What Is Christian Science? by Mangasarian, M. M. (Mangasar Mugurditch)
provided by the Internet Archive
WHAT IS CHRISTIAN SCIENCE?
By M. M Mangasarian
WATTS & CO.,
_In this brochure the author makes an earnest endeavour to understand Christian Science and define its mission. He scrupulously verifies all his citations and references, and appeals to the judgment of those who are willing to hear both sides of the question._
"The blood, heart, lungs, brain, have nothing to do with life."
"The daily ablutions of an infant are no more natural than taking a fish out of water and covering it with dirt would be natural."
"Christian Science is more safe and potent than any other sanitary method."
"The condition of food, stomach, bowels, clothing, etc., is of no serious import to your child."
"Gender is also a quality or characteristic of mind, not of matter."
"Until it is learned that generation (birth) rests on no sexual basis, let marriage continue."
"To abolish marriage and maintain generation is possible in (Christian) science."
What is Christian Science?
|You do not understand Christian Science" is the usual reply of the followers of Mrs. Eddy to any one disputing their claims, or trying to point out the many inconsistencies in their creed. If it is impossible to understand Christian Science, how does it expect to propagate itself? To answer that one must accept the doctrine before one can understand it would be like asking a man to see before he opens his eyes, or to think _after_ he has made up his mind. It is just as useless to try to understand Christian Science after it has been accepted as true as it would be for a judge to examine the evidence after a verdict has been pronounced. And if Christian Scientists can understand the beliefs which they reject, why may not other people have intelligence and honesty enough to understand Christian Science without believing in it?
But can a person who is not a mathematician understand or discuss profitably the intricate problems of mathematics? No; hence no one but a Christian Scientist may discuss its doctrines and interpret its metaphysics. Neither has that defence any value. We do not have to be expert mathematicians to know that twice two make four. It is possible to detect an error in an example of addition, multiplication, or subtraction presented by the greatest mathematician without possessing equal knowledge or ability. Mrs. Eddy may be more advanced in metaphysics than any of her critics, but twice two make four in "Divine science" as well as in human science. Square your statements with the facts, and you disarm criticism. Ignore, suppress, or tamper with the facts, and you will have the universe against you.
Why I Discuss Christian Science
|If asked why I devote time and labour to the discussion of such seemingly foolish propositions as those propounded by Mrs. Eddy, my defence is that I am very much interested in the people who accept Christian Science, and would like to be of service to them, even though they may hold me and my motives in derision. Then, again, I feel that if we stand idly by while the Christian Scientists are concentrating all their efforts, sparing neither time nor money to spread their doctrine, we may wake up some morning to find that all our institutions--newspapers, courts, schools, etc.--have passed under the control of Mrs. Eddy's followers. That, in my opinion, would be a national menace.
If the teachings of Christian Science prevail, there will come into prominence the type of mentality which will dispense with all forms of inquiry, and accept for authority the "say-so" of a book, a man, or a woman as all-sufficient and final.
The passive mind easily becomes the plaything or instrument of every kind of imposture--political, economic, or religious. Non-resistance will prove the death of free institutions. I am opposed to Christian Science because I am opposed to the least departure from sanity. I have no other motive in this propaganda against the new cult. Whatever undermines the _morale_ of the nation or is hurtful to the free and rational development of humanity should be combated again and again until it ceases to be a menace.
Mrs. Eddy's Mentality
|The founder of Christian Science was, indeed, one of the busiest women of her day. She was preacher, writer, teacher, missionary, organizer, manager, etc. But even a superficial reading of her books will show that her activity resembled that of children at play rather than of men at work. Mrs. Eddy's mind displayed all the qualities and defects of primitive man. Though incessantly active, she followed in all her mental efforts the line of least resistance. Children are never at rest of their own will; they run and romp almost continually; but it is the activity of play, not of work, which they enjoy. To work requires concentration and effort in a definite direction, and submission to rules and regulations; while in play one is at liberty to follow one's own fancy, moving in any direction and at any speed one pleases. Again, the worker is expected to show results; the player, on the other hand, though equally busy, keeps going round and round, or back and forth, just for the pleasure of being in motion.
Mrs. Eddy had the child's fondness for activity and the child's dislike for work. She rebelled against discipline. Rules and restrictions were as distasteful to her as to children who have been allowed to "grow up" without discipline, while logic and reason meant no more to her than they would to primitive man.
_Science and Health_ is a book consisting largely of extraordinary claims put forth with the most provoking indifference to the universally accepted rules of evidence, and with an abandon suggesting that of the steed who has thrown his rider. If her readers ask for proofs, she points to the authority of her name. Has she not received a revelation? Is she not "the Comforter" whom Jesus promised to send into the world? And if there are obscure passages in her writings, it is not because these are really "dark," but because there is not enough light in the eyes of the readers of her books. This free-and-easy method carries her through seven hundred pages of her "masterpiece," _Science and Health_, without encountering the least obstacle or being checked for an instant by a single difficulty. Writing was like play to her, and sentences and phrases flow copiously and swell into a veritable flood in her pages, because what satisfied her was that she could say so much, and not whether what she said had any basis in fact.
In the Preface to _Science and Health_, Mrs. Eddy, in order to prove the usefulness of medical knowledge, quotes the example of the antediluvians who knew nothing of drugs, and yet some of whom lived to be nearly a thousand years old. Mrs. Eddy makes this statement with as little concern as a boy tosses a ball. The reasoning that men were healthier and lived longer before the Deluge because there were then no physicians, whose presence in our times has shortened human life, may do for the "child-mind," but is it permitted to a full-grown person to make such careless use of his or her faculties? How does Mrs. Eddy know that the antediluvians would not have lived longer if they could also have had the services of trained and skilful physicians? It would be just as reasonable to assert that there would have been no Deluge had there been doctors to prevent it, as to say that the antediluvians owed their longevity to the lack of them. Without caring to make sure of her data, or to look into the truth of the statement that there was a flood, or that before this terrible downpour men lived to be a thousand years old, Mrs. Eddy accepts the rumour of the tradition as if it were a demonstrated fact, and proves by it, to her own satisfaction at least, the utter uselessness and positive menace to the human race of medical science. What an argument and what a conclusion!
I am not accusing Mrs. Eddy of insincerity, but of mental indolence. Nothing, for example, but a distaste for work could account for her failure to verify her references in the following instances, or to supply to her readers the means of verifying them for themselves. She had to choose between making assertions and offering proofs, and she chose the easier of the two. "I have healed Infidels" (p. 359). * What were their names? Where did they live? Of what maladies were they healed? "One whom I rescued from seeming spiritual oblivion in which the senses had engulphed him" (p. 382). And what sort of a disease is that, and who was the person suffering from it? "A little girl who had badly wounded her finger" (p. 287); "A woman whom I cured of consumption" (p. 184); "A famous naturalist says" (p. 548); "One of our ablest naturalists has said" (p. 553); "It is related that a father" (p. 556), etc., etc. All these stories and illustrations fail completely to impress the inquiring reader, for the simple reason that Mrs. Eddy did not take the trouble to furnish the details to render her testimony admissible. In no court would such statements as "I heard a man say," or "I knew some one who heard a man say," or "It has been said by so and so," be accepted as evidence. Very likely Mrs. Eddy possessed the data, names, addresses, etc., of the patients and the naturalists she writes about, but she was too indolent to reach for her note-book, if she kept one. Again, only mental fatigue or sheer indolence can explain a statement like the following, from which all the important items which alone could give it force and effectiveness are left out:--
* The quotations, unless otherwise specified, are from Mrs. Eddy's _Science and Health, with Key to the Scriptures_.
_I have seen age regain two of the elements it had lost--sight and teeth. A woman of eighty-five whom I knew had a return of sight. Another woman of ninety had new teeth, incisors, cuspids, bicuspids, and one molar. One man at sixty had retained his full set of upper and lower teeth without a decaying cavity_ (p. 247).
Evidently these cases are cited to carry conviction with the reader of her book; would it not, then, have greatly enhanced their evidential value had she made it possible for her readers to verify their claims? But how can they do so when no names or addresses are given! If Christian Science does not need demonstration, why cite these cases of remarkable cures at all; if it needs demonstration, why not supply the details necessary to complete the demonstration?
"I knew a person," writes again Mrs. Eddy, "who when a child adopted the Graham system to cure dyspepsia" (p. 221); and then she proceeds to relate how this led him to death's door and he was ready to die, "having exhausted the skill of the doctors, who kindly informed him that death was indeed his only alternative," and how "Christian Science saved him, and he is now in perfect health without a vestige of the old complaint" (p. 221). Surely this fortunate person would have no objection to have his name announced and his case investigated. Why, then, suppress-his identity?
Printed in italics at the foot of page xii of _Science and Health_ will be found the following notice or advertisement:--_The author (Mrs. Eddy) takes no patients, and declines medical consultation_.
The above offers an excellent illustration of the distinction between work and play. Mrs. Eddy, with the mentality she possessed, found it easier to compose phrases and make vague statements about past cures than actually to grapple with "patients" or to take part in "medical consultation," whatever that may mean in Christian Science. After repeatedly asserting that the only way to demonstrate the truth of her science is by healing the sick, she herself positively declines to give this demonstration. It is really puzzling. Here is a woman who had discovered the only power that can heal the sick as nothing else can, and no other person understands the _modus operandi_ of this power better or even as well as she does, and yet she will take no patients--that is, she will under no circumstances apply her remedy, however urgent the need for it may be!
Some people might be led to think that Mrs. Eddy's refusal to practise healing was due to her fear that she might not always succeed, which would greatly diminish her prestige and prejudice the public against her discovery. To claim, as we have explained elsewhere, that Mrs. Eddy's motive in refusing to heal the sick herself was that she might have more time and strength for matters of higher importance would imply that she was not strong enough to do both. But would not such an admission prove fatal to the claim that all is divine Mind, and that in divine Mind there is no sin, sickness, fatigue, or limitation of any kind?
The husband of Mrs. Eddy died; that was an event calling for an explanation from the discoverer of an unfailing remedy for all maladies who happened to be the widow of the deceased. How could any one so closely related to Mrs. Eddy, and taking her treatment, succumb to sickness of any kind? Mrs. Eddy looked about for an answer to that question. "My husband died from the effects of arsenical poisoning mentally administered" was her first effort at self-defence.
But Mrs. Eddy was quick to realize that she could ill afford to admit that an imaginary dose of arsenic mentally administered could deprive a Christian Scientist of his life, for she hastened to explain further that unfortunately "circumstances debarred me from taking hold of my husband's case."
