Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Programmed for Peace ; Originally Published as an Editorial in the Christian Science Sentinel

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Programmed for Peace ; Originally Published as an Editorial in the Christian Science Sentinel

Article excerpt

Conversation at a prewedding dinner turned to the Palestinian- Israeli conflict. How can the cycle of violence and revenge be broken? The father of the bride became suddenly serious. "It will never be broken," he said. End of conversation.

But end of hope, too?

Not at all, but the Middle East is a region inhospitable to wide- eyed optimism. And looking beyond the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Istanbul is still reeling from a series of terrorist bombings. Casualties on all sides continue to mount in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Some wonder: Are human beings programmed for war? Or are we programmed for peace?

Like "good news" stories that go underreported in the daily news cycle, the "goodness model" of existence struggles to be heard. We've only begun to discover that there are higher laws - a divine Science of being - that, understood, produce peaceful relationships.

According to science writer John Horgan: "Even if war is biologically based, we can't end it by changing our biology.... If history teaches us anything, it's that war begets more war."

Horgan doesn't believe in God's existence, so it was perhaps with a grain of salt that he concluded: "Maybe we all need to be more religious. After all, religions preach love and forgiveness, and they prohibit killing, at least in principle. But in practice, of course, religion has often inspired killing" ("Is war in our genes?" www.johnhorgan.org).

We agree that war won't end by inventing better biotechnologies or by social engineering. We'll advance toward the end of warfare only as we change how we think - about God and His creation, about ourselves, and what we cherish as Truth. And, in this, religion can be a wholly healing force.

It's true that when the Bible and the Koran are read literally, it's hard to miss the images of a warlike Deity. In the book of Deuteronomy, for example, one of Moses' poems records God as saying, "To me belongeth vengeance, and recompence" (32:35).

However, as Monitor founder, Mary Baker Eddy, emphasized in her book "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," there are differing interpretations of the Bible: literal and spiritual, doctrinal and inspired. …

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