A Christian Science perspective.
There is a lot of talk today about the detrimental effects on boys growing up without fathers. Statistics show that in communities where many young men don’t know their fathers, crime rates are high, school dropouts occur more frequently, children are more often born out of wedlock, and poverty is pervasive. Worldwide, many young men have joined gangs and violent groups whose use of terror is glamorized as a desired way of life. These groups attract the lonely and dissatisfied, promising what they cannot truly provide – a sense of relevance, self-worth, and fulfillment.
What can we do to heal this? Is this a hopeless situation that is bound to continue, or even escalate? Answers can be found in the teachings of Christian Science, in which we discover the universal fact that God, Spirit, is the only Father of man and that man is made in God’s image and likeness, wholly spiritual, and forever one with his Father.
A greater understanding of man’s identity as God’s child overrules the mortal concept of life as originating with human parents. This spiritual understanding of man, when embraced as our true origin and identity, washes away thoughts of abandonment, shame, and despair that may lead to wrongdoing or even violence. This behavior is not only unnatural, but impossible for God’s children. God’s sons – and daughters – can only express the qualities of a loving Father, God.
Because the only heritage one can ever have is wholly spiritual, no child can ever be saddled with the material lie of being fatherless. The understanding of this frees one from the predicted outcomes of this lie, such as the temptation to join a “family” group whose purpose is to promulgate tyranny and fear.
In the Bible, in the book of Isaiah, we read, “As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you” (Isaiah 66:13). The wonderful fact that God, who is our Father, is also our Mother, is reiterated in the teachings of Christian Science. In the textbook of Christian Science, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” by Mary Baker Eddy, we find this reassuring statement: “Father-Mother is the name for Deity, which indicates His tender relationship to His spiritual creation. As the apostle expressed it in words that he quoted with approbation from a classic poet: ‘For we are also His offspring’ ” (p. 332).
The comforting truth of man’s inseparable relationship to his Father-Mother God is the foundation for healing and continued freedom – healing that comes through Christ, God’s constant revealing of our true nature as His children. God’s comforting thoughts guide us to recognize not only ourselves but everyone as the offspring of one Father-Mother, God. Because God is Love, man’s true thoughts are naturally loving. Thoughts of anger and resentment are replaced with those of kindness and unselfishness, as man’s real nature is understood. Because God is good and we are all the expression or image of God, unnatural thoughts of revenge and retaliation can yield naturally to mercy and forgiveness of wrongs. The need to prove oneself to an absent father can also fade away, as the understanding grows that God’s own children are already approved, inherently worthy, always loved. We read in the book of First John: “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God:...” (3:1).
Christ Jesus urged his followers: “Call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven” (Matthew 23:9). And in that beautiful instruction that has come to be known as the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus teaches his disciples to pray: “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name” (Matthew 6:9). Knowing the certainty of man’s inseparability from God, we can each feel the comfort and protection of a loving Father. And we can honor Him by expressing only those qualities that inherently belong to us as His children.
As Mrs. Eddy writes in Science and Health,“As a drop of water is one with the ocean, a ray of light one with the sun, even so God and man, Father and son, are one in being” (p. 361).