Subject: Self-correcting religion
Golden text: Job 5:17, ESV, copyright Crossway Bibles
Behold, blessed is the one whom God reproves; therefore despise not the discipline of the Almighty.
Isaiah 1:1-3, 16-20
Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth;
for the Lord has spoken:
“Children have I reared and brought up,
but they have rebelled against me.
3 The ox knows its owner,
and the donkey its master’s crib,
but Israel does not know,
my people do not understand.”
16 Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean;
remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes;
cease to do evil,
17 learn to do good;
bring justice to the fatherless,
plead the widow’s cause.
18 “Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord:
though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red like crimson,
they shall become like wool.
19 If you are willing and obedient,
you shall eat the good of the land;
20 but if you refuse and rebel,
you shall be eaten by the sword;
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
21st Century Science and Health, copyright by Cheryl Petersen
You must trust your ability to experience goodness and to bring out better and higher results. Don’t become a sluggard. Don’t fear failure, but overcome it.
Illness, disease, and defeat proceeds from fear. A sick body evolves from sick thoughts. Debauchery comes from, and causes, hurtful physical and moral conditions.
Promiscuousness and self-centeredness are educated in mortal mind when human beings repeat the same thoughts over and over. This education is at the expense of spiritual growth. It is better to stop talking constantly about the body. It is better to stop expecting pleasure or pain from the body.
When we expect pleasure from the body, we get pain. When we look for life in the body, we find death. When we search for Truth or Spirit in material things, we find uncertainty. Now reverse this process. Look away from matter into Truth and Love, the Principle of all happiness, harmony, and immortality. Let your thought embrace the enduring, the honest, and the true, and you will bring these into your experience according to how often they occupy your thoughts.
We learn that the human mind affects health and happiness, so use this knowledge to benefit humanity. We can become preoccupied with helping others and forget our body and its complaints. We can become so focused on reaching a spiritual goal that pain is forgotten. It shows that pain is powerless in the presence of good works. After the September 11th, 2001 plane attacks on the Twin Towers in New York City, many people, especially firefighters, performed miraculous feats saving lives while oblivious to their own bodies.
Detach feelings from the body, or matter, which is only a type of human belief. Learn the meaning of God or good, and the nature of the immutable and immortal. Don’t worry when breaking away from mutating time and feelings, because you will not lose your sense of reality or your sense of identity. As you contemplate spiritual life, consciousness is being purified and groomed to experience the celestial.
The body assumes to say, “I am ill.” The reports of sickness may form a coalition with the reports of sin, and say, “I am revenge, lust, appetite, envy, hate.” Sin and sickness are difficult to cure because the human mind is the sinner and refuses self-correction. Human mind insists the body can be sick independently of itself, and that the divine Mind has no jurisdiction over the body.
Science not only reveals reasonable possibilities, but also prompts human beings to discover what God has already done.
And behold, a lawyer stood up to put [Jesus] to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” 27 And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” 28 And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”
29 But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30 Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. 32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ 36 Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” 37 He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”
Our motives and inclinations are paramount in religion. However, when rituals and ceremonies are the crux of religion, the motives and inclinations of a person are concealed by formal procedures and human routines. Jesus, as modest as he was mighty, rebuked this hypocrisy. Hypocrisy offers long petitions for blessings on physical rituals, but veils the crime, latent in thought, which is ready to spring into action and crucify God’s anointed.
Jesus knew the people to be wicked and adulterous, seeking the material more than the spiritual. He said: “You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.” His jabs at materialist thoughts were sharp, but needed. Jesus never spared hypocrisy from its stern self-condemnation.
Jesus taught no mere theory, doctrine, or belief. It was the divine Principle of real being that he taught and practiced. His proof of spiritual enlightenment was not a form or system of religion and worship, but what can be termed the Science of Christ-spirit, working out the harmony of Life and Love.
The Science of mental practice is susceptible of no misuse. Self-centeredness does not appear in the practice of Truth or Christ’s Science. If mental practice is abused or is used in any way except to promote right thinking and doing, the power to heal mentally will diminish until the practitioner’s healing ability is completely lost. Scientific practice begins with Christ’s keynote of harmony, “Do not be afraid!”
Good does not design a mind susceptible of causing evil or of being confused, for evil and confusion contend with creation. Destructive energy is not the outcome of infinite good. Whatever contradicts the real nature of the divine esse, though human faith may cover the contradiction in an angelic costume, is without foundation.
The self-contradictory belief that Spirit is finite as well as infinite has darkened all history. In divine Science, Spirit, as a proper noun, is the name of the Supreme Being. It means quantity and quality, and applies exclusively to God. The modifying derivatives of the word spirit refer only to quality, not to God. We are not God, Spirit, but are spiritual. If spiritual being was Spirit, then people would be spirits, gods. The belief that the infinite can be contained in the finite embodies a mortal spirit, tends to darken our perception of the kingdom of heaven, and disturbs the reign of harmony in the Science of being.
Jesus taught but one God, one Spirit, who makes spiritual being in the image and likeness of Love, of Mind—not in the likeness of human love or mind. Individuals reflect infinite Truth, Life, and Love.
Abstinence from decadent sexual activity leads to an advanced state of intellectual and cultural development in human society, marked by progress in the arts, science, and religion. Without integrity, there is no social stability and the Science of Life can’t be achieved.
If a spouse deserts the partnership, certainly the lone mate can single-handedly be self-reliant and independent. Women and men are equally capable to succeed in the business world, earn an education, own real estate, and care for the children and home, without interference.
Global injustice between the sexes is a crying evil caused by the arrogance, ignorance, and inhumanity of mortals. We must exercise our faith in the direction taught by the Apostle James when he said: “Religion that God and Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”
Beliefs that engender a national theology or political religion are the antithesis of true Christianity. Narrow systems and theories concerning God, human beings, health, and a religious society, are restrictive.
The epoch approaches when true religion will be built on the understanding of the truth of being.
I advise students to be charitable and kind, not only toward differing forms of religion and medicine, but to the very people who hold these differing opinions. Let us be faithful in pointing the way through Christ as we understand it, but let us also be careful always to “stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment.” Never condemn rashly.
Humanity should be free to help themselves and society. “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”
 Matt. 23:23; Luke 11:42
 Matt. 14:27, 17:7, 28:10; Mark 5:36, 6:50; Luke 12:32; John 6:20
 Ex. 20:14; Deut. 5:18; Matt. 5:27
 Ex. 20:13; Deut. 5:17
 James 1:27
 John 7:24
 II Cor. 3:17