A Christian Science perspective: An exploration of the inevitability of spiritual progress in light of what's happening in the Middle East.
One needs only to look at the amazing events that have been unfolding in the Middle East in recent months to realize that something remarkable is dawning in human consciousness. People who have been held in the grip of oppression and tyranny most of their lives are awakening not only to their right to freedom, they are finding the courage to rise up to overthrow offending regimes in favor of something better. Just how this “something better” will emerge, and what form it will take, only time will tell.
One thing is sure, though: The light that is dawning in human consciousness and revealing humanity’s right to freedom cannot be stopped, and it will ultimately displace the darkness of oppression. That’s because the light is spiritual, though everyone may not recognize it as such. Nevertheless, humanity’s right to freedom – each individual’s right to be respected with dignity, as one who has something uniquely valuable to contribute to society – is a universal truth. Its source is in divine Truth, the God and Father of all.
Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, offered an explanation of how dictators succeed in oppressing people, and how people are empowered to overthrow oppression in proportion as they wake up to spiritual truth. She said: “Lulled by stupefying illusions, the world is asleep in the cradle of infancy, dreaming away the hours. Material sense does not unfold the facts of existence; but spiritual sense lifts human consciousness into eternal Truth” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 95).
The oppressor may seem to be a personal dictator exercising unjust authority over a nation. It may seem to be the business policies of a company that keeps women from well-deserved advancements, or a disease that disables one’s body, or any other oppressive circumstance. The real oppressor in any case, however, is actually a material, limited sense of existence, from which each individual must awaken through receptivity to the spiritual light of Truth. And each individual has the inherent spiritual sense that “lifts human consciousness into eternal Truth” – the light that is right there and everywhere to enlighten and save anyone who welcomes it. Truth, after all, is the only real power. This is where prayer comes in.
The way individuals respond to the dawning of spiritual truth can be compared to the way they respond to the dawning of daylight. Some people wake up at the crack of dawn and greet the day with vigor. Others pull the covers over their heads to shut out the light. But nevertheless the dawn grows into a full-blown day.
When it comes to the dawning of spiritual truth in human consciousness, more and more people are greeting it with vigor, and springing into action to defeat the oppression of materialism. It is not unusual, though, for those whose oppressive ways are threatened by the light to try to suppress it by violent means. But because the light is dawning within human consciousness, and has its source in omnipotent Truth, nothing can prevent it from expanding into the full-blown day of freedom. The prayers that forward this result take place in the lives of individuals like you and me – wherever we are.
Fear of oppression strikes individually – be it in the form of tyranny over a nation or just over oneself personally – and it can seem like an insurmountable giant to one lone person. But here’s the thing: no one is just one lone person; the actual identity of each one of us is the spiritual reflection of God, of Truth. In fact, Christ Jesus said that we are “the light of the world” (Matt. 5:14), and that’s because we are the light of Light, God. We are, truly, God’s shining, or brilliant expression – as inseparable from God as the sun’s rays are inseparable from the sun. Oppression is totally excluded from this light.
When the giant Goliath threatened to oppress Israel, the youthful David defeated him through confidence in his own connection with the one all-powerful God. He said to Goliath, “I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied” (I Sam. 17:45) – and he brought down Goliath with a single stone from his sling. Truly, the dawning of Truth is unstoppable.
This hymn (No. 2) from the “Christian Science Hymnal” says it all:
A glorious day is dawning,
And o’er the waking earth
The heralds of the morning
Are springing into birth.
In dark and hidden places
There shines the blessed light;
The beam of Truth displaces
The darkness of the night.