The Real and Ideal

“And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good”. – Genesis

“The Bible declares: ‘All things were made by Him [the divine Word]; and without Him was not anything, made that was made.’  This is the eternal verity of divine Science. If sin, sickness, and death were understood as nothingness, they would disappear.  As vapor melts before the sun, so evil would vanish before the reality of good. One must hide the other. How important, then, to choose good as the reality!” – Mary Baker Eddy

“Hold thought steadfastly to the enduring, the good, and the true, and you will bring these into your experience proportionably to their occupancy of your thoughts.” – Mary Baker Eddy


One of the things that people just learning about Christian Science sometimes have a problem cogitating is the Christian Scientist’s belief that all of creation is perfect and good and flawless, without disease, death, or sin.  And I can understand, for sure, the perception that the way Christian Scientists look at the world is just wacky. I mean, if you turn on the news or connect to the internet, we seem surrounded by chaos, cruelty, wars, dishonesty, cheating, betrayals, greed, destruction, disease, death.  To deny there’s evil in the world must seem really naïve, if not totally delusional, to most people.

And I have to admit that there have been times in my life when this way of looking at the world – with an intentional and conscious expectancy of good – has seemed sort of delusional to me, too.

But several years ago I went through an experience with depression that taught me a lot about what’s “real” and what’s not, and the power that lies in purposely and purposefully aligning myself to the good surrounding me.  There was a moment when I had a sort of epiphany – when I realized that right where there appeared to be pain and darkness and gloom – in that very same place there was incredible beauty and goodness and love.  It occurred to me that there are sort of parallel universes filling the same place and space – one that’s full of despair and discouragement, and one that’s full of hope and incredible generosity – and I could choose which one I wanted to live in, and accept as real.

Up until the time of the depression, I’d always been a naturally happy person – joy was not something I’d had to work at. But when I was in the grips of the depression it sometimes seemed like a Herculean task to put myself in a place of joy. I was sometimes overwhelmed by the sadness and hopelessness of “life.”

At the time, the depression seemed like the worst thing I’d ever gone through. In retrospect, though, I see it was one of the best.  It was, in fact, an incredible time of growth for me.

In the moment when I stood in a ray of sun bursting through the clouds, in that moment when I saw that, right where there appeared to be overwhelming darkness, there was spectacular light and joy – in that moment when I began to wake up from the depression – I made a commitment to myself to always try to keep my thoughts and being in harmony with the universe of joy, love, and beauty.

In her book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy writes: “We are sometimes led to believe that darkness is as real as light; but Science affirms darkness to be only a mortal sense of the absence of light, at the coming of which darkness loses the appearance of reality. So sin and sorrow, disease and death, are the suppositional absence of Life, God, and flee as phantoms of error before truth and love.”

I know what Eddy writes here might sound kind of strange on the surface of it, but I have actually proven her words to be true in my own life. I have experienced those moments where I felt overwhelmed by sorrow and sickness, and, with a simple change of thought – by filling my thoughts up with love and knowing I was loved – have experienced healing.

In fact, the analogy of light and darkness that Eddy brings us has been really useful to me in understanding the power in Good.  When I think about the properties of light and darkness I recognize that Light has a source – it comes from somewhere – the sun or a lightbulb or reflected off water; Darkness, on the other hand, has no source – there’s no darkbulb we can turn on to create darkness, and there’s nothing I know of in the physical world that reflects darkness.  Darkness is nothing, comes from nowhere, has no cause or source – it’s simply the absence of light.  I picture the way light fills the darkness – light curving around dark corners, gliding into crevices, bouncing off the Moon – and wherever it touches, darkness disappears. Isn’t that cool?!  And I believe the power of good – the power of Love and Truth and Life – are like the light in that respect – everything that love and truth touch is transformed.

I don’t believe we can transform our world into its ideal by letting ourselves get pulled into the anger and hate and confusion and ugliness that seem to be trying really hard to overwhelm us.  I believe we transform our lives and our world by transforming our thoughts – by lifting our thoughts up to the ideal, and making that our reality.  I don’t mean to suggest that we ignore the sickness and misery that challenges humanity and pretend it’s not “there” – we need to recognize and expose the bad stuff, for sure – bring it out into the light and then let love and truth do to evil the same thing that light does to the mold and fungus that thrive in dark, dank places – put an end to it.

Mohatma Gandhi said, “A ‘No’ uttered from the deepest conviction is better than a ‘Yes’ merely uttered to please, or worse, to avoid trouble.”  I think we need to have the courage to deny power to evil in whatever form it takes. And yes, I think we need to deny it reality, too – not with rose-colored glasses obstinately placed on our noses, but resolutely, with the courage of our ideals, knowing that the ideal of good will win in the end. As Gandhi said, “When I despair I remember that all through history there have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time they seem invincible. But in the end they always fall. Think of it. Always.”


 “The good you do and embody gives you the only power obtainable. Evil is not power. It is a mockery of strength, which erelong betrays its weakenss and falls, never to rise.” – Mary Baker Eddy

“Beloved Christian Scientists, keep your minds so filled with Truth and Love, that sin, disease, and death cannot enter them.” – Mary Baker Eddy

“The time to be happy is now; The place to be happy is here.” – Robert Ingersoll

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