The inevitable war
AGAINST the growing fear of global war, we may find ourselves fighting in one of two camps-- either for or against an arms buildup. But wherever we think the resolution lies, history poses one unrelenting question: Although new weaponry may win the battle against personal enemies, can it ever win mankind's war against war itself? The Bible offers no political answers, but it does indicate a clearly spiritual one in the life of Christ Jesus. Jesus, who was never moved by desire to harm another, nevertheless described himself as bringing not peace but a sword to the world.1 The sword Jesus wielded, infinitely more powerful than material weaponry, was the sword of Spirit, and he turned it toward the one enemy of all mankind, which promotes war--the carnal mind.
His warfare was against greed, human power, the letter of the law without the spirit of love. He waged his battles against moral evils, and healed the havoc of disease and death. He proved man's God-given power to overthrow these dictators.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes: ``When a man begins to quarrel with himself he stops quarrelling with others. We must exterminate self before we can successfully war with mankind.'' And she says a couple of pages later, ``Certain elements in human nature would undermine the civic, social, and religious rights and laws of nations and peoples, striking at liberty, human rights, and self-government--and this, too, in the name of God, justice, and humanity!...History shows that error repeats itself until it is exterminated.''2
The battle with oneself does not ignore political injustice and inhumanity. Neither does it encourage a sort of transcendental indifference to humanity's pressing needs. Rather it greets these enemies head-on. The root of human aggression must be conquered first on the battlefield of individual consciousness.
If material means are inadequate to bring a final end to war, they are even more helpless in uprooting its causes, including selfishness. The peace of Jesus' message comes not through worldly methods.
In order to succeed in promoting Christly peace, we must clear up some misconceptions about the very nature of God and of evil. The human belief that God is a super person and the devil His personal antagonist has volleyed mankind unendingly between faith and fear. Christian Science, in harmony with the Bible, teaches that God is divine Love, impartial in its expression, universal in its compass, tender in its lesson, and capable of meeting human needs. Man, as God's likeness, is empowered by Love.
The devil is not a person but impersonal evil. If we believe that the devil is a person, then devils become persons and we end up fighting people instead of those qualities of human will that oppose themselves to Spirit, God. We struggle, not with an actual, evil power, but with our misconceptions of God. Our victories are proportionate to our faith in and understanding of God, and our disbelief in any power apart from Him.
As St. Paul writes, ``Though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (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.''3
The spiritual understanding that the real enemy is whatever opposes itself to good wherever found, and the living of that understanding, regenerate and heal us. It is impossible that such fundamental transformation not be felt both locally and globally. This understanding enlarges our capacity to do good and clarifies our vision of how to go about it.
If we are to win mankind's war against war itself, we must think beyond both human armament and human disarmament, however well-intentioned both of these positions might be. We must exercise the courage to stand against the insistence that evil is more powerful than good. We must lobby mentally for the supremacy of love over hate, trusting implicitly in the superiority of spiritual means, leaning on God's benevolent, supreme will.
There is a battle to be fought and a war to be won, but these are with sin, selfishness, and the error of our own beliefs. In this warfare, people are not casualties. In this warfare man is not lost. He is saved.
1See Matthew 10:34. 2Message to The Mother Church for 1900, p. 8 and p. 10. 3II Corinthians 10:3-5. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. John 14:27