What Does Politics Have to Do with Christian Science?

There’s this belief among some in our culture that we should avoid talking about politics with each other. Frankly, I think that’s part of the reason our society is in the trouble it’s in right now – we don’t talk about stuff with each other. We’re afraid: We’re afraid of losing friendships; or afraid someone might question our long-cherished beliefs and make us actually think about them; or we’re afraid – horror! – that people might disagree with us.

But I think sharing our thoughts with each other is important to maintaining a healthy democracy. We can’t function as a democracy if we’re all living in our own vacuum, you know? We need to be able to see other people’s perspectives, and we need to learn about other people’s challenges in order to be compassionate, informed voters. We need to be able to listen to each other and learn from each other, and share our concerns and aspirations with each other in order to move forward as a nation.

My teaching major at university was history, and, maybe because of that background, I’m comfortable moving around in the world of Big Ideas. A large part of my studies involved discussing politics in class. This is how my classmates and I learned from each other – we debated and stretched our thoughts, listened and learned and saw different perspectives. Having my beliefs questioned, and being put in a position where I had to defend them, was so helpful to me! It was like sticking a rough hunk of rock into a rock-polishing machine, grinding away all the ego, nonsense and misconceptions, and pulling out a shiny agate at the end.

The belief that talking about politics is taboo exists among some of my fellow Christian Scientists, too. I was recently asked by one of my fellow CSists what politics has to do with Christian Science and why I had posted a link about the January 6th hearings in a group I had created with “Christian Science” in the title. Here’s my response to that:

For many of us, Christian Science informs every part of our human experience – we apply our understanding of God to heal broken relationships, physical challenges, mental and emotional challenges, our human governments, the environment, oppression, inequity, sexism, racism, and etc.

Mary Baker Eddy writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, “A sinner is not reformed merely by assuring him that he cannot be a sinner because there is no sin. To put down the claim of sin, you must detect it, remove the mask, point out the illusion, and thus get the victory over sin and so prove its unreality.” Eddy writes: “If you venture upon the quiet surface of error and are in sympathy with error, what is there to disturb the waters? What is there to strip off error’s disguise?” She writes: “Though error hides behind a lie, and excuses guilt, error cannot forever be concealed. Truth, through her eternal laws, unveils error. Truth causes sin to betray itself, and sets upon error the mark of the beast. Even the disposition to excuse guilt or to conceal it is punished. The avoidance of justice and the denial of truth tend to perpetuate sin, invoke crime, jeopardize self-control, and mock divine mercy.”

I know that these kinds of discussions are uncomfortable for some people, and I totally understand if you want to scroll past posts like this and move on to other posts. But, from my perspective, these kinds of discussions can be really healing if we keep Love and Truth at the “helm of thought.” Mrs. Eddy writes (p. 201): “The way to extract error from mortal mind is to pour in truth through flood-tides of Love.”

I don’t believe that it’s helpful to anyone to just let error sit there, unexposed and ignored.

Talking Politics Isn’t a “Bad” Thing

A friend said something in a comment that got me to thinking. (And that’s a good thing, right?) She said that she didn’t know a conversation she had participated in was going to “devolve into politics.” I understand where she was coming from with that – I know not everyone is comfortable discussing politics. But I’d like offer a different perspective.

The implication in my friend’s comment was that discussing politics is a bad thing – maybe an uncivil thing? When something “devolves” it “degenerates” – “deteriorates, declines, sinks, slips, slides, worsens” (Google definition).

And I think it’s a real tragedy that participating in a discussion about political issues and concerns – sharing our thoughts about things that matter to us, our community, our world – is considered a bad thing. I learn so much from these dialogues! If we live in a vacuum – separated from the thoughts and perspectives of others – how are we ever going to be able to know the problems and challenges our fellow earth-travelers are experiencing? How are we going to be able to reach out and help each other? How are we going to learn from each other and understand each other?

I know these kinds of discussions aren’t enjoyable for everyone. And that’s okay. I don’t think anyone should be FORCED into sharing their beliefs. But I also don’t think people should be made to feel they’ve somehow done something wrong by sharing their thoughts about stuff. I’m not going to apologize for wanting to talk about things that matter to me. The freedom we have to share our ideas and beliefs with each other is a part of what made America a place my grandparents wanted to immigrate to.

Dangling “to” – and I ain’t apologizing for that, either. 🙂
– Karen Molenaar Terrell