SCEPTIC.INFO Free your mind - question!
SCEPTIC.INFO Free your mind - question!
SCIENCE AND HEALTH WITH KEY TO THE SCRIPTURES - IS IT THE WORD OF GOD?
Christian Science is an American cult based on the claims of Mary Baker Eddy that she could give the real teachings of Christianity. She ended up claiming that there is no matter or sin and that sickness like them is an illusion. You pray to the God of love and that cures all ills and raises the dead. Going to the doctor is a sin. The Bible and Eddy's book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures are considered to be the word of God. In practice though the Bible is an accessory with all the teachings coming from her book.
This is an examination of it from a Catholic viewpoint. This is an examination of Eddy from a Catholic viewpoint. We are using the work, What is the 'Christian Science' Religion by Fr Rumble of Radio Replies a series of defences of the Catholic faith. We are simply quoting it from now on.
The religion known as 'Christian Science' has grown during the 1950's at a rate, in America, England, Australia, and other English-speaking countries, which establishes its claim to the attention of all interested in the problem of religious Truth. It is even claimed by Christian Scientists that somewhere or other in this world, during 1958, a new church was opened every four days. And this claim alone makes a study of their teachings and of the credentials of their religion more than worth while. Above all is such a study of interest when Christian Science is compared with the Catholic religion, for it makes an appeal to miracles such as those which the Catholic Church is accustomed to offer as part of the evidence of her truth. This booklet, however, is not dictated by an outlook specifically Catholic, but is based on the evidence from Scripture, history, and reason, which is valid for Catholic and non-Catholic alike. The questions dealt with are those which have been submitted both at public lectures on religion, and to a popular radio-quiz session during the past sixteen years since 1942.
With Thanks to the RADIO REPLIES PRESS SOCIETY
4. What is your estimate of Christian Science?
I would describe it as an illogical and self-contradictory idealistic philosophy clothed in religious garments by Mrs. Eddy, and offered to the world as a system of drugless healing and the remedy for all earthly ills. It is but one more of the numerous humanly-invented cults, ranking with Mormonism, Spiritualism, Dowieism, Christadelphians, Witnesses of Jehovah, Seventh Day Adventists, and other similar religions.
5. Those other religions were not revelations from God.
Their authors claimed that they were. And Mrs. Eddy's claim is no better than theirs. It is true that she did make the claim. In her book, "Science and Health, with Key to the Scriptures" p. 107, she writes, "God has been graciously preparing me during many years for the reception of this final revelation of the absolute divine Principle of scientific mental healing." In the Christian Science "Journal," of January 1901, she wrote, "I should blush to write of 'Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures' as I have, were it of human origin, and I, apart from God, its author; but I was only a scribe echoing the harmonies of heaven in divine metaphysics, and cannot be super-modest of the Christian Science text-book." But we have only Mrs. Eddy's word for it that God revealed to her what she wrote. The whole thing rests on faith in Mrs. Eddy, not only without evidence, but against all the evidence which is available.
6. What evidence can you produce that God did not reveal to her all that she wrote in her book "Science and Health, with Key to the Scriptures"?
Firstly, there is abundant evidence that she borrowed many of her ideas, even word for word, from Phineas Quimby, an exponent of mental healing to whom she went for treatment in her own sickness. Quimby taught her that human ills have no real existence, and are to be cured not by medicine but by mind-control. She benefited by his treatment, adopted his theories, and later built her religion around them. Had her book on the subject, Science and Health, no human author, but owed its origin to divine revelation, why had it to be rewritten, altered, taken from, and added to, again and again, as was the case? In 1885, she even employed the Rev. James Henry Wiggin, a retired Unitarian minister, to edit her book, correcting her bad grammar, and eliminating the more glaring absurdities. He himself said that his chief concern was "to keep Mrs. Eddy from making herself ridiculous." To ask people to regard such a book as divinely revealed, even apart from its contents, is demanding more than reason will permit.
7. How is anyone to know whether another person's claims to a revelation from God are justified or not? Isn't there always a maybe?
