the world. Its influence is felt in the growing body of healings, which testify to the truth of Christian Science. The Church of Christ, Scientist, has had a marked leavening effect on religion, science, art, philosophy, and medicine. Yet it is not popular as the world counts popularity—by numbers.
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