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Topic: Quimby Manuscripts
Section: Chapter 18 - Religious Questions, part 3 of 3
Table of Contents to this Topic
What is the true meaning of another world? It is supposed that man lives in this world and goes to God or a spirit-world. This is the general belief and if this is true, why should it be so strange that some persons should believe their friends return to earth and appear to the people? This was the belief of a large class of mankind in the days of Jesus. All this is called truth, it is founded on an opinion that there is another world and the Bible is quoted in proof of it. To me this is error based on ignorance of Science. Science would never have led man to that belief.
It is said men had wandered away from God and become so wicked that they were in danger of eternal punishment. What does this mean? Man is here on the earth as he always was, so it did not mean that he got off the globe. To wander away from God is to suppose that He had some locality, and to be in His presence is to return to His place of residence. This place must be somewhere where God resided because the belief was that Christ came to lead man back to God. If God is in another world and Jesus came from that place down to the earth to lead man there, or to open a way whereby man could get there himself, then it is to be supposed man had been in heaven in the presence of God but had wandered away and could not get back. All this looks very silly when we think of asking men to believe it, but we embrace it without giving it the least thought.
Man is made up of thought and ideas. There is nothing about man unchangeable but his science, for Science embraces a principle [and the spirit] and principles are not matter or ideas but a knowledge of them. Life is an evidence of Science, so is feeling, taste, etc. All the senses are admitted by Science to exist independently of matter, and the senses are all there is of man that cannot be changed. (1) They may be obstructed by error but not destroyed. To separate these two is to explain the true meaning of life and death.
(1) Dr. Quimby's term "senses" is here widely inclusive.
All the people believed in death. Jesus did not; therefore His arguments were to prove that death was a false idea. So if we believe in death we are in our belief, if we know it as an error we are in life. Jesus had to prove that what we call death was only a separation of His Truth from the people's belief. But the crucifixion of Jesus was death according to their belief. Jesus never intended to allude to the natural body. So when He speaks of a resurrection it is from the dead; not that the dead rise, for that would go to show that He was still a believer in matter, and if He believed in matter [in that way] He must have believed it dies and then rises again. But if He believed it is nothing but a medium for the senses to use and control, then all that He meant was that His senses should rise from the dead or the error of the people who believed that the senses are a part of the idea called body. To prove His truth was to show Himself to the disciples, after they had seen Him as they supposed dead, alive again. To them this was a resurrection of the dead, or the same idea. But if Jesus' same idea or body rose it would have been a resurrection of the dead, not Christ's or Jesus' ideas. Jesus' teachings were to show that Christ was a truth o f God, a higher knowledge that separated Science from ignorance, and this Christ was in Jesus.
When the people saw their idea of form destroyed their hope was cut off. But when in the clouds of their ignorance they saw this same Christ or Truth take form again they were afraid, and as it became dense enough to be identified it was recognized as Jesus' body. But it was not the body or idea that they had believed in some days before. This is where the trouble was. The people's mind was changing but not scientifically, and they were left in a more nervous state than before. For now they thought Jesus' body rose and if Jesus' body rose it went to show that His ideas were not changed from the common belief. It amounted to nothing at all, for no man has ever risen since, and there was no proof of Jesus' soul being separated from His body.
So man has to get up a belief in opposition to the Bible's belief, he must believe Jesus went to heaven with a body of flesh and blood. So the common explanation of the resurrection leaves it worse than before. But to take the man Jesus as a man of flesh and blood like all other men and give Him the knowledge that matter is under the control of a higher power that can act independently of matter, and that He, Jesus, could be in two places at the same time and be outside of the body called Jesus-then it would not be hard to believe that this knowledge called Christ which Jesus had should say, though you destroy the idea of Jesus, Christ will rise or make Himself known to the people. For this Christ or Truth had the power to assume any form it pleased. But as the people knew it only as it came within their senses as the natural man, they could not believe till it took the form of Jesus as a man. This form the people called Jesus; therefore the report went out that Jesus rose from the dead, and it has always been believed by those who call themselves disciples of Jesus.
Now, here is my belief: I believe in Christ or the Truth. Christ knew that they knew not what they did; therefore the Christ said, "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do." This same Christ was not in the idea that the people had, but just as far as this power was made known, it could make itself manifest. Now to believe that the idea, or Jesus, or flesh and blood, rose is to believe that the dead rise. This Jesus denied when he said that what rises from the dead never marries or is given in marriage. As touching the dead that they rise, He says: "God is not the God of the dead but of the living, for all live unto Him."