"Circumstances," then, killed her husband, since had she not been debarred by them she would have come to his rescue with her "divine" science and prevented his death. To further exonerate and defend herself she is inclined to blame her husband a little. "My husband declared himself perfectly capable of carrying himself through, and I was so entirely absorbed in business that I permitted him to try, and when I awakened to the danger it was too late." Now we know why Christian Science failed in this particular case. Mrs. Eddy was too busy, and she awoke to the seriousness of her husband's condition too late. Besides, the patient himself believed he was quite able to cope with the trouble without his wife's help. In short, "circumstances" proved too much for Christian Science. That is why Mrs. Eddy's husband died.
The more Mrs. Eddy explained, the more she had to explain. If Mr. Eddy was murdered by means of mesmeric poison (whatever that may be), mentally administered by an absent practitioner who, Mrs. Eddy believed, was one of her own apostate disciples--that is, if some one could from a distance kill her husband--what prevented her, by the same absent treatment, and without taking any time from her other duties, from defeating the work of the mal-practitioner by a thought or two of her own? If this could not be done, and since there is a possibility of other divine healers being so entirely absorbed in business as to neglect their patients, had we not better hold on to the doctors a little longer, at least until Christian Science has become a match for "circumstances, etc."? And if a healer equipped with "divine" science can have more to do than he or she has the strength to attend to, in what sense is "divine" science more resourceful than plain, ordinary science?
But there is more to come. Mrs. Eddy declares that one of her rejected students tried to kill her in the same way as her husband had been killed. But he could not, "because I instantly gave myself the same treatment that I would give in a case of arsenical poisoning (mentally administered), and so I recovered, just the same as I could have caused my husband to recover had I taken the case in time." There is no such thing as failure with Mrs. Eddy. Her husband would never have died had she given him the same treatment as she gave herself. Of course, years later Mrs. Eddy died too; but there, again, "circumstances" must have proved too formidable for Christian Science, otherwise both the Eddys might be living still.
The founder of this popular cult believed that she had now explained the death of her husband to the satisfaction of her faithful flock. She certainly could have saved Mr. Eddy's life had she not been too busy with other matters, or "too late" in taking hold of his case. To prove this she goes on to give examples of her wonderful powers, as will be seen by the following: "Only a few days ago I disposed of a tumour in twenty-four hours that the doctors had said must be removed by the knife. I changed the course of the mind to counteract the effect of the disease"; and of course the malignant tumour took wings and flew away, twenty-four hours of Christian Science being all it could stand. It was really unfortunate that so powerful a healer was prevented by pressure of "business" from lending a thought to her sick husband. It was not because she did not want to help him, nor because her "divine" science was not equal to his trouble, but because of "circumstances." We hope that in the near future some advanced practitioner of Christian Science will discover a cure for that terrible malady called "circumstances," which reduced Mrs. Eddy to impotency at the bedside of a dying husband; a cure which will be as effective against "circumstances" as against tumours, cancer, etc. In comparison with such sophistry or make-believe, how refreshing is the intellectual honesty which sees true and aims straight.
|Mrs. Eddy's efforts to explain what she calls "mortal mind" give us an even better insight into her mentality. Though constantly denouncing mortal mind as the source of all human ills, the author of _Christian Science_ makes no serious attempt to account for its origin. The fundamentals of Christian Science as expounded by its author are summed up in the following statements:--
_God is All in All.
God is Good, God is Mind.
God Spirit, being all, nothing is matter.
Life, God, omnipotent good deny death, evil, sin, disease_ (p. 113).
The important deduction which the founder of Christian Science draws from these assertions is that sin, suffering, sickness, and death do not exist, since there is no room for them in God, who is All in All, or in a universe where Mind is the sole reality and "Nothing is matter." Our experience and our senses may testify to the contrary, but, replies Mrs. Eddy, "I find that God is true, and every (mortal) man a liar" (p. 113).
In the opinion of Christian Scientists, that ought to end the discussion. "God is true," never mind what men may say. But what is the proof that Mrs. Eddy is speaking for the Deity? Calvin and Mohammed too claimed to speak for the Deity.
If God is the All, whence comes mortal mind? The All plus mortal mind would give us more than the All. God cannot be the all unless he is immortal and mortal mind at the same time. It is true that Mrs. Eddy denies reality to mortal mind. By mortal mind she means false beliefs about God and man. But how did false beliefs originate in a universe where God or Good is the only reality?
Mrs. Eddy's efforts to make room for mortal mind in her perfect world are really amusing, as will be seen by what follows.
Man is defined as "God's spiritual idea, individual, perfect, eternal" (p. 115). She explains further that, while man is not God, he is nevertheless made in God's image, and is therefore God-like. The distinction between God and man, according to Mrs. Eddy, is one of quantity and not of quality. Jesus Christ was not God, she writes; he was only "the ideal of God, now and for ever, here and everywhere" (p. 361). It is true Jesus said, "I and my father are one"; but, explains Mrs. Eddy, what is meant is one in _quality_, not in _quantity_. Jesus was God in the sense that a drop of water is the ocean, or a ray of light is the sun--in essence, not in size. In that sense man too is God, or a little god. Both man and Jesus possess all the qualities of divinity, but in limited proportions.
"The science of being," our prophetess goes on to say, "reveals man as perfect, even as the Father is perfect, because the Soul and Mind of the spiritual man is God" (p. 302), but in quality only, since "man is in _a degree_ as perfect as the Mind that forms him" (p. 337). It follows that if man were God-like in quantity as well as in quality--that is, if he were not undersized or underweighted spiritually, there would have been no mortal mind, and therefore no sin or sickness in the world. But who clipped man's divinity, or made him an underling? In a perfect world how does man happen to be a dwarf?
Forgetting her own statement, that man is not so "bulky" as God, Mrs. Eddy insists that, as there is no error or sickness in God, there can be none in man, who is "God's spiritual idea." Yet, in order to justify Christian Science healing, she is compelled to make a further distinction between God and man. God is one, but there are two kinds of men--the spiritual and the mortal, and it is the latter who need the high-priced services of healers.
"God is not corporeal... mortals are corporeal" (p. 116).
If we ask Mrs. Eddy how man could possess a body and yet be "the reflection of God," who is incorporeal, she replies that this body of which she speaks is only a make-believe body; the real man is all soul, as is the Deity. "The description of man as both material and spiritual... is the Pandora box from which all ills have gone forth. Matter is a fiction" (pp. 170-1). From which it follows that man is as incorporeal as God; but the former _thinks_ he has a body, and hence the sufferings from which the Deity is immune. "Mistaking his origin and nature, man believes himself to be combined matter and spirit" (p. 171). This, Mrs. Eddy considers, is as great an absurdity as to think of Christ as both God and Devil (Belial and Christ). How, then, did man come to have a body? He has none; he has only come to think he has one. And how did that happen? "The human mortal mind, by an inevitable perversion, makes all things start from the lowest." That is the way, according to the author of _Science and Health_, in which man came to believe in matter. This false belief is "mortal mind" (pp. 172-89), the Dragon which the St. George of New England offers to slay for what she considers a moderate price.
Let it be observed that Mrs. Eddy attributes the existence or the belief in the existence of "mortal mind" to the "inevitable perversion" of the human mind. Mark the use of the word "inevitable." Does she mean that "mortal mind"--that is to say, sin, suffering, and death--were predestined? If she does not mean that, what made man's departure from truth, or his "perversion," _inevitable?_ Was there another power, greater than the All, who pulled man down into error? And how can Christian Science, if it could not prevent the "perversion" which called into existence the worst of all as well as the parent of all diseases--"mortal mind"--be a remedy against the innumerable ills which flow from it?
In pronouncing "mortal mind" or the "perversion" which called it into existence inevitable, Mrs. Eddy has virtually created a power greater than her "All in All," since the latter could not prevent the catastrophe.
Once more: the reply that man is God-like in every respect except in size, and that the body is a myth, does not help Mrs. Eddy's argument in the least. Real or unreal, the human body, or the belief in it, which causes so much suffering, should have no place in a system founded upon the dogmatic declaration that all is Mind, and all is Good, and all is God. The question remains: Why did Mrs. Eddy make room in this perfect universe for the serpent--mortal mind? As already suggested, without this false belief in materiality Christian Science would have been a useless discovery. Mrs. Eddy was debarred by her creed from admitting the existence of matter; hence she compromised on "a belief in matter," which works just as great a havoc as real matter. This arrangement has given to her army of Christian Science practitioners many (imaginary) ills to heal. Like Don Quixote, Christian Scientists to-day go forth to do battle, even though for enemies they have nothing more formidable than windmills. Physicians treat what they believe to be real maladies; Christian Scientists combat maladies which they say do not exist--that is to say, they fight phantoms.
Not only does the author of _Science and Health_ utterly fail, as all metaphysicians before her have failed, to account for the origin of evil or mortal mind, in a universe created and governed by Infinite Goodness, but her doctrine that man, like the Deity, is free from sickness, etc., involves her in new contradictions. For example, on page 204 (1910 edition) Mrs. Eddy says that "in Christian Science it can never be said that man has a mind of his own, distinct from God, the ALL-Mind"; and more than once she has asserted that man "has neither birth nor death" (p. 244). Of course, this is no more than a theory; but, even as such, Mrs. Eddy makes only a limited application of it--that is to say, she does not follow her theory to its logical consequences. If man has no mind of his own, but is a replica of the Divine mind, why did the Deity make so many copies of himself? Was this self-multiplication of the Divine mind from necessity or from choice? If the former, then necessity was greater than the Deity; if the latter, then man was an accident, since the Deity could just as well not have created him at all, being free to do as he pleased. And if man is a copy of the Deity, why did He reproduce himself more freely among the inferior races--the blacks and the yellows--than among the white peoples?
Again, if man has no mind distinct from the Divine, the _All-Mind_, he ought to have all the attributes of God. God is painless, sinless, deathless; and so is man, according to Mrs. Eddy. But why stop there? God is omniscient; is man omniscient too? Then why does he go to school? God is almighty; is man almighty? Then why does he have to use tools or ask for help? God is omnipresent; why is man dependent upon the means of transportation to go from place to place? How, then, does man, who is not distinct from the _All-Mind_--God, come to possess only one or two of the Divine attributes?
Mrs. Eddy's Prayer
|It is reported of Mrs. Eddy that every morning as she arose from her bed she repeated the following prayer: "Clad in the panoply of Divine love, human hatred cannot reach me." Her followers have expressed great admiration for this, the "Mother's daily prayer." But to be forever thinking of human hatred, and to live in constant dread of it, shows a broken-down mind. Only a person haunted by the fear of human hatred would beg daily to be delivered from it. If on getting up every morning a man were to say, "To-day my liver shall not hurt me," one would have reason to conclude that he was suffering from liver trouble.
