WHAT IS THE
By Rev. Dr. L. Rumble M.S.C.
A.C.T.S. No. 1302 (1959)
The religion known as 'Christian Science' has grown during the 1950's at a rate, in America, England, Australia, and other English-speaking countries, which establishes its claim to the attention of all interested in the problem of religious Truth. It is even claimed by Christian Scientists that somewhere or other in this world, during 1958, a new church was opened every four days. And this claim alone makes a study of their teachings and of the credentials of their religion more than worth while. Above all is such a study of interest when Christian Science is compared with the Catholic religion, for it makes an appeal to miracles such as those which the Catholic Church is accustomed to offer as part of the evidence of her truth. This booklet, however, is not dictated by an outlook specifically Catholic, but is based on the evidence from Scripture, history, and reason, which is valid for Catholic and non-Catholic alike. The questions dealt with are those which have been submitted both at public lectures on religion, and to a popular radio-quiz session during the past sixteen years since 1942.
With Thanks to the
RADIO REPLIES PRESS SOCIETY
1. Why do people who profess to be Christians object to Christian Science?
Because they know that, despite its name, Christian Science is a denial of the religion of Christ. The religion of Christ, according to the Bible, is the one, true, complete, and final revelation of God to man. Christian Science claims to be another and further revelation given by God to Mrs. Eddy, higher and better than that given us by Christ Himself. Such a denial of the fulness of the Christian Faith as given by Christ no loyal Christian can accept.
2. Does not Christian Science claim to explain the real meaning of Christianity ?
It makes that claim. But, whilst it uses terms that are Christian, it does not use those terms in a truly Christian sense at all. It uses them to express other doctrines altogether. The Christian religion teaches that Christ is the Eternal Son of God who became man for our salvation, who suffered death on the Cross to expiate our sins, who rose from the dead and ascended into Heaven, having established His Church to teach all nations in His name till the end of the world. All that is denied by Christian Science.
3. The fact is that people do become Christian Scientists without abandoning their belief in Christianity.
Such people may still profess belief in Christianity, but they do not believe in Christianity as it really is. Christianity and Christian Science are two utterly different religions, in origin, beliefs, practice, and purpose. No one can actually belong simultaneously to both.
4. What is your estimate of Christian Science?
I would describe it as an illogical and self-contradictory idealistic philosophy clothed in religious garments by Mrs. Eddy, and offered to the world as a system of drugless healing and the remedy for all earthly ills. It is but one more of the numerous humanly-invented cults, ranking with Mormonism, Spiritualism, Dowieism, Christadelphians, Witnesses of Jehovah, Seventh Day Adventists, and other similar religions.
5. Those other religions were not revelations from God.
Their authors claimed that they were. And Mrs. Eddy's claim is no better than theirs. It is true that she did make the claim. In her book, "Science and Health, with Key to the Scriptures", p. 107, she writes, "God has been graciously preparing me during many years for the reception of this final revelation of the absolute divine Principle of scientific mental healing." In the Christian Science "Journal," of January 1901, she wrote, "I should blush to write of 'Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures' as I have, were it of human origin, and I, apart from God, its author; but I was only a scribe echoing the harmonies of heaven in divine metaphysics, and cannot be super-modest of the Christian Science text-book." But we have only Mrs. Eddy's word for it that God revealed to her what she wrote. The whole thing rests on faith in Mrs. Eddy, not only without evidence, but against all the evidence which is available.
6. What evidence can you produce that God did not reveal to her all that she wrote in her book "Science and Health, with Key to the Scriptures"?
Firstly, there is abundant evidence that she borrowed many of her ideas, even word for word, from Phineas Quimby, an exponent of mental healing to whom she went for treatment in her own sickness. Quimby taught her that human ills have no real existence, and are to be cured not by medicine but by mind-control. She benefited by his treatment, adopted his theories, and later built her religion around them. Had her book on the subject, Science and Health, no human author, but owed its origin to divine revelation, why had it to be rewritten, altered, taken from, and added to, again and again, as was the case? In 1885, she even employed the Rev. James Henry Wiggin, a retired Unitarian minister, to edit her book, correcting her bad grammar, and eliminating the more glaring absurdities. He himself said that his chief concern was "to keep Mrs. Eddy from making herself ridiculous." To ask people to regard such a book as divinely revealed, even apart from its contents, is demanding more than reason will permit.
7. How is anyone to know whether another person's claims to a revelation from God are justified or not? Isn't there always a maybe?
There are certain tests by which we can at least be sure that a supposed revelation is not from God. Is the person claiming to give such a revelation to mankind the type of person God would choose as His agent in revealing the truth? Is the doctrine itself such as God would reveal? Does the doctrine conflict with sane reason, or with established scientific facts? Are there any extraordinary signs which can truly be called miracles wrought by God to confirm the revelation as His? Will the new religion, if applied in practice, result in the good both of individuals and of society? Christian Science can pass none of these tests.
8. Why bother about the person God chooses as His instrument ?
Christ could confidently ask, "Which of you can convince me of sin?" He offered His life as an open book, challenging His very enemies. And if a man or woman offers the public a new religion in the name of God, he or she must be prepared to have his or her life regarded as public property. Moreover, without any need of denying that the claimant possesses some, or even many virtues, the seeker for truth has the right to look for any signs which ought not to be in the life of a prophet of Almighty God. People who manifest an unbalanced mind, or a disregard for the elementary rules of honesty and veracity, are not types such as God would choose for so vital a mission to mankind.
9. No one can say that Mrs. Eddy did not live an edifying life. She is idealized by her followers.
It may be true that she is idealized by her followers. But the real Mrs. Eddy does not correspond with their ideal. Let us glance at her life. She was born Mary Baker in 1821, and brought up as a Congregationalist. She was a high-strung child, of a very nervous temperament. Arguments with her father about religion when she was but twelve often reduced her to a bed of illness, and on one occasion her mother cured her by quiet mental suggestion where the doctor had failed.
At the same age of twelve, she says that she refuted the Elders in the Congregational Church at Tilton, New Hampshire, but records show that she was not connected with that Church until the age of seventeen. She declares that her brother Albert taught her Hebrew, Greek, and Latin; but he entered college when she was nine, residing away from home, and left home for good when she was only thirteen. She, who claimed to teach truth, had no particular love for that virtue, as we shall see again in a moment.
In 1843 she married a Colonel Glover, who died of fever six months later. After his death a son was born whom she disliked intensely, to the expressed disgust of her relatives. She could not bear the child near her, and as a matter of fact, did not see him nor wish to see him from the age of six until he was thirty-four - a period of twenty-eight years. As a mother she was not a success, and lacked those gentler traits which most become the noblest of women.
