Have you heard the phrase “Practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty”? Author Anne Herbert wrote it on a restaurant place mat in Sausalito, California, in 1982, and it went on to become the title of a book she coauthored as well as a popular motto.
No doubt the world would be a much better place if we all practiced individual kindness every day! Yet random human attempts to do good, as laudable as they are, certainly are not enough to confront and eradicate organized evil, especially the organized terror that is confronting the world these days on the basis of radical and misplaced theological hatred.
So what does it take to eliminate organized evil?
Mary Baker Eddy says that “… those who discern Christian Science will hold crime in check” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 97). Does that mean we should all join the army? In a manner of speaking, yes! But I’m not suggesting that we must necessarily contact our local recruiting offices. Rather, I’m talking about adopting a spiritual perspective on good as the only true power.
In reality, good does not originate in individuals. Instead, it emanates from the one infinite Mind, which created all there is, including man. God, good, is by nature one in being. Therefore, good is self-supporting, cohesive, intelligent, universal, orderly, and impenetrable.
But before we have a closer look at the cohesive structure of divine goodness, let’s first see how evil claims to be organized. Among other things, it claims to have 1) intelligent communication within itself, 2) a common idealistic purpose, and 3) a command structure that enables creative collaboration.
But the truth is that, despite appearances, evil is by nature devoid of intelligence or unity. Since it is based on the false premise that there are many finite minds, it is at war with itself. It is self-destructive. Its natural state is that of the tower of Babel—people trying to collaborate, but ultimately finding their efforts deteriorating into unintelligent gibberish (see Genesis 11:1–9). Humanity can awake to the grand fact that all intelligence and life are in and of divine Spirit. Therefore, we don’t need to concede intelligence and life to evil. As Mrs. Eddy points out, “The only power of evil is to destroy itself” (Science and Health, p. 186).
Because real structure must be good and whole, Jesus said, “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and a house divided against a house falleth” (Luke 11:17). God is not good and evil. He is not divided against Himself. Quite the opposite. He is utterly one and whole.
Mary Baker Eddy explains the one God through seven synonyms—Mind, Spirit, Soul, Principle, Life, Truth, Love. Just think how it expands our understanding of God to see each synonym expressed as the other six. Contemplate how Love expresses itself as Principle through impartiality, justice; how Love expresses itself as Mind through intelligence, wisdom; how Love expresses itself as Truth through clarity, transparency, etc. You can look at all the synonyms this way to see how each includes the others. What an infinite, powerful, rich, utterly good, and unified divine structure—the oneness of God, and all that is included in that infinite One!
Spiritual man and the spiritual universe are the manifestation of God and His infinite nature. Just think: You manifest the structure of infinite good, the structure of the infinite, all-inclusive One, called God. What a tremendous power lies in realizing that fact.
Look at Daniel in the Bible (see Daniel 6). He faced quite some organized lethal opposition. The Bible says there were 122 royal officials collaborating to hatch a watertight plan to kill him. Sounds pretty organized, doesn’t it?
The plan was to catch Daniel praying to his God, so that they could get rid of him. They tried to target his worship of, and reliance on, the infinite One, by harming him through their unified hatred, backed by their maliciously conceived human law. Daniel’s immediate response was to turn to God in prayer. He knew that he was safe in relying on God, even when he was thrown into a lions’ den. In the end, he said, “My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt.”
We don’t need to concede intelligence and life to evil. As Mrs. Eddy points out, “The only power of evil is to destroy itself.”
We undermine our efforts to do good and to make a difference in the world by thinking good could be random and not realizing that good always flows from the infinite God, good, and therefore is not random but structured. One way the supreme power of good manifests itself to us is through church. As a human institution, the church is often seen as the community of the faithful. But there is more to it. Christ Jesus said that his church would be built on the recognition of the Christ, the divine power manifest in Jesus. Christ as God’s power in action is ever present, omnipotent, eternal. This power is our Savior, redeeming us from every evil, every sin, every ill.