To deny human hatred every morning is also proof positive of an alarmed conscience. Macbeth saw Banquo's ghost everywhere and dared it with his "avaunt" and "hence," even as Mrs. Eddy, seeing so much of human hatred, ran under cover of "the Divine panoply" the first thing every morning. Is that the way to prove that "all is mind," and that there is nothing to fear?
Is Christian Science Scientific?
|Two words spell the name of this so-called "health religion"--"Christian" and "Science." Let us see if there is anything scientific about Christian Science. To begin with, men of science never try to suppress inquiry, because inquiry only helps to advance their cause, which can advance in no other way.
Science is investigation. Eddyism, on the other hand, is a dogma.
Science is knowledge, verified, classified, and placed within the reach of all. Eddyism is a _copyrighted_ cult.
Science is free; in science we do not have to secure permission before observing, studying, inventing, or teaching. But Mrs. Eddy reads out of church the independent thinker or practitioner.
Science is open to new truths. Christian Science claims to be a final revelation. For any man or woman to profess to be the custodian of the last word on religion, and then to copyright the same, is not only the negation of all science, which means increasing research and unhampered discovery, but it is also the most objectionable kind of monopoly.
Science always accepts truth for authority, and never authority for truth. Christian Science, on the contrary, rests on the sole authority of Mrs. Eddy's _Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures_.
The fundamental difference between Mrs. Eddy and a scientist like Charles Darwin, for example, is that, while the latter confines himself to such statements as are investigable, Mrs. Eddy puts forth claims which defy investigation. Let me give an example. The founder of Christian Science solemnly declares that even the price she should charge for a course of instruction in metaphysics was dictated to her by the Deity himself: "When God impelled me to set a price on Christian Science--mind healing--I was led to name $300 as the price." And she adds: "This amount greatly troubled me. I shrank from asking it, but was finally led by a strange providence to accept this fee." It must have been a _strange_ providence, indeed! But can a claim of that nature be verified? If we desired to make sure whether the Supreme Being, with the destinies of ten thousand worlds upon His mind, found the time to fix also the dividend rate upon Mrs. Eddy's investment in Christian Science, how would he go about it? How shall we make sure that the Deity did not, on the contrary, plead with her to be satisfied with a more moderate profit?
While in Salt Lake City I enjoyed the opportunity of an interview with a prominent Mormon. Finding me willing to listen, the gentleman told me how Joseph Smith had received a visit from the angels who delivered to him the originals from which were copied the articles of the Mormon belief. When I expressed a desire to see the "heavenly" documents, my informant replied that Joseph Smith had returned them to the angels. Is such a statement investigatable? And what is not investigable lies outside the province of science. Neither Mrs. Eddy nor Joseph Smith can be put in the same class with Charles Darwin, who advances no propositions which forbid verification.
Is Christian Science "Christian"?
|Eddyism is no more _Christian_ than it is _scientific_. Between the teachings of Jesus and those of the Boston lady there are irreconcilable differences.
It is the claim of practitioners in Christian Science that they are following the example and applying the method of the founder of Christianity in the healing of the sick. This is one of the "telling" arguments used by Christian Science lecturers in their appeals for converts. But if it can be shown that the method of Jesus was in many respects radically different from that prescribed by Mrs. Eddy, the claim that her religion is founded upon the teachings and practice of Jesus falls to the ground. In a pamphlet issued by the Christian Science Publication Society and copyrighted we read as follows; "Jesus proved for all time and for all Christendom that the origin of disease was _mental_, and He healed it with _mental medicine_." Can that statement be squared with the practice of Jesus as we find it described in the Gospels? The evangelist St. John relates the cure of the man born blind as follows: "When he [Jesus] had thus spoken, He spat on the ground and made clay of the spittle, and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay and said unto him, 'Go, wash in the pool of Siloam.'" Is that the Christian Science way of healing the sick? Do Christian Scientists use clay or spittle? Do they "anoint" the sick with salve of any kind? Do they counsel bathing or washing for curative purposes?
Moreover, Jesus, in reply to the question of His apostles as to the cause of the man's blindness, clearly states that the origin of this man's disease was not in human error or mentality:--
_And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?
Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents; but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. (John ix, 2-3.)_
The meaning of this text is that the man was born blind, not as a punishment for his or his parents' sin, nor because of mortal mind, but that through him God may be glorified. Could that text be quoted to show that blindness is a "mental" disease caused by unbelief or selfishness? or could it be quoted to prove that the man was not born blind, but only _thought_ he was blind? Where is the evidence, then, that "Jesus proved for all time and for all Christendom that 'disease was caused by mortal mind,' and that 'mental medicine' was the only remedy he used?"
Was Jesus in the habit of using words to mislead his hearers, of saying things the real meaning of which would remain hidden for nearly twenty centuries--until Mrs. Eddy could place her _key_ (from three to six dollars a key) upon the market?
The evangelist St. Mark gives another instance of Jesus's method of healing which is again totally different from Mrs. Eddy's:--
_And they bring unto him one that was deaf and had an impediment in his speech, and they beseech him to put his hand upon him.
And he took him aside from the multitude, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spit and touched his tongue._
Will the Christian Science healers explain the functions of the "hand," the "fingers," and the "spit" in "mental medicine"? If it be answered that Jesus resorted to material means to illustrate the power of the spirit, etc., it would follow that material means may be used to advantage, and that there is no such feud between matter and mind as the Eddyites proclaim.
Many other texts could be quoted to show that Jesus used material means. He touched the bier, he laid his hands on the patient, which is the kind of manipulation vehemently denounced by Mrs. Eddy in her comments on mesmerism. The "touch" so frequent in the miracles performed by Jesus is downright heresy in Mrs. Eddy's system of healing.
_Now when the sun was setting, all they that had any sick with divers diseases brought them unto him; and he laid his hands on every one of them. (Luke iv, 40.)_
Again, Jesus recommends to his disciples dieting by way of abstinence from food--that is, fasting--for the healing of obstinate diseases. Evidently he believed that dieting increased one's healing power.
In the same pamphlet published and copyrighted by the Christian Science Publication Society, the author, William R. Rathbon, member of the Board of Lectureship of the First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, writes: "He [Jesus] gave himself no concern about physical symptoms... He cared little about what the sick man had been eating, but much about what he had been thinking." In the New Testament, however, nearly every patient's symptoms are described, to which Jesus listened without a word of protest and with apparent consent. Had the evangelists believed, as the Christian Science lecturers teach, that disease is purely mental, they would not have gone into details in describing physical symptoms.
"And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years" (Mark v, 25.) Does not that describe the nature and duration, as well as the physical effects, of the woman's disease?
"Lord, have mercy upon my son, for he is a lunatic" (Matt, xvii, 15).
"And one of the multitude said, Master, I have brought unto thee my son"; and then the father proceeds to describe the symptoms of his son's malady: "He foameth and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away" (Mark ix, 17).
In all these cases there was not a word of rebuke from the great healer because of the symptoms described.
Jesus himself, on one occasion, asked for certain physical details before proceeding to heal the patient:--_And he [Jesus] asked his father [the father of the sick youth], How long is it ago since this came unto him? (Mark ix, 21.)_
What difference did it make when or how the disease was contracted if it is true that "Jesus proved for all time and for all Christendom that the origin of disease was mental, and he healed it with mental medicine"? Perhaps the motive for representing Jesus as indifferent to the physical condition of his patient is to excuse the Christian Science practitioner for his ignorance of the human body and his contempt for physical science.
But the most irreconcilable difference between Jesus Christ and Mary Baker Eddy is in the spirit in which they performed their miracles. Jesus does not appear to have had any financial schemes in his head. He tells his followers to give freely the power which they have themselves freely received. The idea of taking money for a cure, or charging a large sum for the purpose of encouraging appreciation for his gifts, would have shocked the Jesus of the Gospels. The mere suggestion that some day a woman would copyright and commercialize this "divine power" would have made him indignant beyond expression. It is impossible to believe that the Jesus who said, "Get you no gold, no silver, nor brass, neither two coats, nor shoes," and also, "Freely ye received, freely give," could have the remotest sympathy with a woman who not only _sells_ what she calls "the power of God," but has also secured by legal procedure "a corner" on it. Mrs. Eddy's religion, then, is no more Christian than it is scientific. Had she been dealing in food products instead of in religion, the use of a false label would have made her liable to prosecution.
|Perhaps the term which best describes the thinking which leads so many to accept Mrs. Eddy's teaching as both scientific and Christian is what the psychologists call "arrested mentation." The majority of people reason admirably up to a certain point, and then they suddenly come to a full stop. Having followed the right path to a considerable distance, they then deliberately refuse to follow it further. To speak more plainly, there are many people who reason correctly enough on some subjects, but on other subjects they manifest a credulity beyond belief. The Moslem, for instance, uses his reason against the claims of every religion but his own. The Christian Scientist argues like a trained logician against all alien cults, but when it is a question of his own faith he bids his reason to hush. For example, he observes, accurately enough, as we all do, that the mind frequently creates the conditions of the body. A man may at times think himself sick, or he may think himself into health. The will, too, is a factor to be reckoned with. The truth of the saying, "Where there's a will there's away," has more than once been demonstrated. In the same way, we all admit, since experience compels it, that the greater thoughts or sensations often crowd out of the mind the lesser ones. That is an axiom. If I am suffering from a toothache, the sudden appearance of a burglar in my room, pointing a revolver at me, will in all probability make me forget my toothache instantly. The cavity or the affected nerve which caused my pain is as real as ever, but for the time being I have a more intense sensation elsewhere in my system which renders me quite oblivious to the comparatively lesser pain. Within certain limits and in connection with certain maladies this principle--namely, the creating of a more powerful emotion in the mind than the one which is absorbing attention--could be, and is, utilized with therapeutic results. For people who worry, who imagine things, a complete diversion is usually all the medicine needed. So far, so well.
But the Christian Scientists who keep their eyes open to the evidences of the mind controlling the body, and know very well how to use these as arguments, shut their eyes completely to the equally convincing proofs of the power of the body over the mind. Hunger or insomnia, if prolonged, will put the mind out of commission. Destroy the optic nerve, and all the mentality in the world cannot make the eyes see. Stop the full flow of blood into the brain, and every one of our mental faculties--memory, perception, judgment, as well as the power of speech--becomes crippled, if not totally destroyed. Will any sensible person dispute these statements? The Christian Scientist, who sees how many things the mind can do, deliberately ignores the things it cannot do. Can mind, as Herbert Spencer asks, change a field sown in wheat into a cotton field? Can it make a horse into a cow? Can it transform an African into an Anglo-Saxon? Can it convert copper or brass into gold? Can we, by thinking, make the sun go around the earth? At one time people did think that the sun moved and that the earth stood still. Did thinking make it so?