In 1853 she married a dentist named Daniel Patterson, but later divorced him for desertion and infidelity.
In 1862 ill-health and neurasthenia drove her to consult a Dr. Phineas Quimby, who told her that he did not believe in drugs, but relied on correcting mental error and supplanting it by truth. He sent her into a mesmeric sleep, and she recovered consciousness cured. Mrs. Patterson congratulated him, and told him that his mesmerism had not cured her, but his deep understanding of the Truth brought by Christ.
The teachings and practices of Dr. Quimby she later developed into her own system of religious metaphysics. Yet she wrote in after years, "It was after Quimby's death that I discovered in 1866 the momentous facts relating to mind and its superiority over matter, and named my discovery Christian Science." If there was one thing she learned from Dr. Quimby it was the doctrine of the superiority of mind over matter, yet she insisted, after Quimby's death, that he had never mentioned mental healing to her! She even tried to persuade a Mrs. Sarah Crosby to swear that "Dr. Quimby had learned his thoughts and language from Mrs. Eddy." Mrs. Crosby rightly refused to sanction this untruth.
In 1866 Mrs. Patterson fell on the ice at Lynn, Mass., and was "miraculously" cured of her injuries. This is the basic miracle of Christian Science, and has acquired the title of "The Miracle Fall at Lynn." According to her account, "Dr. Cushing found her insensible, suffering from severe internal injuries, inducing spasms and internal sufferings." She was removed in a very critical condition. "Dr. Cushing pronounced my injury incurable, and that I could not survive three days." Dr. Cushing was still living in 1907, and when consulted about this statement remarked, "I never made any such statement. I found her very nervous, partly unconscious, semi-hysterical, and complaining of severe pain in the back of the head and neck. I treated her, and was not surprised at her recovery. At the time there was no talk of a miracle cure."
After her cure, she began to teach her Christian Science methods, charging three hundred dollars for seven lessons. "I was led to name three hundred dollars," she writes, "by a strange Providence. God has shown me in multitudinous ways the wisdom of this decision." She died leaving nearly three million dollars in 1910. [What was the average wage in 1910, let alone in 1866?]
In 1875 she embodied her teachings in a text-book, "Science and Health, with Key to the Scriptures." A year later she founded the first Christian Science Association.
In 1877 she married a Mr. Asa Gilbert Eddy, an agent for sewing-machines, and conferred upon him the title of Doctor, thus becoming Mrs. Dr. Eddy. Though she was fifty-six, the marriage license records her age as forty.
For over thirty more years she worked on with incredible energy. The death of Mr. Eddy in 1882 was a sore trial to the Church. How could he fall ill? And why could not Mrs. Eddy herself cure him? Yet fall ill he did, and Mrs. Eddy called in Dr. Noyes, one of the leading physicians of Boston. He diagnosed heart disease. Mrs. Eddy denied it, and said that he was poisoned by arsenic, caused by the evil minds of enemies. Dr. Eddy died. A post-mortem examination showed valvular trouble of the heart, and no trace of arsenic. Mrs. Eddy denied even this finding, and said that Dr. Eddy had assured her that he could see it through, and that she, being busy, had allowed him to try, awaking to the danger when it was too late.
Despite her doctrine that there is no death, Mrs. Eddy herself died in 1910. Not her life, but her death, detached her from her three million very material dollars; her ideal of truth seems wanting; she lacked human sympathy in a marked degree; whilst her spirit of humility is strangely absent in her written estimate of herself in her book "Retrospection and Introspection", "No one can take the place of the Virgin Mary; the place of Jesus Christ; the place of the author of Science and Health - the discoverer of Christian Science." p. 70.
Mr. H. A. L. Fisher, Warden of New College, Oxford, in his book "Our New Religion," sums up her life as follows, "She was a sincere, though quite uncritical, student of the Bible; the wife of three husbands, who wrote a Best Seller . . . and died leaving nearly three million dollars, all made out of religion."
10. Is what Mrs. Eddy said and did so very important?
It is, because Christian Science does not exist apart from her. She identifies it with herself. She demanded a faith in herself equal to one's faith in Christ, and a belief in her book equal to a Christian's belief in the Bible. To lose faith in her is to lose faith in her religious system, just as to lose faith in Christ is to lose faith in the Christian religion. She was no St. John the Baptist, who said of Christ, "He must increase", and of himself, "I must decrease." She provided that she herself would forever hold the first place wherever Christian Science might be established. She forbade anyone to preach in the Church, insisting that only passages from the Bible and from Science and Health be read, without any comment or explanation other than her own; and that each time her name must be announced as the author of the latter book. "Wherever a Church of Christian Science is established", she wrote, "its Pastor is the Bible and my Book." Miscellaneous Writings, 1897, p. 383.
11. Such a belief in her mission does not necessarily cast a reflection on her character.
It would be a self-deception, if she were sincere, amounting to mental-derangement. And that she was not normal in many ways, however sane in some things, fits in with her whole history. She was a neurasthenic from childhood, and grew into a vain, loquacious, untruthful, domineering and avaricious woman.
Quite early in her career, as Mrs. Glover, she went to stay with a Mr. and Mrs. Wentworth, and tried unsuccessfully to persuade the latter to abandon her husband in order to travel about with her practising the Quimby treatment. Upset by her failure, she would pound on the floor above the room of Mr. Wentworth, who was ill, in order to annoy him; and she wrecked her apartment to give further vent to her anger before leaving.
In 1870 Richard Kennedy, a former student of hers, entered into partnership with her, putting into practice the mental healing of which she taught the theory. After two years, tired of her jealous and exacting ways, he left her and set up for himself. She bitterly denounced him as practising "malicious mesmerism."
In 1879 she organized the First Church of Christ Scientist, in Boston, with herself as pastor, only to be deserted by many followers who accused her of "bad temper, love of money, and hypocrisy."
According to her, all her opponents were evil people guilty of "malicious animal magnetism." Her continual talk of Love was rather a mockery in the light of her bitterness towards, and hatred of, all who differed from her.
And when she herself in the end felt that death was inevitable, she exacted on oath from one of her followers, a Mr. Dickey, that after her death he would swear that she had been "mentally murdered." The death certificate declares that she died of pneumonia. But she wanted to keep up the pretence, if possible, that she was not subject to any merely natural death as others.
These things, and many other episodes in her life, make it impossible to rank her with the Prophets and Apostles, and it is blasphemy to compare her with Christ.
