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.