The Truth About “Christian Science”
The basis of “Christian Science” is the proposition that “God is everything and matter has no reality, but is an illusion of mortal mind. Sin, sickness and death have no reality, but are illusions of mortal mind. All evils such as plagues, tornadoes, cyclones, fires, earthquakes and accidents have no reality, but are illusions of mortal mind.”
God is defined as “The great I am, all-knowing, all-seeing, all-acting, all-loving, all-wise, and eternal principle, mind, soul, spirit, love, truth, life, substance, intelligence.” But these words are not intended to convey the idea that God is personal, for Mrs. Eddy, whose writing constitute the Bible of “Christian Science,” says distinctly “The divine Principle, not person, is the father and mother of mind and the universe.” She tells us that “Spirit is God,” “Life is God,” “Truth is God,” “Love is God,” “Spirituality is God,” “The principle of all-harmonious mind-action is God,” “The principle of all-being is God,” “The triune principle of Life, Love and Truth is God.”
Of Pagan Origin.
The fact is that “Christian Science,” while claiming to be Christian, is really pagan in origin and teaching. Pundita Ramabai, a native of India, says: “On my arrival in New York I was told that a new philosophy was being taught in the United States and that it had won many disciples. The philosophy was called Christian Science, and when I asked what its teaching was I recognized it as being the same philosophy that has been taught among my people for four thousand years. It has wrecked millions of lives and caused immeasurable suffering and sorrow in my land, for it is based on selfishness and knows no compassion or sympathy. It means just this, the philosophy of nothingness. You are to view the whole universe as nothing but falsehood. You are to think it does not exist. You do not exist. I do not exist. The birds and the beasts that you see do not exist. When you realize that you have no personality whatever, then you will have attained the highest perfection of what is called ‘Yoga,’ and that gives you liberation, and you are liberated from your body, and you become like him without any personality.”
When Mrs. Eddy declares that matter has no existence, she simply echoes the teaching of pagan philosophy. And when she denies the existence of a personal God, saying that God is all in all, in the sense that He is universal principle, she announces what is known in philosophy as Pantheism, and this, too, is an imported pagan commodity. Jesus Christ revealed God as Creator and Father, a spiritual personality who thinks, loves and wills. “Christian Science” denies the great facts which Jesus Christ and His apostles taught. The angel said to Mary, “Thou shalt call His name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins.” “Christian Science” declares that there is no such thing as sin to be saved from; it is an illusion of mortal mind. Jesus said, “The Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which is lost.” “Christian Science” affirms that nobody is lost, for no one has sinned.
Dr. Thomas J. Hudson, author of the “Law of Psychic Phenomena,” is right in saying that “the Christianity of Christian Science is very different from the Christianity of Christ.” Mrs. Eddy speaks of “the man Jesus,” and then declares that CHRIST is a divine principle and not person. The Holy Spirit is defined as “divine science.” Atonement through the blood of Christ is denied. In a word, as one would expect of any pagan system, the basal teachings of “Christian Science” are anti-Christian and anti-biblical.
Contradicts the Bible.
“Christian Science,” while it claims to reverence the Bible, does not hesitate to contradict the Scriptures or wrest their meaning to suit its own purpose. If the Bible can be wrested so as to favor the statement that matter, sin, sickness and death have no reality, they are so used, but when the Scriptures affirm against this statement, they are flatly contradicted. Mrs. Eddy goes through the first chapter of Genesis and wrests its meaning into the approval of her hallucinations; but when she comes to the second chapter, where it is said that man is made of the dust of the earth, she flatly denies the statement and slanders the Jehovah of Israel by asserting that he is mortal belief and the first great idol.
The Bible says: “If ye then being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father in heaven give good things to them that ask Him” (Matthew 7:11). “Christian Science” contradicts by saying: “The habit of pleading with the divine mind, as one pleads with a human being, perpetuates the belief in God as humanly circumscribed—an error that impedes spiritual growth” (Page 2, “Science and Health” Edition of 1902).
The Bible says: “Whatsoever ye shall ask in my name that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son” (John 14:13). “Christian Science” contradicts by saying: “God is not influenced by man” (page 2).
The Bible says: “Now once in the end of the world hath He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself” (Hebrews 9:26). “Christian Science” contradicts: “One sacrifice, however great, is insufficient to pay the debt of sin” (page 23).
The Bible says: “Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1). “Christian Science” contradicts: “The atonement requires constant self-immolation on the sinner’s part” (page 23).