12. Even if she did not live up to her own teachings, her basic philosophy could be quite sound.
It is true that the value of her philosophy is not dependent upon her having lived up to it. It is possible for one who does the wrong thing to teach the right thing. But let us look at her philosophy in itself. She began by denying the reality of matter. "There is no life, truth, intelligence, or substance in matter," she declares. "All is Infinite Mind." Whence, then, comes matter, of whose existence men are so firmly convinced? It is "an erroneous belief of mortal mind." What is mortal mind? "Mortal mind is nothing." Then does "nothing" produce at least a "real" erroneous belief? She has no answer to that. Yet on this flimsy basis she argues that sin and suffering have no real existence, and can be banished by a process of "right-thinking." "Obesity," she declared, "is an adipose belief." [a fatty belief!] How the weighing machine is affected by that belief she does not explain. "We have no evidence of food sustaining life except a false evidence," she asserts. History does not record that she neglected her own meals.
13. Do you deny that mental healing is a science?
No. For, within certain limits, there is a science of mental healing. Every psychiatrist knows that. But Mrs. Eddy went far beyond the defined limits of reliable mental healing, and positively rejected science. Science depends on the reality of phenomena which Mrs. Eddy declares to be unreal and non-existent. For her, since they suppose matter which is unreal, anatomy and physiology are absurd. She regards all medical and surgical science, not only as worthless, but as positively evil. She denies the validity of the established laws of science, and her teachings are both unreasonable and dangerous. In her so-called science, there are no breakages, no dislocations, no disease or sickness. Her theories of the unreality of matter would mean that a non-existent thermometer would register a non-existent temperature in a non-existent body! And over-credulous adherents of Christian Science, rather than invoke the aid of medical science, have needlessly exposed their relatives and friends to suffering, even to death. There is not a genuine scientist in the world who would not brand her system of "Christian Science" as the very embodiment of the unscientific.
14. You have the problem of reconciling suffering with the existence of a good God. But Mrs. Eddy shows us that there is no such problem. If pain and suffering are not real at all, it's only a question of realizing this truth.
Both the existence of a good God, and the existence of suffering, are facts. They are not, therefore, incompatible, even though we may not see completely how to reconcile them both. But to deny the existence of God, as does the atheist; or to deny the existence of suffering, as does the Christian Scientist, is to shirk the problem, not to solve it. When Mrs. Eddy herself had to have a tooth out, she gladly availed herself of an anaesthetic to deaden the pain and spare herself unnecessary suffering. Ridiculed for her inconsistency, she explained that the dentist's belief in the drug employed was a mental force which combined with her own to produce a painless extraction!
15. The idea that suffering cannot be helped, and that we should be glad to suffer with Christ, is simply defeatism. Christian Science teaches us that it is our own fault if we suffer, and urges us to overcome ourselves.
The very opposite is the case. Christian Science urges us, not to endure, but to escape suffering. But its theories are both futile and harmful. The idea that suffering is unreal, a mental mistake, and that people wrongly think they are suffering, violates common sense, leaves people suffering unnecessarily, and dries up the well-springs of human sympathy. Genuine Christians refuse to deny the reality of suffering. But they say that love of God will give peace in the midst of suffering, and that this alone can do so. Genuine love of God always means happiness. It does not always mean pleasure. It is as much at home with pain as with pleasure, for it proves itself by self-sacrifice. Christians see the love of Christ choosing great suffering for them on the Cross, and their love for Him makes them glad to share in His sufferings, blending their pain with His. And that gives the peace of Christ in their souls, a peace the world can neither give nor take away from them.
16. The reason why you cannot accept Mrs. Eddy's explanation is because, by your theological training, you are taught to look for the evil in mankind.
That is not true. Without any theological training, all men with common sense know that moral and physical evils are a reality in this world. Training in philosophy teaches that moral and physical evils are a negation of the good, presuppose the good, and can be explained only as the absence of a good that should be present, but is not. Training in theology teaches one to look, not for the evil in mankind, but, admitting it, for the principles by which it can be reconciled with God's Providence, for the lessons we ourselves may learn from our painful experiences, and for the means by which moral evil may be repaired.
17. The Christian Scientist, who sees the real image of God reflected in man, looks only for the good in mankind.
The real image of God is reflected in man's soul, which is spiritual, intelligent, endowed with free will, and immortal. Every Catholic is taught to keep this fact in mind, and to realize that his soul is of supreme importance. The words of Christ are ever before him, "Fear you all, not them that are able to kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul." Obviously, for Christ, body and soul are equally realities. But for Mrs. Eddy man's body is not a reality. In her book Science and Health, when trying to explain how man is made in the image of God, she expressly denies the reality of man's body, and defines him as an "idea," and "that which has no separate mind from God." In other words, she teaches a pantheism quite opposed to the doctrines of Christ, and forfeits any right or title to the description of her system as "Christian." Mrs. Eddy, it is true, indignantly rejects the charge of pantheism; but, whilst rejecting the word, she again and again teaches the doctrines for which that word stands.
18. You condemn the philosophy of Christian Science; but one has only to read her works to notice how Mrs. Eddy glorifies Truth, and insists on logic and consistency.
Mrs. Eddy does not really glorify Truth. - She glorifies her own doctrine, and declares it to be Truth without offering any logical or consistent proof of her theories at all. She argues that the soul of man is divine; but the divine cannot sin; therefore the soul of man cannot sin! (Science and Health, pp. 310-311.) But she does not dream that the first assertion needs proof.
One might just as well say, "New York is the capital of Italy. But Italy is in Europe. Therefore New York is in Europe." Again we are given the sentence, "God, Spirit, being All - Nothing is Matter," and we are assured that, since the meaning is the same when the sentence is read in the reverse order, it must be mathematically true! (Science and Health, p. 113.) At times her thoughts are quite unintelligible. "Nothing that lives ever dies, and "vice versa," she assures us. (Science and Health, p. 374.) what does "vice versa" mean? Nothing that ever died ever lived? How could it die, if it never lived? And, if it never lived how could it come to die? Reason cannot accept such nonsense as philosophy.
19. To understand Christian Science one must put it into practice.
As a complete system, no one can put it into practice. Mrs. Eddy herself did not do so. Nor do her followers. Christian Scientists live just as others do, owning their own homes, automobiles, material goods of all kinds including money, in the usual matter of fact way. Mrs. Eddy never followed her own theories to their logical conclusion. As I have already shown, she denied that food preserves life, yet regularly took her meals. She denounced medicine and drugs, yet made frequent use of them. She declared that death is an illusion of mortal mind, and that we should not believe in its reality. According to her teaching, death cannot happen to anyone who does not believe in its reality. Yet she died. According to her own principles she herself must have believed in its reality, and her declaration that death is unreal was against her own beliefs.
