Realizing the value of a spiritual approach to life may begin meekly. It can start with having a sneaking suspicion that there is something fraudulent in the explanation of our existence as purely material. It certainly happened that way for me and many of the people I know. For me, this suspicion started as merely an intuition, but it was quite persistent and soon turned into a readiness to listen to new ideas. As I did so, I often found myself willing to question conventional material viewpoints and began reasoning from a spiritual basis.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Founder of Christian Science, spoke of the need for thinkers to be willing to venture beyond the systems of the day, and affirmed that spiritually directed reasoning, starting from a higher premise, is an avenue for right thinking. She wrote in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: “Reason is the most active human faculty” and “For right reasoning there should be but one fact before the thought, namely, spiritual existence” (pp. 327, 492). I was learning that reasoning on the basis of the reality and supremacy of spiritual Life, Truth, and Love naturally frees thought, making one more courageous, joyous, and at peace.
I came to love this sense of “right reasoning” during my high school years, including a pivotal moment in a biology class.
At the time, my parents seemed to be in a battle of viewpoints—between my dad’s vociferous arguments for a strictly material worldview, and my mom’s reverence for spiritual things. My dad usually won out. While my mom’s perspectives were inspired, she may have felt diminished in the face of such forcefully presented opinions.
For my part, the differing views were very confusing. My dad was articulate and convincing, and while my mom’s more spiritual take on things was comforting, sometimes it seemed to me to be merely wishful thinking by comparison. I loved my mom’s explanations but was pulled to the fear of my dad’s uncompromising decree that life is purely material. Nevertheless, I deeply sensed that what is spiritual is true and real and concrete. And I decided that if a sense of spiritual conviction was to take the lead in my heart (which I very much wanted it to do), I was going to have to cultivate an ability to reason logically from a spiritual standpoint in an instant.
As a soldier has to be ready to defend his charge, I knew that I had to be ready and willing to allow the spiritual truths that I was learning in my study of Christian Science, both at home with my mother and at the Christian Science Sunday School, to defend my consciousness. Mary Baker Eddy, when speaking of mankind’s right to freedom from fear, doubt, sin, sickness, and death, wrote: “The powers of this world will fight, and will command their sentinels not to let truth pass the guard until it subscribes to their systems; but Science, heeding not the pointed bayonet, marches on. There is always some tumult, but there is a rallying to truth’s standard” (Science and Health, p. 225).
No matter where we may think we are in the grand scheme of things, spiritual reasoning is our strong suit.
I took this to heart and began to defend my thought with spiritual logic every time I seemed to be corralled by the invariable fears and doubts associated with a purely material view of life. My reasoning was simple, but to a fifteen-year-old, it was powerful: “Can any idea exist without the divine Mind?” No, I reasoned, without Mind and its ideas, there can be no manifestation of anything. Conversely, I asked myself, “Can anything exist without matter?” The answer was simple: Yes, everything can—because Mind, being uncompromising Spirit, is not in need of matter to express itself; all is in Mind as Mind’s spiritual ideas. What possible use does infinite Mind have for any limitation? None! And would infinite Mind express itself, then, through matter? No.
I would go on with this kind of spiritually impelled reasoning daily in different ways. The result was that I grew happier, funnier, less shy, and more loving, and I found more opportunities to express my exuberance creatively. I was expressing more of my God-given identity. I approached everything with spiritual logic, and with the intensity of a mental boxer. And yet I was still afraid of what seemed to be the aggressive nature of material logic based on the testimony of the five senses. I feared that any word from that corner of the ring could rob me of my spiritual perspective in an instant, and I felt vulnerable. In other words, I still felt there was a fight to be had.
A turning point came one day when my mom forgot to get me an exemption from that biology class. Once I found out, I was dreading that class. We were to dissect real subjects—not something I was looking forward to. I prayed hard to be strong and clear before entering the class and mentally vowed to listen for logical spiritual ideas about God and man.
The teacher had laid twelve specimens on the lab tables for us to dissect. The brain was the subject for that day. We were told to label things as the teacher instructed. The teacher then referred to a photo of our subject on the board and pointed to different sections. Next he pointed to an area of the brain that he wanted us to label “sentiments.” At that point someone asked what a sentiment was. He said, “Well, take ‘love,’ for example; that is a sentiment. This is the part that produces love.”
