Is it all real, or is it all an ‘illusion’? Make up your mind…

Image credit: Emerging Gently.

Image credit: Emerging Gently.

I’m fortunate enough to live in what I think is one of the most beautiful places in Canada, if not the world. I chose to live here. I wasn’t born here, my parents didn’t bring me here (although the fact that they left me a house here in their will did have a strong influence on my decision to move here), and a job did not bring me here. I live in a semi-arid valley that is hot in the summer, and experiences moderate (by Canadian standards) winters. It offers many outdoor recreational opportunities during all seasons. Ride along any of the meandering back roads around here, and you’re treated to spectacular scenery of mountains, lakes, cliffs, hoodoos, desert sage, and blue sky.

Why am I telling you all of this? Well, yes I’m proud of where I live, but no, I’m not trying to make anyone jealous. I’m sure many of us feel the same way about where we live. Beauty is highly subjective. But, none of this is the point of this post. You see, according to the theology of Christian Science, none, I repeat none of this beauty is real. It’s all a so-called ‘illusion’ of mortal mind. According to the teachings of Christian Science, all matter is an illusion. So, the beautiful scenery I see around me, all of which is made up of rocks, soil, plants, and other very material components is all an illusion. Of course, Christian Scientists make a few exceptions to this absolute, because it suits them. Their Dear Leader Mary Baker Eddy made plenty of exceptions to her absolutes when it suited her too (taking morphine, seeing the dentist, etc.).

In my opinion, if you’re going to take an absolutist approach, there are no exceptions allowed. You either are or you aren’t. Put up or shut up. However, all of the absolutists in the world find a way to make exceptions to their absolutist dogma–when it suits them. This bending of the rules is as old as the human construct known as God. So, if you’re a true-blue Christian Scientist, anything beautiful you see with your very material eyes is as real as the lake you think you see in the desert. No exceptions.

When I posted one Sunday morning early last autumn, in the ex-Christian Scientist on-line group I’m in about how instead of sitting through a mind-numbingly boring Christian Science church service that morning, I would instead be on my motorcycle, cruising the back roads and enjoying some scenery; a group member mockingly (towards Christian Science) remarked that all of those roads and the beautiful scenery aren’t real and that I needed to ‘correct’ my thinking, as we were all nauseatingly taught in Christian Science. A few of us had a good laugh about it, and I went out and enjoyed my ride. Breaking free from religious dogma and absolutism is the best thing I’ve ever done.

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