What is superstition? A dictionary defines it as ''a belief or practice resulting from ignorance, fear of the unknown, or trust in magic or chance.'' An encyclopedia observes, ''Being irrational, (superstition) must recede before education, and, especially, science.''
Education and science have certainly done much to free humanity from fear and superstition, often fostered by the misleading evidence of the physical senses. But since superstition is prevalent in even highly educated societies, isn't there a need for a higher kind of education, along spiritual lines, and for a higher science, based on divine law?
Christ Jesus exploded the foundations of superstition through his understanding and practice of the law of God. ''My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me,'' n1 he declared, and he proved its divine origin through his healing works.
n1 John 7:16.
Jesus' life and works clearly indicate that discord is produced by ignorance of God, and he revealed God's true nature as infinite Spirit. He taught that God is good, is All, and that there is no power besides Him.
Christian Science, in harmony with the Master's teachings, shows us that when we begin to understand God as Spirit, and His creation as spiritually good and perfect, expressing His nature, we no longer have a basis for believing that there is something unlike God to fear or besides Him to trust. So there is no longer a basis for superstition, for any belief that would contradict the eternal spiritual facts of being proved so conclusively by Jesus.
From the standpoint of Christian Science, the term ''superstition'' includes much more than a set of varying human beliefs relating to the number 13, black cats, and so on. Rather it covers the whole range of false beliefs springing from the basic false assumption that man is a physical mortal, separate from God and subject to conditions over which he has little or no control.
Recently I had an experience that compelled me to meet superstition head-on. As a woman living alone in an area where several lawless incidents had been reported, I saw the need to base my reasoning only on spiritual facts - to deny material evidence of man as a dishonest mortal, a lawbreaker, and to realize that God made man in His image and likeness.
One morning, shortly after reporting to police the finding of stolen goods in my backyard, I found the number 13 scrawled in the moisture condensed on my car window. I had never been taken in by any form of superstition, but here was the temptation to believe that someone else had and that this was a threat to my harmony.
As I prayerfully identified myself and all - especially those involved - as in reality the loved spiritual offspring of God, Love, a passage from the Christian Science textbook by Mary Baker Eddy n2 came to thought: ''Spiritual ideas, like numbers and notes, start from Principle, and admit no materialistic beliefs.'' n3 I saw that numbers can do nothing of themselves; also, that they admit no beliefs of human superstition. I saw, too, the falsity of superstitious beliefs about man as a sinful or victimized mortal, separated from the ever-presence of divine Love. Reasoning from the basis of spiritual ideas starting from and staying with their divine Principle, God, helped dispel fear, and the remainder of my stay there was peaceful and safe.
n2 Mrs. Eddy is the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science.
n3 Science and health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 298.
As we let the Christianity that Jesus taught educate us rightly, beliefs and practices ''resulting from ignorance, fear of the unknown, or trust in magic or chance,'' will progressively recede before the practice of an enlightened understanding of God. The result will be improved conditions, until ultimately all that is unlike God yields to the realization of His universe as spiritual, intact, perfect - even as it truly is now and always. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. Proverbs 3:13