Did St. Paul teach another world as it is taught by Christians? I answer "no," and shall prove that Paul preached this very Science I am trying to preach and that he put it into practice as far as he was able; but he taught it more than he put it into practice from the fact that it was necessary that the theory should be acknowledged. The world believed in religion and religion taught another world. This was Paul's belief before he was converted to this Science, but this Science taught him that the wisdom or religion of this world was foolishness with the wisdom of God. Paul admitted Jesus as his teacher and Christ as God or Science. Therefore when he spoke of Christ he meant something more than the natural man or Jesus. When Paul tried to make the Corinthians understand the difference he said that he came not to teach the wisdom of this world, so that their faith should stand on the wisdom of God. But he spake of the wisdom of God in a hidden mystery that was with God before the world or man was formed, which none of the princes of this world knew, for if they had known this Science they would not have crucified the man who taught it. Even to this day it is not admitted by the Christian churches except as a mystery. Still they stand as they always have, looking for it to come, when it is in their mouth and they know it not, but eat and drink with the wisdom of this world as they did in the old world till the floods came and swept them all away. So it will be. The world will all oppose it, it will be crucified by the church, hated by the doctors, despised by the proud, laughed at by fools and received by the foolish of this world. . . . So to teach Science is to put it in practice so that the world shall be put in possession of a truth that shall be acknowledged above the natural man. If you will read all Paul's writings you will see that this Science was what he was trying to make the people understand, for if they could understand it it would change their motives of action. I have been twenty years trying to learn and teach it and I am at times nearly worn out, but when I think of Moses teaching it for forty years and then only seeing for other generations what he could never enjoy it makes me almost sink to the earth. Even Jesus as a man thought it would become a science in his generation, but he was not sure for he says, "no man knoweth, not the angels in heaven (or the men wise in God's wisdom) but God alone." He knew that it would be established on earth as in heaven. So eighteen hundred years have passed and the same angel is sounding with a loud trumpet saying, "how long shall it be till the wisdom of the world shall become reduced to Science so that it can be taught for the healing of the nations, and man shall cease from teaching lies and learn to speak the truth?" Then an opinion will be looked upon as an opinion and Science will judge of the correctness of it. Then all kinds of opinions will be weighed in the balance and the wisdom of this world will come to naught. Then will arise a new heaven and a new earth to free man from disease or error, for this old world or belief shall be burned up with the fire of Science and the new heaven shall arise wherein shall not be found these old superstitions of bigotry and disease, but there will be no more death or sighing from an ache or pain which arises from the superstitions of the old world. . . . Eternal life was taught to man by Jesus and called Christ instead of Science, and to know this Christ is to know eternal progress. This science teaches man how to break off from all error or bad habits that lead to disease, for as disease is in his belief to be good is to be wise. But health does not always show itself in science, for the fool in his heart says there is no science of God, therefore the fool is happy in his knowledge. So are a great many persons happy, according to Paul's idea, who are wise in their own conceit and puffed up by the flattery of the world. They come up like the flower of the field and flourish as a politician in some other way for a time. But the dew or wisdom of Science passes over them and they wither for the want of something to sustain them; and seeing themselves behind the times as scientific men and all their wisdom taken from them and turned out with the ox to eat this world's food or grass, they then see themselves as a man sees himself in a glass and then turns round, walks off and forgets what manner of man he was. Then his place that once knew him shall know him no more, for his wisdom is numbered with the dead ideas that never had any life except of the wisdom of this world. So here ends the life of the small and the great, the earthly prince and the ignorant beggar find their level in the grave of their belief.
WHAT IS RELIGION?
This question is more easily asked than answered, for when you ask to have it defined it vanishes as a thing and only remains as a belief. All persons have a right to a belief, so all persons can have religion if they have any desire to get up a belief. I have tried to find if there is any such thing defined in the dictionary, and I find the definition of religion to be a system of faith and worship or pious practice. Then pious means religious or godly, and so you get right back where you started from, as you do in thou?sands of errors founded on error. For instance, ask a physician what causes pains on the shoulders or side. The answer is, rheumatism. What is that? Neuralgia. What is that? Nervous affection. So he will go on from one thing to another till you get him angry and drive him back where he started. Is it so in science ? No. The chemist tells the truth, and if you do not believe he shows you the fact so you have no doubt. In all the above theories there are phenomena which cannot be accounted for by the natural man, for he reasons in matter and he never can understand the things of the Spirit; for all these are governed or created in the heavens or spiritual world, and this spiritual world, is Science. . . . When Science comes wisdom takes the place of religion, and this world of opinions gives way to the scientific world. Then is established Christ's kingdom or religion in this world as it is in heaven.