20. Do you not think that, as a religion, Christian Science should be looked at religiously, and not in the cold light of reason only?
It is true that Christian Science, with its set of peculiar beliefs, strange services, prayers, and organized congregations, is offered to us as a new religion. But religion does not dispense us from the demands of reason; and a system that claims to be scientific invites the criticism of genuine science. On both counts, Christian Science must be ranked as a superstition, and not as a religion in the proper sense of that word. Mrs. Eddy herself cannot be excused from a belief in witchcraft. She taught that a mind turned from God could, even from a distance, do immense harm to others by vindictive thoughts. Primitive pagans, who dread the power of their witch doctors to cast evil spells upon them, entertain similar beliefs. True religion excludes such pagan superstitions.
21. It must be remembered that the doctrine claims to be efficacious only as a religious science.
The fact remains that very many of Mrs. Eddy's pupils set out to practise the art of mental healing as taught by her, yet without teaching her religious doctrines at all; and they got on just as well without those doctrines, effecting many cures. There is no evidence that those who retain her metaphysical and religious principles do any better than the hundreds of other faith-healers who are neither Christian Scientists, nor have any knowledge of Mrs. Eddy's supposed revelation. And the results obtained by Christian Science practitioners can all be explained by the natural psychology of mental healing and suggestion, without the religious setting in which she embedded the process.
22. Have you anything against the religious teachings of Christian Science?
Yes. It is to the credit of Christian Science that it insists on justice, charity, and all normal standards of decent behaviour. But other religions equally do that. Such standards are not proper to Christian Science. What is proper to Mrs. Eddy's system is its complete denial of nearly all specifically Christian teachings. In his book, "Mrs. Eddy's Christian Science," Dr. Pullan was quite justified in remarking, "If Christian Scientists lead good lives and resist temptation, it only proves that natural morality and the remnants of a Christian tradition are stronger than the philosophy of Mrs. Eddy."
23. How can you say that Christian Science denies specifically Christian teaching when, with all other Christians, Mrs. Eddy insists on belief in the Bible?
In reality, she insisted on belief in meanings she wrongly ascribed to the Bible. Her teachings are not based on the Bible. Her one aim was to adapt the Bible to suit her teachings. She did not hesitate to accuse the Bible of erroneous doctrines, nor scruple to change it at will. She tells us that Genesis, chapter 1 to 2:5, gives the truth, whilst Genesis, 2:6, and onwards gives an entirely false account of creation. "The Science of the first record," she writes, "proves the falsity of the second. If one is true, the other is false, for they are antagonistic." (Science and Health, p. 522.) When she speaks of the "Science" of the first record, of course, she does not mean "science" in the ordinary acceptation of that word, but the interpretation "Christian Science" puts upon the Biblical accounts of creation. In Romans, 5:10, we read, "We were reconciled to God by the death of His Son." Mrs. Eddy renders this, "We were reconciled to God by the (seeming) death of His Son." That is not what St. Paul wrote, or meant. (Science and Health, p. 45.) Take one further case. Christ said, "Fear him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell." Mrs. Eddy adds, "A careful study of the text shows that here the word soul means a false sense or material consciousness." (Science and Health, p. 196.) It means nothing of the sort, and nothing in the text suggests such an idea. These are but samples of Mrs. Eddy's unscrupulous distortion of Sacred Scripture.
24. The First of the Six Tenets of Christian Science says, "As adherents of the Truth, we take the inspired Word of the Bible as our sufficient guide to eternal life."
That is another instance of talking the traditional Protestant language whilst in practice departing from all that it implies. If the inspired Word of God is the sufficient guide to eternal life, why is her own book absolutely necessary, as she declares? "A Christian Scientist," she writes, "requires my work Science and Health for his text-book, and so do all his students and patients." (Science and Health, p. 456.) As a matter of fact, she herself maintains that the Bible does not, by itself, give sufficient information at all. She writes, in "The Precious Volume," as follows, "Even the Scriptures give no direct interpretation of the scientific basis for demonstrating the spiritual Principle of healing, until our Heavenly Father saw fit, through the Key of the Scriptures in Science and Health, to unlock this 'mystery of godliness'." According to that, Christians had to wait till 1875 for Mrs. Eddy to tell them what the Bible really meant, and she admits that what she has to say could never be guessed from the Bible! How can she speak of it as a sufficient guide?
25. Mrs. Eddy claims that the same God who inspired the Bible revealed to her the contents of Science and Health.
That claim will not bear investigation. Her book is a travesty of the Bible, based on the notes of Phineas Quimby and her own imagination. She was most ill-equipped for the task of interpreting Scripture. In the Third Edition of Science and Health 1881, she had written that the name "Adam is from the Latin 'demens,' meaning 'madness', 'to undo,' 'to spoil.' The word should be rendered 'a damn.' The Scripture plainly declares Adam accursed." (See at p. 196.) On another occasion she declared that the name Adam came from the Latin 'daemon,' meaning evil spirit. Now the word Adam existed long before the Latin language, and therefore could not have come from that language; and 'daemon' happens to be, not a Latin, but a Greek word. Someone must have pointed these things out to Mrs. Eddy, for she eliminated these derivations from later editions of Science and Health. But was God responsible for these original displays of ignorance? Even in later editions Mrs. Eddy says that the name Adam, separated into two syllables, means 'a dam' or an 'obstruction.' (Science and Health, p. 338.) But this dividing of a Hebrew word into two English sections is monstrous. Nor does a general survey of the book indicate divine authorship. It is simply incoherent.
Mr. H. A. L. Fisher, a literary critic of the first rank, says, "Of arrangement and orderly progress there is not a vestige. There is no reason why the first chapter should not be the last, or the last the first. There is generally no reason why one sentence should follow and not precede another." ("Our New Religion," p. 61.) And why should a book containing absolute Truth directly revealed by God have to be so frequently revised and corrected? It is impossible to take seriously Mrs. Eddy's claims for the divine authorship of the book.
26. Never does Mrs. Eddy repudiate Christianity.
She would have been much more honest had she done so. But living in a Christian civilization, she knew that she must obtain recruits from among professing Christians. It was important, then, that they should not feel that they were giving up Christianity. Hence her clever title "Christian Science." Yet it remains true that, whilst retaining the name 'Christian,' her doctrines reject all that Christianity really implies.
