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Exercise Spiritual Reasoning and Divine Logic to See Through the Unreal

Craig L. Ghislin, C.S., Glen Ellyn (Bartlett), IL
Posted Monday, March 30th, 2009

Exercise Spiritual Reasoning and Divine Logic to See Through the Unreal
Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson: "Unreality"
For the week of March 30-April 5, 2009
By Craig L. Ghislin, C.S. Glen Ellyn, Illinois

Editor's Note: The following application ideas for this week and the Possible Sunday School Topics that follow are offered primarily to help CEDARS campers and staff (as well as friends) see and demonstrate the great value of daily study and application of the Christian Science Bible lessons year-round, not just at camp! You can sign up to have them emailed to you free -- in English by Monday each week, or by each Wednesday you can get a FREE TRANSLATION in French from Pascal or in Spanish from Ana. JUST SIGN UP at www.cedarscamps.org/newsletters

In We Knew Mary Baker Eddy, George Wendell Adams recalls Mrs. Eddy telling this story:
"She said there was once a man who had a fox. He made a hole in the door of his house and stuck the tail of the fox through it from the inside. Very shortly a crowd had gathered outside and he went out to ask why they were there. The reply was that they were trying to figure out how the fox was able to get through such a small hole. This, said Mrs. Eddy, was human philosophy, always trying to figure out things that never happened"  (We Knew Mary Baker Eddy pp. 109-110).

This is a perfect example of the faulty logic inherent in materially based thinking. Faulty logic deceives us into mistaking the unreal for the real. The Golden Text invites us to "reason together." The Student's Reference Dictionary states, "To reason justly is to infer from propositions which are known, admitted, or evident, the conclusions which are natural, or which necessarily result from them." Reasoning from the standpoint of divine logic enables us to arrive at correct conclusions and therefore to distinguish accurately the unreal from the real. To reason together may also be defined as, "to argue, dispute, or debate." The New Oxford Annotated Bible suggests that this reasoning is "as one argues his case before a judge."

The Responsive Reading serves as an opening argument. The basic thesis is that God alone is worthy to be praised. There is none beside Him. These verses were intended to remind Israel and all nations that God alone has power. Even though Cyrus is unaware and does not acknowledge that God has chosen him, God will still guide him so that all nations will see that God governs all things. Those who complain about God's methods are like clay arguing with the potter. Such a position is illogical and foolish. It is no use working from any other standpoint apart from God's sovereignty. There is no room here for any dualistic approach regarding the order of the universe. God is in charge and that is the end of it.

Do you ever find yourself arguing with or questioning God? Do you find yourself leaning toward multiple theories of creation? Do you try to merge the unreality of material theories with the reality of spiritually scientific logic? Even if we don't openly express doubts, they sometimes creep into our thought in subtle ways. As you study this Lesson take notice of whether you reason from material premises or from the certainty of divine logic.

Section 1: Life in Matter Is an Unreal Dream
Do you ever dream? Do your dreams make sense? One thing about dreams-good or bad-is that they rarely follow any logical order. Strange things happen. Sometimes we can fly; or sometimes, monsters are chasing us; or we're trying to run away but we're moving in slow motion. Nothing in a dream makes sense because a dream is unreal. Such is the case if we believe that life is in matter. It's not. Believing it is, we are in a dream state of illogical events. We think everything is real and follows a logical sequence, but starting from the incorrect premise leads to incorrect conclusions. We have to learn that even though we might seem to be in a material world governed by material laws, we are not of it.

