In observing the conflict between those wishing to preserve Turkey as a secular nation and those who feel it should become a more Islamic state each of us has a contribution to make: We can pray to see Turkey – as we can pray to see all nations – to be spiritual.
By saying that, I'm not using the words "spiritual" and "religious" interchangeably or taking sides politically. To me, spiritual is the underlying essence of all people whether they consider themselves religious or not. Spirituality is the essential nature, the only true substance, of every human being as seen from God's, Mind's, vantage point and from the standpoint of thought aligned with that Mind.
Wherever there seems to be a challenge between contrasting points of view, I like to pray with a Bible verse from Isaiah that states, "Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain" (Isa. 40:4).
To me this means that the unveiling of God's way forward for a situation will smooth out the seemingly mountainous obstructions to reaching a solution and fill in the impassable valleys of difference that would separate those involved. I don't feel my prayers need to tell God which are the obstructions and which constitute the gaping holes. I can affirm that God, divine intelligence, knows how to smooth the way for a right, all-embracing resolution.
How does this apply to Turkey? Seeing the people of Turkey from a spiritual standpoint can reduce tensions between groups and bring to light new options. It can remove political or religious concerns and alleviate other underlying fears. As Mary Baker Eddy – the founder of this newspaper – explained in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures": "As mortals gain more correct views of God and man, multitudinous objects of creation, which before were invisible, will become visible" (p. 264).
In my own life, I've found that prayer has yielded an unexpected way forward when opposing views seemed to impede our efforts to reach a solution.
Once a relative and I were trying to help another relative who was facing difficulties but we couldn't agree on how to do this. I suggested that my relative call a third relative who also wanted to help. As he did, I prayed to recognize that there is truly one Mind, God, whose solution we were all reaching for and would all recognize. The relative who made the call told me that the other relative he'd contacted had proposed a third possibility. When he told it to me, we agreed it was the right answer and we should go forward with it.
I truly believe our prayers can open the way for something similar to happen in Turkey. There may well be a solution not yet seen that would constitute victory for all, rather than for one side over another. The spiritual qualities that make a nation great – qualities such as intelligence, strength, fairness, peacemaking – are not unique to a particular group, religious or secular, but can be found in both. Those qualities are a blessing to all citizens and to Turkey's neighbors in Europe and the Middle East especially. They can shine ever more brightly as we pray to see the all-inclusive plan of divine Mind prevail.
What or who would oppose such progressive and inclusive steps? The Bible calls such resistance the carnal mind, the very opposite of spirituality. It's not actually a person, or a group of people, but impersonal resistance to divine Mind's wisdom and intelligence.
Our prayers in support of the one Mind's love for all and its ability to communicate to all hearts – religious and secular – can help to eliminate this resistance.
With its proximity to the Middle East, its potential for European Union membership, and its long history of involvement in world affairs, a stable and productive Turkey can bring much good to the region and to the world. Our prayers can forward this progress.