27. She insists on belief in God, and every page of her book is stamped with this conviction.
A reading of her book shows that she continually speaks of God. In fact, according to her, there is nothing in existence but God. She denies the reality of the whole of creation. "God is all-in-all," she writes. "God is good. God is Mind. God, Spirit, being all, nothing is matter." (Science and Health, p. 113.) But, from her maze of words, it stands out clearly that her God is not the Christian God who created heaven and earth, who is by nature distinct from all lesser and created things, and who is essentially personal. She defines God as the "Principle of divine metaphysics." (Science and Health, p. 112.) She makes God as impersonal as a principle in mathematics. That is not the God of Christianity.
28. The Second of the Six Tenets says, "We acknowledge and adore one supreme and infinite God. We acknowledge His Son, one Christ; the Holy Ghost as Divine Comforter; and man in God's image and likeness." Is not that the Christian doctrine of God, and of the Holy Trinity?
It could be; but not if interpreted in the light of Mrs. Eddy's metaphysical principles. She seems to have had no idea of the logical consequences of her teachings. In Science and Health, p. 332, she writes of "God, the Father-Mother; Christ the spiritual idea of sonship; divine science, the Holy Comforter." So her "Holy Trinity" is a God who is both masculine and feminine in gender, and idea of sonship, and Christian Science! On p. 517 of Science and Health she writes, hesitantly, "If God is personal, there is but one person." On p. 256, "The theory of Three Persons in one God (that is, a personal Trinity or tri-unity) suggests Polytheism rather than the one ever present I AM." No one can reconcile such assertions with belief in the Christian doctrine of the Trinity.
29. As Christians we say, "I believe in God the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth." Mrs. Eddy distinctly says, "God creates and governs the universe, including man." Science and Health, page 295.
Mrs. Eddy does not mean what Christians mean by those words. If she uses Christian terms she uses them only to explain them away. For her, what we call the universe is but an illusion of mortal mind. Temporal things are unreal. "Matter seems to be, but is not." (Science and Health, p. 123.) Mortal mind itself is a fiction. She defines it as "nothing claiming to be something." (Science and Health, p. 591.) Where the first chapters of Genesis declare of each thing created by God that "He saw that it was good," she declares it illusion, evil, and error. Yet those first chapters as far as 2:6, she acknowledges as containing absolute truth.
30. Besides the visible universe, we acknowledge also the existence of the angels, some of whom became evil under the leadership of the devil.
The principles of Christian Science exclude belief in created intelligent and personal spiritual beings, of whom the good are known as angels, and the wicked as devils. No Christian could accept a description of angels as "exalted thoughts," (Science and Health, p. 299); or of the devil as "a belief in sin, sickness and death; animal magnetism or hypnotism; the lust of the flesh." (Science and Health, p. 584.)
31. Christian Scientists look for the real image of God in man, not the unreal image so-called orthodox Christians imagine.
Christians, with the vast majority of sensible human beings, take man as he really is. Man is a composite of body and soul. Both are equally realities, the body material, the soul spiritual. And it is the soul that is made in the image of God. Christian Scientist, theoretically, refuse to admit the reality of the body, and even of the soul. For, according to Mrs. Eddy, "Man is not matter; he is not made up of brain, blood, bones, and other material elements." (Science and Health, p. 475.) As for the soul, "Soul or Spirit signifies Deity and nothing else. There is no finite soul nor spirit." (Science and Health, p. 466.) This denial of both body and soul denies the existence of man at all. It is Christian Science which ignores the real man, and takes refuge in an unreal world of delusions.
32. The Third Tenet of Christian Science says, "We acknowledge God's forgiveness of Sin in the destruction of Sin, and the spiritual understanding that casts out evil as unreal; but the belief in Sin is punished so long as the belief lasts." That cannot be called unchristian.
The whole genius of Christianity is built on the fact that Christ died on the Cross to redeem us from sin. Yet Mrs. Eddy tells us that "man is incapable of sin, sickness and death." (Science and Health, p. 475.) "Evil," she says, "has no reality. It is neither a person, place, nor thing, but is simply a belief, an illusion of material sense." (Science and Health, p. 71.) If that were so, and sin could be destroyed by ceasing to believe in its existence, then the redemptive sufferings of Christ were quite unnecessary and the height of folly. It is comforting, of course, to be told that sin is merely a mistake and an illusion; but that is not Christian doctrine. Nor did Mrs. Eddy in practice take so mild a view of the conduct of her opponents. Indignantly she accused them of "malicious mesmerism," holding that they were quite capable of sin, that their evil dispositions were very real indeed, and that they were no mere illusions on her part.
33. The Fourth Tenet of Christian Science acknowledges that "Man is saved through Christ."
According to the Bible, to save humanity from sin, "God so loved the world as to give His only-begotten Son." (Jn., 3:16.) The Eternal Son of God became man, being born of the Virgin Mary. As St. John puts it, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God . . . and the Word was made flesh, and dwelt amongst us." (Jn., 1:1-14.) All this Mrs. Eddy denies. According to her, Jesus was neither God nor man. She explains the Incarnation by saying, "The Virgin-mother conceived the idea of God, and gave to her ideal the name of Jesus." (Science and Health, p. 29.) Nor does her teaching regard Jesus as truly man. She speaks of Him as "wearing in part a human form (that is, as it seemed to mortal view)." (Science and Health, p. 315.) In her own Christmas hymn she writes, "Dear Christ . . . no mother's tear to thee belongs! Thou God-idea! The Bethlehem babe was but Thy shade." No one who really believes in Christ could accept that.
34. In that same Tenet "we acknowledge Jesus' Atonement as the evidence of Divine efficacious love." And in the Fifth Tenet we acknowledge His crucifixion and resurrection.
Words are of no value when all that they really signify is excluded. If sin is not a reality, but an illusion, it cannot be said that Jesus expiated our sins. If there is no suffering and death, Jesus endured no passion, and was not crucified. And Mrs. Eddy expressly says of the Atonement, "the theory is man-made." (Science and Health, p. 23.) Nor does she teach Our Lord's resurrection from the dead. St. Paul wrote to the Corinthians, "For I have delivered unto you first of all, which I also received; how that Christ died for our sins, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures." (1 Cor., 15:3, 4.) But Mrs. Eddy says, "His disciples believed Jesus to be dead while He was hidden in the sepulchre, whereas He was alive." (Science and Health, p. 44.) Afterwards, she declares, His disciples "learned that He had not died." (Science and Health, p. 46.)
