Christian Science is a quasi-scientific and overtly religious belief system founded in 1866 by Mary Baker Eddy and her interpretation of the Bible. Its central texts are The Bible and the Christian Science textbook, Science & Health With Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy.
"Christian Science" is an oxymoron in the sense that "Christian" implies some form of dogma and set of beliefs to be adhered to, while "science" is a method that does not and cannot have a strict dogma.
Beliefs and Teachings
Christian Scientists deny the reality of the physical world. They instead believe that the only reality is purely spiritual and that there is only one substance of which we are all composed (god). As a consequence, Christian Scientists deny the reality of pain and disease, believing them to be deceptive misperceptions of the pure spiritual nature of man and god. They contend any such misperception may be remedied through prayer and reflection on god's perfection and goodness.
Christian Science addresses the theological problem of evil by teaching that evil is unreal and an illusion. The Christian Science position on the nature of evil may be stated as follows: "Evil is a negation, because it is the absence of truth. It is nothing, because it is the absence of something. It is unreal, because it presupposes the absence of God, the omnipotent and omnipresent. Every mortal must learn that there is neither power nor reality in evil"
Because they are not biblical literalists, and because they regard the material world as fundamentally unreal, Christian Scientists have no intellectual problem with the theories of contemporary geology, cosmology, or biology--for example in regard to the origin of mankind, the literal occurrence or non-occurrence of a worldwide flood, or indeed the age of the earth itself. (However, they sometimes object to detailed descriptions of disease, as tending to reinforce the symptoms described in the consciousness of the viewer or listener, with the consequent danger of externalizing these mental images on the body as physical symptoms.)
Prayer, Medicine, and Healing
- Main Article: Religiously motivated medical neglect
Christian Scientists are known to not use any medical care from drugs to surgery and favor prayer, faith healing and exorcisms. Of course they use the Bible to justify its beliefs regarding methods of healing. They believe prayer works through love. Christian Scientists do not forbid the use of medical care, rather they preach that using such tools would violate God's ultimate plan. Christian Scientists believe that sickness is the result of fear, ignorance, or sin, and that when the erroneous belief is corrected, the sickness will disappear.
Christian Scientists generally defend the separation of church and state as affording a protection for civil freedom and religion.
Health of children
There have been many tragedies with the death of children due to the faith of their Christian Science parents. Most do not treat their kids because their beliefs teach them not to use medicine. More of this can be found on Children’s Healthcare Is a Legal Duty, whose goal is to end child abuse or neglect related to religion, culture, or quackery through public education, research, and a limited amount of lobbying.
- What's the Harm on Christian Science
- Skepdic on New Thought: The parent movement of the Christian Science Church
- Christian Science in An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural (By James Randi)