The Children of Israel found themselves in a parallel situation. Though they were in exile, the prophet cautioned them not to get taken in by their surroundings (B1). They were expected to be productive members of society, but they were warned not let themselves get absorbed by the customs or beliefs of their neighbors. Isaiah calls for Jerusalem to wake up (B2). "In contrast to the degradation of Babylon, Jerusalem is to be cleansed and released. A new and purified people will be there.... The captive stands up and is free from the ropes which tie together those taken away in exile" (The Interpreter's One-Volume Commentary on the Bible). Likewise, Paul warns the Christians of Colossae not to depart from Christian precepts by following errant teaching (B3). False doctrines and theories have always been around. Since they are based on sense evidence, they appear fairly plausible. But they work against the spiritual reality. Paul is "concerned lest his readers be duped into accepting and promoting doctrines that have no enduring significance and are not as profound as their exponents contend" (Ibid.). Abingdon paraphrases it like this: "Do not be misled by any attempt to found religion on the ‘Elemental Powers' instead of on Christ." John also warns us not to believe everyone claiming to be a prophet (B4). Whether we find ourselves immersed in societal and customary beliefs around us, tempted by other philosophies, or by false claimants within the church, we need to keep ourselves alert and not fall into erroneous thinking.

While erroneous arguments can seem convincing, they are unreal and they yield when held up to spiritual reasoning (S1). Mrs. Eddy tells us that the entire belief of life in matter is an error-a false mortal belief-having no real existence (S2). Every human system includes the belief that mind is in matter; but this belief contradicts right reasoning (S3). Mrs. Eddy didn't reason from a material basis. She started with God. To her, logical conclusions could only be reached by reasoning spiritually from the basis of Mind. In Christian Science, correct reasoning starts with God as the Creator of all. Everything God made is perfect. If one believes that God created intelligent matter or that matter created itself, it's like being in a fog, unable to see things clearly (S4). Only as this fog lifts can we see that the material view is unreal. Our Leader promises that when we wake up to the "truth of being" the dream of material pain and discord will end (S5). As the prophet called for Jerusalem to be loosed from the bands of captivity, so, Christian Science allows modern man to escape the bondage of sickness, sin, and death (S6).

Section 2: Eliminate Superstitions through Correct Reasoning from Cause to Effect
We're all familiar with the story of the woman with the issue of blood in search of healing pressing through the crowd to touch Jesus (B5). This story is sometimes used to illustrate Jesus' ability to "read" or sense a call for aid. But this week, the emphasis is on the reason that Jesus made a point of talking to the woman. According to Dummelow, this woman was superstitious. She was looking for some kind of magical virtue that flowed out of Jesus' body. She reached out to touch what the Jews believed to be the holiest part of his clothing, the tassels worn on the four corners of the cloak as a reminder of Jehovah's commands. While her expectancy for healing was valid, her reasoning was incorrect. She had the wrong cause and effect. Jesus couldn't let that go by, so he stopped to correct her. He made sure she knew that it was her faith, not the power of the garment that healed her.

Paul called on the Romans too, to have faith that it was not the government; but God who is the only ruling power (B6). His letter to Timothy (B7) is yet another warning to the church to keep free from mixing their faith with any other so-called knowledge that did not originate in the Christian teaching.

All superstition is a mistaken cause and effect. There was more than the usual amount of attention given to superstition during February and March of this year seeing that both of them had a Friday the 13th. While most people think of superstitions as irrational, it does creep in to our experience. Aside from the obvious old wives' tales of mirrors, black cats, and rabbit's feet, there is a general superstition about the dangers of not following material laws of health and medicine. Mrs. Eddy directly confronted these common superstitions. Christian Science "rests on a fixed Principle" (S7). She calls human knowledge a "blind belief" (S8). These beliefs, including medically based laws, need human organizations to support them. And when they lose that support, the whole system collapses. Human systems mistake effect for cause. They have the Science of being reversed.

Jesus, on the other hand, reasoned scientifically (S9). He started with God and saw things the way they really are. Our Leader tells us that getting cause and effect right is the most important key to human progress (S10). One simply cannot arrive at reality when starting from the wrong cause. Reasoning correctly we begin with Mind (S11); then, we see what‘s really happening and that the discords we face are unreal (S12). Once we've done that, we no longer fear the discords, and they have no more power over us. Take the time to examine whether you follow any superstitions. Look for any mistake in cause and effect and then correct it using divine reasoning.

