…and other questions and answers
(1) Christian Science is NOT the same as Scientology – The words may sound similar, but there’s absolutely no connection. Christian Science was founded in the USA in the 19th century, by a deeply Christian woman, Mary Baker Eddy, and is centered on the Bible and the teachings and healings of Christ Jesus,
(2) Christian Science is not Christian – While my “brand” of Christianity may not look exactly like the next guy’s, this doesn’t mean I’m any less “Christian.” To me the ultimate proof of my faith comes down to one question: Am I doing my best to emulate the life of Jesus and to follow in thought and deed what he asked of his disciples – then and now?
(3) Christian Science is not a Bible-based religion – This one always perplexes me since I read the Bible practically every day of the week, as do most of the other Christian Scientists I know. In fact, Mary Baker Eddy, who founded the religion, once described the Bible as her “only textbook.”
(4) Christian Science is a cult – It’s possible that this misconception stems from the fact that Christian Scientists often refer to Mary Baker Eddy in glowing terms. However, one mustn’t confuse admiration with deification. Mrs. Eddy herself once wrote, “Follow me only so far as I follow Christ.”
(5) Christian Science is a “New Thought” or “New Age” religion – While “New Thought” and “New Age” practices both draw on aspects from a variety of philosophical and religious traditions, Christian Science remains a decidedly and exclusively Christian religion, founded for the express purpose of “commemorat[ing] the word and works of [Jesus], which should reinstate primitive Christianity and its lost element of healing” (Church Manual of The First Church of Christ, Scientist).
(6) Christian Scientists don’t like doctors – Just because I haven’t been to a doctor in the last umpteen years doesn’t mean I have anything against them. On the contrary, I have nothing but respect for those who devote their lives to the health and well being of others. For me it’s not about to go a doctor but to rely on a form of health care (i.e. using prayer in lieu of conventional medical treatment) that’s proven to be very effective. I should mention, too, that my church does not forbid me from going to a doctor. That decision is left up to me and me alone.
(7) When Christian Scientists pray, they’re not actually doing anything – When I pray, I’m not pleading with some Being in a far off place who may or may not choose to grant my wish. I’m also not simply “hoping for the best.” Prayer in Christian Science is a deeply contemplative practice. It’s really more about being open mentally to the divine laws of God indicated in the healings we read about in the Bible, which remain available to anyone, anywhere to this very day. This change of thought has the effect of transforming not only my mental state but my physical condition as well.
(8) Christian Scientists are willing to endanger their children – Generally the argument goes something like this: “It’s one thing for an adult to take a risk by relying on prayer for healing, but quite another for them to force that on their kids.” I completely agree. And while I can’t speak for everyone who has ever grown up in a Christian Science household, I can tell you that this was not how I was raised. Christian Science was never forced on me but something I had to figure out on my own. The result was that, even at a very young age, I learned that relying on God for healing isn’t risky at all but immensely practical.
(9) Christian Science teaches that when someone dies it’s “God’s will” – Simply put, Christian Science teaches that it’s never, ever, God’s will when someone suffers or dies.
(10) Christian Science has never really healed anyone – Over the years there have been over 80,000 verified testimonies of healing published in the Church’s various publications – many involving cases that were medically diagnosed, all of which were accomplished through reliance on prayer alone. We’re talking everything from minor ailments to heart disease, tuberculosis, Alzheimer’s, AIDS, and cancer – not to mention my own healing of multiple internal and external injuries. Did this really happen? Just ask the people who’ve been healed.
Thanks to our colleague, Eric Nelson from Northern California, for these clarifications as to what Christian Science is. As he said on his own blog, “Stay tuned for more debunking down the road”…and “If you’d like me to elaborate, or if you’d like to add to the list, feel free to leave a comment below or shoot me an email!