“Taking a moral stance” – that is how the Monitor editorial “The moral action in naming genocide” (CSMonitor.com) describes the move by the United States to designate as genocide specific actions by Islamic State. And, as the editorial points out, “morality is not merely a matter of principled words.” It goes on to make clear that appropriate action is needed.
The concept of taking a moral stance is well worth thinking about more deeply as it applies to our everyday thoughts and actions. What does it call for? Can it be effective in counteracting what’s wrong in our world?
Sometimes it seems that harmful actions are too widespread – or too horrific – for an individual to combat, no matter how sound his or her efforts are morally or spiritually. Yet the Bible encouragingly points to the God-derived ability of each individual to make a contribution to the healing of our world on a spiritual basis. As St. Paul, a follower of Christ Jesus, said so eloquently: “(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (II Corinthians 10:4, 5).
To take a moral stance can mean being faithful in addressing issues, such as terrorism, through prayer. In Christian Science, prayer is inspired by a perception of God as Love alone, causing only good for all His children. It’s based on a spiritual understanding of Bible-derived truths, beyond what may seem true on the surface, such as the truth of God’s omnipresent goodness, His absolute supremacy, and His loving government of His creation. It’s also based on the truth of man as God’s unflawed, spiritual expression, not on the common perception of man as a hopelessly sinful mortal. Prayer from this standpoint has often overturned the material conception of things. It has brought moral and physical healing to many individuals. That’s evident as we look at examples from the Bible and today through healing in Christian Science. And a growing sense of God’s goodness and power assures us that such prayer is also effective as we respond to issues around the world. It can help lessen fear and make solutions more apparent.
Taking a moral stance might also mean cultivating a more Christlike standard of thinking and living. From time to time (maybe as a result of a news report), it strikes me quite forcefully that I could be of greater help to the world by being more vigilant about the kinds of thoughts I’m entertaining or how I respond to situations. For instance, I realize that I can be gentler and more understanding as a modest but significant way to help counteract hateful reactions in society. There are occasions when I see more vividly that it’s essential to be honest even in the smallest matters. Or I recognize that I can be even more alert to reject images that portray an individual as nothing more than a sensuous physical structure – images that obscure the actual, pure, spiritual nature of God’s children. Each one’s efforts along such lines are “mighty through God”; they are a blessing, because they help to purify the world’s mental environment.
Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science and founded the Monitor, writes, “To live so as to keep human consciousness in constant relation with the divine, the spiritual, and the eternal, is to individualize infinite power; and this is Christian Science” (“The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany,” p. 160).
Doing what’s right through a spiritually inspired moral stance plays a valuable role in counteracting the immorality that so often brings corruption to society. Such efforts are a natural outcome of understanding who we really are as offspring of a loving God, who made man to express His perfect nature.