as our misery comes
belief - not the thing believed -
it is necessary to be on the watch, so as not to be deceived by false guides.
~ Phineas P. Quimby
Phineas Parkhurst Quimby
Showing How the Errors of Our Beliefs Make Up Human Knowledge; Also that We Ignorantly are the Authors of Our MiserySeptember 1861
Disease is what follows these false ideas. If man had no belief at all, he would either be a brute or scientific, as far as his wisdom goes. Now man, being a bundle of ideas - his life is affected by his opinions; and as happiness is man's highest aim, it is what we are all striving for.
Here is one thing that man is ignorant of - that he is a sufferer from his own belief; not willingly, but by his own consent. Not being intelligent enough to judge of cause and effect, he becomes the victim of his own free will. He does the very things he ought not to do and leaves undone that which he ought to do. That is, he takes opinions for truth, which gets him into trouble, and he neglects to investigate all things.
When a person tells you anything you cannot see, you are not bound to believe it, unless you please. But if you do believe, you convict yourself of a crime that you have acknowledged right.
Our belief cannot alter a scientific truth, but it may alter our feeling for happiness or misery. Disease is the misery of our belief; happiness is the health of our wisdom; so that man's happiness or misery depends on himself. Now as our misery comes from our belief, not the thing believed - it is necessary to be on the watch, so as not to be deceived by false guides.
I will now put a belief in practice. Sensation contains no intelligence or belief, but a mere disturbance of the mind called agitation; ready to receive the seed of error. Ever since man was created, there has been an element called error, which has been busy inventing answers for every sensation. It accounts for every phenomenon, no matter where it comes from. In fact, it is that power called the devil. It is a power; for it contains no intelligence, but it is a brow-beating, knock-you-down element in reasoning. It invents all sorts of bugbears in this world. It has also invented another world and undertakes to account for it and will give you the wisdom about it. This character can be found in all men and can be easily detected in the priests. He appears very sanctimonious, giving you an account of the world of spirits, etc. These two characters give rise to a thousand lesser humbugs, taking their cue from them.
As I have said, mind is matter, and everything seen by the natural eye is a figure (or emblem) of the First Cause. All things having shape or form, made by man, is a shadow of the spiritual life of man. All things created for man's misery are the invention of this character called error.
You see I have two worlds - one composed of things which we call real matter but which, with wisdom, is nothing but an idea. I have nothing to say about this world; it is the world of darkness which the evil of our thoughts has made. It has its priests and doctors and every evil that flesh is heir to. It is the world where all disease is invented. Its actions are in those of the popular doctrines of the day, which are our guides and directors in all things pertaining to our health and happiness. In fact, it is man as we see him in priest or physician. These men stand to society as a mesmerizer to his subject. It is true they do not always take the patients by the hand, but they take them into the churches, and there they mesmerize the audience according to their belief. The patients' minds, being like soil, receive the seed of these blind guides and nourish it in their soil (or mind); and when it grows up into a belief, then it is set down as a truth.
So all men now believe in these guides of another world, and their belief is the fruits of the priest's theory. Now after they are fairly sown in the minds of the people, then cometh the wisdom and warns the people to beware of the fruit. They, knowing that the fruit is pleasant to the eye and much desired to make one happy, eat; and then their eyes are opened, and they see they are ignorant.
I will illustrate what I have just said. Take the weather. Everyone likes the pure air and wants to enjoy it, so they go out for that purpose. Now all action has its reaction, and after returning, a reaction takes place. Then this enemy comes along and says, "You have overdone and taken cold. You should have known better than to have exposed yourself to the air, as you have done."
Now comes the punishment of your belief. You have been made to believe that there is danger in taking cold. Just as though this God you are called to worship has made an atmosphere tempting you to go out and then seizes you and makes you sick! This is one of the follies of the world. The sensation of cold makes one nervous. The opinions we have of it mesmerize us into a state in which we see the scene of what will follow.
We believe that God is a being, like man. This may be so - but the people in the Old and New Testament never had such an idea. God is science, and man - not knowing science - makes him superstitious; and he has made a being out of science that he cannot understand and called it God. This God has been introduced by the superstition of the world and prevents man from using the reason that wisdom has given him.
Hear what Paul said on this subject. The people were superstitious and worshiped idols, as they do now; yet not the same idols, for there are many idols. Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. “Knowledge puffeth up; Charity edifieth." (Cor. 8:1) What did Paul mean? He means science is not puffed up, but opinions are. So opinions worship idols, but science does not. So if a man of opinions thinks he knows, he knows not as he ought to know (v. 2); but if a man love science as God - the same is known to him (v. 3).
Then he goes on to show that there is no wisdom in these, and there is no science (or God) but one; and though there be many opinions about heaven and earth, there is but one living and true science (or God). He also shows there are some who are conscious of this science - and eat and drink and worship idols till they die. Then he sums up all this superstition in these words, “If we eat, are we the better - and if we eat not, are we the worse? But take care that in your reasoning about it, you do not put a stumbling block in the way of those who do not understand.”
Science is the one living and true God to worship. This is more than all the opinions and prayers of the priests put together. Every man is the medium of these two Gods. Man's opinion is the natural man. Science is the God (or Christ). And it is very singular that if there is a God, as all will admit, he is out of existence, because he cannot be seen by the natural eyes. It shows that man knows not God. If he did, he would not be so religious; for God is not in their religion - it is opposed to God in every act.
wants no advocate to sustain it; it can exist without any sect or
priest to poultice it up. To learn it is man's happiness, and to
reject it and embrace religion is to live in sin and ignorance; being
in death, from fear of the very best friend (science); and all your
life subject to bondage.