I give this talk in honor of the countless brave and innocent men and women – civilian, military, police, firefighters, emergency relief workers – who lost their bodies this week, but not their lives. This past Tuesday we all witnessed and felt the heavy hand of evil. How many times have we heard the attack on America being described as “horrific evil”?
We are a nation in mourning. What do we say to our children who cannot escape the news and pictures in mass media? What do we say to the innocent children who feel the upset, anxiety, fear, and anger of overwrought adults? How do we comfort our children and ourselves? How do we begin to heal our nation and those who lost loved ones, friends, or work associates? How do we forgive those who inflicted these atrocities on innocent civilians? Can we? How could our country grow so complacent to terrorist attacks? How? How? How?
I think I have more questions than perhaps answers. But within every problem lies the solution. So let us focus on a better understanding of the problem – the problem of evil!
Evil is not of God, but of man resulting from man’s poor or harmful choices. God made us co-creators at a smaller/lower level and as such, gave us the gift of free choice – free will. I suppose it is inevitable that some men make choices having negative, deleterious consequences for others and themselves. It’s a natural by-product of those who make choices based on ignorance or fault thinking. So, I guess you could say, evil results from “wrong” thinking – thinking that stems from darkness, ignorance, faulty thinking that harms others. I have a definition:
Definition: In its simplest form, evil is the absence of “good”, of “God”. Evil is ignorance or faulty thinking put into action that hurt, harms or injuries others or the perpetrators.
Research: I searched through the writings of some of the great metaphysicians of our time: Emma Curtis Hopkins, H. Emilie Cady, Ernest Holmes, and Myrtle and Charles Fillmore. Their thoughts, excerped from their works, are shared below:
· Emma Curtis Hopkins explains the temporal existence of evil, saying: “Evil has no existence…all the hurting powers are nullified, remitted, for him who looks away to the Divine…Evil has no existence forever; the obedient watcher heavenward walks the buoyant path of fearlessness. He bursts the bonds of desire and its attainment. He breathes above ambition. The wonderful God makes him a preacher of the heavenly remission. He tells of Him above Truth, whose works are truth; of Him who saves from old age and death, disease and poverty, ignorance and competition. He joins the singers of the God-born Vedic hymn: ‘Destroyed is the knot in the heart; removed are all doubts; extinct are all hidden longings, upon beholding Thee.’…Telling him unto whose Divine Countenance we look, the wonderful remissions, the heavenly liberations promised to those who oft time turn away from smothering environments to face the Lover inhabiting Eternity…Let us boldly acknowledge, as we lift up our eyes unto the Deliverer, the Limitless, because though are the unconditioned and absolute. I also am unconditioned and absolute. Because Thou are the Free, I also am free. Because Thou art the Self-existent, I also am self existent.
· H. Emilie Cady explains how evil comes into our minds and how we can eliminate it from our minds, saying: “We are in the process of growth into the highest spiritual human-hood. We get many falls and bumps on the way, but only through these, not necessarily by them, can our growth proceed… If you keep your thoughts turned toward the external of yourself or of others, you will see only the things that are not real, but temporal, and that pass away…all the faults, failures, or lacks in people or circumstances seem very real to you and you will make you unhappy and sick… If you turn your thoughts away from the external toward the spiritual and let them dwell on the good in yourself and others, all the apparent evil will first drop out of your thoughts and then out of your life…There are four common error thoughts to which nearly everyone grants great power…deny these thoughts in order to cleanse the mind of the direful effects of believing them...”First: There is no evil. There is but one power in the universe and that is God – Good. God is good and God is omnipresence. Apparent evils are not entities or things of themselves. They are simply apparent absence of good, just as darkness is an absence of light. But God or good is omnipresent, so the apparent absence of good is unreal. It is only an appearance of evil, just as the moving sun was an appearance. You need not wait to discuss this matter of evil or to understand fully all about why you deny it, but begin to practice the denials in an unprejudiced way and see how marvelously they will, after a while, deliver you from some of the so-called evils of your daily life…Second: There is no absence of life, substance, or intelligence anywhere. We have seen that the real is the spiritual. ‘What can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal’ – 2 Cor. 4:18. By using denial, you will soon break your bondage to matter and to material conditions. You will know that you are free…Three: Pain, sickness, poverty, old age, and death cannot master me, for they are not real…Fourth: There is nothing in all the universe for me to fear, for greater is He that is within me that he that is in the world…Deny the appearance of evil; affirm good. Deny weakness; affirm strength. Deny undesirable conditions and affirm the good you desire…To Him that dwells in the secret place of the most High, there is promised immunity from the snare of the fowler and deadly pestilence, from the terror by night and the arrow that flies by day. – Psalm 91.”