There are certain tests by which we can at least be sure that a supposed revelation is not from God. Is the person claiming to give such a revelation to mankind the type of person God would choose as His agent in revealing the truth? Is the doctrine itself such as God would reveal? Does the doctrine conflict with sane reason, or with established scientific facts? Are there any extraordinary signs which can truly be called miracles wrought by God to confirm the revelation as His? Will the new religion, if applied in practice, result in the good both of individuals and of society? Christian Science can pass none of these tests.
8. Why bother about the person God chooses as His instrument ?
Christ could confidently ask, "Which of you can convince me of sin?" He offered His life as an open book, challenging His very enemies. And if a man or woman offers the public a new religion in the name of God, he or she must be prepared to have his or her life regarded as public property. Moreover, without any need of denying that the claimant possesses some, or even many virtues, the seeker for truth has the right to look for any signs which ought not to be in the life of a prophet of Almighty God. People who manifest an unbalanced mind, or a disregard for the elementary rules of honesty and veracity, are not types such as God would choose for so vital a mission to mankind.
23. How can you say that Christian Science denies specifically Christian teaching when, with all other Christians, Mrs. Eddy insists on belief in the Bible?
In reality, she insisted on belief in meanings she wrongly ascribed to the Bible. Her teachings are not based on the Bible. Her one aim was to adapt the Bible to suit her teachings. She did not hesitate to accuse the Bible of erroneous doctrines, nor scruple to change it at will. She tells us that Genesis, chapter 1 to 2:5, gives the truth, whilst Genesis, 2:6, and onwards gives an entirely false account of creation. "The Science of the first record," she writes, "proves the falsity of the second. If one is true, the other is false, for they are antagonistic." (Science and Health, p. 522.) When she speaks of the "Science" of the first record, of course, she does not mean "science" in the ordinary acceptation of that word, but the interpretation "Christian Science" puts upon the Biblical accounts of creation. In Romans, 5:10, we read, "We were reconciled to God by the death of His Son." Mrs. Eddy renders this, "We were reconciled to God by the (seeming) death of His Son." That is not what St. Paul wrote, or meant. (Science and Health, p. 45.) Take one further case. Christ said, "Fear him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell." Mrs. Eddy adds, "A careful study of the text shows that here the word soul means a false sense or material consciousness." (Science and Health, p. 196.) It means nothing of the sort, and nothing in the text suggests such an idea. These are but samples of Mrs. Eddy's unscrupulous distortion of Sacred Scripture.
25. Mrs. Eddy claims that the same God who inspired the Bible revealed to her the contents of Science and Health.
That claim will not bear investigation. Her book is a travesty of the Bible, based on the notes of Phineas Quimby and her own imagination. She was most ill-equipped for the task of interpreting Scripture. In the Third Edition of Science and Health 1881, she had written that the name "Adam is from the Latin 'demens,' meaning 'madness', 'to undo,' 'to spoil.' The word should be rendered 'a damn.' The Scripture plainly declares Adam accursed." (See at p. 196.) On another occasion she declared that the name Adam came from the Latin 'daemon,' meaning evil spirit. Now the word Adam existed long before the Latin language, and therefore could not have come from that language; and 'daemon' happens to be, not a Latin, but a Greek word. Someone must have pointed these things out to Mrs. Eddy, for she eliminated these derivations from later editions of Science and Health. But was God responsible for these original displays of ignorance? Even in later editions Mrs. Eddy says that the name Adam, separated into two syllables, means 'a dam' or an 'obstruction.' (Science and Health, p. 338.) But this dividing of a Hebrew word into two English sections is monstrous. Nor does a general survey of the book indicate divine authorship. It is simply incoherent.
Mr. H. A. L. Fisher, a literary critic of the first rank, says, "Of arrangement and orderly progress there is not a vestige. There is no reason why the first chapter should not be the last, or the last the first. There is generally no reason why one sentence should follow and not precede another." ("Our New Religion," p. 61.) And why should a book containing absolute Truth directly revealed by God have to be so frequently revised and corrected? It is impossible to take seriously Mrs. Eddy's claims for the divine authorship of the book.
18. You condemn the philosophy of Christian Science; but one has only to read her works to notice how Mrs. Eddy glorifies Truth, and insists on logic and consistency.
