Essay on materialism vs spiritualism

Materialism vs Spiritualism

When we realize this, when we see what's at stake, we may begin to view our times in a far different way. When we wake up to what's really going on, we see there's a great choice to be made - a choice to make individually and together - that will make a fundamental difference to the future of mankind. Beginning with the individual's inner choice. You could say there's a war on for the spiritual future of mankind. But it's not going to be some kind of easy external crusade. It begins with the inner choice of every individual.

And it calls for - and it deserves - more courage, honesty, discipline, and total devotion than any other war or cause you could possibly imagine. The spiritual road that brought us to this crossroads time of course began long ago. Christ Jesus said, ''I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness'' John As ''The New English Bible'' has it: ''When a man believes in me, he believes in him who sent me rather than in me;.

I have come into the world as light, so that no one who has faith in me should remain in darkness'' ''The New English Bible,'' John What if we took those words of Jesus not as a religious dogma we might either want to believe or not believe but as a factual observation?

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But as I came back to the foot of the stairs from talking on the phone with the practitioner for three or four minutes, I heard the crying of the child who had just been born! Before long he was too weak to come to the phone and couldn't get out of bed. Our people, through benevolent virtue of the emperors, have attained a national constitution that is without parallel in the world. Today's article is entitled: What's at the heart of Christian healing? Mantras are sound. The doctor, who was willing to work with Christian Scientists in having children at home, was a bighearted, humane man. Spiritual reality, or what Jesus called the kingdom of God, is here now.

What if, instead of thinking of Jesus' statement as a point of doctrine or creed, we realized Jesus said it because it seemed to him plainly to be the case, to be true? In other words, what if Jesus were saying to the world: ''What I am showing you about God is of such magnitude, such importance to living, that men and women would be dwelling in ignorance and darkness without it.

They wouldn't understand how life works and what it's all about. Wasn't Jesus, in his unique humility and love and spirituality, seeing something so compelling about God's kingdom being right here and now that he knewm this would constitute light for the whole world!

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He realized it made such a difference that his life was literally the light for mankind, a light humanity simply couldn't live without. In the midth century a religious thinker named Mary Baker Eddy saw these issues coming into sharp focus. This was at a time when the dark trend toward materialism seemed to be gaining momentum. Skepticism, doubt, and the power of the natural sciences were growing.


But she saw something else developing in human consciousness. She saw what she believed was the dawn of a spiritual era for humanity. On the very first page of her book ''Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures'' she wrote: ''Truth, independent of doctrines and time-honored systems, knocks at the portal of humanity.

Contentment with the past and the cold conventionality of materialism are crumbling away.

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Ignorance of God is no longer the stepping-stone to faith. But none of this was said as personal assertion. For her it didn't begin with reasoning out a theological theory. It came directly out of concrete spiritual experience so profound and life-changing she felt it was as though she had seen deep into another universe. It left her with no doubt at all that God was in the future of mankind, as well as the past and present. In fact, she decisively called pure Christianity Sciencem - the great Science of being.

In other words, she came to see the spiritual truths and experiences of original Christianity as actually scientific - demonstration of an underlying reality very different from what the physical senses habitually reported. This materialism we're all so familiar with isn't the reality of being, she said. But God, Spirit, divine Love, is the reality - not just a poetic, religious truth or a reality to be realized only in the afterlife, but scientific reality now. In fact, she spoke of the discovery of God's allness. At first she could hardly find the words to express what she was seeing.

She reached out for a more exact vocabulary to say it. She called Spirit, God, substancem or realitym. She called matter unrealitym; the physical senses, errorm. She called God Mindm. It was evident to her that the human mentality, which she called mortal mindm, wasn't so much a real entity as it was a limited point of view.

Shallow Materialistic People vs Spiritual Minimalist People

All of mortal mind's so-called thinking is simply what proceeds from an ingrained sense impression of living in matter. But having true Mind, God, begins to give a different consciousness of what's possible and natural.

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Here's how she explained it in one of the books she wrote later: ''It became evident that the divine Mind alone must answer, and be found as the Life, or Principle, of all being; and that one must acquaint himself with God, if he would be at peace. I had learned that thought must be spiritualized, in order to apprehend Spirit.