It would be easier to prove that the mind would be helpless without the body than that the body would be helpless without the mind. Take away from man his erect posture or his hands, and not even the mentality of a Prometheus would prevent the decline and deterioration of the human race. What a wonderful instrument is the hand! It has no doubt contributed much towards the evolution of man. The thumb meeting each finger separately, or all four of them combined, enables one to take hold of things.
The ability to feel things with the hands, to turn them over, to take them apart, to bring them nearer to the eyes for a more minute examination, started the mind into action, just as the same hands, by putting food into the mouth, started the machinery of life into going. Deprive man of his hands, and he will slowly slip to the foot of the ladder, no matter how much mind he may have. On the other hand, endow an oyster with the human frame, and in time it will develop a mind and a civilization. An oyster with the mind of a Shakespeare would still be an oyster, while a Shakespeare with the body of an oyster would have no use for his "thousand souls." Why do not the converts of Mrs. Eddy see all sides of a question? Because they think so far and no farther.
Do Christian Scientists Use their Minds?
|Despite the frequent use of the word "mind," there are perhaps few people who use their minds less than Mrs. Eddy's disciples. Mental development is possible only where there is freedom to think, to experiment, to differ, and to originate. Are Christian Scientists permitted to think for themselves? Are they at liberty to differ or to express original views? To repeat or imitate another very little mind is required. All the Christian Science topics, lessons, and instructions are issued from headquarters, and the official readers in the denomination merely repeat these verbatim. In their Sunday meetings no original or even individual word is allowed. Of what use, then, is mentality to a consistent Christian Scientist, who believes that the truth, the only truth, the final truth, has been discovered and brought to him once for all?
In the Kentucky cave of darkness fishes and mice are found without eyes. What use could they make of sight in the darkness? Mind may become as superfluous to human beings who have nothing more to discover as eyes are to the denizens of Mammoth Cave.
The following from a letter sent to Mrs. Eddy and printed in _Science and Health_ (p. 615) shows what small use some people have for their minds. The writer, whose initials alone are given, "L. C. L., Salt Lake City, Utah," writes how he fell from his bicycle while riding down a hill "at a rapid pace; and, falling on my left side with my arm under my head, the bone was broken about halfway between the shoulder and elbow. While the pain was intense, I lay in the dust declaring the truth, and denying that there could be a break or accident in the realm of Divine Love." So saying, he remounts his wheel and rides home and orders _Science and Health_ to be brought to him immediately, "which I read for about ten minutes, when all pain left." When he told his story his hearers would not believe that his arm could have been broken. To prove that it had he goes to an X-ray physician, who says: "Yes, it has been broken, but whoever set it made a perfect job of it, and you will never have any further trouble from that break." The writer concludes his letter with: "This is the first of several cases of _mental surgery_ that have come under my notice."
What shall we think of the mentality which can be the parent of such contradictions! Here is a man who admits that he fell, though "there are no accidents in the realm of Divine Love." He also admits that he broke his arm while "denying that there could be a break in the realm of Divine Love." The broken bone is set by the reading of _Science and Health_, although it could not have been broken, for he did not fall, seeing that there are "no accidents in the realm of Divine Love." If he did not fall, he did not break his bone. But if the bone was not broken, it was not set; and if it was not set, there was nothing to prove the healing power of Christian Science. Therefore, he did fall and did break his bone "while denying that there could be a break or an accident in the realm of Divine Love"; and a physician, a man of material science, is called in to prove that the broken bone was admirably set by "mental surgery."
Let me add that if _Science and Health_ could set a broken bone, it could also have prevented the accident. If it could not, then Christian Science is insufficient; if it could have prevented the fall and the breaking of the bone, and did not, then it was responsible for the misfortune. The further fact that the X-ray discovered that the bone had been set proves that Mrs. Eddy's _Science and Health_ had not been able to obliterate all the marks of the fall and the break; which again shows that accidents do happen and bones do break "in the realm of Divine Love." People who make no better use of their minds than "L. C. L." of Salt Lake City does might just as well have no more mind than the cave fishes have eyes.
Examples of "Reasoning."
|On the fly-leaf of Mrs. Eddy's now "famous" book appears this quotation from Shakespeare: "There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so." This is given a place of honour in her book because it is supposed to prove the truth of Christian Science. But a wee bit of clear thinking or of the power of analysis would have helped Mrs. Eddy to see that her opening quotation completely destroys all that she advocates in the rest of her book. The doctrine of Mrs. Eddy is that all is God; that God or the good alone exists, and that evil, etc., is mere illusion. According to her teaching, sickness, sin, and death do not exist except for those who believe in them. The only reality is God or goodness. But the text from Shakespeare which she so prominently displays upon her banners denies God or goodness, just as effectually as it does evil and the devil. "There is nothing--," says the great poet. Mark that, Christian Scientists! Is that any text to quote to prove that there is truth, and there is goodness, and there is God? "There is nothing either good"--Pause again: Are Mrs. Eddy's troops of voiceless followers willing to subscribe to that statement? If Shakespeare, Mrs. Eddy's authority, is right, the good is as illusory as the bad, for he says plainly that "there is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so," which should make God, goodness, health, and truth as much an unreality as sickness or sin.
Moreover, the Shakespearean argument makes man the creator of both the good and the evil in the world, since it is his _thinking_ which determines the nature of things. Mrs. Eddy, on the contrary, maintains that man is merely a reflection of the Deity, who alone exists and is the only reality. It must have been the greatness of Shakespeare's name which tempted Mrs. Eddy to quote from him on the very first page of her book. But metaphysical arguments are like balloons: the bladders burst, and nothing remains.
In order to prove that all disease is mental, the following argument is frequently used. I shall give it precisely as I find it in Christian Science: Its Results (p. 14; copyright, 1918, by the Christian Science Publication Society):--_If, then, it is considered that the state of mind may disturb the secretions, causing the tears to flow; or that the state of mind may quicken the action of the heart, causing the blood to rush to the face or away from it; or if the state of mind can affect the organs of the throat, causing huskiness, then it is plain that the state of mind may be held accountable for other derangements of the organs of secretion, of circulation, and of speech. And if of these, why not of other organs of the body?_
It is not denied that mental conditions often become manifest in their effects upon the body. But, first, what produces these mental conditions? The Eddyites do not seem to care to penetrate into that question at all. Is it not true that in the majority of cases it is some physical or material cause which has either depressed or exalted the mind--brought tears to the eyes or dried them? The sight of a sudden and terrible accident to a child while crossing the street will, for the moment, rob onlookers of their power of speech, blanch their cheeks and daze them beyond the ability to move or to think. In the same way, the news that a dear son has been gassed or killed in battle will change a happy home into a house of mourning, depriving its inmates of sleep and appetite. On the other hand, the unexpected discovery of a vein of gold on one's farm will exhilarate the mind and banish a hundred fears. These mental moods have physical causes. Just as heat passes into motion and motion again into heat, material events produce mental moods; and these mental moods resolve themselves once more into physical manifestations, such as laughter or tears.
The Christian Scientist observes accurately enough that depression and discouragement cause sickness, but he is too impatient to learn that these mental states are often the result of bad circulation or mal-assimilation of food. Lack of fresh air, defective vision, or a dull but constant physical pain very often lowers the mental tone, proving thereby the interdependence of mind and matter.
The lecturer from whose pamphlet I have quoted realizes "that salt water will flow from the eyes if he is subjected to great grief," and "that the state of mind may disturb the secretions, causing the tears to flow," and concludes therefrom that "dyspepsia and all other bodily diseases and derangements" should be treated "with truth rather than with tabloids and powders." But what if the secretions are disturbed by purely physical causes? A child cries for something to eat, and not from unbelief or fear, which are supposed to be purely mental states; and a piece of cake will relieve his hunger and dry his tears. A splinter in the eye will provoke tears, as will also a sharp, cold wind; the removal of the one, and protection from the other, will immediately dry the eyes. Peeling onions starts the secretions. Do onions come under the class of mental causes?
Let me give another illustration. Wishing to prove that the material world is an illusion of the senses, Mrs. Eddy tells us that on a wet day, when there is a downpour of rain, and when mist and fog shroud land and sea, we can easily assure ourselves that our senses are not telling us the truth, that the weather is really fine, by consulting a barometer, which in the midst of cloud and rain points to clear weather. What shall we think of the mentality of a woman who appeals to a barometer to prove that matter does not exist? If Mrs. Eddy had not suddenly stopped thinking, she would have seen that if our senses betray us when they report wet weather, neither would we have any assurance that what they say about the barometer is dependable. Does she think that our senses are not trustworthy except when they refer us to the barometer?
Inconsistent thinking is often also responsible for inconsistency in conduct. The Christian Scientist, for example, objects to the physician, but patronizes the dentist. Yet dental surgery is not different from medicine, but is one of its many branches. It is by the science of medicine that the trouble in the body is located, diagnosed, and remedied by the knife, if it cannot be by medication. Besides, the wound or incision is treated medicinally, which requires medical knowledge on the part of the surgeon, just as it does on the part of the regular physician. Can a dentist practise surgery without a knowledge of the human anatomy--that is to say, of how many bones and muscles there are in the body, where the nerves are located, to what sort of treatment they will respond, and to what laws of growth and decay they are subject? Does he not treat an abscess or receding gums with medicine? And does this not require a knowledge of medicine which to Christian Scientists is nothing but "error"? Why do not these people invite a novice or their cooks or barbers to work on their teeth if a knowledge of anatomy, physiology, and medicine is not necessary to make a man a good dentist? The mere fact that Christian Scientists will not allow any one but a man with a diploma from a dental college to attend to their teeth proves conclusively that they regard a knowledge of medicine just as necessary as we do--only we admit it frankly, and they deny it foolishly. If the Christian Scientists have not progressed sufficiently to demonstrate against surgery, they should at least be grateful to us for taking care of their needs in the meantime, and help support the physical sciences until they are able to dispense with them.
In her _Science and Health_ Mrs. Eddy ridicules those who think that vegetation or flowers can cause sickness, or that there can be such a thing as a "rose cold."