Section 3: The Absurdity of Human Reasoning
Jesus urged his disciples to reason from proper cause to effect. In context, the disciples were perplexed over Jesus' statement that eating his flesh and drinking his blood were the key elements to eternal life. This was repugnant to Jewish thought. But they misunderstood. It was his teaching and example that needed to be consumed and imbibed. He wanted them to see that "it is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing" (B8). The spirit brought life; and the flesh was worthless. If his own disciples so easily misunderstood Jesus, it's not surprising that those who opposed him were completely off base. Bible citations 9 and 10 take place after Jesus healed a man born blind. Such a thing had never been done before, and there was great disagreement over what Jesus had done and how he had done it.

A similar argument broke out in Matthew's account of a healing of a blind man (B11). The Pharisees' position that Jesus healed through the devil was completely absurd. Abingdon sums it up nicely: "Opposition to the good is always supported by illogical reasoning." Jesus' response tore their argument to shreds. The Pharisees were those who thought they saw, but didn't. Ages earlier, Isaiah met the same ignorance. He chided those who reasoned perversely. But he also held hope that the right relationship between God and the people would be restored and that those who "erred in spirit" would come to understanding.

Mrs. Eddy saw only one way to right reasoning-the fact of spiritual existence (S13). Human reasoning turns everything upside down, but spiritual facts cannot be "inverted." Belief that they can be comes only from "suppositional error, which affords no proof of God..." (S14). There's just no logical way for harmony to proceed from discord. Jesus taught that the spirit and flesh never cooperate or coordinate. They have nothing to do with each other (S15). We can't pervert the Science of Mind any more than we can mathematics (S16). Mrs. Eddy unraveled the arguments of her critics as Jesus did-with divine logic. Occasionally we find ourselves in a discussion in which those who oppose Christian healing think they have an airtight case against us. Don't let false arguments discourage you. How might you use reason to answer critics of Christian Science?

Section 4: Practicing Right Reasoning
Paul utilized right reasoning as he spread the Christian message. His message went beyond the walls of the synagogue to the Greeks and to anyone who'd listen. He preached in commercial centers hoping the message would be spread to the broadest number of people. The Bible says he "reasoned with them out of the scriptures" (B14). He based his reasoning on the reality of Jesus' resurrection. He felt he had indisputable proof of the resurrection. Abingdon subtitles these passages (B16), "The logic of the empty tomb." Paul says that "if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain..." If the resurrection weren't true, he would not only be a false talker, but a "positive liar" (Dummelow). Reasoning from the power and validity of the resurrection, he expected Christians to stand firm, allowing nothing to dim their hope of victory over death.

Our Leader declares reason to be "the most active human faculty" (S18). She refined Paul's logic from a spiritual standpoint. The risen Christ to her included the acknowledgement of the "supremacy of Spirit" in our own consciousness. If we truly believe on him and understand the allness of Spirit and the nothingness of evil as demonstrated in the resurrection, we will find that life is immortal having nothing to do with a material body (S19). Jesus' resurrection showed that material mortality is unreal. Reasoning as Paul did, we will come into a full understanding of the unbroken relationship between God and man and lose all consciousness of matter or error (S20). Look at all the "if-then" statements in this section. Consider the impact spiritual reasoning might have in your experience.

Section 5: Pay No Attention to the Man Behind the Curtain
What happens when you know how a magic trick is done? Can you ever be fooled by it again? A basic tool of magic is misdirection. The best magicians are able to get the audience to look wherever he wants them to so they won't see what's really going on. Someone sitting backstage would see the trick from an entirely different perspective and the illusion wouldn't work. The carnal mind works the same way. It gets us focusing on the wrong thing and then unreality starts looking real to us. Fear of death is one of the biggest tricks in the carnal mind's repertoire. But divine logic can help us see through the shadows into the light of life. The Psalmist was in a situation in which death seemed certain (B17) but God rescued him. When our backs are up against a wall, the only way out is to focus clearly on the logic of divine law (B18). We need a full measure of devotion to Truth to reason correctly. The word of God's law lights our path and leads us to freedom.

