We believe in God, the Living Spirit Almighty;
one indestructible, absolute, and self-existent Cause.
This One manifests Itself in and through all creation but is not absorbed by Its creation.
The manifest universe is the body of God;
it is the logical and necessary outcome of the infinite self-knowingness of God.
We believe in the incarnation of the Spirit in everyone
and that all people are incarnations of the One Spirit.
We believe in the externality, the immortality, and the continuity of the individual soul,
forever and ever expanding.
We believe that heaven is within us
and that we experience it to the degree that we become conscious of it.
We believe the ultimate goal of life to be a complete emancipation
from all discord of every nature,
and that this goal is sure to be attained by all.
We believe in the unity of all life,
and that the highest God and the innermost God is one God.
We believe that God is personal to all who feel this in dwelling Presence.
We believe in the direct revelation of Truth
through the intuitive and spiritual nature of the individual,
and that any person may become a revealer of Truth
who lives in close contact with the indwelling God.
We believe that the Universal Spirit, which is God,
operates through a Universal Mind, which is the Law of God;
and that we are surrounded by the Creative Mind
which receives the direct impress of our thought and acts upon it.
We believe in the healing of the sick through the Power of this Mind.
We believe in the control of conditions through the Power of this Mind.
We believe in the eternal Goodness,
the eternal Loving-kindness,
and the eternal Givingness of Life to all.
We believe in our own soul, our own spirit, and our own destiny;
for we understand that the life of all is God.
by Ernest Holmes, founder of Religious Science
An Intro to Religious Science
It can be taught, it can be learned, and it can be conscientiously applied with a certainty of definite and repeatable results.
ERNEST HOLMES --Founder of Religious Science
Many of John Bascom's concepts have been fully absorbed into the New Thought movement, yet his legacy is inconvenient for those who would like to ignore actual history. This is most likely due to the propensity to substitute mythology for history. Institutional mythology is popular. We can see it at work in many institutions but it is a favorite tool of religious organizations from the Catholic Church to Scientology.
In 1927 another writer, named Ernest Holmes called one of his books Science of Mind and stated that "Science of Mind is not a creed as it contains neither dogma nor decree. Science of Mind encompasses no system of sin and punishment, no rule of conduct, no profession of faith." In Holmes' Science of Mind, the teaching is "a simple opportunity, one that offers no contradiction to either reason or common sense. Any person, by deliberately applying the basic principle of cause and effect, can determine the conditions of his or her life."
In contrast to Bascom who promoted Principles of Ethics and Natural Theology, Holmes' Science of Mind contains no ethics and as cited above contains no rule of conduct or "profession of faith".
Religious Science is not a cult by the virtue of the fact that people are free to come and go as they please and there is no known excommunication or shunning of individuals. In the view of Religious Scientists, Universal Mind represents an objective principle rather than a guru or a deity, it cannot dispense favoritism or judgment. Holmes followers read his version of Science of Mind assiduously and tout its merits. They claim, rightfully so, that its benefits are accessible to all on equal terms, without ritual, investment, or formal affiliation. However there are charges for classes, affiliations for communities and individuals as well as rituals such as "installation" and "ordination" of ministers. Yet as in all New Thought interested seekers have nothing to confess, promise, renounce, or hand over.
The Sources of Religious Science
Lik all teachings of New Thought, including Divine Science, the sources of Religious Science are found within the heart of many religions and supplemented by contemporary psychology and other branches of science. All faiths include the workings of the Unseen - variously called Universal Mind, Spirit, First Cause, Being, or God. The 19th-century New Thought movement, shaped by Ralph Waldo Emerson. John Bascom, Phineas Quimby and others, considered this force an indwelling presence, instrumental in physical and spiritual healing. Such ideas prompted various people to explore them. One of these was Ernest Holmes (1887-1960) who despite being a high school dropout was successful at refining his philosophy which he called Religious Science, Holmes gave lectures, held study groups, and eventually helped establish the Institute of Religious Science in 1927.
Religious Science is an open-ended truth.
