A Christian Science perspective.
Almost every country has citizens of various cultures, skin colors, languages. Such diversity can be a wonderful asset to any society. But because one group’s ambitions and living habits are often very different from another’s, hatred and polarization sometimes develop.
Yet such fragmentation is never the answer to social problems, and it can lead only to frustration of everyone’s hopes for a productive and peaceful life.
Is it possible to bring diverse groups together in genuine unity? It’s not only possible, but feasible – if we are willing to pursue the solution patiently and give up material notions regarding God and man.
The physical senses see painful fragmentation everywhere. They see it not just in social situations but in personal lives and international relations. But these senses can’t perceive what is really true of God and man. They are incapable of discerning that man is at one with God. A genuine understanding of this spiritual unity can do much to eliminate fragmentation.
The oneness of being rests on the oneness of God. Christ Jesus emphasized the Old Testament declaration of God’s oneness: “Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord” (Mark 12:29). Christian Science explains that God, Spirit, is the creator and governing Principle of all reality and that infinite Spirit includes man as its expression. Being God’s child, man eternally manifests His nature, infinite good. So in this sense, too, man, though distinct, is inseparable from God – perfectly allied to Him in quality, never deviating even in the slightest degree from goodness.
As we begin to comprehend the meaning of spiritual unity, the marvelous diversity of human life tends to move toward harmony. The remedy for polarization certainly isn’t mere authoritarianism. The spiritual facts of being don’t rest on any particular political or social philosophy. But the truths of God and man can guide human thought into better channels, such as unselfish ambition, humility, brotherhood, and so on. Within such channels of thinking and living, those holding differing philosophies can find a common focus. Give and take can occur with fewer tugs of war.
The unity of all real being is far more than a humanistic ideal. It’s an eternal, already established spiritual fact, which becomes evident on earth in proportion as humans relinquish matter as their basis and acknowledge the supremacy of God. For instance, while retaining faith in matter’s reality and necessity, we would naturally conclude that there are innumerable minds, each with its own special character and pursuits. On this mistaken basis genuine unity is impossible. But to glimpse something of the oneness of God as Mind – and of man as expressing this Mind – is to glimpse the spiritual foundation of unity. Mary Baker Eddy writes, “When we realize that there is one Mind, the divine law of loving our neighbor as ourselves is unfolded; whereas a belief in many ruling minds hinders man’s normal drift towards the one Mind, one God, and leads human thought into opposite channels where selfishness reigns” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 205).
Certainly there is no conflict within God. So the real man can include no conflicting or contradictory qualities. Genuine individuality in its infinite variety and richness remains true to its infinite source, God.
Again, Mrs. Eddy’s words: “The cement of a higher humanity will unite all interests in the one divinity” (“Science and Health,” p. 571). The disappearance of destructive polarization involves a continued purging of human consciousness. Individual spiritualization of thought is not a superficial activity. It entails the removal of selfishness, fear, and the material beliefs that underlie them. The impulse of Truth in world thought (and in ours!) may cause a stir at times, but out of this can come higher purposes, more unselfish pursuits, and a more heartfelt awareness of man’s oneness with God. Then our vast diversity will unite more harmoniously.
Reprinted from the Sept. 12, 1980, issue of The Christian Science Monitor.