Science Is Freedom
Error Is Slavery


September 1862


by Phineas Parkhurst Quimby


This principle applies to all things. Religion is slavery. Science is the doctrine of Christ. Jesus’ religion was proved by science; the world’s religion by opinion. Science never holds any truth in bondage. Opinion enslaves every truth it can. Might is right with opinion, but science says try and prove all things, and hold fast that which is good.

Science is strong; opinion is weak. Therefore it is timid and dares not investigate. It goes for keeping down all investigation. It is cowardly and despotic; seeks low and vulgar company; becomes popular by its own folly. It is the demagogue in everything. It is the vilest passion in man. It is a coward, because it has no wisdom, so its strength is in its fear, like a man holding a maniac, not daring to let him go.

Slavery is the result of ignorance and fear. The slave is held in bondage by fear and submits to his yoke from fear. This is the way with disease. The sick is the slave; the master opinions, each is afraid of the other. Call them two persons, one, opinions and the other, science. Now when opinion gets the advantage of science, it is like a dog in the manger, it won’t let the ox eat, nor eat itself.

Opinion will not investigate, nor let any one else, lest it should be destroyed; so it holds its victim, when it holds itself by so doing. As I have said, a sick person is a slave, bound and cast into slavery. The disease is his master; the doctor is the medium of opinion and consulted by the man of error.

To illustrate the idea, I will take a case I had a day or two ago. A man came to see me, who was very lame in one of his legs. It was somewhat crooked and very painful in the knee, and he limped very badly. When I sat down, I perceived that the man was laboring under a very bad impression (or master). I said to him, “You are afraid. You have been told that you have a white swelling and that you must keep your leg bandaged and perfectly still. To do that, you must submit to being on your back and remaining perfectly still, till you get well.”

He said all that I told him was true. A physician had told him that very thing a week before, and he felt discouraged. Here you see a man led along like an ox, bowing his head to receive the weight of the yoke. So from fear, he let the doctor bind fetters on his leg to bind him down to the bed, there to be punished for some crime that he never was guilty of committing. Thus he became a slave to his own belief (or fear).

Now what was my mission? It was to loose the man that Satan had bound, and let him go. How did I do it? First by telling him how he got where he was, when telling his feelings. These were the punishment of his belief. So disease is a belief (or sensation); this confines our senses in the belief.

It may be said a child has no belief. A child has fear of the fire when it burns him. No one will dispute that he may not know the cause. Now thought (or a belief) is as real as the fire, and a child is as susceptible to a person’s belief as to anything that comes within its natural senses. So to know the child is to destroy the evil. This is often done through ignorance, more than by science. It is done by our own belief, just as our belief makes us sick. Fear is the beginning of wisdom, for if there were no fear, there would be no development of wisdom. So fear worketh out wisdom, wisdom worketh out love, and love casteth out fear.

I will illustrate. Man is either under one or the other of these two, fear or wisdom. To make it plain, I will suppose a case. Take a person who thinks he has the heart disease. His disease is in his belief; his belief is the master; and his wisdom is the slave. The man of belief holds the child of wisdom, because he is afraid. The child of wisdom is afraid of his tormentor, so each is afraid. But the child of wisdom is not born. It is in the opinion, struggling to be delivered from its earthly bonds. Therefore, it is not wisdom reduced to science, but wisdom in the earthly man (or belief).

Now comes the man of wisdom, who has passed through this new birth and is outside the man of belief. He takes the man in this state of disease and addresses himself to his belief, which is the tyrant that holds the child in bondage, through fear. He convinces the man that the child of wisdom will not injure anyone. So as opinion gets rid of his fear, he looses the bands that bind the wisdom, and the wisdom, not knowing the fear of opinion, is frightened. But as they begin to understand, wisdom assumes its stand, and belief gives way, and science yields up its authority and becomes the servant.

I will separate a sick person, and make him two distinct persons, one superior in physical strength and the other, stronger in spirit (or science). The former is the man of opinion, and being stronger physically, he attacks the small man of wisdom, and by his greater strength, deprives him of his freedom. Each is afraid. The small man is afraid of the animal man, and he is afraid of the scientific man. This is precisely the state of the sick man.

I come to the man of opinions and say, “Why do you enslave this little man?”

He replies, “Because he will injure me, and I hold him in slavery for my own protection.”

I then say to the small man, “What are you afraid of?”

“I fear that his ignorance will never let me go.”

I say, “Do you want to harm him?”

“No,” is the reply of the scientific man.

Then I say to the strong man, “Loose your hold; you shall not be harmed.”

After being convinced, he releases his hold of the scientific man, and each sees that neither wants to injure the other. Now the tables are turned. The brutal man becomes as docile as a lamb, and the child of wisdom leads him by his science. The lion and the lamb lie down together, and a little child shall lead them. The lion is the physical man; the lamb, wisdom; the child, science. This is health and happiness.

P. P. Quimby

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