Ernest Holmes did not claim that he had found the ultimate answers to life's questions. "This is my revelation- not yours," he emphasized. "It must always remain open at the top for new insights." It is well understood throughout the world that thought is an essential tool in defining challenges and creating solutions. If a person is thoughtful, life is much easier. If a person is thoughtless, life can be quite challenging for that person and anyone's life that person touches. Most people think and in fact when there is no brain wave activity, most people say that person is dead. Spiritual awareness can expand indefinitely, but thought does seem to be a prerequisite for this.
The power of thought is a natural principle. All of us share unlimited access to Mind, the infinite curative power of the universe. That power- a natural Law - can operate only through our own minds. It is obedient to our expectations, it manifests exactly as we think and believe.
If you want to change any condition in your life,
then "give the Law new instructions," wrote Ernest Holmes Through affirming and accepting the innate excellence of any circumstance, we can channel this generative energy. Our individual welfare rests neither in our luck nor in our hands - but in our minds.
The challenge for some people is to be able to separate judgement from analysis. One Religious Science minister was so fond of calling any analytical insight "judgement" that he failed to realize that he was so ensconced in hidden beliefs that he couldn't discern the difference between a bush and a tree. If one were to point to a shrub and say "this is a bush," he would respond "that is judgment, which perpetuates the belief in separation." One practitioner said the minister would eventually be unable to say there was a difference between a rabbit and a squirrel because to make such an observation would be promoting separation.
Such ministers are the definition of New Thought fundamentalists. They have gone so far down "the rabbit hole" that they don't realize that The Matrix is a movie not a documentary. These are those souls who say: "make it a great day" and are not averse to "blaming the victim." They are the source of the stories about people going to a centre to see a practitioner because they were raped or assaulted and are asked: "What did you do to bring this into your consciousness?"
This concept was sent up by the comedy team Key and Peele in a skit called: "You can fly !"
A pathway to well-being. Religious Science involves affirmation rather than denial. Disease, for example, is a fact; we need not deny its existence. However, as Ernest Holmes wrote in his 1927 version of Science of Mind, (not to be confused with the original Science of Mind by John Bascom.) "Disease is not a truth." The truths within Infinite Intelligence include health, abundance, security, love, peace, and happiness - all of which make up our natural state. Anyone, by claiming those truths and acting confidently on them, can bring them into manifestation.
One of the main challenges to this teaching are the fundamentalists. One Center for Spiritual Living / Religious Science minister once gave a talk in Albuquerque blaming the homeless children in Sao Paolo for being poor because of "poverty consciousness." This is one of the biggest challenges to the growth of this form of New Thought.
Religious Science's relation to the New Thought Movement
The largest "transdenomination" in New Thought is Seicho No Ie. It is Japanese! Ernest Holmes' talented brother Fenwicke Holmes played a part in supporting its foundation. In contrast to Seicho No Ei, the smallest New Thought "transdenomination" shrank from being the largest and having centers around the world to being so small that today it has only two centers. Part of this shrinkage was due to the eventual inclusion of patently absurd teachings such as "with the right meditation you can get pregnant without intercourse."
The Religious Science part of Science of Mind is a wonderful contributor to the New Thought movement. Even if the newly renamed Centers for Spiritual Living is unable to grow past its current challenges, there are about 5 or 6 denominations in New Thought which use Ernest Holmes' and Maude Allison Lathem's Science of Mind as all or part of their teachings. There are also increasing numbers of New Thought teachers who are returning to the roots of Science of Mind and using John Bascom's works in their lectures and classes.
In addition to Global Religious Science, two groups within the Science of Mind part of the New Thought movement have begun to call themselves "Centers For Spiritual Living", not to be confused with the other Centers for Spiritual Living which are Unity groups or Divine Science groups that have named their various centers Unity Center for Spiritual Living, of Divine Center for Spiritual Living, etc... Motivating the name change by some of these organizations that formerly called themselves Church of Religious Science primarily stems from that fact that they are upset that the public often confuses them with Scientology. This confusion is partly generated by the name Religious Science. Had Ernest Holmes preferred the term Creative Mind, (the title of his second book) perhaps Religious Scientists would confused with creationists. Of course it didn't help that the confusion was greatly enhanced through a concerted effort on the part of many within Religious Science to obfuscate the truth that Religious Science is only a form of Science of Mind and not the whole teaching.