THE OTHER WORLD
I will take the man Jesus as I find Him and see if I can gather from what He has said and done what His ideas of another world were. No one doubts that He was a very good man, independent of what He taught, but so far as this world's goods went He had no where to lay His head; so His goodness must spring from another source than dollars and cents, as He had none of these. His food or wisdom was not of man, it was above the common opinion of the world. As far this world's goodness went He did not make much account of it, for when they were boasting about the Christian goodness, He asked, "If you love and help them that love you what reward have ye? Do not sinners the same?" His goodness was not in anything that man, could do as man, for when called to pay His tribute money He sent Peter to catch a fish and get the money out of it. Here He showed some wisdom to know that the very fish that would bite the hook contained the money. Perhaps the opinions of the wise may explain whether Jesus caused the fish to come round and bite or how it was. I shall not try to explain now but leave it to those who believe it a literal truth.
Now I think I can give an explanation of Jesus' belief. At the time of the birth of Jesus the people were superstitious and ready to catch at any marvelous thing they could not explain. Jesus had been studying into the laws of the mind till He came to the conclusion that the priests were a set of blind guides, talking about what they knew nothing of, except as an opinion, and that they were deceiving the people by pretending to have power from another world. Jesus knew all their theories and pretences were based on ignorance of opinion, but He could see there must be something in all the phenomena. Hearing of John's preaching He went to hear him, and then saw how the truth might be reduced to a Science. Here was His temptation; if He used this wisdom for money-making business He could not meet with the same results, it must make Him selfish. So He concluded He would risk all the sneers and opposition of the religious world and stand up and defend a Science that struck at the roots of all religious superstition and public opinion and tested all things by one living and true principle. The Old Testament being their Bible, He had to explain its meaning and show that the writers taught this great truth, so He had to speak in parables. His wisdom being based on 'Science that He could prove, He commenced to put it in practice toward disease. . . . All the world's wisdom was based on an opinion, and to meet it was to spiritualize every idea. They believed in a literal heaven; to this He gave a spiritual meaning, saying His heaven was not of this world of opinions but of Science, and He would bring it down to man's understanding. This they could not understand, for their belief located His kingdom in space and attached their senses to it as a place. But the priests had condensed these phenomena into an identity called God, had given Him power over everything they could not understand, and robbed Him of wisdom that explained their ignorance. They created a God after their own wisdom and set Him in the heaven of their own belief. Thus the priests have placed misconstruction on every passage in the Bible which condemns superstition and taken all the wisdom to themselves; while the very Science that the Bible contains is their worst enemy. This has made the man spoken of in Revelation, which seemed to be written by an insane man. If any one will look at it it will be seen it is a book of the progress of Science over the opinions of the priest. It will be seen how John labored to show the people that the priests' ideas bound them and kept them in bondage. But his writings fell into the hands of the priests who put their own construction upon them and turned the minds of the people, who might be taught to see through their wisdom. So the book of Revelation, like all the others of the New Testament, has been stolen by the priests, turned and twisted and misconstrued to prove that men were writing to establish the truth of the priests' opinions.
Now I know by the cures I make that disease was made by the false construction of priests and I shall show that not one of the writers of the New Testament ever had an idea of priestcraft; but the priests knowing that the people fell in with their views stole the ideas and persecuted the authors, just as they do at this day. The priests claim to be the teachers of morals and good order.
Jesus had to establish a kingdom as the priests had done; theirs was based on opinions, His on Science, so everything that they believed was only an opinion, which His Science could tear to pieces. So He begins by saying "Seek first the kingdom of heaven;" That is, seek wisdom, then all their craft could be explained. Then He says, the kingdom of heaven has come unto you and ye will not receive it, that is, the Science is here but you will not try to understand. In the Old Testament David called this Science wisdom and exhorted his son to seek it first of all. Jesus called it the kingdom of heaven and calls on all men to seek it. If this wisdom and the kingdom of heaven were not the same, then Jesus and David had different ideas of wisdom. Does the priest call on the people to get understanding? No, that is what be fears. The priests want them to have religion, that is, to believe in the creeds which cramp the intellect and bind burdens upon them so that they can lead them. They fear investigation, for it is death to their craft. . . .
