One God - the Foundation of Ethics ; A Christian Science Perspective on Daily Life

The Christian Science Monitor, January 27, 2006 | Go to article overview

One God - the Foundation of Ethics ; A Christian Science Perspective on Daily Life


When we were just beginning to make our way in a big city, my husband and I accepted an offer to buy a lease for the building in which we had an apartment. It was an old mansion that had been remodeled into eight small units.

We bought the lease, using all the money we had, and things went well for several months.

Then, a city inspector came and said that the fire escapes were not up to code. He added that if we gave him $100, he wouldn't report the infraction.

My husband and I were desperate. We learned that the owner of the building had closed her eyes to the fact that it had been carved up into apartments. She would do nothing about the fire escapes. A couple of residents who claimed they knew how the city operated advised us to pay the bribe. We didn't know what else to do.

So my husband went down to the inspector's office and literally slipped him the cash under his desk.

Having had the experience where paying a bribe seemed the accepted way to operate, I can understand the pressure on individuals in many walks of life to succumb in order to progress or further their interest.

Not surprisingly, in a few months, the building was sold, and we lost our lease and the money we had spent to buy it. I've learned to be glad for this failure because it taught us early that unethical behavior would not benefit us in the long run. And over the years, I've learned an even deeper lesson: that human ethics alone is not the answer.

Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of this newspaper wrote, "Material philosophy, human ethics, scholastic theology, and physics have not sufficiently enlightened mankind." Then she asks, "When will the whole human race have one God, - an undivided affection that leaves the unreal material basis of things, for the spiritual foundation and superstructure that is real, right, and eternal? …

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