There are some who confuse Scientology with Religious Science due to the fact that individuals must pay for a series of lessons to "grow in consciousness". Charging for lessons contrasts with the way that Abrahamic, Vedic or Buddhist adherents teach and share their Spiritual Paths, but is congruent with the way Scientology is taught. However it should be clear that Religious Science has nothing to do with Scientology.
In summary, Religious Science is part of the greater Science of Mind path within the New Thought movement and is not associated with Scientology.
Religious Science - Philosophy or Religion?
This is a great debate within Religious Science organizations, perhaps due to the fact so many do not wish to subscribe to any beliefs. Many adherents of Religious Science and Unity tell seekers that people need not forsake any other spiritual path. The chief argument is that all people are practicing the principles of New Thought right now! "As we change our thinking, we change our lives." The main argument is that "most people are using the mystic law unconsciously, but some have learned to use the law consciously." Those who use the mystic law consciously get definite effects according to the causes they are putting into action. An interested person who desires more health, happiness and abundance of good in his or her life can simply pick up one of the books on the New Thought reading list, learn the principles and begin consciously transforming his or her life right now! Or you may visit a New Thought Community. There are at least 10 denominations, so there is likely to be one near you! Some say that the Religious Science form of Science of Mind is only a method of personal evolution, and not a spiritual path or religion at all. There are of course some within the Religious Science part of the New Thought movement who are quite fearful that they might be labeled "white witches" or placed outside of the category of "peoples of the books" by Islamic radicals. But if one looks at Holmes' The Bible in the Light of Religious Science, one can see that Holmes was quite fond of Abrahamic texts.
Religious Science Literature:
The central text for Religious Scientists is Holmes' Science of Mind. But there is also a monthly magazine which contains daily meditations, affirmations and other articles some of which are written by Religious Science ministers and practitioners. The process by which ministers may be selected to be featured in these magazines does not appear to reflect any great spiritual ability but the writing can be quite good. There are also a number of articles on whatever is currently trending in spirituality. The magazine is also available in Braille. At one time there was a second magazine called Creative Mind but this was terminated with the amalgamation of their organizations. Creative Mind largely focused on Affirmative Prayers / Spiritual Mind Treatments written by actual practitioners and ministers.
At one point in time, it was rumoured that the magazine would be saved by giving it to a center in Canada, but instead it appears to be a victim of the grand amalgamation. It simply could not be integrated into the united organization.
Besides Ernest Holmes' Science of Mind, He wrote a number of other texts. Most of these are in the public domain today. You will find an extensive collection of links to New Thought texts online at NewThoughtLibrary.com including:
According to legend "Ernest Holmes never intended to establish a church." The legend goes that the Church of Religious Science was formed by the many people who attended his lectures. Seeking continuity, as well as the fellowship of weekly gatherings, they formed churches. This led to the establishment of various Religious Science churches which then affiliated with each other and over time created schools and other programs to support those seeking to learn this potent "philosophy". In contrast to this mythology stands the fact that Holmes created the Religious Science Institute and began training pracititoners and ordaining ministers. Would he ordain ministers if he had no intention to have churches?
Up until the 21st Century it is said that each Religious Science church interpreted Holmes' Science of Mind philosophy in its own way with differences in procedure and approach. But there were in fact guidelines and requirements in both RSI (Religious Science International) and UCRS (United Church of Religious Science). Toward the end of the 20th Century, both of these organizations experienced financial stress which in the words of a now retired Religious Science minister was "due to an inability to properly grasp true prosperity principles these organizations squandered their resources and failed to grasp the most basic truth of all spiritual paths which is that successful spiritual organizations are beneficial to their membership." Was it a penchant for extravagant conference parties that hurt them? Was it the extraordinary payments of honorariums to friends? Was it the payment of royalties to insiders? These are some of the questions posed by various members.