Mrs. Eddy does not really glorify Truth. - She glorifies her own doctrine, and declares it to be Truth without offering any logical or consistent proof of her theories at all. She argues that the soul of man is divine; but the divine cannot sin; therefore the soul of man cannot sin! (Science and Health, pp. 310-311.) But she does not dream that the first assertion needs proof.
One might just as well say, "New York is the capital of Italy. But Italy is in Europe. Therefore New York is in Europe." Again we are given the sentence, "God, Spirit, being All - Nothing is Matter," and we are assured that, since the meaning is the same when the sentence is read in the reverse order, it must be mathematically true! (Science and Health, p. 113.) At times her thoughts are quite unintelligible. "Nothing that lives ever dies, and "vice versa," she assures us. (Science and Health, p. 374.) what does "vice versa" mean? Nothing that ever died ever lived? How could it die, if it never lived? And, if it never lived how could it come to die? Reason cannot accept such nonsense as philosophy.
56. How do you account for the growth and appeal of Christian Science, if it be not the Truth?
There are many factors which can satisfactorily account for the widespread appeal of Christian Science. Its title has an impressive sound both religiously and culturally. It caters for the religious feelings of those who lost their definite grip upon the fundamental truths of Christianity, though not their attachment to a vague Christian sentiment. At the same time, in the atmosphere of science today, it flatters adherents into believing that they at least have reconciled religion with science, despite the popular impression of an irreconcilable conflict between the two. Nor can one deny the attraction in themselves of such easily acquired qualifications in science and philosophy as the mere profession of being a Christian Scientist seems to confer. Without any long years of grounding in scholarship, and without the need of even an elementary education, thousands are led to think themselves scientists and metaphysicians. Furthermore, people untrained in logic, science, and philosophy, find it very easy to mistake a half-truth for a whole-truth. That Christian Science contains some truth no one could deny, but that does not justify concentration on one aspect only, to the neglect of all others. For example, it is true that God is everywhere; but not that God is everything. It is true that some diseases are caused mentally; but not that therefore all are mental. It is true that drugs have been abused; but not that they are never useful. It is true that some illnesses have been cured by mental healing; but not that all diseases can thus be destroyed.
To all this we can add the fact that Christian Science promises both health and wealth. The desire of health is a great psychological force. The vendors of patent medicines are quite aware of this. Their very advertisements suggest the disease in many cases, whilst their promises secure the sales. The Christian advice to bear sufferings for the love of God, and sanctify them by uniting them with the sufferings of Christ, has little appeal for superficial and selfish people. For such as these, a hearty cheerful religion which solves the problem by saying that there will be no problem if you deny it strongly to yourself, appears like a ray of new light and hope. So people try it, and keep on trying it, spurred on by that which has become their greatest good, their welfare in this world, until the grave claims them, as it does the rest of men. As for wealth, for Mrs. Eddy poverty is as much an error as sin or sickness. It, too, according to her, can be cured by right thinking. And she did not hesitate to advertise the first edition of Science and Health as a book that "affords an opportunity to acquire a profession by which you can accumulate a fortune."
All these factors, and many others, can account for the appeal of Christian Science, without any need whatever of admitting it to be based upon a divine revelation to Mrs. Eddy. On the other hand, almost everything in it forbids such acceptance of it.
57. It is easy to offer destructive criticism. But have you anything constructive to offer to those who genuinely seek truth?
Undoubtedly. Not only as opposed to Christian Science, but in contrast with all other religions, the Catholic Faith stands out as infinitely radiant and glorious. The Christ, the Son of God, founded the Catholic Church. Her lofty doctrines transcend the powers of any merely human mind, responding to all the legitimate aspirations of the human heart. Never has it been shown, never can it be shown, that any single dogma of the Catholic Faith conflicts with either right reason, or with scientific facts. The miracles of Christ, and the continued miracles in the Catholic Church, as well as the miracle of the Catholic Church herself, not only in her character, but in her very existence, are an absolute guarantee that she is of God. Her teachings, put into practice, result in holiness for the individual, and the blessing of society. And in clinging to her, we know that we shall share in her own undying immortality, finding the solution of all problems when her Divine Founder shall claim us finally as His own, to share with Him forever in the Light, and Glory, and Happiness of the Presence of God.
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