The Illusion of Scientific Religion
Nov 01, 2006
A century ago scientists discovered that atoms were electrical in nature and not "solid" at all. This discovery had a tremendous impact in the religious world, because men began to think of creation as one big illusion. The electrical became identified with spirit, and because man's body was also electrical rather than solid, religionists began to think of man as a spiritual being by nature. As Charles Filmore put it in those days:
"The end of the world of matter came with the discovery that the atom is electrical, and all the things that revolved about that material supposition are coming to an end with it" (Jesus Christ Heals, p. 20).
Science seemed to have uncovered a great spiritual truth, and whole religions were altered or begun by this new way of thinking. With science in such high esteem, they stumbled over each other in the attempt to be more "scientific" than the other. The problem was that God's own prestige had suffered at the expense of science. Science explained all that it could, and faith explained all else. In the process, faith became the sentiment of the ignorant and was redefined to cover all that man did not know through science.
"Ah, the Lord moves in mysterious ways," was the lame answer whenever something happened that was unexplainable. Faith was a belief without any basis, a crutch for the mentally weak, a cute and imaginative characteristic of a child who had not yet had time to learn about the real world. This identified faith with ignorance and lack of evidence, while science enjoyed the status of knowledge and certainty.
The new "scientific religions" deified man and relegated God to a far-off country--if He existed at all. They drove a wedge between man and the true God, while at the same time marginalizing God to the point where it was easy to begin thinking of man as the only relevant god.
At the same time, the German philosopher Nietzche had postulated a new race of supermen who were brave enough to face the world without using God as a crutch. They were too rational to need faith to fill the blanks where science was silent. God was dead. Reality was determined by science alone--and even then, only if it surgically removed God from all equations.
It was all part of a new scientific world that was being defined philosophically as a world that shunned and excluded its own Creator. Art and philosophy reflected it. Religion reflected it. Political science reflected it as well, for it paved the way for communism, naziism, and fascism.
The irony in all of this was that man became both a god and a demon at the same time. Scientists and other learned men became the substitute gods upon the earth, while the ignorant masses were unenlightened beasts who must be governed by the scientific elite until such time that they too became enlightened. Education became a compelling reason for inequality, even while we fought a war to "make the world safe for democracy."
Knowledge and education became the way of salvation out of the jungle of humanity into the privileged life of evolved gods. This has created a whole new tribalist mentality and provided more reasons to divide people into the camps of the ignorant and the educated, beasts and gods. From that dualistic perspective, "we" are the good, and "they" are the bad, and self-interest then rules the day.
"Scientific religion" found its niche by discovering spiritual laws by which mankind could be perfected through knowledge and could thus evolve into higher beings by his own efforts. Religion became the path by which man could evolve from animal to god. They used Jesus as an example of this and stated with great certainty that He learned how to become the I AM by much intelligent study. Filmore wrote,
"He spent years in becoming acquainted with His body and freeing its cells from the material bondage to which the race thought had bound them. . . Modern metaphysicians do not excuse their ignorance by claiming that this and many other instances in which Jesus showed mastery over His body were miracles. Scientific Christians regard as mortal superstition the prevalent view that miracles are the abrogation by God of His laws" (Jesus Christ Heals, p. 41).
In other words, Jesus spent years learning how to use the divine laws in order to do what appeared to be miracles. But these were not really miracles at all, he says. They were acts based upon science and knowledge. So Filmore advocates that we do the same. He speaks of God, but defines God in atheistic terms. To him, "God is spirit" means that God is not a Person but an impersonal Principle. Thus, in accordance with atheistic science, Filmore taught that the earth evolved without God and that the laws of the universe--including spiritual laws--are simply "there" and had no first cause. In other words, laws exist without a Lawgiver.
These laws are therefore to be learned and exploited to make one healthy, wealthy, and wise. In so doing, one may evolve into a higher life form even as Jesus supposedly did.
Sin, too, was viewed as mere ignorance. Overcoming sin was removed from the Divine Court to the classroom. Jesus showed the way as a Master Teacher and even died for His beliefs; but He did not die as a Sacrifice to pay the debt which the law required. Thus, scientific religion destroyed the primary purpose of Jesus' death on the cross, making His death unnecessary and tragic. He is, they say, to be honored only as an example of how one is willing to die for the sake of truth.
The pursuit of scientific religion itself laid the foundation for the use of spiritual laws as a means of obtaining wealth. This combined science with America's obsession with prosperity as the American Dream. Filmore wrote,
"The spiritual substance from which comes all visible wealth is never depleted. It is right with you all the time and responds to your faith in it and your demands on it. . . The unfailing resource is always ready to give. It has no choice in the matter; it must give, for that is its nature. Pour your living words into the omnipresent substance, and you will be prospered though all the banks in the world close their doors" (Prosperity, p. 13).
He treats God as an impersonal field which must be cultivated, manipulated, and fertilized in order to gain wealth. "God is the intangible essence of that which man has formed into and named matter," he says on page 13. In teaching this, he shows that he had no personal relationship with God, for his relationship is the same as a farmer has with his field.
This, he says, is the way to become prosperous. Learning these laws means learning to receive what you want by the power of your own will and the desire of your own mind. He did not realize that thought is not the creative force, but only the sounding board by which we may contemplate, reflect, and consider.
The real creative power is love, which comes, not from the carnal mind but from the heart of one's spirit--the Ark of the Covenant within our Most Holy Place. That is the location of Christ in you. That is the Source of all creative command. It is not me commanding God who then "has no choice in the matter," but rather me in unity and agreement with God, commanding only what I hear My Father say.
There are indeed spiritual laws that should be learned. But when we expel God from His universe and make man a god, we attempt to attain prosperity, health, and miracles by the power of the flesh and the carnal mind. We mistake the carnal mind for the spiritual mind. And we begin to think that we can save ourselves by scientific education and knowledge. This is its greatest illusion.