Do statistics determine our experience?
The television news one morning announced that a young patient had a ''fifty-fifty chance'' of survival. The day before, it was reported that one in a hundred people would fall victim this year to a certain disease. Another broadcast claimed that fifteen teen-agers die every day from alcohol-related causes. And so the quoting of statistical evidence goes on.
It struck me with particular clarity that morning as I listened to the news, that the computation of probabilities actually has no power or authority to dictate the outcome of individual experience. Numerical figures and predictions, however, can tend to impress us with a vague uneasiness, or even outright fear. They suggest a cruel ''quota system'' for disease and accident.
Obviously the question of suffering and human susceptibility to discord is age-old. In the Old Testament drama, Job, beset by countless trials, says, ''Let the day perish wherein I was born.'' n1 Job's cry well represents mankind's deep desire to be free from the claims of indiscriminate negative forces. His story has deep meaning for us because he rises out of the pathos of his unfortunate circumstances to a higher vision of God and - as a direct result of his prayer for his friends - to a life of greater blessing.
n1 Job 3:3.
Mankind are not powerless to answer ''no'' to illness and disaster. Today, while statistics and other forms of human logic argue to the contrary, Christian Science is bringing to many a genuine tide of conviction - again in words from the book of Job - that ''the Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life.'' n2
n2 Job 33:4.
The teachings of Christian Science show a spiritual logic, gleaned from the inspired Word of the Scriptures. As we can learn from the Bible's accounts of healing, man is actually governed by divine law, not by chance. And because this is the truth of our being, we are always able to turn with the whole heart to the law of divine Love and find release from impositions - from the penalties of injustice, fear, and false belief.
Christ Jesus proved the law of God to be supreme when he healed disease through prayer alone. He demonstrated that it is not chance or misfortune that actually governs man but God's will - which is always good. Mary Baker Eddy n3 writes: ''Because man-made systems insist that man becomes sick and useless, suffers and dies, all in consonance with the laws of God, are we to believe it? Are we to believe an authority which denies God's spiritual command relating to perfection, - an authority which Jesus proved to be false? He did the will of the Father. He healed sickness in defiance of what is called material law, but in accordance with God's law, the law of Mind.'' n4
n3 Mrs Eddy is the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science.
n4 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 168.
It is only natural for us to want to rebel against the claims of materiality, for such claims are opposed to our true identity, made in the image of God, Spirit. Each of us is actually this immortal likeness. Man is not a statistic; he is wholly spiritual, conceived and motivated by the divine Mind. We are predestined, then, only to come into the fullness of the stature of Christ, as the Apostle Paul teaches.
We may have only glimpsed, perhaps gently felt, that this is true. Nevertheless, to begin to realize the truth of one God, omnipotent good, governing and protecting all, can have a profound effect on our lives. And the blessings accrue to all mankind as well. Man is not a victim of statistics; he is governed only by the law of God - the law of permanent good. DAILY BIBLE VERSE I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil. Jeremiah 29:11