Previous to this financial stress, Religious Science was growing through the usual historical process of splintering, but under the banner of "oneness," key individuals within each organizations organized a "reunion." Both of the organizations had devolved into Byzantine bureaucracies. Spiritual leaders in both, voiced complaints but felt afraid to share those complaints at conferences due to potent internal politics. Those who pushed the reunion felt that not only could the organizations save money and thereby remediate the financial stress, they could combat growing fears that Religious Science (now Centers for Spiritual Living) is being confused with Scientology.
There were several factors that were resulting in the confusion of Religious Science with Scientology. The first was easy to identify: The inclusion of the word "science" in the name of the organization was similar enough to Scientology to cause confusion among seekers.. Another factor was the fact that some perceived the leadership as being a pyramid of power which although democratic was rife with the internal politics characteristic of bureaucracy. These organizations whose total membership barely constitutes 1% of 1% of the population of the United States, whose existence was not even recognized within the U.S. census, appeared to be, in the words of a practitioner: "hidebound with bureaucracy." Another factor was an apparent inability to explain their beliefs. Other than reciting Ernest Holmes: "What We Believe," the standard answer to the question "what do you believe?" is: "as you believe, so shall be done unto you."
This has led to much misunderstanding on the part of spiritual seekers visiting Centers for Spiritual Living, but it may be changing.
All in all, these factors and others combine to limit growth of these wonderful organizations. A questionaire directed at individuals who left Centers for Spiritual Living seeking an alternate center was consistently answered with: "I learned how my thoughts and perspective are shaping my experience but now I need to find a community that has beliefs and one of those needs to be compassion."
These seekers had been introduced to the Religious Science part of Science of Mind but never encountered the work of John Bascom who wrote the originalScience of Mind in 1881. Whereas the Holmes brothers Religious Science form of Science of Mind focused on the "how," making a conscious effort to avoid the "why," John Bascom's original work in the Science of Mind path of New Thought included explorations of both ethics and morals and how they are essential to the happiness of individuals and the creation of better societies that are responsive to the needs of citizens and not simply beholden to the selfishness of a few. Bascom was a believer in democracy. A well educated man who earned a doctorate, Bascom understood that for humanity to not only survive but thrive, we must recognize that we are in this together. Like most Americans, both educated and uneducated, Bascom felt that the time of kings and queens, as well as robber barons was past. Dr. John Bascom explored these issues in his writings. Bascom was quite optimistic that humanity is evolving and that people are learning to work together to create better systems ensuring education for all people, as well as living wages and universal access to healthcare.
Bascom reminded people that the Spiritual Path is one of integrated consciousness, pointing out that evolved souls focus on universal prosperity and peace rooted in loving kindness. The end of the 19th Century mirrored the end of the 20th Century in many ways. By the onset of the 20th Century, the wealth of the nation had been transferred to a small group of robber barons impoverishing the populace.
Through both political and economic manipulation even the government of the United States had been reduced to poverty as well. Things were so bad that in 1893, J. Pierpont Morgan had to ensure the U.S. Government remained solvent. This was followed by another economic panic and crisis in 1907, almost exactly 100 years before the Bush Depression which occurred only 8 years after the banking deregulation promoted by Phil Gramm was enacted.
The early 21st Century mirrors the early 20th Century. In 2008, the United States was a country which harbored some wealthy people but in general, with the exception of the government's ability to project military power and the fact that the majority of the American people had access to appliances such as refrigerators and entertainment in the form of television, Americans were consistently ranking below the top 25 nations of the world in a growing number of areas including healthcare and the internet. The key difference between the early 20th Century and early 21st Century was that the latter had more people suffering from a new form of malnutrition in the form of obesity instead of starvation.
It was not until the advent of computer power in the early 21st Century that Thomas Picketty was able to aggregate, then parse the data that led to the insight that some of founding fathers of the United States appeared to instinctively understand:
"We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America." -- https://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/preamble
Without representative government to protect the interests of the people, the interests of the few would invariably overshadow the good, thereby creating or increasing the problems of the populace. Today, through Picketty's work, the world is aware that democracy is the remedy to the economic problems perennially presented by capitalism.
How do these issues impact the teachings of Religious Science?
