Love in the name of God

A Christian Science perspective: Is oppression really the will of God?

Throughout history, major religious groups have used human will to force their views on others – oppressing individuality and restricting self government. History seems to repeat itself in a cycle of destructive behavior in the name of God.

But is oppressing and destroying humankind really the will of God? The Bible states that Christ Jesus, the Son of God, was sent to actually save the world (see John 3:17). Our Savior’s ministry showed humanity that we are children of God meant to love one another, not destroy one another. It must then be God’s will for us to live. The life of Christ proved the efficacy of God’s love by healing humankind of physical, moral, and even social ills. To find peace within ourselves and bring it to a world that is confronted with war and violence, requires living the life of Christ – a life of love​ and devotion to the truth that Jesus taught​.

The founder of this newspaper, Mary Baker Eddy, knew that our true nature was neither oppressive nor sectarian. In a letter to a branch Church of Christ, Scientist, she wrote, “God is universal; confined to no spot, defined by no dogma, appropriated by no sect. Not more to one, than to all, is God demonstrable as divine Life, Truth, and Love; and His people are they that reflect Him – that reflect Love” (“Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896” p. 150).

We can see in this statement, and in Jesus’ own teachings, that God is not a person somewhere passing judgment and causing both good and evil. Mrs. Eddy’s discovery of Christian Science led her to the understanding that God, as incorporeal Life and Love, is a benevolent Father-Mother tenderly caring for His children. Through prayer that is filled with true, spiritual love for all, we can discern and trust Love’s care embracing all humanity.

​​When I began to study Christian Science, it seemed to be in conflict with many of the views held by my friends and family. At times I felt like an outsider that was looked down upon. But as I learned how to love them, ​to see everyone as spiritual, the offspring of Love and therefore loving, the love that truly characterized all of us ​became more and more apparent ​in ways that dissolved our conflict, strengthened our relationships, and enabled all of us to gain genuine love and respect for one another.

When we learn to truly love each other as God’s children, this moral and spiritual progress is felt more broadly. It is the influence of the Christ, the presence and power of divine Love, felt in our thought and the thought of others, bringing to light our real, loving, Godlike nature and helping to lift people above bloodshed and oppression. Praying to put the truth into practice promotes the development of our eternal, peaceful nature, which is innate in every person in the world.

As the world develops a more unified understanding of God and man, of Love and its expression, old views of separation and oppression are put off, and individuals work together for the greater good. That is what true religion and salvation are all about.

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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.