The New Thought Movement is a spiritual, non-denominational, metaphysical movement that explores the basic concepts, such as “being,” “divinity,” “oneness,” “truth,” “goodness,” “nature of man,” “God,” and “the universe.”
New Thought is not new at all. It is actually ancient in origin. Though the momentum and rapid growth of New Thought occurred in the 1800s, its roots date back to Plato and Aristotle when they debated the moral merits of human nature and the divinity of each individual.
Philo and Origen were metaphysical thinkers from the first and second centuries AD. Philo believed in the mystical communion with God and that there was no intermediary between man and God. Man had direct and personal access to God. Origen stated that to know Jesus was to know what God was like, and he believed that trials and tribulations were not punishment from a wrathful God but occurred in one’s life as a series of natural consequences to teach, purify and uplift a person in their quest for holiness. Origen believed every person would be reconciled to God with no judgment. Dionysius in the fifth century stated that evil did not exist, and he implied that man was divine. Other writers and philosophers expanded metaphysical ideas throughout the centuries.
In the 13th century, Meister Eckhart expanded Thomas Aquinas’ writings through praying and preaching. Eckhart described God as having a personal investment in humans, wanting to bring people to know Him. Eckhart believed Good (God) was omnipotent and all pervasive and that humans can know God because they are one with God and they have direct communication with God.
In the 1800s a steady stream of new thought ideas was promulgated. George Hegel believed there was one absolute omnipresent power, and that this Divine Power creates reality. It was a well-received idea that focused on the power of thought and its manifestation into form. This has become a basic belief in the New Thought movement. Hegel’s work was significant because it influenced the thought of many future New Thought pioneers.
In the mid-1800s, Ralph Waldo Emerson’s and Theodore Parker’s work catapulted the New Thought Movement. Emerson denied Jesus Christ’s unique divinity and saw Jesus as the Way Shower for humanity realizing its oneness with God. Emerson wrote that anyone who developed their Christ nature could perform miracles. While Emerson was a quiet, unassuming man, Theodore Parker was a crusader who fought against slavery and advocated for women’s rights. Both men brought this new way of thinking and acting into the public eye in a dynamic and newsworthy manner. Both Emerson and Parker championed the right of every person to become the person that God intended them to be.
Phineas Quimby took the message of New Thought into the practical realm by demonstrating its effectiveness through spiritual/mental healing. Quimby healed Mary Baker Eddy. She subsequently founded Christian Science and taught the healing method to others, including Emma Curtis Hopkins. Hopkins was such a profound teacher that she was dubbed the “Teacher of Teachers.” Her teaching method influenced all of the people who would later establish their own New Thought movements: Melinda Cramer and Nona Brooks (who co-founded Divine Science); Ernest Holmes (who founded Religious Science) and Charles and Myrtle Fillmore (who co-founded Unity).
The Unity Church takes a positive and practical approach to Christianity based on the teachings of Jesus Christ and the power of prayer. It honors the universal truths in all religions and respects each individual’s right to choose their own spiritual path. Everyone is welcome to attend Unity and all are loved unconditionally.