Sunday 4 August 2019

Part2 Militant Atheism


Militant Atheism
One of the chief devils – or evils – at large in the world today is militant atheism, presenting itself as a philosophy or teaching suitable as a foundation for government and society, and organized to prop­agate itself and destroy religion. It is improbable that the propa­ganda of organized militant athe­ism has impressed itself to any great extent upon the minds of my listeners in this audience, but the very prominence which the teach­ing claims to occupy in world thought furnishes us a useful chal­lenge to examine our own beliefs and conclusions and to find and eliminate from our own lives any lurking elements of atheism or its wretched relations, agnosticism and idolatry. 

The atheistic individual claims there is no God; the agnostic says there may be a God, but you cannot know Him for sure; the idolater entertains false concepts of God and worships falsity in the name of truth. Christian Science comes to all types of human think­ing, as the Apostle Paul once went before the citizens of Athens, bear­ing the same God-inspired mes­sage, "Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you" (Acts 17:23).

A great many people do not need to be convinced that there is a God; to others the fact of a Su­preme Being is not so apparent – they wish to be shown. Such an attitude is permissible; it may even be commendable when honestly held. But how is the nonbeliever to be convinced of the reality of God? How is the doubter or skep­tic to be enlightened?

Learning of God
In considering the question how mortals may learn of God, suppose we ask: "How do we learn any­thing? 
How does a practical and successful individual arrive at re­liable conclusions in whatever ac­tivity he engages?" Mrs. Eddy writes in the textbook (p. 199), "The devotion of thought to an honest achievement makes the achievement possible." Successful results in business, advances in sci­entific discovery, improvements in government, in society, and in indi­vidual well-being, these all come about through the exercise of in­telligent thought, through observa­tion, reason, experience, revelation, and proof. 

May we not, then, ex­pect to achieve right conclusions in matters of religion by the same practical process? Is not true in­telligence able to penetrate the vast realm of spiritual knowledge and to reveal God's nature and man's relation to Him? Is knowl­edge of material things to become more and more important while at the same time we are limited to blind belief, speculation, and chance in the far more important matters of holiness, eternal salva­tion, and God's kingdom on earth?

One recognizes the truth of a new idea by its consistency with other ideas which he already knows, and has proved, to be true. So one may learn to know the true God as the divine origin and Prin­ciple of the spiritual good which he already claims and practices. Universe and Creator
In our efforts to discover the na­ture or character of God as the creator and ruler of the universe, let us consider first the nature of the universe we are trying to ac­count for. Suppose one looks about him and notes the earth, sky, and people, and says to him­self: "Here I am, a corporeal mor­tal, living in a material body, sub­ject to material conditions, and dependent upon them to preserve me. 

Where did it all start? Who or what is responsible?" Conceiving the universe to be material, he is obliged to find a material cause for it, and such material cause must be held responsible for all the disas­ters to which the material world seems subject – earthquake, fam­ines, disease, cruelty, and death. Such a concept of primal cause or God is blindly worshiped by pagans through rituals designed to placate His vengeance. This is pantheism, the opposite of Christianity.

But, instead of starting with earth, sky, and people, suppose one considers the charity and love which he feels in his heart, the wisdom and intelligence he sees expressed around him, the hope, faith, joy, and courage so vital to human life, so present and real to him who appreciates them. Now let him ask himself: "Where do these things originate? How is it that men are capable of such grand and noble ideals? What is it that will cause people to turn away wrath with gentleness, meet hatred with love, sacrifice themselves to help others, and face danger with confidence?" The only way to ac­count for these spiritual higher manifestations is to attribute them to a primal spiritual cause; so here we have the Christian or true con­cept of God as pure Spirit, the all-knowing divine Mind, the origin of all spiritual reality.

Belief and Conduct
We have, in our society today, a large number of men and women who seldom go to church; they make no profession of religion. If you were to ask them about God or the things of God they would probably say, "I don't know." And yet these people are honest in business; they are good citizens and good neighbors; they are intelligent and worthy. Why do they reject reli­gion? One reason is that while they conduct their daily lives and achieve whatever success comes to them through reason and intelli­gence, if they go to church on Sun­day it seems to them they are asked to put aside reason and intel­ligence and blindly believe with­out understanding what they are told about God. Their honesty makes them rebel against such in­consistency; so they let the religion go. 

Many people of this sort have found the Christian Science expla­nations of God, man, and universe completely satisfying and convincing, for human reason rightly di­rected and divine revelation are here seen to coincide. Such people who have turned to Christian Science find no conflict between their everyday duties and their service to God. On the contrary, they un­derstand and prove that the teach­ings of pure Christianity, revealed and demonstrated today in Chris­tian Science, are entirely practical and able to meet legitimate human needs in matters of health and work and in dealings with other men.

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