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CONTINUING LIGHT A series of articles from past periodicals with light for present needs

Truth handles crime

From the July 1986 issue of The Christian Science Journal

Christian Science teaches that there is one Mind, infinite good, and that there is no power apart from this Mind. It also teaches that man, whether spoken of individually or collectively, is the reflection of this Mind. It declares that this Mind alone made the universe and controls it. Christian Science also uncovers the false beliefs of human thought as errors which are exposed and ended by Truth. It tells the truth about error, and demonstrates its nothingness as a suppositional power opposed to God. In doing this Christian Science follows the teaching of Jesus, enabling his followers to understand his sayings, repeat his mighty works, and attain to his resurrection.

Mrs. Eddy has written that if we would scientifically prove evil's unreality we must first see sin's claim and then annihilate it [see Science and Health 461:26-27]. In pondering this important matter let us turn to the words of Jesus, who was never the victim of evil, but who overcame error in all its forms. In the eighth and tenth chapters of John, Jesus refers to evil as a liar, a thief, and a murderer. These terms brand it as criminal. In Science and Health, on page 105, our Leader states that mortal mind "is the criminal in every case."

Phases of belief which seem to be included in the term "criminality" are plotting, unfolding the evil plan, and escape from justice while pinning the crime upon the innocent. Error from the beginning has asserted its innocence and has tried to fasten upon God the aspect of the liar and the murderer. But there is no escape for error from divine justice, because the mark of the beast is upon its forehead. This mark cannot be erased or transferred to divinity. The sinner is mortal mind, and we cannot remove God's waymarks.

The terms "invasion" and "trespass" are also associated with the word "crime." Trespass implies the encroaching upon "another's presence, privileges, rights or the like," while invasion may be defined as "entering with an armed force with hostile intent." Do not these definitions apply to sin and disease in all their forms?

Any attempted invasion of one's consciousness by fear, sin, discouragement, or other evil belief is a crime of mental trespass. This is prevented by knowing that real consciousness dwells with the divine Mind, where error never enters. The constant activity of good in consciousness leaves no opportunity for error to abide there. As the nothingness of the carnal mind is clearly discerned, its claims of aggressive mental suggestion and malicious animal magnetism are proved powerless. This is actually occurring in the experience of everyone who is honestly applying the teachings of Christian Science in his daily life.

It may be said that all error's claims to power come under the head of crime. In every case the crime is the denial of Spirit's allness, and the suffering this brings to anyone who entertains the lie. No community is safe which harbors a criminal. Would we shield a murderer in our home? Then, how much more should we deny room in our consciousness to an aggressive, destructive thought!

Our Leader warns us to be as watchful against entertaining false beliefs as we would be in guarding against the approach of murderers and thieves [see Science and Health 234:9-12]. When the right thinker and doer is troubled in thought or body, let him awake to handle error as claiming to be present in the preliminary stages of crime, and know that the omnipresence and omniaction of divine law never allow error in any form to exist or to enter the domain of infinity, which belongs to God.

One sometimes hears the remark, "What a crime!" when reference is being made to a lovely character bound by a so-called incurable disease. That is just what it is—a crime, in which the innocent one is made to suffer and the perpetrator goes free. If the case were handled from this angle, the carnal mind would be arrested and delivered to divine justice, the crime stopped, and the sufferer liberated. Disease, sin, poverty, old age, and death are the crimes of mortal mind. Every claim of life, substance, and intelligence in matter is a sin against God and humanity. They can be permanently disposed of only by the operation of divine law in human consciousness.

All the endeavor of the ages to stamp out crime by punishing and destroying people, has not ended wrongdoing. Is it not reasonable, then, to suppose that something else is the criminal, that something else is the liar, the thief, adulterer, or murderer? How is it that Christian justice has so missed the paramount statement of Jesus that mortal mind, "the strong man," is what must be bound? Since mortal mind is the wrongdoer, false beliefs are always the means through which the sin is perpetrated. Then let us dispose of false beliefs rather than condemn persons or groups of persons.

As we understand these things clearly, we cease to regard each other as enemies. We no longer think that we must get rid of individuals or groups who seem to menace harmony. We refrain from fearing our neighbors and do not appear dangerous to them. It will become increasingly plain to all men that the only aggressor there is, is mortal mind, and that it is an illusion. Then its suppositional acts of trespass, invasion, deceit, and destruction will no more have power to harm us, and will cease to seem to occur. So error will finally go to its native nothingness as humanity yields to the reign of Truth.

Because evil is unreal, it has no power or presence, no agent through which to enter our experience or rob us of aught that has come to us through obedience to God. It has no power to trespass upon our right of continuous demonstration of good, drive us out of our position of constant spiritual unfoldment, or take possession of aught that rightfully serves us or belongs to us. Let us often remember that our spiritual understanding, our ability to use it, and the divine results which come from it are "in the secret place of the most High," safe "under the shadow of the Almighty," and will endure beyond the end of all error and throughout eternity. That which is criminal is temporal. That which is spiritual is indestructible. Therefore the human journey which is allied with spiritual understanding is safe, unobstructed, steadfast, progressive, victorious.

