Editor’s Note: I’m reading The Science of Mind, the book by Ernest Holmes that serves as the cornerstone of the teachings of Spiritual Living Centers worldwide. These are my personal reading notes, which may or may not accurately reflect the ideas expressed in the book.
The Science of Mind talks a lot about God— but this God is not the robed and bearded Old Man in the Sky you learned about in Sunday school.
Here’s the first (and, I think, central) assumption of The Science of Mind: behind everything in the Universe is an “Intelligent Law.” Holmes calls this force by many different names: Divine Nature, the First Cause, the Invisible Essence, the “Power back of Creation,” the Eternal Principle, and, as you might expect, God.
To Holmes, the existence of this Living Force is self-evident. It is the cause behind the Big Bang. It is the Source of the laws that define the behavior of everything, from the path of the planets in their orbits to the certainty that anyone eating spaghetti while wearing a white shirt will get spattered with sauce. (That last example, I must admit, is mine, not Ernest’s.)
In other words: this Intelligence is behind every “law” that science discovers — it is the “why” behind the facts of physical reality. Further, this intelligence operates independently of our beliefs about it. If you mix yellow and blue, you get green; the fact that you would have preferred purple is irrelevant.
This God, Holmes asserts, is “in, through, around and for us.” (Or, as Obi Wan would say, “It surrounds us. It defines us. It binds the galaxy together.”) What’s more, it *is* us — because God is all there is.
Holmes goes to great lengths to position his assertions as facts. That’s because — unlike his religious counterparts, who propose articles of faith — Holmes claims to be pursuing the *Science* of Mind.
His followers follow suit. When folks at the Spiritual Living Centers say, “This is The Truth in your life, and this is The Truth in my life,” they aren’t saying, “I have faith that this is the way things are” — they’re claiming objective, superior insight into What Really Is.
While I’m intrigued by the redefinition of God as the intelligence behind and the essence of all things, the position is, in the end, just another untestable hypothesis.
We might just as well posit that there is, behind all things, a flying spaghetti monster who supports, creates, and is the essence of the Universe. Since I can’t produce the spaghetti monster and document, from an objective point of view, his existence and role, my belief in the spaghetti monster is strictly an article of faith — no matter how often I call it “Spaghetti Science.”
Now, don’t get me wrong. I understand the appeal of dressing faith up as science, especially when it comes to garnering more respect and support for one’s beliefs. When the audience is slow or gullible, calling any kind of tomfoolery a “science” can cause your entire argument to be seen in a different light. (The so-called “creation scientists” understand this — and have picked their name accordingly.)
The metaphysician in me doesn’t object to the idea of God being the organizing principle behind and the essence of everything in the Universe. In fact, as an article of faith, that assertion comes very close to what I personally believe. But the rationalist in me does get a little rankled when assertions, without proof, are paraded around as self-evident facts.
When you have a basic principle that must be taken on faith, call it an article of faith. Embrace it as a faith. Teach it as a faith. But don’t try to pass it off as "science."