The valley of the shadow of death (B19) is said to be an actual location. According to the Basque Shepherd D'Alfonso it is a long narrow place where one misstep could be fatal. Notice that we don't run through the valley, like we're being chased up a dark basement staircase by shadowy fears, we walk though it with equanimity. Neither do we stay in the valley; we go through it. Shadows can't hurt us. There is no substance in a shadow. It might look frightening, but it is only an irrational fear that we can be separated from God who is our Life. Most and the worst fears are in our imagination, not in fact. We can irrationally imagine thousands of bad scenarios, but the fact isn't bad. And when reasoning spiritually, the only fact is the certainty of eternal life.

Mrs. Eddy offers a list of things she learned while standing "within the shadow" (S22). Her spiritual reasoning led her to freedom and as she says, she "won her way to absolute conclusions through divine revelation, reason, and demonstration" (S23). She used only the Bible to guide her. She discovered that the testimony of the material senses was unreal and totally unreliable. She rested her conclusions on the foundation laid down by Jesus (S25). Reasoning from the standpoint of divine logic, she saw that matter and Mind are opposites and cannot contribute to each other in any way. Logically, if one is real, the other must be unreal (S26).

As one who also has been in that valley, I can tell you that following the logic of divine reasoning irrespective of what the senses tell you is the only way out of that condition. You have no choice but to reason spiritually, because the sense testimony leads to a dead end. You don't have to wait to be in a life or death situation to prove this. Start right now from whatever situation you're in and reason from a purely spiritual standpoint and you will begin to see the unreality of material existence and the reality of life in God.

Section 6: The "Ayes" Have It
Whatever situation you're in, you can begin reasoning correctly right now by only speaking and thinking the truth. Say "yes" to Spirit and "no" to the flesh (B20). The chaff is the dream of material sense and the wheat is the nourishing word of God (B21). We can use our divine logic as a thresher to grind down the mountains of false reasoning and use the fan of logic to let the wind carry away its empty husks.

The fan symbolizes the ability to separate "fable from fact" (S27). Christian Science gives us the reasoning power with which to delineate between what is real and unreal (S28). The Scientific Statement of Being (S29) is a perfect example of divine reasoning. Step by step it logically dismantles the belief in anything opposed to God. Reasoning through this statement line by line, one can see that if the first statement is true the next one must be also. It leads to the inevitable conclusion that "man is not material; he is spiritual." That kind of reasoning heals. It will bring you to the certain sense of the unreality of evil and the allness of Mind and divine law. The logical conclusion to that is-you're free!

This weekly Metaphysical Newsletter is provided at no charge to the 1,200 campers & staff blessed each summer at CEDARS, as well as to CEDARS alumni, families and friends who request it. However, current and planned gifts are needed to help cover the costs of running this service and of providing camperships.
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Camp Director's Note: This sharing is the latest in an ongoing, 8-year series of CedarS Bible Lesson "mets" (metaphysical application ideas) contributed weekly by a rotation of CedarS Resident Practitioners and occasionally by other metaphysicians. (To keep the flow of the practitioner's ideas intact and to allow for more selective printing the "Possible Sunday School Topics" come on a following page or subsequent email.) This weekly offering is intended to encourage further study and application of ideas in the lesson and to invigorate Sunday School participation by students and by the budding teachers on our staff. Originally sent JUST to my Sunday School students and to campers, staff and CedarS families who wanted to continue at home and in their home Sunday Schools the same type of focused Lesson study, application and inspiration they had felt at camp, CedarS lesson "mets" are in no way meant to be definitive or conclusive or in any way a substitute for daily study of the lesson. The thoughts presented are the inspiration of the moment and are offered to give a bit more dimension, background and new angles on daily applicability to some of the ideas and passages being studied. The weekly Bible Lessons are copyrighted by the Christian Science Publishing Society and are printed in the Christian Science Quarterly as available at Christian Science Reading Rooms or online at eBibleLesson.com or myBibleLesson.com. The citations referenced (i.e. B1 and S28) from this week's Bible Lesson in the "met" (metaphysical application ideas) are taken from the King James Version of the Bible (B1-24) and the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy. (S1-30) The Bible and Science and Health are the ordained pastor of the Churches of Christ, Scientist. The Bible Lesson is the sermon read in Christian Science church services throughout the world. The Lesson-Sermon speaks individually through the Christ to everyone, providing unique insights and tailor-made applications for each one. We are glad you requested this metaphysical sharing and hope that you find some of the ideas helpful in your daily spiritual journey, in your deeper digging in the books and in closer bonding with your Comforter and Pastor.
Enjoy!
Warren Huff, Camp Director, director@cedarscamps.org (636) 394-6162