The reason why crime seems so prevalent today may be that Christian Science is uncovering as criminal the elemental nature of so-called mortal mind. Our Leader writes in Science and Health (p. 102) that "the looms of crime" in mortal thought are weaving "more complicated and subtle" webs of error in these latter days; but these are merely the gossamer webs of illusion, without power to catch, or hold, or bind that thought which is alert to the nothingness of material sense and equipped with spiritual understanding. Mrs. Eddy says that Truth will sweep away "the gossamer web of mortal illusion" (ibid., p. 403). A "gossamer web" is frailty itself. It is no part of that upon which it rests. It is attached only by the slenderest threads, which the wind easily breaks; and the web floats away, never to return. The action of God's law breaks the threads of false belief and error vanishes.

As Christian Science uncovers error, it always shows error to be unreal, and therefore leaves no fear of it. Until every phase of error is uncovered by Truth it retains the appearance of reality. It is well to have evil's claim of awfulness fully exposed, because then its lie is silenced by the understanding of one Mind, God, even infinite good. Divine Love accomplishes this uncovering only as human thought knows enough of Truth to discern error's unreality and to prove it. Love equips the individual who is reaching out to God, with sufficient spiritual understanding to demonstrate the nothingness of uncovered false belief.

Here let us recall the illustration of Christian Science practice which Mrs. Eddy gives, beginning on page 430 of Science and Health, and which is referred to in the marginal note of the first paragraph as "A mental court case." It is a case of crime, of "foul conspiracy" against "Mortal Man," which Christian Science uncovers and handles. In the first part of the case innocent "Mortal Man" is arraigned before the "Court of Error." There is no defense there, and "Judge Medicine" pronounces the death sentence. Here Christian Science takes up the case and appeals to the "Court of Spirit." As the attorney for the victim and with the Bible as "the supreme statute-book," Christian Science bases its plea for reversal of the unjust sentence in the "Court of Error" upon the spiritual facts of man's relationship to God. Christian Science demands the arrest of "Personal Sense" on the criminal charges of "perjury, treason, and conspiracy against" man's "rights and life."

In this trial Christian Science detects, uncovers, and denounces the subtlety, falsity, injustice, and murderous intent of "Personal Sense." It repudiates sense-testimony, wins the reversal of the decree of the "Court of Error" and the recommendation from the Chief Justice that "Health-laws, Mesmerism, Hypnotism, Oriental Witchcraft, and Esoteric Magic be publicly executed." The case closes with the liberation of "Mortal Man" and the restoration to him of health and freedom. Justice is done, and all that seemed to have been taken from the innocent victim is restored to him. The plea of Christian Science has healed the sick at "the bar of Truth." This might be carefully considered in every case which comes to Christian Science for healing.

In Jesus' trial also, the criminality of the carnal mind is uncovered. Had Jesus treated the situation as a personal attack in which he must vindicate himself, this would not have been accomplished, and he would not have had the opportunity to prove evil powerless to harm him. He let it uncover itself in its elemental nature as suppositional enmity against good. Then he demonstrated that there is no such power or reality in the human or the divine experience.

From the beginning to the end of Jesus' career, the carnal mind appeared as the would-be destroyer of God's emissary. It was not Herod the Great, who reigned at Jesus' birth, or Herod Antipas, who was in Jerusalem at the time of Jesus' trial, or Pilate, or Caiaphas, or Judas who was the criminal. Neither was it the priests or the mob, for Jesus defended himself against none of these. He even called Judas "friend." He let the full belief of mortal mind loose itself against him, in order that, being uncovered, it might be seen and destroyed. The angels who had charge over him during his earthly experience, did no harm to the men who came against him, but delivered Jesus from the thrusts of mortality and exposed the nothingness of evil's claim to invade his experience, alter his course, or destroy his identity. Jesus rose triumphant from the tomb, and later ascended into the fullness of infinite Life and Love.

It is essential for every Christian Scientist to bear these things clearly in mind; to remember that no man is his enemy, and that he is the enemy of no man; that his warfare is with false belief and not persons; that it is divine law which delivers him from evil; that his defense is of God; that he will outlive all of evil's attempts, and will see mortality yield to divinity; and that he too will behold the eternal reality of infinite good.

Every step of the way there are angels, divine intuitions, to guard and guide the true Christian Scientist. Sometimes they hide him where material sense cannot find him. Sometimes they accompany him when he stands face to face with evil suggestions, and bring him through the warfare unscathed. Again, they come to him in silent prayer and lift his eyes to see the hosts of heaven allied with him. And, finally, they open the tomb of material sense to set free the imprisoned thought and swing wide the gates of eternal harmony, wherein he may enter as the faithful follower of Truth.

The way of the Christian Scientist is not dangerous, but safe. He proves the powerlessness and unreality of evil at every point. He does not become the victim of mental crime, but demonstrates the falsity of criminality, crime, and criminal, in every experience. He discovers the presence of heaven everywhere, the allness of God, good. He is not weary on the journey, because he does not have to fight against an evil entity, but has only to know God, omnipotent good. And through all the journey he understands and loves the Way-shower and our Leader, for they have mapped out the straight and safe path, have shortened the way and illumined every bit of the road with divine light. There is nothing to hinder our rapid progress heavenward.

This article first appeared in The Christian Science Journal of May 1937.

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