Friday, 3 December 2010

Christian Brands? - Christian Science, Final thoughts

I've been reading Mary Baker Eddy's (MBE) 'Science and Health' (S&H) and have stumbled at a great many pages. The words she writes claiming that Christian Science came about because of "a spiritual sense of the Scriptures and through the teachings of the Comforter." (S&H 123:21-22) sound excellent and yet, throughout the book I find that I don't recognise 'the comforter' as the paraclete that is the Holy Spirit.

Throughout, it appears that the Holy Spirit is merely some form of maleable and 'apply here' force rather than a person and I have found this troubling.

It seems to me also that MBE feels she's locked onto the same methodology and means of healing that Jesus used and of course, I don't see it at that, Jesus was merely doing what He saw the Father doing and God was working with Him and through Him (and of course was Him!). I feel a devaluing of the role of the Holy Spirit and overall, the whole encounter has left me thinking that this is a very one-dimensional image of the Christian faith and the distortions in that image do (sadly) make it essentially non-Christian too!

I have struggled greatly with the healing aspects of CS, for after all, isn't this the crux and test of the CS faith? Not only that, as I understand it, death and sickness only came about because of the fall and therefore it's man's imperfection that lies at the root of illness. But not so says MBE:

“Man is spiritual and perfect - He is the compound idea of God, including all right ideas; the generic term for all that reflects God’s image and likeness - that which has not a single quality underived from Deity;” (S&H 475:11-20)

"The only reality of sin, sickness, or death is the awful fact that unrealities seem real to human, erring belief, until God strips off their disguise.” (S&H 472:27-29)

So there we have it. Humanity is perfect and the answer to absolutely everything is, 'it's all in the mind'!

I have spoken to (or attempted to speak) to active members and have found the responses rather limited and extremely vague and distant. I have been in receipt of various bits of quotation and idealised positions of where humanity is and yet there has been no reality to support this.

I have spoken to ex-members (who we have to acknowledge may well have axes to grind and grudges that colour) who have told me of loss of loved ones and the withholding of medical treatment such that people died terribly in terms of pain, length of illness and the like. Of a Jesus who was not God and God who was at variance with the Biblical understanding of Him (and that's without considering the Holy Spirit).

MBE writes that:

"If the student adheres strictly to the teachings of Christian Science and ventures not to break its rules, he cannot fail of success in healing." (H&S 448)

It seems to me then that there can be few strict adherents if this is the means and outcomes in healing are the test and if this is the case then, to be (sadly) honest, all falls and the whole philosophy and reality of the 'church' is in error.

For those who support, follow or are members of the Christian Science church, my prayer is that you come to know the person who is the Holy Spirit and that you, realising the brokeness and sin of humanity, come to Christ the rock and fall upon Him.

Pax

5 comments:

Curtis said...

It is certainly true that a “tree is known by his fruit,” (Matt. 12.) And Jesus also said, “He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also,” (John 14.) My own discipleship has not brought all the results that Jesus demands, but I find success comes, as it did for St. Paul, in “being then made free from sin,” (Rom 6.) We become “the servants of righteousness” and see more of the sinless “Christ in you, the hope of glory,” (Col. 1.) This fulfills the command “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect,” (Matt. 5.) It reveals, in the “day of Christ,” the perfect man that Mary Baker Eddy mentions in Science and Health. Now, I don’t yet know all there is to know of “the person who is the Holy Spirit,” but I’ve found that true progress in this regard, results in Him showing Himself around me, through the healing of sickness and sin and so, in more perfect, Christly men and women. Thank you Vicar for your thoughtfulness and for your efforts to glorify Him.

Vic Van Den Bergh said...

Curtis,

Thanks for your comments and the journey thus far.

I'm sorry I couldn't find anything that convinces me more positively towards the CS church but the more I read and the more I read or spoke to others the more difficult it became for me to be comfortable.

