Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Mass Hysteria Averted

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Mass Hysteria Averted

Article excerpt

" 'Meteorite' Crash Breeds Mass Hysteria." This headline, originally from www.space.com, caught my eye recently. I'd been following this story about the supposed meteorite that hit near a remote Peruvian town because there were reports of noxious fumes that were causing illness. It was one of those eye-catching stories that show up from time to time.

Following the dramatic headline, the article reported: "Some health officials suggest that the symptoms described by the locals, the large number of people reporting symptoms, and the apparently rapid spread have all the hallmarks of a case of mass hysteria." One health official in a nearby city said, "Those who say they are affected are the product of a collective psychosis." Collective psychosis, mass hysteria? Is that a viable conclusion?

Actually, it is. From studying and practicing Christian Science, I've learned that fear is the root of disease. Clearly, the fear that surrounded the impact of the meteor - if exaggerated by gossip and maybe local news stories - could easily lead to a collective expectation that there would be a bad effect. The more people became fearful and shared their fear, the more other people would be inclined to accept this situation as real, powerful - and a danger to them, also. As the saying goes, it's not rocket science to predict what would happen next.

Yet, mass hysteria and illness do not necessarily have to happen next. Jesus' ministry provides us with the guidance we need to stop fear of disease or any other trouble. During his ministry, he helped people see that they were God's perfect ideas, always under divine Spirit's care and love. It follows then that we don't necessarily need to become sick. Mary Baker Eddy, the author of "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," wrote: "If man is governed by the law of divine Mind, his body is in submission to everlasting Life and Truth and Love" (p. 216).

Having a body in submission to Life, Truth, and Love, or God, is to be spiritual and to be influenced only by God, good. …

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