"The rose," she writes, "is the smile of God," and to accuse it of producing fevers or colds is to make God the author of disease. This is strange reasoning. If the rose represents "the smile of God," what do the bugs and crawling insects on its petals represent? And whose smile are its thorns which prick x and draw blood? Further, if a rose, a material flower, can represent the "Divine" smile, why may not other equally material things have a mission in life--such as representing and imparting health? If the Deity can use the rose to reveal his smile, why may he not use herbs or minerals for curative purposes? Why may not soap and water, cleanliness, fresh air, temperance in food and drink and exercise, have as useful a purpose in the "Divine" economy of things as the rose?
On p. 488 of _Science and Health_ Mrs. Eddy writes:--Christian Science sustains with immortal proof the impossibility of any material sense, and defines these so-called senses as mortal beliefs, the testimony of which cannot be true. Nerves have no more sensation, apart from what belief bestows upon them, than the fibres of a plant.
In the above, as also in innumerable other passages, the founder of Christian Science advises her readers to deny the testimony of their senses. They are urged to deny "that matter can ache, swell, and be inflamed." Never mind the witness of our senses; "bones cannot break, nerves cannot feel, the nose cannot smell, and the eyes cannot see." But did she stop to think where such advice would carry us?
I smell something burning in the kitchen or in the basement; but no, the senses lie. There is nothing burning; there is nothing to burn. I feel and see smoke filling the room. I can hardly breathe; but no, the senses are "a fraud." There is no smoke in the room, and I am not choking; for has not Mrs. Eddy demonstrated with "immortal proof" that "corporeal senses defraud and lie," and that they are "the only source of evil or error" (pp. 488 and 489)? If the infant is crying in the nursery because it has fallen from its cradle, or because it has stumbled into the fire, there is no need to rush for help, because the report of our senses that the child is in danger is a lie. "Christian Science shows them [our senses] to be false" (p. 489). Fortunate it is that not many parents are consistent Christian Scientists.
It is said that Christian Science does not deal with man as he appears, but man as he is--"unborn and undying." Very well; is what Mrs. Eddy and her followers write or say about "man unborn and undying" debatable or un-debatable? If debatable, we have a right to ask the Eddyites to conform to the canons of human reason; but if Christian Science is non-debatable--that is, if it cannot be understood by such minds as we possess, then why write or talk about it at all?
Do Christian Scientists Practise what they Preach?
|Mrs. Eddy teaches that the material universe is an illusion. Do the Christian Scientists try to live up to this? I say, do they try, because to try is about all that any one can do, as it is an utter impossibility to really live up to such a belief.
Let us see if there is any difference between the way we treat our bodies and the way Mrs. Eddy's followers treat theirs. We believe the body exists, and therefore we protect it with clothing. The Christian Scientists do the same, although they should not believe such material things as flesh and bone exist. We sleep to be refreshed; so do they. We have a roof over our heads; so have they. We close our windows in the winter and build a fire; they do the same. We are growing older; so are they. Now and then we feel unwell, and apply to a helper of some kind for treatment, when we cannot cope with the trouble ourselves; the Christian Scientists do the same. We die from some cause or other; so do they. If Christian Scientists never need any treatment, why are there so many practitioners among them? How do they make a living if no one of their circle is ever taken sick? I admit that we do not take the same treatment, or go to the same helper, or call our troubles by the same _name_; but, dear me! why make such an ado over mere names?
In what respect, then, do Christian Scientists, who do not believe in the body, treat theirs differently from the way we treat ours? We have to eat to keep ourselves alive; so do they. We have to take liquids with our food; so do they. We bathe our bodies because to do so is refreshing and cleanly. Why do they bathe theirs? We need fresh air; Mrs. Eddy rode out every day for the same purpose. And does not the Eddyite, like every one else, repair his house or weed his garden? Does he not Paris Green his vegetables? Does he not screen his windows? Does he not scrub his floors? Why may he not, with equal reason, resort to certain means to protect his teeth, his eyes, or his digestive organs? If Mind is _All_, Mrs. Eddy's disciples should dispense with the use of powders and cosmetics, and their houses and gardens should be free from wear and tear, as their persons are supposed to be. Are not tree and plant, house and land, face and teeth, included in the _All_ which is _Mind?_ And do Christian Scientists use "Divine" healing also for the horse and the dog? Do they employ dressmakers to clothe their minds or their bodies? If Mind is All, why do not our trains run without engineers, or our ships sail without pilots? Are physicians the only people the Deity will not tolerate? If engineers and pilots represent Mind, why not doctors?
It is admitted by leaders in Christian Science that many among their followers insure, not only their buildings against fire, but also their lives against accident, sickness, and death. Of course, death can be caused only by sickness, accident, or old age. It follows that the Christian Scientist takes thought of accident, sickness, and old age, and guards against them precisely as non-Christian Scientists do. I know also of Christian Scientists who are in the life insurance business--that is to say, while they deny sickness and accident they argue with their clients that it is the part of wisdom, as well as a duty they owe their families, to buy insurance. Is that the way to practise what one professes?
Let us continue. Mrs. Eddy declares there is no matter, and then she proceeds to write a book. Why could not Mrs. Eddy communicate her revelation to her pupils without the help of a book? Would not that have been a real miracle? Why should Absolute Mind be dependent upon ink and type? Is not a book--its paper, its cloth, its ink, its glue and boards--as material as any drug which the chemist manufactures? If Mrs. Eddy is not able to reach the minds of her disciples without appealing to their senses of touch and sight, why condemn the doctors for using equally material means to influence their patients?
But Mrs. Eddy goes beyond the physician in her materialism. A doctor, for example, invents an instrument to render surgical operations less painful, but he does not patent his idea to protect his profits. Mrs. Eddy discovers "Divine healing" and copyrights it. Moreover, the physician is the inventor of his own instrument. Mrs. Eddy declares that her book is from God, and then proceeds to copyright what does not belong to her.
The hosts of people who proclaim Mrs. Eddy's name and bend the knee to her do not seem to reflect that to copyright God's thoughts is an attempt to copyright the Deity. A New England woman plans to secure a corner on the Divine mind for commercial purposes, else why does she charge such high prices for her book? And yet not one of her admiring followers breathes even a murmur against it. It has been said that the lady copyrighted her books and asked a big price for them, netting her nearly five hundred per cent, profit, not because she wanted the money, but to make the buyers appreciate the book. But what becomes of "Divine" science if it must count on money to make people appreciate its merits? If the Eddyites may use money to influence minds, why may not a doctor use drugs to get results?
Really the metaphysical fraternity, instead of being sufficiently advanced in "Divine" science to dispense with medical help, are often compelled to employ the services of more than one doctor. The devout follower of Mrs. Eddy, if he has a tooth to be extracted or a decayed root to be removed, or an abscess in the ear to be treated, engages, besides the services of an expert physician, also some metaphysical practitioner. Thus, while the non-Christian Scientist employs only one kind of doctor, the believer in "Divine" mind employs two. When a Christian Scientist goes to a hospital for an operation, he either takes a practitioner of his own faith with him and instals him in a room near-by to give him "Divine" treatment while the surgeon is operating on him, or he goes to the phone just before going under the knife to ask his favourite practitioner for absent treatment. Two doctors instead of one--that is how Christian Science has done away with doctors. Of course, it is true that only in serious cases do Christian Scientists call upon outside help; but, then, in cases not serious anybody can get along without expert assistance.
In _Science and Health_ (p. 463) Mrs. Eddy gives the following explanation of her seclusion from the world: "It has been said to the author: 'The world has been benefited by you, but it feels your influence without seeing you. Why do you not make yourself more widely known?' Could her friends know how little time the author has had in which to make herself outwardly known except through her laborious publications--and how much time and thought are still required to establish the stately operations of Christian Science--they would understand why she is so secluded." Is not this an admission of her limitations? And can a woman, claiming to be one with God, "unborn and undying," afford to confess that she has neither the time nor the ability to do all that is required of her?
On p. 464 of her book Mrs. Eddy advises her followers to let a surgeon give them a hypodermic injection to relieve their pain, and a few sentences after she writes: "Adulterating Christian Science makes it void. Falsity has no foundation," She advises her followers, when "Divine" science fails, to take a hypodermic for help, and then she tells them that "adulterating Christian Science makes it void," which leaves her disciples between "the devil and the deep sea."
And what if there were no hypodermics to relieve the pain which Mrs. Eddy's doctrine had failed to cope with? What if there were no surgeons to administer the drug? Under Christian Science all these material means are to be abolished, leaving the whole field to Mrs. Eddy. To whom, then, will "a Christian Scientist, seized with pain so violent that he cannot treat himself mentally," go for relief?
Mrs. Eddy knows very well that physicians and not surgeons give hypodermic injections; but she has not the courage, nor, I regret to say, the honesty, to say anything good of a physician. Is not such a mind as Mrs. Eddy's a menace?
Observe again that when a Christian Scientist is in intense pain he must not seek instant relief by an appeal to real science, but must first try Mrs. Eddy's remedy; only when that fails may he resort to a hypodermic injection. How long a trial should the sufferer of intense pain give to Mrs. Eddy's remedy is not stated; but this much is certain, he is to suffer the intense pain as long as he can bear it before trying any other remedy. Knowing very well that a hypodermic might give instant relief to a patient in intense agony, Mrs. Eddy nevertheless insists that the patient shall try her uncertain remedy first.
But what follows is really debasing: "When the belief of pain is lulled [by the hypodermic] he, the sufferer, can handle his own case mentally. Thus it is that we 'prove all things and hold fast that which is good.'" Could there be anything more hypocritical than such reasoning? After the pain has been relieved by a physician, the Christian Scientist will treat himself mentally--for what? It is very much like saying that after a starving man has been fed let him proceed to demonstrate that food is not necessary for the relief of hunger. But the real motive for demanding that mental treatment should follow the hypodermic injection is to be able to claim that the cure, after all, was not effected by the physician, but by Mrs. Eddy's remedy.
Moreover, if hypodermic injections are permitted for the relief of intense pain, why may not antiseptics be allowed for protection against germs, anæsthetics to deaden sensation, and antidotes to counteract poisons? After the antidote has killed the effects of the poison, the Christian Scientist, following Mrs. Eddy's instructions, may treat himself mentally and deny the reality of both poison and antidote.
Instead of recommending the services of a surgeon, would it not have been better for Mrs. Eddy to have advised her followers to go about equipped, not only with her _Science and Health_, but also with a pocket apparatus or instrument for giving to one's self or others hypodermic injections in cases where Christian Science failed them?
