What is Religious Science?
Religious Science is a spiritual philosophy for the modern man and woman. It is based on the Truth which arises in every culture in the form of science, philosophy, and religion. Religious Science views religion as a source of wisdom for revealing the Truth about the seemingly unknown forces that shape our universe. This enables us to participate in our own life as a co-creator with the Divine.* Religious Science was founded by Dr. Ernest Holmes, a self-taught philosopher who rigorously studied all of the world's Spiritual paths for most of his life. In 1927, he wrote The Science of Mind, which synthesized the truths that he discerned were present throughout all of the world's faiths. That book is the foundation of the principles of Religious Science. He never intended to begin a new faith, but was persuaded to allow a church to be created to assure that the principles he synthesized would outlive him.
What Does Your "V" Symbol Mean?
The V symbol of Religious Science can be interpreted on many different levels. On a Universal level, the top of the V shows the Universal Spirit (God), then the universal subjectivity, which is the medium of all thought, power, and action, then, at the bottom, of our manifestation of Spirit.
What About Meditation?
Meditation is the time-honored technique for taming, training and transforming the mind. Religious Science endorses all forms of meditation, from creative visualization to the more traditional mind stilling techniques. It is through meditation that we come into a state of God communion and thereby experience a greater sense of unity of all life.*
What about Prayer?
Religious Science honors and endorses all forms of sincere prayer. In addition, it teaches a unique and scientific form of prayer called Spiritual Mind Treatment. This is a powerful, affirmative method of prayer that was developed by Dr. Ernest Holmes, the founder of Religious Science. It involves a five step process that embodies all of the elements of the creative process of Life itself.*
What is an Affirmation?
The term affirmation is normally associated with a verbal statement that is made about some goal that we are trying to achieve, or some experience we desire to have. However, the act of affirmation is really much more than that. It is an act of faith. It is the ability to put aside your doubt and fear in order to act as if your desired goal were already a reality. In this sense, an affirmation can be any statement, act, or symbolic gesture that affirms the reality of your intentions. Through the process of affirmation we "act as if" our highest aspirations were already a reality.*
What about sin?
The original meaning of sin was simply to fall short of or "miss the mark" of spiritual perfection. A sin is not a thing, it is merely an activity that produces an undesirable effect in our lives. In other words, we are punished by our sins, not for them.*
What about evil?
Religious Science does not deny the appearance of evil. However, it teaches that evil does not exist as a force or power in the world. That which is called evil is merely the obstruction, or inversion, of the only power acting, which is Spirit. The obstruction of Spirit's expression always occurs in the mind through the holding of false beliefs. According to Religious Science, the only presence acting in the universe is God, which is always Good. Evil is merely the way that we withhold our expression and experience of that good by accepting false beliefs into our minds.*
Do you believe in the devil?
Religious Science believes that, since the only power acting anywhere is God, the devil simply cannot exist as a force acting in opposition to God's expression through Spirit. Therefore, there really is no devil. There is only the manifestation of falsely held beliefs within our minds, which produces that appearance of some sinister invisible force, or being, acting in our lives. To blame unpleasant conditions and circumstances on the devil, or anyone else, is a way of avoiding responsibility for our own experience of life.*
What about Heaven and Hell?
Religious Science believes that heaven and hell are states of mind. We experience heaven when we are in harmony with the Life that surrounds us. Hell is a state of mind that we experience when we don't understand why something unpleasant is happening to us. We can choose to create our own heaven or hell on Earth, and take our beliefs with us when we go through the transition the world calls death to the next plane of existence.*
What about death?
Religious Science teaches the eternality of life. It accepts that our physical bodies operate within a natural cycle of birth and death. However, even though we may have a body, we are not just our body. What we really are is the Life that animates our body, and that Life is infinite and immortal. As we become increasing identified with our divine and eternal nature, our underlying fear of death begins to dissolve and our experience of life become more joyous.*
Do you believe in reincarnation?
Religious Science neither endorses nor rejects any particular theory or concept of reincarnation. Since life is eternal, there are an unlimited number of possibilities for its evolvement after the experience of physical death. In Religious Science, we accept the on-goingness of life and we deal with what is before us in the present moment.
Do you believe in miracles?