35. Believing in all these things, we Christian Scientists work for a better world.
But the teachings of Christian Science never transcend this world. The Bible tells us that Christ will come again in all His Majesty and Glory to judge mankind. The Apostles were told, "This Jesus who is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come as you have seen Him going into heaven." (Acts 1:2) Mrs. Eddy, in her book "Retrospection and Introspection," p. 96, says, "The second appearing of Jesus is unquestionably the spiritual advent of the advancing idea of God in Christian Science." And she dares to say, "No final judgement awaits mortals." (Science and Health, p. 291.)
36. In all things we follow the ordinances of Christ.
Why, then, is there no place in Christian Science for the Sacraments, and above all for that of the Holy Eucharist?
Mrs. Eddy says of the Last Supper that it "closed forever Jesus' ritualism or concessions to matter." (Science and Health, p. 33.) In 1908 she abolished the celebration of Holy Communion with the elements of bread and wine, substituting a communion service of "silent thought." Yet Christ insisted that the rite He instituted at the Last Supper was to be continued in the Church just as He instituted it. "Do this," He said, "for the commemoration of me . . . for as often as you shall eat this bread and drink the chalice, you shall show the death of the Lord until He come." (1 Cor., 11:24-26.) One can understand that Mrs. Eddy, who denied the reality of death, would not want a perpetual reminder of the death of the Lord. But she has no right to call her religion Christian.
37. The highest ideals of Christian marriage are to be found only in Christian Science.
Mrs. Eddy's principles degrade the idea of marriage altogether. She regards it as a reluctant concession to erroneous ideas of a material body. "Until it is learned," she writes, "that God is the Father of all, Marriage will continue." (Science and Health, p. 64.) Her own three marriages can only mean that she herself never learned the truth she commends to others.
38. In all things we are taught to rely on prayer.
Christian Science does not allow recourse to prayer in the true sense of the word. True prayer supposes a person to whom the prayer is addressed, and relies upon the assistance of the one to whom appeal is made. But Mrs. Eddy denies that God is personal. She declares that He "is not influenced by man." (Science and Health, p. 7.) "The mere habit." she writes, "of pleading with the divine mind as one pleads with a human being perpetuates the belief in God as humanly circumscribed." (Science and Health, p. 2.) The efficacy of prayer she attributes to its effect on the human mind, making it act more powerfully on the body, "Petitions bring to mortals only the results of the mortals own faith." (Science and Health, p. 11.) "The beneficial effect of prayer for the sick is on the human mind . . . it is one belief casting out another." (Science and Health, p. 12.) Such a self-centred process of auto-suggestion is not prayer in the Christian sense of the word at all.
39. By faith and prayer Christian Science gives the power to heal the sick and all manner of diseases. Jesus meant all His followers to have this power.
If Christ meant all His followers to have this power, all would have it. For Christ, being God, could undoubtedly accomplish His designs. But not all His followers have the power to heal diseases at will. And the fact that they lack the power is evidence enough that such was not His intention. Any explanation which does not fit in with the facts must be rejected. But, in reality, there is not a text in the Bible which implies that all followers of Christ would have the power of healing. Christ came to save men from the effects of sin, and to induce and help them to live holy lives. He did not come to bestow upon all men the power of miracles. Holiness does not consist in doing startling things, or in escaping the cross of suffering.
40. Jesus Himself relied on mental-healing by natural powers.
That is really nonsense. Can you imagine the mental exertions of the dead body of Lazarus to think itself alive again? Before raising Lazarus from the dead Christ lifted His eyes and said, "Father, I give You thanks that You have heard me. And I know that You hear me always; but because of the people who stand about have I said it, that they may believe that You have sent me." (Jn., 11:41-42.) Those words prove that He was relying upon a Divine power beyond all the created natural forces of this universe.
41. Medicine was in vogue before Christ came. But we Christian Scientists know that Christ ushered in a new dispensation.
Christ ushered in a new dispensation, but not of medicine. He did not come to establish a substitute for a medical clinic. He came to call sinners to repentance, that they might secure forgiveness for their sins, overcome their moral faults, and serve Him in a life of virtue. In their bodily ills, He still expected people to make use of the services of medical men. "They that are in health," He said, "need not a physician, but they that are ill." (Matt. 9:12.) The ill need the help of the doctor, and Christ never dreamed of advising people otherwise.
42. Christ gave us the religion we need, and we need a religion of healing.
We do not. We need the religion of Christ. The poor, lacking wealth, and the sick, lacking health, have always existed, and always will exist, according to Christ. It is true that He healed some people, in order to prove His divine mission. But by no means did He heal all whom He knew to be sick. Had He done so, there would not have been a single sick person left in the whole world. The same Christ in heaven now knows all the sickness on earth, and by one act of His will He could heal all. He does not do so. No sickness could occur unless God were to permit it. Yet God does permit it. If Christ healed the sick, it was not merely to get rid of the sickness, but to prove His revelation; and that having been proved sufficiently, the real need for miracles ceases.
43. How can Catholic priests claim the same powers as the Apostles if they cannot heal the sick?
The spiritual powers given to the Apostles were to be permanent, and it is a much greater thing to restore the life of grace to a sinful soul than to heal the body from temporal illness. To heal the body is merely to put off a little longer the death which must come sooner or later. But to forgive sin is to secure the soul's eternal salvation. It is true that Christ gave to the Apostles the power both to forgive sin and to heal the body. The power to forgive sin was essential to the mission of the Church, and it has passed on to all succeeding Priests of the New Law. But the power of healing miraculously was not meant to be transmitted automatically.
44. Do you deny that the early Christians practised healing?
Yes. Healing never was a "practice" amongst Christians, as Christian Scientists understand the word. I do not deny that the power of miraculous healing was given by God to various individuals in the early Church. But those who received this gift never thought for a moment that they were exerting their own inherent and natural powers. God wrought signs through given Christians in order to secure the rapid growth and establishment of the infant Church. These signs appealed to onlookers in a special way, serving as a motive of credibility. But once the Church was solidly established, the need of such extraordinary manifestations ceased. People are not meant to become Christians for temporal benefits, but for their eternal welfare.
45. Where in the Bible does it say that the gift of healing was not given to all?
Writing to the Corinthians, St. Paul describes the diversities of gifts bestowed by God upon different individuals in the early Church. "To one, indeed," he says, "by the Spirit, is given the word of wisdom; and to another the word of knowledge, according to the same Spirit. To another, faith in the same Spirit; to another the grace of healing in one Spirit; to another, the working of miracles; to another, prophecy; to another the discerning of spirits; to another, diverse kinds of tongues; to another, interpretation of speeches." (1 Cor., 12:8-10.) The healing of which St. Paul spoke was not an art to be learned, but a supernatural gift. Not all received it; and each one who did receive it, had to be given it directly by God.