Possible Sunday School Topics for the lesson: "Unreality"
Ways for the student in you to:
Be Rational; Call God's phone#24/7; Wake from today's false prophesies; Judge movies; Say No-
Offered by Merrill Boudreaux
[with bracketed, italic additions in Sections 1, 5 & 6 by Warren Huff]

Possible Sunday School Topics. - Golden Text - Science and Health states: "Reason is the most active human faculty." (p. 327:9 only) In the Bible we read: "Thus saith the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me." Isa. 45:11. Our conversations with God are interactive. We ask, God responds. God even has an active 24/7 telephone number that is never busy. It is ISA. 65:24 "And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear."

Responsive Reading - Rather than striving with God, man's role is to be coordinate with God, in synch with God. What is God's promise in Isa. 42:22? Relying ON God has blessings that a graven image cannot supply. What are these blessings? See Isa. 42:8, 17.

Section 1 - What are some of the false prophets in our world today, predicting gloom and doom: watchers of a failing economy, predictors of the demise of our planet via global warming, counters of an increasing unsustainable population, statements of man's inhumanity to man via poverty, war, racial/ethnic cleansing. What is the command to us and the blessings for us in the Bible, marker 2? How can these blessings be witnessed and received? Seek the answer in the Bible, marker 3. It is the active Christ, present in your consciousness and in our world.

What is the Christ? See S&H 583:10. Our job, then, is to awake out of sleep, the false belief that we live in matter, in a material/physical world. What is the result of such awakening? See S&H 218:32 (S5)
[See p. 8 of this week's myBibleLesson.com for a picture of Mary Baker Eddy and a summary of how "her discovery of Christian Science ‘reconciled' reason and revelation." (S1, S3, S23) Also on p. 8 is a picture of Clifford Smith and insights from his Historical Sketches on what can be attributed to God & what cannot. Do you agree with the insurance industry's classification of tornados, earthquakes, ... as "acts of God"?]

Section 2 - What is the command in the Bible, marker 7? Read the Bible story in marker 5. How did Jesus accomplish this healing? See hints in S&H, markers 9, 10, and 11. Are you a "scientific man"? What does it mean to be a scientific person? See the first entry in these notes in the Golden Text for a hint.

Section 3 - If you choose to be a scientific person and employ your ability to reason things out, rather than jump to conclusions suggested by false gods or false prophets, what steps are outlined in the S&H portion of this section to aid you? Look for key words: "right reasoning", "spiritual facts", and "Jesus reasoned".

Section 4 - How did Paul reason with the people of Thessalonica in the Bible, markers 14 and 15? What was he preaching to the people? Make a list of the things you know about the life of Christ Jesus that can aid your own reasoning about the truths to counteract the false claims mentioned in Section 1 of this PSST? (...watchers of a failing economy, predictors of the demise of our planet via global warming, counters of an increasing unsustainable population, statements of man's inhumanity to man via poverty, war, racial/ethnic cleansing.) Remember, Jesus walked on the waves, fed the multitudes with a few fishes and loaves of bread, found the tax money in the fish's mouth, passed through the crowd unharmed, and raised Lazarus and himself from the dead.

Section 5 - A good song to aid in our reasoning can be found in Ps. 23. Read this Psalm (song) together aloud as a class. Now list the blessings found in this psalm that can aid in your right reasoning. These are also counter facts to the false prophetic statements in section1 of this PSST: (...watchers of a failing economy, predictors of the demise of our planet via global warming, counters of an increasing unsustainable population, statements of man's inhumanity to man via poverty, war, racial/ethnic cleansing.)