Towards the end of the 20th Century, American New Thought had largely moved away from promoting the "religion of the healthy mind" as espoused by William James and was promoting what became largely known as the "Prosperity Gospel." The Prosperity Gospel essentially promoted the idea that prosperity was mainly the result of the tithing and the Law of Attraction. Various proponents of this belief systems wrote books explaining this belief system largely in terms of Abrahamic teachings. The teachers of the Prosperity Gospel pushed adherents to tithe to them or the centers at which they were performing. In conjunction with certain other tools which would invoke the Law of Attraction, followers could learn "the secret" of manifesting money with little or no effort.
The New Thought principle of "highest good" was increasingly circumvented through teaching that the practitioner simply needed to rely on God to sort things out. This along with the pushing of a glib saying: "it's all good," resulted in a New Thought fundamentalism that mirrored Vedic teachings of karma while being devoid of responsibility. The only responsibility a person had was to herself because "God is in the details and will thus sort everything out."
Thus in some cases the core principle of "co-creation" was abandoned in favor of a variation of Emil Brunner's Divine Imperative. This approach appeared to simplify things, by teaching that people could not figure out what highest good really is and thus how could anyone cooperate, much less co-create with God. The Divine Imperative approach was simple, in contrast to the works of Paul Tillich and Alfred Whitehead. With the Divine Imperative, one could go about doing anything desired , then simply "leave the hard stuff up to God," and "God's Will." Nevermind that the New Thought principle of co-creation is predicated on the teaching that God is a creative not a motive force. It was simpler to rely on God's will as the answer to the challenging questions, than to have to think things through.
Much of this was done unconsciously through the ever-present influence of "feel good" authors who capitalized on promoting easy methods of manifestation which began with simply accepting that in contrast to the principle of self-development that is another core principle of New Thought, one should abandon the idea of conscious evolution and consequent self-development in favor of self-acceptance as being "perfect and whole." This was rooted in teachings that were best summarized by the character of Stuart Smalley which is rumoured to be based upon an actual Religious Science practitioner one of the writers met at an Optical convention called Vision Expo in NYC.
The two Religious Science organizations eventually amalgamated, with the United Church of Religious Science, now called the United Centers for Spiritual Living, taking the lead by promoting their institutional training system which contrasted with the mentorship system favored by the International Church of Religious Science. Under the banner of "oneness" these two organizations were consolidated and homogenized. The group pushing this consolidation called it "the integration." Part of the integration was "branding," for which they turned to a Buddhist who gave them a new symbol which appears to be a combination of the pentagram with an ancient symbol called the "witches foot." Various people were puzzled by this choice but it was understood that Ernest Holmes' teaching symbol had entered the public domain and the object of branding was to create a separation that could be defended in the same manner that Scientology defends its organization. Why did they turn to a Buddhist for their symbol? Why did this "branding" include the Caliban font? Was the choice of a font named after Shakespeare's dark character within the Tempest a conscious choice?
Thus far the 21st Century has ushered in a new age for this old New Thought organization. Centers in both Canada and the United States have embraced Crystal beds and other New Age practices. How strong of a move away from Ernest Holmes' original Religious Science is this?
While other spiritual / religious organizations have embraced the internet as a way to share their teachings and have consequently started giving away their root texts online in the form of eBook and pdf downloads, the leadership of CSL seems to have failed to grasp that sharing the teaching for the benefit of all the people on our planet is the essential purpose of a spiritual organization. Is this because they are primarily an American organization? Could it be simply a cultural limitation? Or is there some other reason?
John Bascom's original Science of Mind texts are in the public domain, so are many of the Holmes brothers texts which explore the Religious Science form of Science of Mind. What is holding this organization back from strongly embracing the new paradigms within the world today?
Can leaders of these old New Thought organizations let go of the old thought and embrace the New Thought of the New Millennium or are they effectively limited by hidden belief systems?
Do they truly believe the future of New Thought lies within the consolidation of all New Thought organizations into one large amalgamation?
Recently a Science of Mind minister proposed that children could be tasked with memorizing and reciting Ernest Holmes' and Allison Maude Lathem's 1938 edition of Science of Mind. She has done her best to memorize every passage within the book and has developed what she calls the "SOM punch" which is akin to bible thumping, except that instead of the bible she simply uses Allison Maude Lathem's version of Science of Mind.