Wait ... is he saying that love originates in this thing—this object? I started laughing. That was incomprehensible to me and seemed impossible to classify as truth. My sense of love was too infinite, too perfect. I asked the teacher questions of this nature: How could love, the most cherished of qualities, the center of all good, the most powerful motive on earth, come from matter? I saw clearly that genuine love must be divine in nature; it is not merely an impulse. I reasoned that the only logical source of real love always will be something higher than a compilation of molecules. Infinite Spirit, divine Love, must be the source of genuine love; and so this love must be infinite in nature.
The teacher felt my questions were distracting and asked me to discontinue them, which I did. But it was nothing short of a revelation to me, and it broke the spell of fear that I seemed to be under. The revelatory experience that I had in that class remains the most important high school hour I ever had. Through what I saw more clearly about Spirit, God, I gained confidence in the reality of the spiritual truth, which identifies man as the creation of Spirit, not matter, and I cherished Mrs. Eddy’s statement in Science and Health: “The confidence inspired by Science lies in the fact that Truth is real and error is unreal. Error is a coward before Truth. Divine Science insists that time will prove all this. Both truth and error have come nearer than ever before to the apprehension of mortals, and truth will become still clearer as error is self-destroyed” (p. 368).
I gained a peaceful sense that I didn’t have to worry about others’ apprehension of spiritual truth, because I knew that truth was naturally making itself known. I saw that as we allow divine Love to show us the absolute relevance of spiritual being in our lives, the so-called fight between matter and Spirit will dissolve. After class was over, other students came up to me smiling and laughing. They loved my reasoning and saw both the humor and the logic in my statements and questions.
This turning point was the beginning of a further spiritual adventure, which was to understand and prove that the source of my mental capacity is the infinite God who is Mind. My school teachers and administrators had been greatly concerned for me. My lower, middle, and high school years had been plagued with failures—inhibited learning ability, impaired reading and math comprehension, and a general lack of sufficient progress. My very loving high school headmaster counseled my mother to keep me out of college, as he felt I would inevitably fail and it would just discourage and depress me.
To me, though, I was just beginning to see the way out. No matter where we may think we are in the grand scheme of things, spiritual reasoning is our strong suit. It is a direct reflection of the divine Mind’s activity, and it enables us to think and live rightly.
Christian Science presents God as the source of all real being. The real man has his source in God, Mind, Love, not in muscles, bones, or organs, including the brain. We can trust that the spiritual impetus of divine Mind is revealing what is true about man. Divine Mind asserts itself and ensures all progress—intellectual and moral—because it is the only real cause.
This kind of right thinking led me to better understand my real being as the expression of God, Mind. I realized more fully that I was not a poor mortal working with a limited brain with which to understand the infinite; rather, I was the actual manifestation of God’s intelligence, wisdom, and love, and I had it all to live! I was thrilled to entertain the idea that this is true for each of us.
I did go to college for both bachelor’s and master’s degrees and graduated with honors. What I found out during my high school years and beyond was that logic based on the belief that matter is the reality of existence rests on false assumptions, while the value of spiritual logic is grounded in its impeccable allegiance to the divine Principle of eternal Truth. It bears out its proof in the blessings and confidence of fearless living.
In order to achieve peace, joy, health, and success, mankind often focuses on making matter better and stronger, or having more of it. However, this focus tends to marginalize or completely ignore the benefit of understanding the spiritual basis of life. To assume that something inherently limited (like matter) can overcome limitation is faulty logic.
The awareness of and opening of thought to spiritual logic reveals an underlying divine reality that brings with it a deep sense of peace, confidence, and security. Christ Jesus called this spiritual reality “the kingdom of heaven” and declared and proved for all mankind that it is right at hand—within us. Did he mean it’s contained in our bodies—our flesh? Decisively not. Jesus had no confidence in the ability of flesh and blood to bring genuine healing or originate anything of spiritual value for man. When Jesus’ disciple, Peter, recognized that Jesus was the Christ, Jesus declared that “flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 16:17). Doesn’t this indicate that as we turn to the divine Mind to understand our being, our ability to feel and show forth God-bestowed truth and harmony is within our reach? Jesus showed us that this kingdom is “at hand”—here and now—and in proportion as we are willing to allow it to find expression in our lives, we feel its influence and power.
Truth is affirmative, and confers harmony. All metaphysical logic is inspired by this simple rule of Truth, which governs all reality. By the truthful arguments you employ, and especially by the spirit of Truth and Love which you entertain, you will heal the sick. —Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 418
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