The Bible says: “Christ both died and rose” (Romans 14:9). “Christian Science” contradicts: “Jesus’ students, not sufficiently advanced to understand their Master’s triumph, did not perform any wonderful works until they saw Him after His crucifixion, and learned that He had not died” (page 45).
The Bible says: “Many believed in His name when they saw the miracles He did” (John 2:23). “Christian Science” contradicts: “Miracles are impossible in science” (page 83).
The Bible says: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). “Christian Science” contradicts: “God never created matter” (page 335).
The Bible says: “Baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19). “Christian Science” contradicts: “The theory of three persons in one God—that is, a personal trinity—suggests heathen gods rather than the ever-present I Am” (page 256).
The Bible says: “God created man” (Genesis 1:27). “Christian Science” contradicts: “Man co-exists with God and the universe” (page 266).
The Bible says: “I go to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2). “Christian Science” contradicts: “Heaven is not a locality” (page 291).
The Bible says: “It is appointed unto men once to die, and after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). “Christian Science” contradicts: “No final judgment awaits mortals” (page 291).
The Bible says: “Abhor that which is evil” (Romans 12:9). “Christian Science” contradicts: “In reality there is no evil” (page 311).
The Bible says: “What is a man profited if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul?” (Matthew 16:26). “Christian Science” contradicts: “It is the sense of sin, and not the sinful soul, which must be lost” (page 311).
The Bible says: “The soul that sinneth it shall die” (Ezekiel 18:4). “Christian Science” contradicts: “Because soul is immortal, soul cannot sin” (page 468).
So we might go through the whole book and we will find that almost every reference to Scriptures has in it a plain contradiction or an evident misinterpretation. And it will be noticed that these contradictions have to do with the fundamentals of Christian faith, though many of the misinterpretations are mere nonsense, given with an air of wisdom, which makes them ludicrous. Take for instance the following on page 338: “The word Adam is from the Hebrew ‘adamah,’ signifying the red color of the ground, dust, nothingness. Divide the word ‘Adam’ into two syllables, and it reads, a dam, or obstruction. This suggests the thought of some fluid, of mortal mind in solution. Here ‘a dam’ is not a mere play upon words, for it means much. It illustrates the separation of man from God, and the obstacle the serpent, sin, would impose between man and the Creator.” Mark Twain at his best never excelled this as a specimen of horse-play joking, while here it is seriously given as a part of a religious system.
The “Glossary” in “Science and Health” would be suitable for the pages of a comic paper; and yet “Christian Scientists” commit it to memory, as if it were valuable knowledge—another confirmation of Dr. Hudson’s saying that they “lack a healthy, protective sense of humor.” In this Glossary, Euphrates (a river) is “divine science, encompassing the universe and man.” Gad (Jacob’s son) is “science, spiritual being understood.” Gihon (river) is “the rights of woman acknowledged morally, civilly and socially.” Hiddekel (river) is “divine science, understood and acknowledged. Holy Ghost (which is the next word after Hiddekel, (river) is also “divine science; the developments of eternal life;” so that, according to the geometrical axiom, “things which are equal to the same thing equal each other,” the river Hiddekel is the Holy Ghost. Jerusalem is “mortal belief and knowledge, obtained from the five corporeal senses.” Mother is “God.” New Jerusalem is “divine science.” Purse is “laying up treasures in matter; error”—and according to this definition Mrs. Eddy has quite a large amount of “error” in the shape of treasures laid up in matter. Her weekly bank deposits, I hear, are enormous.
“Christian Science” is as unscientific as it is anti-biblical and anti-Christian. It denies the first principles of science. Science is “knowledge gained and verified by exact observation,” and one thing which exact observation verifies, by the experience of all, is that matter exists and there are various kinds of matter. “Christian Science” shuts its eyes and declares that God is everything, while matter is an illusion of mortal mind. It goes on building its churches out of material brick, stone and iron, while it denies the existence of brick, stone and iron. It refuses the testimony of senses, through which we gain scientific knowledge, and then labels itself a science.
Sets Premium Upon Ignorance.
“Christian Science” while it claims to be progressive, really sets a premium upon ignorance. Mrs. Eddy says a “Christian Scientist” never gives medicine, never recommends hygiene. Diet and exercise are declared to be of no importance. Knowledge is power simply for evil. Boards of health are unnecessary, and are recognized by “Christian Science” only as a concession to public sentiment. A city, if the thought of “Christian Science” prevails, need pay no attention to sewerage or cleansing the streets. Filth would be as healthy as flowers. The advance which the world has made in knowledge of sanitary science is really retrogression. The microbes which produce cholera, yellow fever and bubonic plague are illusions of mortal mind. The sewers that germinate these microbes are also illusions. Pay no attention to filth or microbes.