Christ’s saving power manifests God’s oneness and is expressed in the spiritual idea of Church, which Science and Health defines as “the structure of Truth and Love; whatever rests upon and proceeds from divine Principle” (p. 583). The “structure of Truth and Love,” as it’s understood and lived by church members, is evidenced in spiritual harmony and power in all the activities of the human institution called church, which Science and Health defines this way: “The Church is that institution, which affords proof of its utility and is found elevating the race, rousing the dormant understanding from material beliefs to the apprehension of spiritual ideas and the demonstration of divine Science, thereby casting out devils, or error, and healing the sick” (p. 583).
The Bible has powerful examples of the effects of prayer in the early Christian Church. We read that when Peter was captured, the Christians gave unceasing prayer for him, and he was freed from prison (see Acts 12:1–12). And after Paul was stoned by the Jews and presumed dead, “as the disciples stood round about him, he rose up” (see Acts 14:19, 20). The early Christians must have had deep and inspiring insights into the allness and power of God’s nature—His impenetrable oneness—to have overcome organized hatred. What a foundation to neutralize error and hold crime in check!
The world has seen many powerful examples of what is possible when people get inspired by the wholeness of a right idea. The civil rights movement in the United States is an example. It was organized on the idea of the power of peaceful, prayerful resistance to overcome long-entrenched racial discrimination. A deeply held unconditional love was the motivator and sustainer of this movement.
Another example is the peaceful uprising in East Germany in 1989. It involved people praying together, like the early Christians. At one point, seventy thousand people took to the streets after prayer meetings and withstood provocations to violently rebel. They trusted in God and the power of the right idea of freedom. Tanks and troops were waiting on the side streets, ready to engage, but peace prevailed, and the communist government soon stepped down. Horst Sindermann of the East German Socialist party confessed years later: “We were ready for everything—everything except candles and prayers” (Elizabeth Pond, “The Berlin Wall: what really made it fall,” csmonitor.com).
These examples illustrate the power of right thinking and of human hearts relying on God. The church established by Jesus, and explained by Mary Baker Eddy, takes human thought even further, into the understanding of the spiritual reality of the one all-powerful God, and the power of uniting with God and one another through prayer based on that understanding. The spiritual idea of Church that is built on Christ, on Truth and Love lived, is just as much at work among us today as it was in the days of the early Christians. What a joy to acknowledge the power of the structure of Truth and Love when understood, and to share this power with the world through our lives. What an opportunity to do our part in holding crime in check by realizing the all-power of the one infinite God, good.
Mrs. Eddy wrote: “Christian Scientists, their children and grandchildren to the latest generations, inevitably love one another with that love wherewith Christ loveth us; a love unselfish, unambitious, impartial, universal,—that loves only because it is Love. Moreover, they love their enemies, even those that hate them. This we all must do to be Christian Scientists in spirit and in truth. I long, and live, to see this love demonstrated. I am seeking and praying for it to inhabit my own heart and to be made manifest in my life. Who will unite with me in this pure purpose, and faithfully struggle till it be accomplished? Let this be our Christian endeavor society, which Christ organizes and blesses” (Pulpit and Press, p. 21).
What is the effect of uniting in such a “Christian endeavor society,” of uniting with the power of the one Mind, divine Love? Mrs. Eddy gave us an insight into the limitless potential when she said to a class of only 65 people: “We, to-day, in this class-room, are enough to convert the world if we are of one Mind; for then the whole world will feel the influence of this Mind; as when the earth was without form, and Mind spake and form appeared” (Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896, pp. 279–280).
Defeating evil is not about the quantity of people or their particular location. It’s about coming together in the understanding of our oneness with God, as expressed in the idea of Church. It’s about coming together in our prayers and our daily lives, to demonstrate the power of God. In short, it’s about proving that the power and allness of the infinite One, which is God, leaves no space for evil to exist.
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