My prayers are with you and I hope that if this is a parting of the ways that we do so as friends. May you road lead you closer into Him who is, was and ever shall be.

Pax

Anonymous said...

Vic,

After a life of mostly ignoring organized religion, I was healed of a most likely fatal medical condition by the silent prayer of a co-worker, who was a Christian Scientist.

I spent my working life as an electronic designer, a very hard science type.

The healing took place in less than twenty four hours, and all symptoms vanished and have not returned in over fifteen years. At seventy, I amy working in my shrub and tree nursery daily doing hard physical work. My gratitude for the healing and what I have learned of God since the original healing is unbounded.

The best book ABOUT Christian Science is Spiritual Healing in a Scientific Age by Peel. For a quick take that I think you will find worthwhile, read from page sixteen to the end of the chapter, and then read the story starting on page 54.

If there is a Reading Room near you, there is a article by Jack Hubbell in the December edition that is worth reading. Hubbell is an amazingly successful healer with a lifetime of practical experience.

It really does work, and it brings a connection with God that I would never have believed possible for mortals to experience.

Since I began the study of it, my life has been immeasurably blessed, and on the practical level I have healed everything from a broken foot to wasp stings.

My most impressive healing was when I accidentally crushed a wasp nest, and was immediately swarmed with multiple bites. I started to run but realized I couldn't outrun them. I stopped, closed my eyes, and started to pray as I had learned by studying Christian Science. After about a long minute I opened my eyes to see the wasps crawling around on their ruined nest, ignoring me completely. I continued walking and within five minutes all the stings, which had already swollen and were very painful, had vanished along with all pain.

It is easy to pass it off if you have not experienced what the knowledge can do. It took me several years of study to reach the level of understanding I now have, and I am still very much a student.

Dick Illyes
St. Louis USA

Anonymous said...

Vic,

After a life of mostly ignoring organized religion, I was healed of a most likely fatal medical condition by the silent prayer of a co-worker, who was a Christian Scientist.

I spent my working life as an electronic designer, a very hard science type.

The healing took place in less than twenty four hours, and all symptoms vanished and have not returned in over fifteen years. At seventy, I amy working in my shrub and tree nursery daily doing hard physical work. My gratitude for the healing and what I have learned of God since the original healing is unbounded.

The best book ABOUT Christian Science is Spiritual Healing in a Scientific Age by Peel. For a quick take that I think you will find worthwhile, read from page sixteen to the end of the chapter, and then read the story starting on page 54.

If there is a Reading Room near you, there is a article by Jack Hubbell in the December edition that is worth reading. Hubbell is an amazingly successful healer with a lifetime of practical experience.

It really does work, and it brings a connection with God that I would never have believed possible for mortals to experience.

Since I began the study of it, my life has been immeasurably blessed, and on the practical level I have healed everything from a broken foot to wasp stings.

My most impressive healing was when I accidentally crushed a wasp nest, and was immediately swarmed with multiple bites. I started to run but realized I couldn't outrun them. I stopped, closed my eyes, and started to pray as I had learned by studying Christian Science. After about a long minute I opened my eyes to see the wasps crawling around on their ruined nest, ignoring me completely. I continued walking and within five minutes all the stings, which had already swollen and were very painful, had vanished along with all pain.

It is easy to pass it off if you have not experienced what the knowledge can do. It took me several years of study to reach the level of understanding I now have, and I am still very much a student.

Dick Illyes
St. Louis USA

Curtis said...

Vic –
Thanks for your last note. I have a friendly feeling here. Such a feeling does not for me depend on people seeing everything eye-to-eye. My goal, like the goal of Mary Baker Eddy, has never been to convince people to appreciate Christian Science. Rather, one hope I think is that none of us misrepresent each other, particularly for all of cyberspace to see. That wouldn’t be Christian. But a thoughtful exchange that supports people's journey to find answers in the Almighty, this is indeed Christian.