Back to Dark Ages.
If the vagaries of “Christian Science” were really accepted and acted out, it would drive the world back into the dark ages and increase the sufferings of humanity a hundred fold. Blot out all knowledge of sanitation, of anesthetics, of surgical skill, of the human body, and you have multiplied the pain which humanity would be compelled to endure. Pundita Ramabai, in the article from which I have quoted, asks, “What has this philosophy done for India? A tree is judged by its fruits. Americans are a people of some sympathy. Everything is real. You feel that when other people are starving you ought to give them something to eat. But in India they do not feel any sympathy for others. In our late famine our philosophers had no feeling for the sufferers; they did not help the needy. Why should they help when they claimed that the suffering was not real, neither were the dying children real? The first result of this philosophy is the basest cruelty, for sufferers no compassion, but supreme egoism.”
As seen by its fruits, “Christian Science” is a cult of supreme selfishness. It fosters the spirit that seeks wealth for the purpose of spending it in self-indulgence. If the sick want to be cured they must come with the cash, for poverty is an illusion of mortal mind which cannot move hearts to pity. “Christian Scientists” lavish their wealth upon buildings of stone and adorn them, that they may gratify their own aesthetic tastes. And why not? Squalid poverty, with its cry of sick children in fetid atmospheres, dying for the lack of an outing in the country, has no existence. The sickness, the pain, the impure atmosphere and the dying child are illusions of the mortal mind. Can you think of a system better calculated to dry up the fountain of human kindness? If it had full sway would it not change the garden of a Christian country into the desert of paganized India?
Aside from its misinterpretations and wrestings of Scripture “Christian Science” teaches things which in this age of enlightenment, thinking, sensible people should discard as too silly for consideration. Here are some specimens: “It is morally wrong to examine the body in order to ascertain if we are in health;” “A scientist knows that there can be no hereditary disease;” “A bunion would produce insanity as perceptible as that produced by congestion of brain, were it not that mortal mind calls the bunion an unconscious portion of the body. Reverse this belief and the result will be different;” “You say or think, because you have partaken of salt fish that you must be thirsty, and you are thirsty accordingly, while the opposite belief results.” If “Christian Scientists” follow the teachings of Mrs. Eddy, they cannot consistently take a bath in water. They must bathe only in mind. “Bathing and rubbing,” she says, “to alter the secretions or to remove unhealthy exhalations from the cuticle, receive a useful rebuke from Christian healing.” Again, “we need a clean body and a clean mind, a body rendered pure by mind, not matter. One says, ‘I take good care of my body.’ No doubt he attends to it with as much care as he would the grooming of a horse, and possibly the animal sensation of scrubbing has more meaning to such a man than the pure and exalted influence of mind, but the Scientist takes the best care of his body when he leaves it most out of his thought.” “The daily ablutions of an infant are no more natural or necessary than it would be to take a fish out of water once a day and cover it with dirt, in order to make it thrive more vigorously thereafter in its native element.” In these words “Christian Science” re-states the position of the Middle Ages, when devotion and dirt went together, when men were willing to make meditation upon the good to take the place of washing their bodies. If “Christian Scientists” practice daily ablutions, they do it because they inconsistently reject the teachings that such things are unnecessary. They need only to bathe themselves in the universal mind. And all this goes to confirm the saying of Mrs. Eddy on another page: “For the sake of the senses, the less a man knows the better for him.”
“Christian Science” professes to heal the body by asserting that all diseases are illusions of mortal mind, while the little real healing it does is accomplished by simple and well-known mental processes. Many sick people get well without medicine, because nature constantly asserts itself, and by its own vitality casts out the germs of the disease. Some diseases are purely imaginative, and all the patient needs for recovery is to be convinced that he is not sick. These are mostly nervous diseases. A woman went to a New York hospital to be treated for a tumor. One minute after the ether was taken, all symptoms of the tumor disappeared. No operation was necessary. It was simply a case of hysteria. If she had been told that there was nothing the matter with her, and had believed it, such belief would have cured her. When a person who imagines he has a disease is informed that he is well, and he believes it, of course he will recover. And real physical diseases are sometimes produced by mental disorders. Remove the mental cause, give the patient a quiet mind, and the physical malady will disappear.