[Movie update and guidelines: I was told that a Friday-movie-release, "The Haunting in Connecticut," gives a disturbing depiction of the ineffectiveness of the 23rd Psalm to protect victims who repeat it. Getting a Sentinel today (for 4-13-09) with 3 great articles about understandingly applying the effective, protecting power of the 23rd Psalm was perfect timing both for the lesson and for counteracting thought about the movie. How rational are you in evaluating whether a highly advertised movie would be a good investment of your time, money and thought? What guidelines do you follow for what movies and other entertainments are appropriate to see? What's wrong with watching a movie that is just a little bit scary or immoral? How good are you at defending yourself from taking in as real the aggressive mental suggestions that run throughout lust-stories as well as ghost and horror stories? Read the paragraph on p. 371 of Science & Health with the marginal heading: "Ghost-stories induce fear." See last week's PSSTs for the Responsive Reading & Section 5. Find great reading to debunk widely-believed superstitions in the chapter of Science & Health (pages 70-99) called "Christian Science versus Spiritualism." Here's a movie-rating guideline to prevent adult-ery: "Beloved children, the world has need of you, - and more as children than as men and women: it needs your innocence, unselfishness, faithful affection, uncontaminated lives. You need also to watch, and pray that you preserve these virtues unstained, and lose them not through contact with the world. What grander ambition is there than to maintain in yourselves what Jesus loved, and to know that your example, more than words, makes morals for mankind!" (Misc 110:3) See also the "For Kids article: "No truth in that tale" p. 18, Christian Science Sentinel, 4-13-09]

Section 6 - Be a "yea sayer" NOT a "nay sayer." That is, do not open your mouth to say negative things: to gossip; to bully; to speak in anger with hurtful words, to lie or bear false witness. Let the "Fan" in S&H, marker 27 cool your thinking before you open your mouth. This is an element of active right reasoning. [as well as obeying Commandments 6, 9] Memorize the definition of "Fan."
[So that you know it when you need it,] memorize also the powerful reasoning statement in S&H, marker 29, the Scientific Statement of Being--["the most profound statement ever uttered by mankind" according to Dr. Albert Einstein. (Physics, Metaphysics & God, Geis, p. 220) In this scientific statement of BEING (not of BECOMING), affirmations (yes-statements of what is real) and denials (no-statements about what is not real) are used equally-like using both oars in a row boat to take you to your desired goal (healing)-instead of just using one oar which takes you in circles. Do you ever feel like you are going in circles-- that you are continuing to deal with the same problems? Symptoms of sickness can only be relieved by drugs, and so come back. Weaknesses of sin, merely treated humanly, return. But the baptism of Christ permanently heals both sin and sickness to their destruction. The Christ "shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire" (that) "will burn up the chaff." Matt. 3:11-12 "This refers to the chaff-and-wheat-sorting process done in Jesus' day and in primitive areas still today. So as to deal with the chaff only once, harvesters a windy day take the mixed-up mess of chaff and wheat to the top of a hill. They build a fire downwind, and with a pitchfork/fan, lift the mixed-up mess as high as they can. (Man's job) It's the job of the wind, or Spirit,--both pneuma in Greek-to do the separating. (Always let God sort!) The lighter chaff gets blown downwind into the fire that destroys it; the wheat settles into a pile." Marginal notes in my Bible from Bible scholar, Cobbey Crisler Of note too from Cobbey about Matt. 5:37 "C.S. lecturer, Geith Plimmer said in his ‘Healing Moral Weakness" lecture: ‘The kindest word in the English language is no.' What a good title for a book: NO & YES. Knowing what to say no to, and what to say yes to, gives one the great power to choose between the real and unreal."]

Warren Huff, Exec. Director, The CedarS Camps Website: www.cedarscamps.org Email: warren@cedarscamps.org Tel: (636) 394-6162

 

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