Really, when Mrs. Eddy says, "If from an injury, or from any cause, a Christian Scientist were seized with pain so violent that he could not treat himself mentally--and the Christian Scientist had failed to relieve him--the sufferer could call a surgeon, who would give him a hypodermic injection," she surrenders everything, and her metaphysics collapses like a bubble. It goes to prove that, despite her many bizarre somersaults in the air, she cannot avoid landing upon matter.
When Christian Science fails, there is still the surgeon with his "hypodermic injection." What an anti-climax! Like all metaphysicians, Mrs. Eddy emerges from the same door wherein she entered.
Again Mrs. Eddy practically overthrows the foundations of her faith when she writes: "If a dose of poison is swallowed through mistake, and the patient dies... does human belief, you ask, cause this death? Even so, and as directly as if the poison had been intentionally taken. In such cases a few persons believe the potion swallowed by the patient to be harmless; but the vast majority of mankind, though they know nothing of this particular case and this special person, believe the arsenic, strychnine, or whatever the drug used, to be poisonous, for it is set down as a poison by mortal mind. Consequently the result is controlled by the majority of opinions, not by the infinitesimal minority of opinions in the sick chamber" (pp. 177-78). With that statement it may be said that Christian Science commits suicide. Only a logic-proof mind could fail to see that to admit the helplessness of Christian Science when in the minority against "the majority of opinions," as Mrs. Eddy does in the above passage, is tantamount to saying that at present, at least, no patient can be healed by Christian Science, since "the result is controlled by the majority of opinions, not by the infinitesimal minority of opinions in the sick chamber." Not only does the statement quoted deny to Christian Science the power to cope successfully with "the majority of opinions," but it also destroys faith in the testimonials from patients who claim to have been cured by Mrs. Eddy's discovery. So long as the four hundred millions of China, the three hundred millions of India, and the hosts of Africa, to which should be added the multitudes in Europe and America, "believe the potion swallowed to be poisonous," or the sickness complained of to be real, "for it is set down as a poison," or as sickness "by mortal mind," a handful of Eddyites representing "an infinitesimal minority" can effect no cures, seeing that "_the result is controlled by the majority of opinions_." On page 162 of her book Mrs. Eddy writes: "I have restored what is called the lost substance of lungs......Christian Science heals organic disease as surely as it does what is called functional." She also claims to have "elongated shortened limbs," etc.
But how could she perform the latter miracle against the opinion held by the majority that shortened limbs cannot be elongated, and after admitting, as she does, that in the sick chamber "the result is controlled by the majority of opinions, and not by the infinitesimal minority of opinions"? In her attempt to answer the question, why Christian Science fails to cure the patient who has accidentally swallowed a deadly drug, Mrs. Eddy strips her "discovery" of all its power to heal and makes "the majority of opinions the controlling factor." In one and the same breath she announces the supremacy of Infinite Mind, "who never endowed matter with power to disable life, or to chill harmony......since such a power without the Divine permission is inconceivable," and admits the helplessness of this "Infinite Mind" against "the majority of opinions dictated by mortal mind." And the same woman writes: "In this volume of mine there are no contradictory statements" (p. 345).
Christian Science Cures
|It is urged, however, that Mrs. Eddy's teachings have been demonstrated to be true by the remarkable cures they have effected. I need not question these cures. I hope all of them are genuine. I love humanity too well to wish that its ills were not cured at all rather than that they should be cured by Christian Science. But when every claim is conceded, all that will be proved is that Christian Science has cured some sick people. Of course it has. I hope the Christian Scientists will be equally generous to admit that during the past thousands of years cures have been effected also by other agencies. Mohammedanism has cured the sick; Catholic saints have cured the sick; holy places have performed cures--else why do multitudes go on pilgrimages to shrines? Patent medicines have helped the sick, otherwise the inventors and vendors of them could not have made such big fortunes; and the least tolerant Christian Scientist must admit that even physicians occasionally succeed in curing the sick. Evidently, then, Mrs. Eddy is not the _only_ healer; which, if admitted, will prove that she has not performed any cures with her "ism" which others have not performed without it. If it be said that other cures are cures only in name, the same is said by unbelievers of Christian Science cures. One objection balances the other. Christian Science would be unique if it never failed to cure. But as it fails in some cases from one cause or another, and as it limits its practice to complaints which do not require a knowledge of surgery, and, again, _as it has never accomplished what the other agencies have failed to accomplish_--restoring a lost limb, for instance--it follows without the possibility of contradiction that it is at its best no more than any other human agency.
At a Sunday morning meeting in San Francisco, as the audience was leaving, a cripple in her invalid's chair was being wheeled out of the building. Stepping up to one of the ushers who seemed to possess considerable authority, I asked why the cripple had been brought to the Christian Science meeting. "To be healed, of course," was the unhesitating reply. But as she was being wheeled out in the same condition as she was in when wheeled into the meeting, would it not follow, I asked, that she was not cured? Had the occasion permitted, the Christian Science usher would have argued that one or two treatments are not always enough to effect a cure. Admitted. But if "Divine" science must have more than one chance to hit the mark, how does it differ from human science? To prove its Divine origin, Christian Science must meet the following conditions: First, it must cure diseases which all other agencies have pronounced incurable; second, it must never fail to cure; third, it must prove itself the only power that can cure. Not one of these conditions has been met by Christian Science. It has failed to cure many; it has not cured the incurables; and other agencies have cured at least as many patients as has Christian Science. In what respect, then, is Mrs. Eddy's doctrine the absolute or the only truth?
Christian Science Testimonials
|Mrs. Eddy devotes one hundred pages of her _Science and Health_ to testimonials from people who have used her "nostrum," very much as vendors of patent medicines are in the habit of doing. But while, as a rule, testimonials in patent medicine books are signed in full, those in _Science and Health_ give only initials. Rheumatism, hernia, fibroid tumour, insanity and epilepsy, cancer and consumption, Bright's disease, and many other diseases, according to these testimonials, have been "quickly cured," often by the mere reading of Mrs. Eddy's book. But there are equally numerous witnesses to prove that these same maladies have been cured by other equally fantastic remedies. I do not feel myself under obligation, however, to take notice of these claims, for the excellent reason that I am not bound to explain alleged facts, but only real facts. Let the healers first prove that their patients had real cancer, and that Christian Science cured them permanently, and then I will consider their claims. But some one might say: "I ought to be an authority on my own case. Every doctor had given me up; I was told nothing could save me. My disease was pronounced incurable, yet I am now in the best of health through Christian Science." If a person may be misinformed about others, he may be about himself. It is the most natural thing to imagine one's self sick or cured. It is equally a matter of experience that doctors often fail to diagnose the case of a patient correctly. Their pronouncing any one incurable is not a final or infallible judgment. Before a miracle is claimed in the case of any patient it has to be shown, by expert and disinterested testimony, that the disease in question really existed, that it was really incurable, and that Christian Science really cured it. But is such testimony forthcoming? Do healers invite investigation of their cures by outsiders?
In 1898 Mrs. Eddy announced some miraculous performances. "I challenge the world to disprove," she said, "what I hereby declare! I healed malignant tubercular diphtheria and carious bones that could be dented in by the fingers. I have healed at one visit a cancer that had so eaten the flesh of the neck as to expose the jugular vein so that it stood out like a cord." Who made the diagnosis? How could a novice tell one disease from another? If it was a physician's report Mrs. Eddy is quoting, who was the physician? Besides, for Mrs. Eddy to accept a doctor's verdict would be to put faith in medical science, which, according to her, is no science at all. Neither does this Divine practitioner give the name and the address of her patients. Who witnessed the treatment applied to the case she describes? Who pronounced the patient cured? I hope Mrs. Eddy cured all her cancer patients; but a hope is not a proof, nor is assertion an argument. The only way to demonstrate a power is to submit to all the tests. Compare Mrs. Eddy's story of how she cured an unnamed patient with the following accomplishment by a man of real science: "A remarkable case of curvature of the spine was announced at a Philadelphia hospital. The case was that of Adele Weinberg, a young girl hunchback. The surgeon removed part of one of the lumbar vertebræ, found it to be diseased, and in its place used a section of leg bone. She is as erect as though her spine had been normal from birth." That operation took place in a hospital in Philadelphia, before nurses and assisting physicians, who may be summoned as witnesses. But Mrs. Eddy mentions no witnesses whom we may interview in connection with the cancer cure she describes.
|Christian Science, instead of being either scientific or Christian, comes very near being, and in fact is, a sort of get-well-quick system, suggestive of the get-rich-quick scheme of the speculating fraternity. The gambler does not have to learn a trade or to build up a business in order to secure a footing in the commercial world, or to establish a reputation for honesty and efficiency. He does not depend upon these things for a living, since the throw of a dice, the colour of a card, or a lucky bet may bring to him in a few minutes more than patient work can offer in years. The Christian Science practitioner likewise does not have to study the human body, the properties of drugs, the nature of anæsthetics or of antiseptics, the germ theory of disease, the effect of diet and climate upon the human organism, the causes of epidemics, the means of control of contagious maladies--nothing at all of this. A few lessons in metaphysics, a copy of Mrs. Eddy's book, and a number of texts on the tip of his tongue, and he may begin practising and collecting fees from patients.
Should a call come to the Christian Science healer in the middle of a cold, wintry night, he need not even rise out of bed, much less walk or ride through the storm to see and examine his patient; and if he should fall asleep while giving absent treatment, who would be the wiser for it?
There is yet another close resemblance between the get-rich-quick and the get-well-quick systems. What makes gambling attractive is the wealth there is in the world. If labour did not create wealth, there would be nothing to gamble with or to gamble for. The gambler is a parasite. He thrives on the labour of others. In the same way, the get-well-quick practitioner profits from the conquests of material science. If the Eddyites really desired to give a demonstration of their "science," they should go to those Asiatic countries where sanitary measures are unknown where there are no facilities for the proper ventilation of dwellings or for personal cleanliness; where the waters are impure, the streets are foul, the food insufficient, the climate merciless; where modern hygienic precautions are unknown; where the cholera, the black death, or some other plague works unhindered, and where there are no physicians to be sent for at the last hour. Let them, I say, work in such an environment to show what Christian Science can do. But to operate in Europe and America--where science, like a watch dog, is guarding the health of the people, inventing a thousand devices for the comfort and security of life, hurrying to the aid of the injured almost with the alacrity of thought, building hospitals equipped with all the weapons which disease dreads, and training men and women to march at any moment in full phalanx and armed to the teeth against the first plague germ that lands on our shores from foreign lands--is nothing to boast of. Indeed, it is the progress of the physical sciences which has made the Christian Scientist's profession profitable. "Divine healers" eat of the golden fruits of the tree of science, and then turn round and stone the tree.