Physicians sometimes seek to give the patient a quiet mind by administering what appears to be medicine, and this acts like a charm. Mrs. Eddy acknowledges that she cured a patient of typhoid fever by administering every three hours a teaspoonful of water, with so small an amount of table salt in it that its saline property could not be detected; and, as before stated, she gives an instance in which she cured real disease with unmedicated pills. If she had kept to the salt mixture and the unmedicated pills, without trying to establish a religion with them, she would have done more good and less harm in the world.
Sir Humphrey Davy tells us that he cured a patient of fever by means of a thermometer. He put the thermometer under the tongue for the purpose of testing the temperature, and thinking the doctor was treating him, the patient remarked, “I feel better.” The thermometer was left, and by using it several days the patient entirely recovered. Thousands of people in the time of Charles II believed that they were cured of scrofula by the touch of the king. William III refused to be bothered by such folly, and the excitement caused by his refusal, as Macaulay informs us, almost made a revolution.
Immoral in Tendency.
To be faithful, it must be said that the teachings of “Christian Science” are immoral in their tendencies. If sin does not exist there is no guilt, and if there is no guilt there is no condemnation for the sinner, and he may, of course, do what is known as sinning, as much as he pleases without bringing guilt upon himself. If there is no such thing as lying, to tell what is known as a lie does not impose guilt, and where there is no guilt there is liberty to lie. If there is no such things as stealing, to commit what is known as theft imposes no guilt, and where there is no guilt there is liberty to steal. And so you may run through the whole catalogue of sins. The claim that sin has no existence is a refuge for the sinner whose pleasure or profit would lead him to commit any number of iniquities.
Dr. C.P. Wolcott, in his little book entitled “What is Christian Science?” does not put the case too strongly when he says, “Such laxity of doctrine may rightly be taken by the evil-minded as an excuse for rushing into all sorts of depravity, since they are assured that God has no knowledge of sin and does not punish the sinner, and sin, moreover, is a phantom and a dream within a dream which cannot affect the soul nor cause it to lose its hold upon eternal life.” Such teaching breaks down the barriers of restraint around sinners and gives them permission to sin as much as they please. “Christian Scientists” may be led by a love of truth to tell the truth, by a love of chastity to be chaste, and by a love of honesty to be honest; but if they are truthful, chaste and honest, it is not by means of, but in spite of, the illusion that lying, unchastity and dishonesty have no existence.
“Christian Science” hallucinations produce unreality in character. Hypocrisy is simply acting a part; and no man can write with a material pen “that there is no such thing as matter,” or can, while pain racks the body, assert “there is no such thing as pain,” or while a corpse lies before him declare “there is no such thing as death,” without acting a part. In “Science and Health” we read, “If delusion says, ‘I have lost my memory,’ you must contradict it. No faculty is lost.” Here are directions for denying what you know to be a fact. Again, “If a child says, ‘I am hurt,’ though the bleeding gash may be there, the mother must reply, ‘Oh nonsense, you are not hurt, you only think you are.’” “Sight, hearing, and all the senses of man are eternal, they cannot be lost,”—which means that a blind man must declare that he is not blind, a deaf man must assert that he is not deaf. In another place this Bible of “Christian Science” says, “Man cannot depart from holiness,” and therefore when he sins he must assert there is no such thing as sin. Now, I submit there never was made a better formula for manufacturing hypocrites. Let one continue to declare what he knows to be false, and act his part accordingly for a few years, and he has formed a habit of hypocrisy which will become a second nature.
A Boston press agent wrote, “While in our prayers we admit no other power but God, yet in our outward dealings in the flesh we are obliged to recognize the claims of matter and deport ourselves accordingly,”—which means that even in relation to what he calls God and prayer one must act a part. When he thinks of God he must pretend that God is everything, but when he turns to the actual affairs of life he must recognize that what he pretended in thinking of God is not true, that matter, sickness, sin and death are real, and he must deport himself accordingly. In other words, he must be a genuine hypocrite in the most sacred sphere of a man’s existence, his dealings with God and the world about him.
I can wish nothing better for our “Christian Science” friends than that they should turn from their vagaries to the personal God of the Bible, who in answer to prayer, heals the sick with or without remedies as He may please; to the Saviour of Calvary, personal, loving sympathetic and powerful, whose death atoned for sin and whose resurrection placed the seal of heaven upon that atonement; to the Holy Spirit, the personal Comforter, who abides with us and through the atonement of Christ will make us triumph over sin and death.