A Christian Science perspective: How can we be more moderate in a time of political polarization?
One of my favorite political analysts typically presents a moderate, balanced assessment of issues. For instance, when he is asked to comment about a particular situation, he might explain how he feels wisdom was expressed and how it wasn’t; what course of action he thinks should be taken going forward and what should be avoided. He can be definite about what he feels is right or wrong, but his views generally reflect an evenhanded perspective based on decades of experience.
In these times of political polarization and extreme viewpoints, a balanced view of events is especially welcome. It brings to thought a Bible verse from the New Testament that says, “Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand” (Philippians 4:5). I like to think of this in connection with another Bible verse, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5).
Of course, to be humanly moderate about everything isn’t what it means to have the mind that was in Christ Jesus. The Way-shower didn’t display merely an attitude of the human mind. He demonstrated a surrendering to the government of the one God, the one divine Mind. You might say that Jesus showed us moderation from a spiritual standpoint.
For example, he didn’t compromise with wrongdoing. He was clear and unequivocal about the importance of worshiping the one God and being obedient to divine law. Yet by doing so he by no means excluded moderation. That’s because God, divine Mind, is also Love, as the Bible says. Jesus instructed us to love one another, including our enemies. He taught and illustrated forgiveness. He showed that the Mind we are to express – the Mind we actually do express as God’s children – is God Himself, infinite Love.
The teachings of Christian Science turn thought away from the divisiveness of many personal minds and personal, clashing opinions to the only Mind there really is and to the true nature of man as the spiritual image of divine Mind. In the Mind that is Love there is no hard-line push of personal will. There are no harmful, entrenched views driving for control. Infinite Mind causes only harmony, and it blesses all.
To express a God-inspired kind of moderation isn’t to have a wishy-washy mentality devoid of conviction. Nor does it mean that we’re giving up something of our individuality or our stand for what’s right and wrong in order to please others. Instead, it points to a yielding of merely personal will and a personal sense of ego to a recognition that God, the one all-wise creative power of the universe, is the actual governor of man, the one divine Ego. The government of divine Mind, of Love, doesn’t include an intransigent attitude of hatred or intolerance; and it doesn’t include selfishness or extremes.
Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and founded Christian Science, writes: “When the divine precepts are understood, they unfold the foundation of fellowship, in which one mind is not at war with another, but all have one Spirit, God, one intelligent source, in accordance with the Scriptural command: ‘Let this Mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus’ ” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 276).
Prayer that affirms with conviction that the divine Mind truly governs can encourage moderation. A more moderate mental standpoint, inspired by some understanding of the allness of God and man’s likeness to God, can help us all take steps in a productive direction.