46. Christ Himself said that such signs would follow those who believe in Him.
The signs He mentioned did follow those who believed in Him, being manifested now through this individual, now through that. But the gift of healing was not granted to the individuals who received it merely for the sake of restoring health. It was given as one way to prove the divine mission of the Church. Thus St. Paul says of the gift of tongues (and the same applies to other extraordinary gifts) that it was "for a sign, not to believers, but to unbelievers." (1 Cor., 14:22.) It is going far beyond anything contained in the Bible to suggest that such signs were meant to follow all believers through all the ages, so that they should be a permanent feature in the lives of all who profess the Christian religion. Moreover, once more, the facts of history exclude such an interpretation.
47. St. James, 5:15,. says, "The prayer of faith will heal the sick man."
Those words occur in the midst of a passage describing the Sacrament of Extreme Unction or Last Anointing [now often called the Sacrament of the Sick]. Immediately prior to them, St. James declares that the priests of the Church should anoint the sick with oil in the name of the Lord. And he adds that, if the sick man be in sin, his sins will be forgiven him. There is no reference to an infallible and ever-ready panacea for all temporal ills. The idea of holding out the recovery of bodily health as a kind of bribe to attract recruits is utterly foreign to the religion of Christ who said, "If anyone will come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me." (Matt., 16:24.) Christian Science, with its impression that Christ came to the world primarily to heal the sick, labours under a complete misconception of the nature of His life-work on behalf of humanity. Jesus came to teach us to avoid sin and all moral evil and to practise virtue in the midst of the trials of this life. And he died on the Cross to expiate our sins, and to make a heavenly and eternal destiny possible to us as a result of our efforts to serve Him.
48. Authenticated cures of organic troubles have been performed with the aid of Christian Science teachings.
Authenticated by whom? Christian Science has not produced a single satisfactory case of a cure of organic disease, where the organic derangement has been established beforehand by competent diagnosis, and the fact of the cure similarly established. What truly scientific evidence for the mental healing of organic diseases sufficient to convince medical experts has Christian Science produced? Another thing to remember is this. According to the teachings of Mrs. Eddy, there is no such thing as an organic disease. Christian Science cannot claim to have cured what it declares never to have existed. To say that man's body is unreal, and that he is "incapable of sin, sickness, and death," is to admit that the cure is as unreal as the imagined disease. Christian Science cannot claim, on its own principles, to have cured any organic troubles. At most it can claim to have enabled a man not to think himself subject to afflictions he had wrongly imagined to be his lot.
49. You, of course, refuse to believe this possible.
I do not say that there are no illnesses which can be cured by mental-healing. I do say that the mental-healing employed need not be associated with Christian Science. Practitioners of mental healing, who have never subscribed to Mrs. Eddy's religious theories, have secured equally good results. We all admit the great influence of the mind over the body. Mental anxiety, worry, and depression, can cause a breakdown of physical health and result in many nervous disorders. In such cases restoration of mental peace results in improved bodily health. But by no thought processes on the part of the patient will a broken leg suddenly cease to be broken, or a cancerous growth disappear overnight. Nor can Christian Science show one properly authenticated case of this nature.
50. Your idea that Christian Science cures are based upon the influence of mind over matter show a complete ignorance of Christian Science principles.
I do not think so. Mrs. Eddy writes, "You say a boil is painful; but that is impossible, for matter without mind is not painful. The boil simply manifests, through inflammation and swelling, a belief in pain, and this belief is called a boil. Now administer mentally to your patient a high attenuation of truth, and it will soon cure the boil." (Science and Health, p. 153.) In that passage she obviously appeals to the influence of mind over matter. A Christian Scientist might say that the administering of truth was bringing the influence of the Divine Mind upon mortal mind; and that the cure was due, granted its occurrence, to the Divine Mind persuading the human mind that the boil did not exist. But no sensible person could accept that, any more than all the other contradictory statements in which Mrs. Eddy asserts that man has "no separate mind from God"; then that "the human mind is opposed to God"; then that "the human mind is a myth."
51. It is strange that a Catholic should doubt the cures claimed by Christian Science, for so many similar cures have been effected at Lourdes.
There is no room for doubt that many miraculous cures have taken place at Lourdes. But there is every reason to doubt the explanation of those cures which would be given by a Christian Scientist, despite his admission that they did occur. Nor does the admission by Christian Scientists that miracles have happened at Lourdes impose on Catholics any duty to admit that the cures claimed by Christian Science are also authentic miracles. It is a fallacy to argue that Lourdes is proof that miracles are possible, therefore Christian Science is able to produce them also.
52. Because you have no faith in Christian Science, you deny the cures it effects. If you had no faith in the Catholic religion, you would probably deny the cures at Lourdes also.
It is possible that, if I were not a Catholic, I would deny the reality of the cures at Lourdes. But if I did so, it would not be because the cures have not happened. It would be either because I had not bothered studying the evidence, or because prejudice had warped my judgement concerning the evidence. If I knew all the facts, and were quite impartial, I would have to admit the cures whether I was a Catholic or not. Prejudice is the greatest obstacle in most cases. Everybody has heard of Dr. Alexis Carrel, at one time Director of the Rockefeller Medical Institute in America, and author of the widely circulated book, "Man the Unknown." His remarkable exploits in scientific research have brought him world-wide fame. But few people know what led to his becoming Director of the Rockefeller Institute. In 1902 Dr. Alexis Carrel was a member of the Medical Faculty of the University of Lyons, in France.
In that year he advised that a child, Marie Bailly, should be taken to Lourdes. She was seriously ill from tuberculosis of the lungs and peritoneum. Other doctors, and Dr. Carrel himself, had employed all the resources of medicine and surgery in vain, in their efforts to benefit her. At Lourdes, she was definitely and completely cured. The other members of the Medical Faculty at Lyons University, who were anti-clericals, attacked Dr. Carrel both for sending the child to Lourdes, and for admitting the cure. Dr. Carrel, who was not himself a practising Catholic at the time, had at least the courage to face the facts. "Lourdes," he said, "has succeeded in three or four days where we all failed; there is something which approaches the category of the miraculous." And he added, "Please note carefully that I neither explain nor discuss. I content myself with stating the facts." But he was contending with an invincible prejudice. One of the principal Members of the Faculty said to him, "It is needless to insist, sir, that with such views as those you can never be accepted as a Member of our Faculty." "In that case," replied Carrel, "I must go elsewhere. I believe that there are places where I shall be more cordially received." He did as he had said, left Lyons and went to America, where it was not long before he became famous. Had it not been for the blind prejudice of his fellow Members of the Lyons Medical Faculty, Dr. Carrel would not in all probability have gone to America, there to undertake the remarkable work which has made his name known all over the world.