Can someone memorize the works of Ernest Holmes and rely on this as the key to higher consciousness?
Everyone in New Thought is rooting for this old New Thought organization.
Will CSL resume the growth that it had in its heyday, when it was called the Church of Religious Science?
Will CSL become a shrunken isolated "butte" with vertical sides and a small, relatively flat top?
Is this teaching still "open at the top" and capable of necessary change while not abandoning core concepts such as co-creation in favor of the Divine Imperative?
Some people are already making jokes about the John of God Crystal Beds. With an increasing number of New Thought adherents pointing to statements like: "You may ask for what you want help with and direct your requests to John of God’s 'Entities'” as a strong indication that perhaps this organization is leaving Holmes' teachings behind.
We are hoping that this old New Thought organization grows past these challenges, articulates its basic beliefs with more clarity and is able to integrate John Bascom's potent Science of Mind teaching with Ernest Holmes' Religious Science in the same way we see New Thought organizations in other parts of the world doing.
Because their are several Religious Science denominations and they have different directories. It is simplest to go to FindACenter.com to find a New Thought Community near you.
For all New Thought Churches, Centers and Communities Seekers can go to the one of the wonderful FindACenter directories online which are the only Universal directories of New Thought that we know of: NewThoughtCentres.com
Explore the Rainbow of New Thought Beliefs / Discover your Truth!
Today there are at least ten different New Thought Denominations, some of which prefer to call themselves "Transdenominations." Although some say this term comes from the Rocky Horror Picture Show:
We believe it was invented by one of the more popular ministers in California.
One must understand that in New Thought there can be a tendency by some well-meaning souls to create new language such as the terms "transdenominational," or "chemiicalization" which conjure up strange imagery. This often springs from well meaning intent to describe things that these people have not learned the language for.
In fact there are many wonderful and diverse organizations within New Thought with distinct approaches to both their methods of teachings and their root texts.
Explore the different belief structures and beliefs of the various denominations and choose the path that best suits you. Although there are some denominations who attempt to avoid the issue of articulating beliefs ...
This is an exploration of the beliefs articulated by various New Thought denominations at some time or other.
New Thought Day was declared by James Edgerton on August 23rd, 1915
During research while expanding the free New Thought Library,
one of the ministers came across an interesting quote from early New Thought Alliance President James A. Edgerton:
"'The truth, once announced, has the power not only to renew but to extend itself.
New Thought is universal in its ideals and therefore should be universal in its appeal.
Under the guidance of the spirit, it should grow in good works until it embraces many lands and eventually the whole world.'
New Thought Day, August 23rd
"'The truth, once announced, has the power not only to renew but to extend itself.
New Thought is universal in its ideals and therefore should be universal in its appeal.
Under the guidance of the spirit, it should grow in good works until it embraces many lands and eventually the whole world.'
~ James A. Edgerton, New Thought Day, August 23rd, 1915."
Explore the New Thought Tao and discover deeper wisdom.
New Thought has many forms, Taoist New Thought brings insights to the table that are not so apparent in Abrahamic forms. While many Abrahamics fight to impose their views on the rest of the world. Taoist New Thought teaches the way of acceptance and understanding. Principles in the New Thought Tao provide powerful processes which serve as keys to deeper happiness and inner peace from the inside out.
New Thought conferences from various New Thought denominations and organizations are happening all ove rthe world. Whether Old New Thought or New Thought Today, find conference info about New Thought Conferences!.
New Thought Solutions for New Thought Sharers and New Thought Communities. Empowerment programs that awaken us to the co-creative "Power of We."
Grow and thrive sharing a rainbow of New Thought wisdom with the world.
A growing collection of New Thought books from Today's New Thought Leaders.
Many New Thought books lack the marketing necessary to get them in front of you, with New Thought Books INFO those writers to find you and you to find those writers...
Live your higher consciousness! Trust in the Divine!
Do not falter in your steps to demonstrate higher consciousness.
Success comes to those who are fearless in their commitment to their faith.
To Build A Powerful Platform, begin with in.
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