· Myrtle Fillmore argues the creation of Evil, saying: “If God is all and God means “Good”, then Genesis must read: ‘In the beginning Good create’. Can Good create evil? If God is Love, then ‘In the beginning Love created.’ Can Love create hatred and torment? If God is Truth, ‘In the beginning Truth created’. Can Truth create error (wrong thinking)? If God is Life, then ‘In the beginning Life created.’ Can life create death? Of course not!
· Charles Fillmore focuses on the eradication of evil by using denials, saying: Evil is that which is not of God; unreality; error thought; a product of the fallen human consciousness; negation. Evil is a parasite. It has no permanent life of itself; it’s whole existence depends on the life it borrows from its parent, and when its connection with the parent is severed, nothing remains. In Divine Mind there is no recognition of evil conditions. Such conditions have no basis of reality. They are conjurations of a false consciousness. Apparent evil is the result of ignorance, and when Truth is presented the error disappears. There is but one presence and one power, God Omnipotent. But man has the privilege and freedom of using this power as he will. When he misuses it, be brings about the inharmonious conditions. These are called evil. Evil appears in the world because man is not in spiritual understanding. He has not learned that all is Mind; neither has he conformed to the Law of Mind with the result that inharmony appears in his body and affairs. He can do away with evil by learning rightly to use the one Power – for good – not hurting, harming or injuring anyone or anything, including himself. Evil must be overcome with good. We must dwell in good so wholly that all the substance of our thoughts and our being is given over to the promotion of good. This is a mental process in which all negation, all evil, is denied and creative, fearless affirmation of God’s perfect good is steadfastly adhered to.
· Ernest Holms explains the relationship of evil to sin, judgment, and the Law, saying: Evil is that which seems destructive. Evil is an experience of the soul on its journey toward the realization of Reality. Evil will remain a problem as long as we believe in it…it is neither person, place nor thing, and will disappear in the exact proportion that we cease using destructive methods. As long as we make mistake, just so long we shall be automatically punished (by the Law of Cause and Effect)…Thinking based upon the belief in some power or presence opposed to good is incorrect thinking – error thinking – and leads to mistakes…There is no sin but a mistake and no punishment but a consequence. This is the Law of Cause and Effect. Sin is missing the mark. God does not punish sin. As we correct our mistakes, we forgive our own sins. Why should it disturb anyone to be told that God knows nothing of his sin, nothing of his want, nothing of his lack of any kind? The tragedy would be if God did know. If god knew sin, he would be a sinner, for what the Infinite Mind knows must be! Sin or mistakes are outside the province of reality…How often we condemn when we should forgive; how often we censure when we might praise! What untold grief of heart might be relieved by words of cheer and forgiveness? Remembering that the Spirit holds no evil toward man, and that God is Love, we should emulate this divine lesson and forgive all, that our hearts may be free from the burden of our own condemnation…Evil is created by man (James 1:13)…God cannot be tempted and that all temptation is from our own minds…Evil is man created, while God – the Eternal goodness – knows nothing about it. God is too pure to behold evil and cannot look upon it. Evil is the direct and suppositional opposite to good, and has no reality behind it, or actual law to come to its support. God tempts no man. It is a mistake to say that God tries us to see if we are fit to enter the kingdom of heaven. God tries no man. We make our own mistakes, suffer from our own foolishness, and we must also make our own return journey into righteousness. God was, is and will remain the Essence of Life, Truth, and Purity. Let us enter this Essence in belief and be freed from our unbelief and human mistakes. All goodness and every good gift comes from the Father of Light. Darkness has no father, but is an illegitimate child of superstition and unbelief, having no parentage in Reality. The Universe is not divided against itself. The good teacher (Jesus) said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” There is no shadow of turning in the Truth. It is just what it is and there can be nothing either added to or taken from it. It is One and never two. We enter the One through a consciousness of unity to it.