53. The cures at Lourdes, as in Christian Science, depend on the faith and understanding of the individual.
Firstly, I deny that any general comparison can be made between the cures at Lourdes, and those claimed by Christian Science. There are cures at Lourdes which could be due to purely natural psychological factors, and which mental suggestion could produce, as in Christian Science, or in any other method of faith-healing. But it is to be noted that the Medical Bureau at Lourdes will not accept as miraculous any cure that could be due to such factors. No cure that could possibly be wrought by Christian Science methods would be registered as miraculous at Lourdes. But there are other cures at Lourdes which could not possibly be due to any subjective persuasion on the part of the patient - as, for example, the instant healing of a broken leg, or the instant disappearance of a cancerous growth. Such cures can be cured by the direct influence of God only; and they alone are accepted as miracles.
54. If the individual had the faith and understanding the cure would happen, whether the patient were a Catholic or a Christian Scientist.
In that case, you could not argue that its results prove the truth of Christian Science! But the miracles at Lourdes are not caused by the faith and understanding of the person cured. If that were so, all with equal faith and understanding should be equally cured. But they are not. In His inscrutable wisdom God often grants a cure where we would least expect it, leaving others with far greater faith and understanding to continue to bear the cross of suffering. Yvonne Aumaitre, a little girl under two years of age, was placed in the waters at Lourdes, and was instantly cured of a double club foot. The outcome was not due to her faith and understanding. You may say that it was due to the faith of her parents. That would not be the faith and understanding of the person cured. But granting that the cure of the child was the reward of the faith of her parents, their faith did not cause the cure. At most it was a condition required of them by God for the granting of the cure. The mental state of the parents did not mend that double club foot. It was due to the direct intervention of God. With all the faith in the world, no Catholic can accomplish such things at will. Nor can any Christian Scientist.
55. Christ said, "By their fruits you all shall know them." Christian Science is justified by its results.
One who keeps in mind all the results of Christian Science cannot but reject it. It has resulted in untold unnecessary suffering. People have continued suffering pain and misery, calling upon the doctor in despair at the end, although the doctor could have relieved them in the very beginning, and checked the progress of the disease. In many cases, because the doctor has been called too late, or not at all, Christian Science has resulted in death. It would result logically in the destruction of society. It can live only in the midst of those who do not accept it. As long as others apply their principles, such as the continuance of preventive scientific measures, vaccination, the draining of cities, the non-adulteration of food, the training of doctors, surgeons, and nurses, a community will continue to live. But legislation on Christian Science principles would have disease raging unchecked, and soon very few citizens to profess the doctrines of Mrs. Eddy.
As regards virtue, we must admit that Christian Science discourages bodily vices, and encourages temperance. But of humility it knows nothing, for its whole purpose is to try to realize that one is really sinless; and the only "confession" at its services is one, not of failure, but of triumph and success. Compassion and pity are also necessarily lessened by one's mental contempt for those who are really suffering, and are believed to have given way to an unreal weakness of mind, complaining of what does not exist at all. It is hard to respect what you are thoroughly convinced is a sham, after all.
56. How do you account for the growth and appeal of Christian Science, if it be not the Truth?
There are many factors which can satisfactorily account for the widespread appeal of Christian Science. Its title has an impressive sound both religiously and culturally. It caters for the religious feelings of those who lost their definite grip upon the fundamental truths of Christianity, though not their attachment to a vague Christian sentiment. At the same time, in the atmosphere of science today, it flatters adherents into believing that they at least have reconciled religion with science, despite the popular impression of an irreconcilable conflict between the two. Nor can one deny the attraction in themselves of such easily acquired qualifications in science and philosophy as the mere profession of being a Christian Scientist seems to confer. Without any long years of grounding in scholarship, and without the need of even an elementary education, thousands are led to think themselves scientists and metaphysicians. Furthermore, people untrained in logic, science, and philosophy, find it very easy to mistake a half-truth for a whole-truth. That Christian Science contains some truth no one could deny, but that does not justify concentration on one aspect only, to the neglect of all others. For example, it is true that God is everywhere; but not that God is everything. It is true that some diseases are caused mentally; but not that therefore all are mental. It is true that drugs have been abused; but not that they are never useful. It is true that some illnesses have been cured by mental healing; but not that all diseases can thus be destroyed.
To all this we can add the fact that Christian Science promises both health and wealth. The desire of health is a great psychological force. The vendors of patent medicines are quite aware of this. Their very advertisements suggest the disease in many cases, whilst their promises secure the sales. The Christian advice to bear sufferings for the love of God, and sanctify them by uniting them with the sufferings of Christ, has little appeal for superficial and selfish people. For such as these, a hearty cheerful religion which solves the problem by saying that there will be no problem if you deny it strongly to yourself, appears like a ray of new light and hope. So people try it, and keep on trying it, spurred on by that which has become their greatest good, their welfare in this world, until the grave claims them, as it does the rest of men. As for wealth, for Mrs. Eddy poverty is as much an error as sin or sickness. It, too, according to her, can be cured by right thinking. And she did not hesitate to advertise the first edition of Science and Health as a book that "affords an opportunity to acquire a profession by which you can accumulate a fortune."
All these factors, and many others, can account for the appeal of Christian Science, without any need whatever of admitting it to be based upon a divine revelation to Mrs. Eddy. On the other hand, almost everything in it forbids such acceptance of it.
57. It is easy to offer destructive criticism. But have you anything constructive to offer to those who genuinely seek truth?
Undoubtedly. Not only as opposed to Christian Science, but in contrast with all other religions, the Catholic Faith stands out as infinitely radiant and glorious. The Christ, the Son of God, founded the Catholic Church. Her lofty doctrines transcend the powers of any merely human mind, responding to all the legitimate aspirations of the human heart. Never has it been shown, never can it be shown, that any single dogma of the Catholic Faith conflicts with either right reason, or with scientific facts. The miracles of Christ, and the continued miracles in the Catholic Church, as well as the miracle of the Catholic Church herself, not only in her character, but in her very existence, are an absolute guarantee that she is of God. Her teachings, put into practice, result in holiness for the individual, and the blessing of society. And in clinging to her, we know that we shall share in her own undying immortality, finding the solution of all problems when her Divine Founder shall claim us finally as His own, to share with Him forever in the Light, and Glory, and Happiness of the Presence of God.
* * *