What type of church is Oakland Center for Spiritual Living?
We are a Religious Science organization, and our philosophy is based on Science of Mind (SOM) teachings. Religious Science was founded in 1927 by Ernest Holmes (1887–1960) and is a religious movement within the New Thought movement. Religious Science is a spiritual philosophy for modern times. It correlates the laws of science, the opinions of philosophy, and the revelations of religion in a set of simple principles that can be practiced in every area of daily life. We believe that all beings are expressions of Infinite Intelligence, also known as Spirit, God, or the One Mind. This God interpenetrates every part of nature, and timelessly extends beyond as well. We believe that thought is creative, and people can learn to more consciously create their own experience and achieve more fulfilling lives through a process called spiritual mind treatment, or affirmative prayer.
Congregants who wish to become official members of Oakland Center of Spiritual Living must first learn the fundamentals of the Science of Mind teachings, either by completing a three-session Quick Start class or the more comprehensive New Foundations class. These classes are offered 2-3 times per year. (Click here to see when classes are offered). New members are welcomed into our spiritual community twice each year during a special ceremony held during Sunday services. More information on becoming a Member.
The very essence of the teaching is that our power is always there for us, and is always found by simply turning within and acknowledging the Divine Presence within us, at the very center of our being. Science of Mind teaches us to clear away and remove any sense of doubt, and to heal our minds and hearts of any discord, fear, outdated ideas, guilt, or any sense of lack or limitation we might have about ourselves, our lives, our circumstances, or life in general. As our consciousness expands, we know that we are never alone, that the indwelling presence of God/Spirit is always right there with us. We learn to acknowledge and accept this divine connection.
We consider ourselves to be an open denomination. We don’t want any of our congregants to give up any of their previous religious teachings or faiths. We suggest that people keep Sacred anything that works for them, be it Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, or any other beliefs. In fact, there are many segments of these pathways in what we believe. We teach that there are many paths to the sacred, and many ways to serve and learn more about Spirit/God.
In Religious Science, Christ is viewed as a universal principle rather than a person. It is the principle of God expressing through humanity. We sometimes quote from the Bible, we reference scripture, and we believe the Jesus was a master teacher. We teach that he was fully aware of his divine connection to God; we believe that his was what we now call an “enlightened soul.” We teach that Jesus was not a great exception, but rather a great example of the Divine Principle in mankind. We believe that potential for this Divine expression lies within each of us.
Actually, Religious Science and the Science of Mind teaching is now over 80 years old. It is a spiritual pathway that developed in America as part of the New Thought movement. At its roots is a collection of ancient teachings, of science, of philosophy, of the world’s religions and faith practices.
Because we believe in the omnipresence of God/Spirit, we believe that nothing else is out there—or in here—to do us harm. A sin is not a thing; rather it is an activity that produces an undesirable effect in our lives. If we miss the mark or make a mistake, we experience the results; this is simply the law of cause and effect. A change or correction rights the error, and we have learned from the experience. Further, we believe that heaven and hell are states of consciousness. We trust in faith that all Spirit/God could ever want for us is love, harmony, health—all good. We may experience the mental attributes of a “hellish day” or have a “heavenly” experience, but again these are states of mind.
Religious Science teaches the eternality of life. It accepts that our physical bodies operate within a natural cycle of birth and death. However, even though we may have a body, we are not just our body. What we really are is the Life that animates our body, and that Life is infinite and immortal. As we become increasing identified with our divine and eternal nature, our underlying fear of death begins to dissolve and our experience of life become more joyous.
Religious Science neither endorses nor rejects any particular theory or concept of reincarnation. Since life is eternal, there are an unlimited number of possibilities for its evolvement after the experience of physical death. In Religious Science, we accept the on-goingness of life and we deal with what is before us in the present moment.
No. Religious Science should never be confused with Scientology.
No. Religious Science teaches that each individual has the power over and the responsibility for his or her own life. Religious Science highly discourages the following of or dependence upon any one person, including founder Ernest Holmes or any present ministers or teachers. Religious Science challenges people to think for themselves and only believe what rings true for them. One must look into one's own heart for truth.
No. Ernest Holmes studied with many of the spiritual leaders of his time, including Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian Science. Religious Science attracts many from the Christian Science tradition.