New Thought holds that God is everywhere, spirit is the totality of real things,
our true self is divine, divine thought is a force for good,
sickness originates in the mind and "right thinking" has a healing effect.
I found New Thought through Emmet Fox and I found Emmet Fox through Alcoholics Anonymous.
Early in my sobriety I was sitting next to Jack at a meeting. Jack was an old coot. A coot, according to the dictionary is a foolish or eccentric person, typically an old man. Jack was an old man for sure, but eccentric would be too prosaic a term for his unique sartorial style. Definitely, he was no fool. I was quite fond of Jack and his smoking buddy, Keith. Keith, my sponsor, had taken up smoking little, cigarette-style cigars when he stopped drinking, declaring whenever this obvious poor health choice was questioned, “I’m willing to give up booze, but I’ll be damned if I’m going through the rest of my life with no vices.” I often pointed out on these occasions that I would have picked fornication if I had a choice of vices, which sent Jack into laughing/coughing spasms and led Keith to mutter incomprehensibly about “newbies with . . . no respect for . . .” The two smoking old geezers had adopted me. I guess I really had 2 sponsors or was being co-sponsored. It was no surprise therefore, that at this particular meeting after we had all recited the Serenity Prayer in unison, Jack whispered to me, “You know there’s another verse to that prayer.” “There is?” I said. “What is it?” “I don’t know,” said Jack with an expression on his face that seemed to say “why are you asking me?”
Well, I had to know. After the meeting I asked other members if they knew the second verse to the Serenity Prayer and several of them said they had no idea that there was one. And then a guy who had an obvious self-esteem problem must have overheard me question the others, said when I asked, “Yeah, I know that there’s a second verse, I just don’t know what it is.”
I ended up at my local library. In the drawer, you know those small, long drawers full of cards. I’m not sure it’s because I’m really old or my local library was antiquated, but I was looking in a wooden drawer and I found a card for a book called the Serenity Prayer by Susan Cheever. I jotted down the title and the numbers on a scrap of paper and set out for the stacks. As I reached for the large, white, hardbound book, I noticed a small tattered paperback almost hidden beneath the Serenity Prayer. It was the Sermon On the Mount by Emmet Fox. On the first few pages I read the following:
“The first thing that we have to realize is a fact of fundamental importance, because it means breaking away from all the ordinary prepossessions of orthodoxy. The plain fact is that Jesus taught no theology whatsoever. His teaching is entirely spiritual or metaphysical. Historical Christianity, unfortunately, has largely concerned itself with theological and doctrinal questions which, strange to say, have no part whatever in the Gospel teaching. It will startle many good people to learn that all the doctrines and theologies of the churches are human inventions built up by their authors out of their own mentalities, and foisted upon the Bible from the outside; but such is the case. There is absolutely no system of theology or doctrine to be found in the Bible; it simply is not there.
Men built up absurd and very horrible fables about a limited and man-like God who conducted his universe very much as a rather ignorant and barbarous prince might conduct the affairs of a small Oriental kingdom. All sorts of human weaknesses, such as vanity, fickleness and spite were attributed to this being. Then a far fetched and very inconsistent legend was built up concerning original sin, vicarious blood atonement, infinite punishment for finite transgressions; and, in certain cases, an unutterably horrible doctrine of predestination to eternal torment, or eternal bliss was added. Now, no such theory as this is taught in the Bible. If it were the object of the Bible to teach it, it would be clearly stated in a straightforward manner in some chapter or other; but it is not.”
Emmet Fox, Sermon on the Mount, pg. 3-4