The Christian Science Monitor

A window into the operation of Science
by Rolf Witzsche

In the afternoon on Jan. 26, 1908, a special train pulled into the railway station at Concord New Hampshire. The train was arranged to take Mary Baker Eddy and her household away from her beloved country home, which she had named, Pleasant View. The destination was Boston, and the purpose for this uprooting of her life was a mission of great urgency, to establish a newspaper that had a mission that no other newspaper would be able to fulfill.

Mary Baker Eddy was in her 88th year at this time. Christian Science had become known throughout the world. It was regarded with reverence wherever its healing influence has been experienced. It also became the target of countless critics, lawsuits, slanderous and outright poisonous attacks. Mary Baker Eddy became caught up, as it were, in the winds of a changing world that was being poisoned to its very heart with hatred stirred up towards one another in the battle of empires. In slightly over six years from the day that Mary Baker Eddy stepped off that special train at her destination, the deeply stirred up hatred in the world exploded into war, igniting World War I that ushered in a century of wars, opening one of the darkest chapters in human history. Perhaps the mission of the Christian Science Monitor was such that it should have prevented the tragedy.

The official request to start the Christian Science Monitor, which was evidently the reason for her relocating herself to Boston, was not conveyed to the Christian Science Board of Directors until the end of July of that year. The delay was evidently necessary to allow outstanding debts to be paid, but from then on nothing was allowed to hinder the project.

One can well imagine the opposition and reluctance the immense assignment must have stirred within the organization, even among its directors.  Then, on August 8th, the simply stated earlier request was followed up by a direct order.

It was a dark and foggy November day when the first issue of the Christian Science Monitor came off the presses, but Mary Baker Eddy commented to her household that this day was indeed the lightest of all days. She announced in the first editorial that its mission is to "spread undivided the Science that operates unspent... To injure no man, but to bless all mankind."*(Miscellany, p.353)

Never had such a task been assigned to any newspaper, to spread undivided the Science that operates unspent. This unprecedented charge was evidently not the result of careless articulation.  It is well known that Mary Baker Eddy sometimes had labored for days in choosing just the right word or phrase to express a vital idea. This means that the Monitor was indeed meant to be a window for the world through which to behold the operation of divine Science.

Mary Baker Eddy frequently used the terms Christian Science, and divine Science interchangeably. However, if one searches deeper for a distinction one notices that the term Christian Science is primarily related to the specific processes of scientific spiritual healing, while the term divine science is more related to continuing scientific and spiritual development. She left no record as to which of the two types of science the Monitor is to represent. One must assume that the focus is meant to be on both types.  This means that the Monitor was indented to affect healing , and at the same time push ahead the frontier of Science towards the infinite.  This frontier will some day be recognized to be the final frontier that humanity is facing, a frontier where humanity is challenged into coming to terms with its infinite nature.

The problem is that this frontier remains still locked up in the mists of obscurity where Mary Baker Eddy's structure for scientific and spiritual development still remains to the present day. Without this structure, on which all of her major works are based, the window to humanity's final frontier does remain closed. This means that the Christian Science Monitor is blocked by a prevailing ignorance, from fulfilling its assigned mission.  In other words, it is thereby relegated to be just another newspaper, one of the best perhaps, but not unlike all the others in its functionality. Whatever the Monitor requires for it to function according to its design remains bottled up to the present day where it is kept confined under the weight of objections.

Whether the Monitor's mission will ever be fulfilled cannot be determined.  This uncertainty will remain for as long as we live collectively in the shadow of countless nuclear bombs that have been created as weapons with which to annihilate one another. This scene will likely remain unaltered for as long as humanity exists on this planet and the Science that has the potential to change the world remains unapplied. One must wonder, therefore, as to what Mary Baker Eddy's comment would be about our stewardship of her tirelessly created achievements.

The Monitor's mission is without doubt the greatest mission ever conceived of and prepared for, of a scope that not even the directors of her own church could comprehend. Indeed, no one at her time was able to recognize the structural foundation that she had prepared to support such a tall mission.  This structure had been outlined extensively, and put right into the open with numerous hints pointing to it.  Still, it remained unrecognized.  In this sense, the Monitor stands as a sad and pathetic symbol of society's small minded apathy in exploring the riches at its feet.

The Christian Science Monitor has faithfully reported on the countless tragedies of World War I, World War II, the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Cold War the followed it, the Vietnam War, and countless other wars, but it reported not a word about developing the Science that operates unspent. In this sense, the Christian Science Monitor stands as a window through which humanity beholds itself. The question must be asked, what do we want to see in this window, what are we looking for, and what steps are we willing to take to find it?

Rolf Witzsche

 

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