Christian Science Fashionable
|How, then, explain the remarkable growth of Christian Science? But the imposing edifices, the prosperous looking disciples, the number of automobiles in front of their churches, prove only that Christian Science is fashionable--that is all. The question we are discussing is not Is Christian Science fashionable, but Is it true? Does the rapid growth and wealth of Mohammedanism, for instance, with its Alhambra and Alcazar, its illustrious and extensive conquests, prove its Divine origin? Does the progress of Mormonism, which reared a great city as if by magic in the Western wilderness, prove Mormonism to be of God? The Catholic Church at one time owned everything in Europe and ruled every one. To her belonged all the wealth, the culture, the art, and the power of Christendom. Yet Christian Scientists do not consider the Catholic Church Divine. Why should the rapid spread of one creed surprise us any more than that of another?
Moreover, it takes less courage to follow the crowd than to resist it. The crowd picks up the weak and carries them along. Was it not Horace Walpole who said, "The greater the imposition the greater the crowd"? What Matthew Arnold said of the multitude in England is true also of the American multitude: "Probably in no country is the multitude more unintelligent, more narrow-minded, and more passionate than in this. In no country is so much nonsense so firmly believed." Alas, that is true of the multitude in every country.
Again, the faith habit is an older heredity, exerting upon us the accumulated force of thousands of years, while the inquiry habit is too recent an acquisition to have much force upon the generality of peoples. That is another explanation of the greater popularity of dogma, which requires only belief, and the comparative unpopularity of a movement which demands individual thinking. "Superstition," as Goethe says, "is so intimately and anciently associated with man that it is one of the hardest things to get rid of." The only progress most people are capable of is to part with one superstition for another. The Pope is given up for Mrs. Eddy, but the idea of an infallible teacher to tell us what to believe is not outgrown. The keys of heaven and hell placed in the hands of the Vicar of Christ provoke scepticism in a Christian Scientist, but he accepts without the shadow of a doubt the key to the Scriptures delivered to Mrs. Eddy.
But how account for the presence of so many judges and lawyers among the converts of Christian Science? And how account for the judges and lawyers who are not Christian Scientists? It was not so long ago when judges condemned innocent women as witches, and sentenced them to be tortured to death. Did that make witchcraft a fact, or can it be quoted to justify the belief in witchcraft? The late Chief Justice of the United States was a Catholic. What does that prove?
Christian Science and Witchcraft
|Without wanting to give offence, I would say that Christian Science is, in many respects, the modern version of the witchcraft belief, which smote New England some three or four hundred years ago. If mental treatment can cure, according to Mrs. Eddy's admissions, it can also kill. Over her own signature Mrs. Eddy declares that her last husband was killed by poison "mentally administered." The devil possessed witches, too, were supposed to be able to injure and kill people mentally. Mrs. Eddy teaches that, "If the right mental practice can restore health, it is self-evident that mental malpractice can impair health." She also contends that a person may commit mental murder or "mental assassination." In the _Christian Science Journal_ of February, 1889, she demands that "mental assassins" be turned over to the executioner.
On May 14, 1878, Mrs. Eddy, her attorney, and some twenty witnesses, appeared at the opening of the Supreme Judicial Court in Salem and practically accused a certain Mr. Daniel Harrison Spoffard of sorcery and witchcraft. Mrs. Eddy's bill of complaint recited the injuries which Spoffard was mentally, and of course by absent treatment, inflicting upon one of Mrs. Eddy's students, a Miss Lucretia Brown, and begged the Court to restrain him from giving malicious mental treatment to said Miss Brown. Does not that suggest darkest Africa? Let me give a few lines from Mrs. Eddy's bill of complaint:--
_By the power of his mind he (Mr. Spoffard) influences and controls the minds and bodies of other persons, and uses his said power and art for the purpose of injuring the persons and property of others. Among the injuries Mr. Spoffard has communicated to Miss Brown are severe spinal pains, neuralgia, temporary suspension of mind._
Fortunately for the reputation of our courts, Judge Gray dismissed the charges against Mr. Spoffard, declaring, with a twinkle in his eye, that it was not within the jurisdiction of the courts to control Mr. Spoffard's mind. Had the Judge been of Mrs. Eddy's persuasion, the old regrettable Salem persecutions against so-called witches might have been revived. How well has it been explained by John Fiske that "one of the most primitive shapes which the relation of cause and effect takes in the savage mind is the assumed connection between disease or death and some malevolent personal agency."
Marriage and Death in Christian Science
|Let us now investigate some of the other teachings of Mrs. Eddy, which are at present more or less kept in the background, or which are presented only to those who have become adepts or advanced students of the cult. A careful perusal of Mrs. Eddy's miscellaneous literature will show that she practically denies sex, marriage, birth, death, the home, the family, as well as education and morality. It seems a serious accusation to bring against any one posing as a reformer or as the founder of a religion, but the evidence warrants the charge. Has no one ever observed that Christian Science journals do not announce marriages, births, or deaths? Of course, like other people, Christian Scientists are born, marry, and die; but no official recognition of such events is permitted. There must be a reason for it. In Christian Science there is no room for sex relations and for children, even as there is no recognition of that other natural phenomenon, death. But do not Mrs. Eddy's disciples die? Is not her body buried in a cemetery, and marked by a monument raised over her remains by her admirers?
The explanation for this apparent contradiction between the profession and the practice, from the Christian Science point of view, is as follows: Every believer in Mrs. Eddy's revelation is expected to demonstrate over death as over sickness; and just as, when a practitioner fails to demonstrate over sickness, it is because of some error or belief somewhere, and not because of the insufficiency of Divine power, likewise, if a Christian Scientist dies, it is because he has not applied the new doctrine rightly, and not because the doctrine is not strong enough to prevent death. This teaching really makes of death not a beneficent economy of nature, but a crime, or a miscarriage, as it were, of Christian Science.
In the State of Michigan there is a religious sect called "the House of David." One of their doctrines is that a Christian cannot die. "But," I asked the man whom I was interviewing in Michigan, "do not the members of your sect die like other people?" His answer was that they die only when they fall from grace.
In the same way, if a Christian Scientist dies, it is because he has departed from the truth as taught by Mrs. Eddy, or because some one has killed him mentally by "malicious animal magnetism" or "mortal mind." That was how, Mrs. Eddy asserts, her husband was assassinated. If one member of a family is a Christian Scientist and the treatment he receives from a practitioner does not cure him of the complaint, the blame is liable to be thrown upon the non-Christian Science members of the family, who, by resisting the operations of "Divine" power, prevent its manifestation. It is witchcraft come back. Could anything be more inhuman than to hold an unbelieving parent responsible for the failure of Christian Science to save his child from an attack of typhus or scarlet fever after the practitioner has deprived the patient of the services of medical care and treatment? But can a "Divine" healer admit failure? Rather than confess defeat, he will accuse the nearest relatives of the patient of malpractice. I am sorry to conclude that at times Christian Science is as cowardly as it is cruel.
"Suffer it to Be So Now"
|According to Mrs. Eddy, marriage, like death, suggests materiality, and is therefore an error. The words of Jesus, that in heaven they shall be like the angels who do not marry nor are given in marriage, are quoted to prove that sex is an illusion of mortal mind. Of course, the Eddyites marry, but only for the same reason that they die--because they are not sufficiently advanced in Christian Science to demonstrate over these errors.
In the _Christian Science Sentinel_, June 16, 1906, and in the _Christian Science Journal_, July, 1906, Mrs. Eddy calls marriage "legalized lust"--this from a woman who had been three or four times married!
"Suffer it to be so now" is the text quoted by Christian Scientists to defend their inconsistency. But how long a time does the word "now" cover? Jesus, in using the word "now," must have meant his own day, which was nearly two thousand years ago. But is it still "now"? A "now" that lasts so long might just as well mean "indefinitely."
"Suffer it to be so _indefinitely_" would be the real meaning of the text as the Eddyites interpret it. Accordingly, when the Christian Science dispensation shall be in full swing, marriage, birth, children, the family, as also sickness and death, will be no more. That will be, I suppose, when it is no longer "now."
I have already quoted Mrs. Eddy's belief in regard to sex: "Gender is also a quality characteristic of mind, and not of matter." She will wink at marriages "until it is learned that generation [birth] rests on no sexual basis." I do not know what kind of reasoning led her to say: "To abolish marriage and maintain generation is possible in Christian Science." Are not such foolish as well as mischievous doctrines a menace to the community? Can a man, can a woman, believe in such absurdities without becoming unbalanced mentally sooner or later?
The New Autocracy
|Mrs. Eddy has banished all freedom of thought from her Church, as Luther and Calvin did from theirs. Christian Science is as distinctly hostile to the liberty of teaching as were the dogmatists of the Reformation.
In the _Christian Science Quarterly_ Bible Lessons definite instructions are given to read the following explanatory note before reciting the lesson-sermon:--
_Friends,--The Bible and the Christian Science Text-book are our only preachers... The canonical writings, together with the word of our text-book, corroborating and explaining the Bible texts in their spiritual import and application to all ages, past, present, and future, constitute a sermon undivorced from Truth, uncontaminated and unfettered by human hypotheses, and divinely authorized._
It is absolutely necessary to repeat this at every Sunday meeting. It will be seen from the formula imposed upon her followers that only Mrs. Eddy's voice is tolerated in Christian Science churches. But does she not also permit the reading of the Bible? Only as _she_ interprets it, no other interpretation being allowed, which makes the Bible nothing more than a medium for Mrs. Eddy's thought. Outside of her book all is contamination. _Science and Health_ and the book to which it is the key are alone Divine, everything else being "human hypotheses" which enslave and corrupt. Has the intellect of man ever been subjected to a greater pinch than that?
"He who does not believe my doctrine is sure to be damned," said Luther (Professor E.M. Hulme, _The Renaissance_, p. 363). Will Mrs. Eddy admit that there is any salvation outside her church, or that there is any other infallible guide than her own _Science and Health_? And just as both John Calvin and Martin Luther called upon the civil authorities to draw the sword against heretics, so Mrs. Eddy repeatedly summoned the State to punish "mental assassins." Where there is no freedom persecution is inevitable, since there is no other effective way to suppress freedom. It was the great Swiss reformer, Beza, who congratulated Calvin on the burning of Servetus: "To claim that heretics ought not to be punished is the same as saying that those who murder father and mother ought not to be punished, seeing that heretics are infinitely worse than they." Mrs. Eddy, nearly four hundred years later, appealed to the courts in the United States to punish one Richard Kennedy, a former disciple of hers, for _malicious animal magnetism_, and called upon the police to avenge the death of her husband by arresting the culprit who administered poison to him "mentally."
