Skip to: Content
Skip to: Site Navigation
Skip to: Search


No 'failed states'

A Christian Science perspective.

February 11, 2010



For the past five years, Foreign Policy magazine and The Fund for Peace have collaborated on a list of “failed states.” These are defined as nations whose institutions – such as police and the judiciary – have collapsed. If there is a government, it isn’t strong enough to make a major difference.

Skip to next paragraph

Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, and Yemen are among the top 20 names on the list. Neatly categorized for Western consumption in particular, the list makes it easy to simply dismiss these nations as backward or, worse, to see them solely as threats and enemies. To take either route would be to accept that some nations or people can be outside God’s love, or that there can be a place in the universe where evil can operate in defiance of divine Principle.

Those who love and practice Christian Science are in a unique position to reject this argument and to insist instead that healing not only is possible but that it is essential. In an article titled “How strife may be stilled,” Mary Baker Eddy wrote: “The First Commandment in the Hebrew Decalogue – ‘Thou shalt have no other gods before me’ – obeyed, is sufficient to still all strife. God is the divine Mind. Hence the sequence: Had all peoples one Mind, peace would reign” (“The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany,” p. 279).

Reports about these countries offer evidence of other gods: terrorists, Al Qaeda, wannabe jihadists, misguided intelligence officers, unstable governments and leaders. Circumstances would suggest that threats can come at any moment and no one is competent to address them. In essence, we’re tempted to accept that the world can be outside God’s control, and that humanity is helpless. But from the standpoint of creation’s spirituality and God’s infinitude, this scenario is impossible.

This is not to ignore obvious efforts to deal with threats such as the recent Christmas Day incident in which a Nigerian planned to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner. Rather, the conviction of God’s presence and infinite goodness brings our endeavors to the right side, the healing side. And a healer doesn’t reject a nation or its people, or consign them to a mental environment of hating and being hated. Rather, spiritual truth understood is able to strip off the false colors that hide the love and purity of God’s creation, and reveal a nation and its people as innocent, free of evil influences.

Efforts in these countries to counteract terror and evil are evidence that the essential goodness of humanity is intact.

Divine Love can and will liberate people from impositions such as hatred, ignorance, fear, and hopelessness. Evil must yield to Truth because there is no space outside Truth for a false power to establish itself. There is only infinite intelligence, and we can trust it to reveal what is needed in every situation and guide those who are charged with protecting each nation and the international community as a whole. And God has made these individuals capable of responding to that guidance.

Such specific prayer is needed especially now, at a time when there appears to be a renewed challenge from would-be terrorists. An essential element of this healing prayer is not just overcoming one’s own fear of danger but also addressing in thought the influences on those who may desire to attack another nation or to send a suicide bomb into a government building or military base. A powerful antidote to such mental poisons is at work when the desire to heal is motivated by love.

Love refuses to see a “failed state” or one that is under the influence of terrorists. Nor will it accept the lack of effective government, police, or judiciary. Rather, a truly loving approach is modeled on a sentiment expressed in the book of Zephaniah: “The Lord hath taken away thy judgments, he hath cast out thine enemy: the king of Israel, even the Lord, is in the midst of thee: thou shalt not see evil any more” (3:15).

This conviction of divine Mind’s presence in any and all so-called “failed states” declares that an infinitely good government is already present. Protection and judgment are established free of corruption, bias, hatred, or any other mortal element.

Individual prayers to recognize the oneness of the divine Mind are not sent out in vain. The recognition of Mind’s oneness will allow peace to reign. When the Lord takes away the false material judgments of failed states, terrorists, and other aspects of mortality, it will be impossible to see evil or to be tempted either by its offerings or by the fear that keeps conflict going. This removal will bring to light the spiritual fact that all men, women, and children in every nation are God’s children, under His care and nurtured by His love. Then everyone will be able to finally say that they do not see evil any more.

From an editorial in the Christian Science Sentinel.

Permissions