April 25, 2002

The supposed existence of more than one mind was the basic error of idolatry.

Science and Health, by Mary Baker Eddy

We ended last week ([#topic=20020418#]) with one member seeking help on intimacy issues apparently stymied by idolatrous cathexes of beautiful men.

Most members found during our week of study and prayer that we held a number of people, places, things and even ideas in idolatrous embrace. One phoned in this little jewel, "Any concept of God is idolatry. The purpose of knowing the Truth is to get beyond knowing the Truth — i.e., to be the Truth."

According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, idolatry is worshiping someone or something other than God as though it were God. Paul Tillich said it's "the elevation of a preliminary concern to ultimacy."Idolatry may be classified as either "gross"(addressing a person or thing as a god) or "fine"("attaching to a creature the confidence, loyalty, devotion that properly belong only to the Creator"). Love of nation and love of doctrine are examples of fine idolatry.

The "principle of mediation"holds that it is not necessarily idolatry to love a Bible, a saint, etc., as agents of God.

We found these ideas from classical religion resonated with our readings from authorized Christian Science sources. See for instance particularly Miscellany, p. 151: 21-11 (Mary Baker Eddy) where gross and fine idolatry are plainly set forth; and Miscellaneous Writings, p. 87: 6-14 where Mrs. Eddy says of the sensuous universe, "'I love your promise; and shall know, some time, the spiritual reality and substance of form, light, and color, of what I now through you discern dimly; and knowing this, I shall be satisfied.'"

The latter statement is only part of Mrs. Eddy's much longer reply to a question asking whether it is correct to say that material objects are nothing. It shows her at her most tantric and was brought to the attention of our sufferer in pursuit of intimacy as directions for moving through paralyzing shame attaching to dualistic apprehension of physical beauty. This member also attended his first meeting of Sexual Compulsives Anonymous where he unveiled the notion that sex represented, for him, interiorization of all that "good out there". He said he knew better intellectually, but it was wonderful to have peers sitting quietly and listening to him as he went through his litany of foibles. Their exposure to air may remove some of them but he also told of an article in the Sentinel some time back where two people who worked successfully together but were married to others were wildly attracted to each other. They solved the problem by realizing that their love was the stimulus for their work and didn't need to be acted out in sex.

One member pointed out that Truth is constantly being conveyed to human thought through symbols, myths and various canonized truths — including physical and medical laws. They arrive in material or dualistic form and we avoid idolatry by finding the fact behind the fiction and living it. As the Hindu Deity Krishna states, "Whatever god a man worships, it is I who answers the prayer."

Discussion ranged over a broad array of idols.

1) The USA as sole superpower. The tendency has been to take this as an occasion for doing just as we please without reference to others. The latest crack in this facade came in the form of leaks before the meeting between Crown Prince Abdullah and President Bush hinting at oil cut backs if we don't get more evenhanded in Mideast negotiations. One member ventured the thought that there is but one Superpower; it's the I that is Us, the one and only being that is in Truth everyone.

2) Marriage. All the government and religious hoopla about its value and who is to be included within its precincts ( e.g., Gay and non-Gay) is blurring the unity of male and female in each individual. See Science and Health, p. 577: 4-11, and Matthew 19: 10-12 for a fuller handling of the belief in marriage.

3) Larry King's show with the Queer As Folk cast helped mainstream images of same-sex intimacy. It may have been as shocking to middle America as King's visit with the Christian Science Chairman last year. Same-sex kissing and life without materia medica: what are we coming to? Well, if nothing else, perhaps alternatives to entrenched idolatries.

4) The sex abuse scandal in the Catholic church owes something to the family model of father/priest and his children/parishioners. Most sexual abuse happens in the home. One member felt the church is "suffering on the cross for us all, working out a new standard of sexuality and understanding."For instance, what are the qualities that Gay priests bring to their duties? What is an appropriate age of consent? Is sexuality between a helper and the one helped ever OK?

5) Materia Medica. A member's lover has had a lot of help from a Barefoot Doctor — a member of a group of physicians who largely eschew Western medicine in favor of remedies from native cultures around the world. Another member said he liked this fresh image of medical treatment, but saw it and all other ways of medical treatment as material representations of the Health that comes always from God.

6) A member read the very last words written by the lover of a friend. They are poetic and transcendent declarations of love prompted by a gardenia given to the dying man by his lover the day before he passed away. Neither of the men knew of Christian Science and yet the whole work is about seeing through the veil of matter to permanent realities.

A couple of healings were reported.

1) A member was confronted with a sudden reaction to poison ivy. Among the ideas which healed him was this: any event in which there is a claim of more than one mind is idolatrous. It's a claim against the First Commandment. Previously he had seen idolatry as worshiping idols, like the golden calf, but was now able to see it in a greatly expanded way. He brought to our attention the quote we've used as our focus text. It helped him arrive at the absolute sense of the allness of Mind and its infinite manifestation.

2) Another member's car was stolen last weekend. He insisted that "loss is gain"(see the Christian Science Hymnal, number 207, verse 3). The next day he was convinced by politically connected associates to make a run for the New York State Senate. One of his first thoughts was "How can I do this without a car?"He has found he can get around very well by subway. One of his first calls was on his Catholic archdiocese to inquire as to their funding needs for community programs. The secretary seemed most appreciative that they were not being overlooked in this time of gloom for the church. His first campaign speech will be to a group of ecology enthusiasts. He'll arrive on a bicycle.

Partially in response to the foregoing we thought we'd look at Factions for next week.

The Bible

I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them:

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, by Mary Baker Eddy

The First Commandment is my favorite text. It demonstrates Christian Science.

When the evidence before the material senses yielded to spiritual sense, the apostle declared that nothing could alienate him from God, from the sweet sense and presence of Life and Truth.

It is ignorance and false belief, based on a material sense of things, which hide spiritual beauty and goodness.

The effect of this Science is to stir the human mind to a change of base, on which it may yield to the harmony of the divine Mind.

Human reason and religion come slowly to the recognition of spiritual facts, and so continue to call upon matter to remove the error which the human mind alone has created.

The idols of civilization are far more fatal to health and longevity than are the idols of barbarism.

As a drop of water is one with the ocean, a ray of light one with the sun, even so God and man, Father and son, are one in being. The Scripture reads: "For in Him we live, and move, and have our being."

Divine Science deals its chief blow at the supposed material foundations of life and intelligence. It dooms idolatry. A belief in other gods, other creators, and other creations must go down before Christian Science. It unveils the results of sin as shown in sickness and death. When will man pass through the open gate of Christian Science into the heaven of Soul, into the heritage of the first born among men? Truth is indeed "the way."

The divine Principle of man speaks through immortal sense.

Miscellaneous Writings, by Mary Baker Eddy

^If God made all that was made, and it was good, where did evil originate?^

It never originated or existed as an entity. It is but a false belief; even the belief that God is not what the Scriptures imply Him to be, All-in-all, but that there is an opposite intelligence or mind termed evil. This error of belief is idolatry, having "other gods before me." In John i. 3 we read, "All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made."

In our immature sense of spiritual things, let us say of the beauties of the sensuous universe: "I love your promise; and shall know, some time, the spiritual reality and substance of form, light, and color, of what I now through you discern dimly; and knowing this, I shall be satisfied. Matter is a frail conception of mortal mind; and mortal mind is a poorer representative of the beauty, grandeur, and glory of the immortal Mind."

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