It must become honest, unselfish, and pure, in order to have the least understanding of God in divine Science. The first must become last. Our reliance upon material things must be transferred to a perception of and dependence on spiritual things'' ''Retrospection and Introspection,'' p. Like most 19th-century New Englanders, she was well acquainted with the harsh side of life.

She herself was ill a great deal. The brother to whom she was closest died at age Her husband died of yellow fever. They hadn't been married very long, and she was left without support for her child. So it wasn't either from a sheltered, privileged experience or some sort of mystic rapture that she was talking about the allness of God. At one point she was badly injured in a fall in Lynn, Massachusetts. It was reported in the local paper that she was in a critical condition. In this extremity she reached out for the Bible. She could barely see the words, but an account of one of Jesus' healings filled her with inspiration, with light, with the sudden, utter undoubted reality of all those spiritual things we've been talking about.

The suffering stopped, strength returned, and she was healed and able to get up. Over the next few years she gave up everything else to follow out what she had glimpsed. She began to see that Jesus' healings came about not because he was a man-god, so to speak, but because he was acting according to divine law. There was a divine Principle behind his healing works.

That Principle, Mrs. Eddy began to understand, was God Himself. Jesus had said it so simply, but the point had been missed: ''I cast out devils by the Spirit of God'' Matt. Eddy realized it was therefore terribly important to separate Christian healing from any form of willpower or trying to use the power of the human mind to influence the body. The Mind healing she was talking about was with a capital ''M'' - the healing that flowed from having God as one's only Mind.

It meant obeying the first commandment in the deepest recesses of one's being - having no other gods or even mentality apart from the infinite Mind or divine Spirit that creates and supplies man's individuality and identity. A quiet, Christian response to need. Eddy learned that she could heal others this way, not in some dramatic charismatic manner but in a quiet, natural, Christian response to need. For example, she healed her young niece who was dying of enteritis, which had been diagnosed by three doctors.

She healed a neighbor's child of a clubfoot. She then took small classes and was able to teach others to heal. There were healings of erysipelas, dropsy, tuberculosis, and many other conditions. In the century since, it has grown to be a worldwide Christian denomination. The healing aspect of Christian Science has continued in the same quiet way.

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Through the prayer of a Christian Science practitioner one of our children was born safely in a home delivery. The doctor, who was willing to work with Christian Scientists in having children at home, was a bighearted, humane man. He was at the time chief of the obstetrical service at University Hospital in Boston. But after labor had gone on for quite a while he sank down in a chair with his hands over his eyes, wearied and in despair.

He kindly suggested I call the Christian Science practitioner, since it was too late to get to the hospital and the birth was obstructed. He felt he had done all he could. But as I came back to the foot of the stairs from talking on the phone with the practitioner for three or four minutes, I heard the crying of the child who had just been born!

Grasping the law that underlies healing. We've also seen healings in the family of longstanding heart problems, internal rupture and hemorrhaging, kidney stones, and extremely severe attacks of croup, among others.

Materialism and Spirituality, The Two Paths of Life

So healing of this kind has been a normal occurrence. But of course Christian Science isn't some form of alternative health care. A Christian Scientist's interest - and my only reason for sharing such experiences with you - is in the way these experiences open one's eyes to a present spiritual reality.

It's possible to see that the ordinary material sense of things which seems so solid isn't the reality after all. There's a different, more basic law and reality underlying human experience - and this is God's law of goodness and eternal order. Healing on this basis - whether it's healing of physical illness or job problems or some form of sin or community antagonisms - makes more apparent the very real presence of God's kingdom. This includes healing as a natural part of Christian life, but its most basic aim is to truly have God as God. Not God when there's time for Him or when there's a need, but God before anything else.

Not God as distant and unable or unwilling to help, but God-with-us. Not God as a part of our existence, to be fitted in, but God as a whole, our very Life and Principle. It requires prayer for growth in grace, and living up to the words of one's prayer. It does demand considerable spiritualization of thought and the healing of sin - in other words, the new birth that Jesus said would be necessary. From a crossroads to a firm course.

Sometimes when one prays, at first the things of the spirit of God can seem to be foolishness and quite distant from the immediate human need.