Computer viruses and prayer
A Christian Science perspective on daily life.
The invasion of computers by viruses, worms, and trojans with the intent to steal or damage is costing time and money, and peace of mind, to those whose lives it affects. Matthew Williamson, a researcher with Hewlett-Packard laboratories in Bristol, England, said, "Computer security is a bit of an arms race, and any development you make to combat things will be countered" (BBC News)
The Bible's account of David and Goliath (see I Samuel, chap. 17) has some useful insights on how this problem of computer security, which seems like a Goliath, might be faced through prayer. Goliath, a Philistine, was challenging anyone from the armies of Israel to fight him. The description of Goliath's size, weapons, and armor is formidable, and it would appear that whoever was going to fight him would have to be bigger and equipped with greater weapons.
David was smaller and not used to armor and spears, but he seemed more than confident in taking on this fight. David was unafraid because he knew that he was wrapped in the armor and security of God's power and that nothing could defeat that power. Instead of thinking of himself as fighting another man, he evidently understood that the battle was God's battle. In the divine presence that fills all space and possesses all power, hatred cannot stand.
David killed Goliath with one stone flung from the slingshot that he'd used successfully as a shepherd in protecting his sheep from a bear and a lion. But his confidence in opposing such an impressive opponent was the inspiration he received from God that he had the ability to do what was needed.
Today, those who are responsible for protecting computer systems from destruction can also receive the insights and intuition they need. Our prayers can help support the thought that there is no power in evildoing. Right ideas of technology have as their source the intelligence and power of divine Mind, and we can pray that they be used only to bless and progress. Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of this newspaper, wrote in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures": "Evil thoughts and aims reach no farther and do no more harm than one's belief permits. Evil thoughts, lusts, and malicious purposes cannot go forth, like wandering pollen, from one human mind to another, finding unsuspected lodgment, if virtue and truth build a strong defence" (pp. 234-235).
Each of us has the ability to adopt the "virtue and truth" that will defend the technology so many people rely on. Divine Love nullifies the hatred or greed that may motivate someone to create a computer virus, because Love reveals all that is good and eliminates anything that would make greed or hatred seem desirable. To the degree that we understand God as the only Mind, we become more confident that divine intelligence will bring evil out of hiding and destroy it.
Prayer reveals that the virus of malicious thinking doesn't come from God or His creation. It has no part in the infinite divine law of harmony that constitutes the real spiritual identity of every man, woman, and child.
This law excludes anything that could injure or disrupt harmony and unity. It powerfully enables all who want to express qualities of precision, acuteness, and intelligence to do good. It also brings spiritual self-knowledge to wrongdoers, enabling them to see that destructive acts don't bless them or anyone else.
Prayer opens our hearts and thoughts to understand better the virtue and truth that are our – and everyone's – real defense. Within this mental environment no one can be influenced by hatred or deception, or targeted by wrong intentions.
Through such prayer it becomes possible to look forward to a time when all people will be able to work together for the common good in solving the world's problems, instead of disrupting honest efforts to establish harmony.