Prayer and antiterrorism

THE world is desperately searching for some effective way to reduce and even to end terrorism. Human solutions, at their best, have been found wanting to some degree. Yet there is a spiritual solution that can prove highly effective. It is humble, fervent prayer, and indeed many individuals, including government officials, are praying, daily. Prayer that supports those in government helps them to deal wisely with the intricate political and personal issues that are often involved in terrorism, such as the immediate safety of hostages or long-term policy changes. Prayer that springs from a clear perception that God alone governs, and that His qualities are continuously expressed in man, can help those in government express an even greater degree of wisdom, patience, endurance, restraint, courage. God's goodness and power, acknowledged in prayer, also strengthen many victims of terrorism and their families, giving them dignity and poise and direction in the midst of very difficult situations. The Bible promises, ``Thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.'' 1 God's goodness is infinitely more powerful than the unbridled willfulness, hatred, shortsightedness, and extremism that have motivated terrorists throughout history. We can, then, gain--step by step--dominion over terrorism through divine power. Paul wrote to the Christian church at Rome, ``Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.'' 2 But the world is a long way from effectively controlling, to say nothing of ending, terrorism. In fact, these acts have increased in recent years. It is obvious that mankind needs help in order to turn back the animal nature that so sadly confuses people into believing they can advance their own interests or solve questions of injustice through arrogant brutality. Prayer that is based on a deeper understanding of the actual, spiritual nature of God and man can provide the needed help. Spiritual understanding reveals the gentle fact that God is infinite, pure good, and that He creates man in His perfect likeness, expressing all the good that He is. In this highest, true sense of reality, there is no evil. There is no desperate, oppressed, or confused man, and no victim. God is Love, and man is the very image of Love. All of God's offspring, like beams of light, shine from the same source but never conflict with one another. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes, ``The Scripture declares, `The Lord He is God [good]; there is none else beside Him.' Even so, harmony is universal, and discord is unreal.'' 3 To the degree that anyone spiritually glimpses these truths, he can prove them. For instance, a friend of mine and her mother were held up at their car in a shopping center parking lot. At first both of them were filled with fear. But when this friend looked, through her own spiritual understanding, into the robber's face, she glimpsed his spiritual nature as the innocent and perfect man whom God creates. As a result, her fear rolled away. Then he gave back their money and walked away without harming either of them. He must have also felt blessed. As more people who now believe in the apparent reality of both good and evil base their prayers on the deeper understanding of God as the only reality, there will be less crime. The viciousness and frequency of terrorism will lessen. Mankind is able now to discern spiritual truths that will bring peace even as scientific thinkers have discerned laws that have resulted in human flight. It is only the material senses that tell us evil is real and God is limited. As we meekly yearn to know our God as infinite Love, we will find Him, and we will increasingly and naturally doubt that the material senses reveal ultimate reality. Far from naivet, this is realism in its truest sense. It's a standpoint that can steadily lessen mankind's suf fering and limitations, including the senseless scourge of terrorism. 1 Isaiah 30:21. 2 Romans 12:21. 3 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 414.

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