"Oh, why does not somebody kill him?" Mrs. Eddy was heard to exclaim when she imagined herself the victim of the malpractice of one of her rivals. In _Science and Health_, chap. vi, p. 38, 1881 edition, Mrs. Eddy, writing of another of her dissenting disciples with all the theological fury of the Dark Ages, calls him the "Nero of to-day... he is robbing, committing adultery, and killing," etc. And on page 2, in the same chapter, she calls Kennedy a "moral leper," to be "shunned as the most prolific cause of sickness and sin." Listen to this language of Love:--
_Behold! thou criminal mental marauder, that would blot out the sunshine of earth, that would sever friends, destroy virtue, put out truth, and murder in secret the innocent, befouling thy track with the trophies of thy guilt._
Then she predicts "a hailstorm of doom upon the guilty head" of Daniel Spoffard, another of her former students (_Science and Health_, 1878 edition).
Christian Science shows many of the symptoms of the early stages of the Protestant Reformation. "Justification by faith alone" was the slogan of Luther and his associates. Good works were not necessary at all. Salvation was a divine gift, and all that the sinner had to do was to accept it. Doing was a deadly thing.
Mrs. Eddy, like another Martin Luther, preached the doctrine of salvation and health by faith alone. "Quit trying to get well by your own efforts and trust in Divine Mind" was her ultimatum. Mrs. Eddy had no more use for sanitary measures or for self-help than the German reformers had for good works. And just as Mrs. Eddy taught that to resort to material means destroyed the patient's chances of being healed by Christian Science, the Lutherans declared that good works were prejudicial to salvation because they made man self-confident and boastful.
Another resemblance between Luther and Mrs. Eddy is to be found in their common contempt for human science. To Luther the intellect was the devil's bride. When he used stronger language he denounced reason as a whore. He had no use for the universities, and prayed to see them pulverized. More than once he boasted openly that there was not a dogma of Christianity that did not offend human reason. But what is human reason worth? What is it but, as Mrs. Eddy would reply, "mortal mind"? The founder of Christian Science showed even less respect for human intellect than did the reformers of the sixteenth century.
The words of Erasmus, the distinguished scholar of Holland, "The triumph of the Lutherans is the death of good learning," could also be said of the followers of Mrs. Eddy. The cause of culture, of intellectual achievements, of discovery, of political and physical advancement, is sure to be, and is, neglected by people who are too eager to demonstrate the wonders of metaphysics. Any movement which does not include the entire field of human knowledge is bound to be both narrow and sterile. Goethe believed that the Lutheran doctrine, which confined the world to one book, upon the meaning of which no two interpreters agreed, postponed the emancipation of the human intellect for a thousand years. Luther led the world out of the Catholic darkness into the Protestant fog. Of Mrs. Eddy it could be said that she has brought her people out of the land of Egypt into a pathless wilderness.
The Menace of Christian Science
|Imagine again what would happen to our educational system if it were to pass under the control of Mrs. Eddy's party. The majority of studies now pursued would be eliminated from the course. No Christian Scientist would see the need of knowing anything about physiology, anatomy, chemistry, biology, botany, geology, or any of the fundamental physical sciences. To teach these would be an admission of the reality of the material universe and a denial of the doctrine that all is illusion and error except "Divine" mind. But what would become of a nation reared in ignorance of the physical world and the laws which govern it? Industrially such a nation must slip to the bottom of the line, leaving the commerce of the world in the hands of those who study and master the physical sciences. The Eddyites would not care, since they are not interested in the material life, and would be glad to demonstrate that it is possible to maintain life without food, as it is possible to maintain generation without sex.
With the Christian Science dogma in force, every book out of harmony with it would be excluded from our public libraries. Think you a Christian Science librarian, if free to do as he thought best, would permit the reading of books filled with "mortal error," the cause of disease and death, and thereby postpone the coming of the kingdom of Mrs. Eddy? If to-day you can scarcely find a Christian Scientist who will read or hear anything opposed to his creed, and if at present Christian Scientists allow in their churches only two books--the Bible and the works of Mrs. Eddy--are they going to allow more than two books in our schools, libraries, and homes, should they acquire control of the government? People think that Eddyism is only a sort of drugless cure and no more; on the contrary, Eddyism, with its overemphasis on the _divine_ is the sworn foe of everything human. Huxley has well said that modern civilization rests upon physical science. "Take away her gifts, and our country's position among the civilized nations of the world is gone to-morrow. It is physical science that makes intelligence and morality stronger than brute force." How splendidly true, and how refreshing is common sense after so much nonsense!
The physical sciences are not the only studies which Christian Scientists will suppress should they come into power. History, ethics, and the humanities will also be forbidden. To a Christian Scientist the history of the centuries before Mrs. Eddy's discovery is summed up in one word--error. No Christian Scientist will teach the history of error--of illusion and "mortal mind." Even the late World War was to them only an unreality. There was, according to Mrs. Eddy's followers, no war at all, for war means disharmony, and in God's universe there is room only for harmony. It is true that young men of this faith went to war, and some of them, unfortunately, were killed in battle. Nevertheless, no Christian Scientist could be conscious of anything but harmony, and therefore no Christian Scientist logically could write of the War or of any event in history which would necessitate the recognition of evil. God himself, who is perfect harmony, did not know there was a war in Europe, said the committee on Christian Science publications in explaining the attitude of their Church on the War.
Christian Science and Morals
|Morality, too, as a scientific study, will be banished from the schools under Eddyism. In the Infinite there is no more room for sin than there is for disease, and, since man is but the image of the Infinite, he is as free from sin as he is from disease. Mrs. Eddy practically denies the possibility of sin in Christian Science.
At the age of fifty-six, on January 1, 1877, Mrs. Eddy contracted a new marriage, this time with Mr. Asa G. Eddy, giving her age as forty, as shown by her marriage licence. With a gesture Mrs. Eddy swept aside the charge that she had suppressed the truth about her age, and justified the misrepresentation on metaphysical grounds. In her _Science and Health_, pp. 245-6, she asserts that a woman could not age while believing herself to be young. Eternity, according to her, has nothing to do with chronology, and "time-tables of birth and death are so many conspiracies against manhood and womanhood."
"Never record ages," she advises. But if it makes no difference to a Christian Scientist how old or how young she is, so far as the number of years is concerned, why did Mrs. Eddy under-state her age? In pretending to be younger than she really was did she not show her fear of advancing years? Perhaps Mrs. Eddy also believed that _truth_ as well as _time_ had lost all claims upon Christian Scientists. To change a lie into a truth, all that is necessary is to deny that "time-tables and calendars" have any meaning to the believer in eternity.
One could even commit murder and deny that a bullet or a knife could possibly deprive a man, who is _all mind_, of his life. Mrs. Eddy and her book, I suppose, will be about all the protection we shall have against the lightning, the storm, or the cold, or against hunger, ignorance, and crime. It is not difficult to imagine the kind of world this would be when stripped of everything but Mrs. Eddy's "inspired" metaphysics.
In the State of Washington the Christian Scientists, as soon as they had acquired sufficient political power to do it, abolished the law requiring the medical inspection of children in the public schools. But who will be the greatest sufferers from this foolish ordinance? The children, of course: the pupils afflicted with defective vision or throat and nose maladies will be deprived of the benefits of human knowledge and experience. Their prayer for better sight, for freer breathing and unhampered speech, will remain unheeded, upon the plea that sight, hearing, and speech are of the Mind, and that bodily obstructions cannot interfere with them. The Washington state law abolishing the physical examination of public-school children gives us an idea of what to expect under a metaphysical government.
And under Christian Science who, for example, will care for the deaf and dumb unfortunates in the community? Material science, seconded by human sympathy, has greatly helped to rob deafness and dumbness of more of their power to discourage and depress. I have met deaf people who were so well trained to read the movement of the lips as to be able to converse freely. What will Christian Science do for these unfortunates? Has it ever taken thought of them? And has Christian Science ever planned or built homes for crippled children--the poor little ones who cannot walk or move without pain? And what has metaphysics ever done in the fight against the white plague? Has it made a single discovery, or given a new weapon to man against any of the evils human flesh is heir to? With this Asiatic superstition or fatalistic belief, masquerading as Christian and scientific, in control of our institutions, all sanitary laws, such as the pure food law, the law requiring the fumigation of houses or the isolation of their inmates suffering from contagious diseases, the laws requiring the inspection of ships from plague-ridden ports, those requiring fireproof public buildings or providing for fire escapes and a hundred other safety-first measures, will receive scant attention.
To see and fight evil is wiser than to shut our eyes to it. The rose is no more real than the thorns which guard it. The tear is as natural as the smile, and equally divine. To be able to suffer for those we love, and for a cause we prize, is a privilege.
Christian Science robs people of the feeling of sympathy, without which man and marble become alike. But sympathy is born of the consciousness that there are pain and suffering, evil and error, in the world. Cognizance of evil is not permitted to a Christian Scientist. Being in Nirvana himself, the disciple of Mrs. Eddy neither sees nor feels, or at least he pretends not to see or feel, the sorrow that draws the tear. Are there not times when, as the poet Hood in his _Ode to Melancholy_ says, the genuine tear is nobler than the artificial smile?
Oh, give her, then, her tribute just,
Her sighs and tears and musings holy!
There is no music in the life
That sounds with idiot laughter solely.
"Christian Science makes people happy" is an argument often advanced. No doubt it does. But we are not discussing "Is Christian Science Comforting?" but "Is it true?" Ignorance is bliss, it has been said; but does that prove that ignorance should be cultivated and knowledge suppressed?
I met a young woman just the day before her mother's funeral who behaved as if she and the woman who had borne her, nursed her, carried her in her arms, who had watched day and night over her cradle and risked her life for her a hundred times, were total strangers. The young woman was a Christian Scientist. Eliminate the sympathy which consciousness of a struggling and suffering world inspires, and art, literature, poetry, morality, and the humanities wither like a branch deprived of the quickening sap.
Jesus was called the man of sorrows. Could he have been a Christian Scientist?
"Jesus wept" is written in the Gospel of John. Sorrow and tears are heresies to the perpetually smiling followers of Mrs. Eddy.
Let us have men and women who fear neither the thorn nor the tear, but who use them as stepping-stones to greater strength. The way to meet evil is to grapple with it soldier-like. Man is not an ostrich, and burying one's head in the sand is a coward's policy.
To live is to act, and to act is to combat.
But darkness cannot be overcome with jargon. To conquer we need the weapons of Prometheus--knowledge and courage!