How ironic that the very purpose of religion—to instill in humanity a bond with God and a way to practice in life this godliness—should so often be distorted, becoming a source for strife and warfare instead. History is replete with examples of conflict in the name of religion, for example, the Crusades, Wars of Religion in the late Middle Ages, or the more recent conflict in Northern Ireland. And the world's climate today is no exception. Whether it's conflict in the Middle East, cultural wars between sects, such as we see in the Balkans or Rwanda, or doctrinal struggles within denominations, religious warfare is all too often the cause of much of our world's unrest.
It's clear that the root of religious warfare, then, lies not so much in our differing creeds, as in our ignorance of the divine character.
Given religious turmoil's predominance and stubborn history, is there really any hope that we can still this tumult and move toward healing? The founder of this magazine and healer in her own right, Mary Baker Eddy, thought so and devoted one of her early sermons, The People's Idea of God, to precisely this topic. In her opening words, she noted that real progress is "a step more spiritual," and that reform is not a product of human wisdom, but rather "the crumbling away of material elements from reason." To this 19th century reformer, healing in matters such as religious strife would occur not so much by human consensus and compromise as by spiritual revolution—by people gaining divine insight into God's true nature, which would lift humanity to "more spiritual latitudes" (P.1).