DEFENCE AGAINST AN ACCUSATION OF PUTTING DOWN RELIGION
I am often accused of putting down religion and when I ask what is religion I am told the same old story that every one knows, to be good and to worship God. Now all this sort of cant may do if it is not analyzed, but if you undertake to analyze it it vanishes like dew before the morning sun. Religion is what it was before Christ and I think I know what that was. The religion that Christ opposed consisted in forms and ceremonies. Now why did Jesus oppose it if belief had nothing to do with health and happiness? He said they that are well need no physician. So if a person were well it made no difference to Jesus what he believed, but he came to those that had been deceived. Well, how did he cure them? By changing their minds, for if he could not change their minds he could not cure them. This was the way with the young man who was rich who came to Jesus to know what he should do to be saved. Now if the young man was really in danger of being doomed to "eternal punishment," as we are taught, then all that was wanted was to believe; so if his belief changed him I ask if it changed his identity or mind? We are taught that man cannot do anything of himself to save himself, but was this the case with this young man? No, for Jesus told him what to do, to keep the commandments and these were not Jesus' but Moses' commandments. The young man said. "This have I done from my youth upward." So according to the young man's story he was a very good man and Jesus found no fault with him but said, if you will be perfect go sell all you have and follow me. Now here was a young man who had done everything to be saved and Jesus would not save him unless he would give all that he had to the poor and follow Him. As absurd as this looks you cannot find any one who will comply with it, but people get over it by saying we must give up all sinful acts. Well, be as honest to that young man who went away sorrowful, for he could not understand. This is a fair specimen of the parables. Jesus never hinted that He or the young man had the slightest idea of another world, but it shows on the face of it that a man like Jesus could not be so little or narrow minded as to send a person to endless misery because he would not give all his riches to the poor.
Now I will give my construction, and if I do not make Jesus more of a man than the other I will never explain the Bible again. The Jews thought they were the chosen people of God and were the best and knew the most. So riches were wisdom and they were rich in the laws of Moses. This young man came to Jesus to ask Him what be should do to obtain this belief that Jesus taught. Jesus said, "Keep the commandments." This he had done. Well, go and give away your ideas and try to learn mine. This he could not do for he could not see into it. So he went away sorrowful. Jesus' own disciples were in the same way for they said, "we have forsaken all, what lack we more?" He then goes on to tell what they must do, but they did it not for they all forsook Him. Now if it requires such a sacrifice to go to heaven, he never found one that went, for they asked Him if these things are so how a man can be saved. . . .
My religion, like Jesus', is in my acts, not in my belief. The sick are in their belief and not in their acts, for if it were in their acts they would be better; for to be wise is to be good and to be good is to show your goodness by your acts. So if a man is sick he is not good and if he is not good he is not happy, and if he is not good his evil must be something else than good. His goodness is Science or Christ, his badness must be an opinion or religion. Now to be born again is to separate the true religion from the dross, and I know of no better rule than Jesus laid down when He said, "by their fruits ye shall know them." I am willing to be judged by my works, and if they bear me out I do not know as the wisdom of this world of opinions has any right to pass judgment on me....
When I sit by a person, if I find no opinion I find no disease, but if I find a disease I find an opinion, so that the misery that is in the opinion or belief is the disease. I have to make war with the disease or opinion and as there are a great many that make their disease out of the world's religion it is my duty to change the belief to make the cure, and it is astonishing to see persons cling to their opinions as though they contained the substance, when if they knew the substance of their belief they would laugh at their folly. Now to me it is as plain as twice two makes four. I can sum up the religion of Jesus in one simple parable and that is the parable of the child when the people were disputing about the kingdom of heaven. Jesus took up a little child from their midst and said, "of such is the kingdom of heaven" Every one knows it is harder to unlearn an error than to learn a truth, so Jesus, knowing that a child was free from both, took him as a parable. So the Christian world must get rid or give away all errors and become as a little child to receive the Holy Ghost or Science. This was the new birth; therefore to enter into Science or the kingdom of heaven was not a very easy thing. So if any one says he is born of God or Science let him show it for many shall come saying, "I am Christ," and shall deceive many, but by their fruits ye shall know them. So you see that Jesus' religion had nothing to do with the opinions of the world. (1)
(1) It is important to note that Quimby's Christian Science was founded on two principles: (1) the idea of "the Christ within," or the Divine wisdom which Jesus taught, which is the guide to the spiritual interpretation of the Bible; and (2) the idea that all causation is mental and spiritual: the body contains no intelligence or power of its own; hence "every phenomenon that takes form in the body was first conceived in the mind." The latter proposition Quimby demonstrates in his reasonings concerning such a disease as cancer, and in what he writes about strength. See above, Chap. 16.