Everything that occurs in our lives is simply the out-picturing of our consciousness operating through the Law of Mind. Therefore, those events that seem to be miraculous in nature are actually the Law acting at a level beyond our awareness. As we evolve our consciousness, what previously seemed miraculous becomes a natural, normal and understandable way of life. In actuality, there is only one miracle, this is Life itself.*
Do you believe in Jesus Christ?
In Religious Science, Christ is viewed as a universal principle rather than a person. It is the principle of God expressing through humanity. Jesus of Nazareth was a human personality through which the Christ Principle, or Divine Personality, expressed itself on Earth. The principle of Jesus Christ represents the mystical marriage of our inner spirit with our outer personality. This union produces an expression of Life that includes both, yet is greater than either. The potential for this expression lies within each one of us. Therefore, Jesus is viewed as a great example for humanity, rather than the great exception. Ernest Holmes, founder of the philosophy of Religious Science, says:
"Religious Science does not deny the divinity of Jesus; but it does affirm the divinity of all people. It does not deny that Jesus was the son of God; but affirms that all beings are children of God. It does not deny that the Kingdom of God was revealed through Jesus; but affirms that the Kingdom of God is also revealed through you and me. "
New Thought views Jesus the Christ as a guide and Way-Shower who brought the realization that man is not separate from God, but that God’s unconditional Love lives within each heart and when we live by the Word of God as taught by Jesus we are saved from our own self-imposed sin and limitations.
Are you Christians?
Ernest Holmes, the founder of Religious Science, came out of a Christian tradition. He studied all of the world's religions, and synthesized what he saw to be the truths running through them all, free of any particular dogma. He began the philosophy with the intention that all churches, especially Christian ones, would embrace the philosophy and incorporate those teachings into their own. When that did not happen on a large-scale basis, he allowed the people around him to talk him into starting a church to make sure that the teachings would endure. His original intention was not to start a new religion. Religious Science comes out of the Christian tradition in the sense that we believe in the teachings of Jesus and use them to create a "Heaven on Earth".
Is this New Age?
Religious Science is a New Thought philosophy. Although many people with New Age leanings are attracted to Religious Science and some of the practices of Religious Science such as meditation are also practiced by those who consider themselves New Age, Religious Science does not consider itself a New Age Religion. Religious Science honors all paths that lead to God, whether they be Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, New Age, or any other spiritual paths.
Is this related to Scientology?
Is this a cult?
No. Religious science teaches that each individual has the power over and the responsibility for his or her own life. Religious Science highly discourages the following of or dependence upon any one person, including founder Ernest Holmes or any present ministers or teachers. Religious Science challenges people to think for themselves and only believe what rings true for them. One must look into one's own heart for truth.
Is this Christian Science?
No, but Ernest Holmes studied with many of the spiritual leaders of his time, including Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian Science. Religious Science attracts many from the Christian Science tradition.
Do you go to doctors?
Yes. Religious Scientists believe that all is God, and that God is expressed through doctors and medicine just as God is expressed through all of the physical universe. Religious Science believes in spiritual as well as physical healing, and Religious Science Practitioners often work in conjunction with doctors and other physical and mental health practitioners to facilitate healing.
Why is this called Religious Science?
Ernest Holmes used the terms "Science of Mind", which he called the book that describes his synthesis of the truths running through all of the religions of the world, and "Religious Science" interchangeably. He believed that religion and science were truly complimentary, and named his organization the Church of Religious Science to show that. He believed that, eventually, science would prove what the mystics have been saying for thousands of years about the nature of God, human beings, and the universe. His beliefs have been borne out by many modern scientists, who have found that the universe is truly made up of energy. Religious Science, along with all of the mystics of the ages, knows that that energy is God.
Are Religious Science and Science of Mind the Same?
The point drawn through the center symbolizes the descent of Spirit into matter, or form. It is necessary that Spirit be manifested in order to express Itself. The descending line shows that all comes from the One (God)). Humanity reenacts the whole Universal Life, and the nature of humanity is identical with Spirit. What is true of the Whole is true of any of its individual undivided parts. Humanity comes to a point of individualization in the Whole and is subject to the Law of the Whole. (Paraphrased from The Science of Mind by Dr. Ernest Holmes, p. 569.)
* Indicated answers are taken from the student workbook for a workshop entitled, “Religious Science QuickStart” created by Lloyd Strom. All other answers written by Christina Tillotson, Licensed Practitioner, United Church of Religious Science..