Conquering fear of Ebola and contagion

A Christian Science perspective: How a better understanding of God can destroy fear of contagious diseases, including Ebola.

Each night the national news reports on the threat of the spread of Ebola around the world. As someone who is accustomed to praying about world issues, I was pleased to see the editorial on the Ebola outbreak that recently ran online in The Christian Science Monitor. It focuses on the importance of staying calm and ridding oneself of the fear of disease. In the deepest sense, fear is the primary problem. In Monitor Founder Mary Baker Eddy’s words, “The procuring cause and foundation of all sickness is fear, ignorance, or sin” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 411).

Fear, disease, and even death appear to be powerful and unavoidable, invading every corner of the earth. But with a better understanding of God, and of His harmonious government of His children, we can lift the burden of doom and sorrow that fear would hold over the world in regard to the spread of contagious disease.

How does a better understanding of God rid anyone of fear? The Bible assures us, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear” (I John 4:18). God is Love, perfect Love itself. Mrs. Eddy stated, “To infinite, ever-present Love, all is Love, and there is no error, no sin, sickness, nor death” (Science and Health, p. 567). Understanding that Love fills all space, and is the only power or reality there is, gives us the authority to see that Love’s allness negates the possibility of fear, and, therefore, sickness and its effects. Since fear has no place in the infinity of Love’s creation, disease has no foundation there either. Omnipotent Love does not share its power with evil in any form.

Christ Jesus, our Exemplar, showed fearlessness and compassion in the face of disease. An account in the Bible’s book of Mark tells of a man with leprosy who knelt in front of Jesus and begged Jesus to heal him. With great compassion, and without hesitation, Jesus reached out and touched the man, and the leprosy was healed immediately. It was Jesus’ complete trust in the fact that God, divine Love, is the only creator and has created man in His image, Spirit, that brought healing to this man (see Mark 1:40-42). God maintains man’s completeness and health without threat of the possibility that disease could ever exist in God’s infinite kingdom. The same truths apply to everyone in the world today, including those already suffering or affected. Prayer can help us discern spiritually man’s actual being, which is pure, harmonious, and safe in Love’s care.

Science and Health gives this clear statement: “When fear disappears, the foundation of disease is gone” (Science and Health, p. 368). Jesus proved that statement in his day, Mrs. Eddy proved it in her lifetime, and we can prove it today.

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.