Unity vs. Duality: There is nothing outside of or separate from or equal to God, only Unity, only One God.
· Do you believe in God and something else?
o God and Sickness?
o God and Evil?
o God and the Devil?
o God and Poverty?
o God and Addiction?
o God and Death?
o God and Terrorists?
o God and Murder?
o God and Rape?
o God and Bondage?
o God and Separation?
o God and Doubt?
o God and Oppression
o God and Fear?
· If you believe there is, then you believe in “duality”, in “two” Gods.
· Sin is nothing more than acting on faulty thinking, acting from ignorance, acting from Lies, from a belief in Duality, a belief in separateness.
· Duality leads to internal schisms, to separation from God.
“Man, know thyself and know thyself as God; and know that the only foe that you can overcome in your life is your own fear or internal schism or compromise or failure to surrender truly to God.” - Anonymous?
· Duality negates Unity.
· All is God and there is but One God. Every child, every person is God’s child – including those who commit acts of evil.
· Evil is a work in progress; it is the absence of Light; it disappears as soon as the Light (spiritual knowledge and understanding, raised consciousness, good and love) shines into it.
How to Overcome Evil:
o Evil must be overcome with good. We must dwell in good so wholly that all the substance of our thoughts and our being is given over to the promotion of good. This is a mental process in which all negation, all evil, is denied and creative, fearless affirmation of God’s perfect good is steadfastly adhered to.
o Light (spiritual knowledge and understanding, raised consciousness, good and love, and forgiveness) shines into evil.
o Let neither your thoughts, speech, nor actions either hurt, harm, or injure anyone or anything, including yourself. Refrain from error (faulty) thinking which leads to mistakes.
o Think, make decisions and choices, set goals and perform actions based on spiritual knowledge, faith/conviction and raised consciousness.
o If you don’t have spiritual knowledge, faith, or raised consciousness, seek it .
o How? Through spiritual teachers, books, tapes, support groups, meditation, prayer, workshops, etc.
There is no evil or devil. There is no absence of life, substance, or intelligence anywhere. Pain, sickness, poverty, old age, and death cannot master me, for they are not real. There is nothing in the entire universe for me to fear, for greater is God that is within me than He that is in the world. I deny the reality and power of apparent evil. By my denial, I am free from it. Evil melts away as the darkness before the light, as the dew before the morning sun, and good comes to take its place. I now affirm that God, that good, is already in my life and I am open and receptive to that good. I recognize and accept God’s Truth:
- God is life, love, intelligence, substance, all-powerful, all-present, and all-knowing.
- I am a child or manifestation of God, and every moment God’s life, love, wisdom and power flow into and through me. I am one with God and am governed by God’s laws.
- I am Spirit, perfect, holy, harmonious. Nothing can hurt me or make me sick or afraid, for Spirit is God, and God cannot be sick or hurt or afraid. I manifest my real Self through this body now. God is my defense and my deliverance from all forms of evil and ignorance. God in me is infinite wisdom and I know just what to do.
- God works in me to will and to do whatever God wishes me to do, and God cannot fail!
I fear no evil, for God – Good - is with me. I am not afraid, but filled with courage and confidence, for God is constantly with me, guiding and comforting me. There is no evil in the Truth, and no power of darkness to hinder the Light from shining. I will not be afraid, for there is but One Power within me that protects and keeps me from all harm.
Therefore, I deny the appearance of evil and affirm good. I deny weakness and affirm strength. I deny undesirable conditions and affirm my good. I am free from the belief in sin; there is neither sin nor sinner and therefore no judgment against anyone, only love and forgiveness. I know that God does not condemn and man cannot. All fear of sin is removed from me; all belief in punishment is gone from me. I live by the One Power of Love and Goodness and no thought can enter to disturb me. My Good is mine now, and I can see it, feel it and know it.
As the great joy of Life and Truth comes into my Soul, flooding me with its wondrous light, all darkness, sorrow, loss, and sadness flee from me. I shall not grieve for nothing is really lost or gone from me. I know my own Mind cannot be kept from me. I may lose my body, but not my mind, not my life. As all is God - the One, Infinite Mind - I know my own mind knows me and will follow me wherever I go, as is the case with those who came before and will come after me. Thus, I am filled with joy of the living, and the great peace that comes to all who believe. I give thanks for the Truth. And so it is!