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Opposite Views

In Christian Science, substance is understood to be Spirit, while the opponents of Christian Science believe substance to be matter. They think of matter as something and almost the only thing, and of the things which pertain to Spirit as next to nothing, or as very far removed from daily experience. Christian Science takes exactly the opposite view.

Mary Baker Eddy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ANSWERS TO CRITICS

 

        . . . Sensible people will not go to a blacksmith for lessons in watchmaking, to a watchmaker for lessons on horseshoeing, nor to an uneducated person for instruction in mathematics. By the same token they will not go to a prejudiced preacher of another denomination for a correct statement of Christian Science. . . .

Excerpt from "Selected Articles"
Christian Science Sentinel, November 8, 1919


         . . . A Colorado clergyman recently said: "I have learned that the idea most people have of Christian Science is an erroneous one and that the thing so often attacked as Christian Science is not Christian Science at all. I am not a Christian Scientist. There are some things upon which we differ; there are more things upon which we agree; and the few things upon which we differ should not prevent us from loving each other and living and working together for the glory of God and of men." Is not this attitude of constructive helpfulness among Christians better than wholesale condemnation and criticism?

Excerpt from "Selected Articles"
Christian Science Sentinel, October 25, 1919


         . . . Christian Science must be judged, not by what its critics say against it, but by what it really is and what it is accomplishing. It must be judged, not by whether it conforms to certain accepted standards or beliefs of ecclesiasts, but solely by the vital questions: Does it conform to the teachings of Christ Jesus? Is it fulfilling the essential mission of the religion he taught, which unmistakably is the healing of the sick and the reformation of the sinner? Christian Scientists emphatically declare, as a result of their experience, that it does so conform, and they prove this declaration in their daily lives. . . .

Excerpt from "Selected Articles"
Christian Science Sentinel, November 8, 1919


        . . . The claim that "to fail in one case would be to unseat the claim of scientific demonstration," is met by the incident where the disciples of Jesus failed to heal the lunatic boy. This did not "unseat" the demonstration of the power of Truth taught by Christ Jesus, but was simply due to the fact that the students, disciples, of his teachings had not yet reached a full understanding of what he taught. It was a self-evident and fully proved fact then, as it is now, that the truth he taught healed all manner of diseases without resort to material methods, and it was and is within the power of man to demonstrate it. . . .

Excerpt from "Selected Articles"
Christian Science Sentinel, October 11, 1919


        During this week [second week of July] a religious organization is holding a conference in Los Angeles, and among other things it is intended to take a few whacks at the Christian Science organization, according to published announcement.

        One thing the churches which are attacking or attempting to attack the Christian Scientists ought to remember, and that is that the people of that church used to belong to other churches and they feel that they have found something better on which to pin their faith. Nagging and criticizing them is not going to return them to the old fold, nor is it going to accomplish anything for the naggers.

        While the Free Press is not taking up the fight of the Christian Scientists, it abhors the action of the other church organizations in trying to break down the foundations of a faith. It smacks very much of church politics. . . . Every person has a right to his or her own belief in religion, and the average person yields to the organization that best suits his or her ideas of morality. If the ministers of the gospel who oppose Christian Science would show the people something better, perhaps the membership roll of that church would not grow . . .

        The Christian Science church is not trying to force its articles of faith on the world, but is accepting those who accept its faith. It is said that Christian Science is in truth a science, and people who give it merely superficial thought are in no position to decide upon its merits. People of average and more than average intelligence seem to find that faith worthy of their support and deep interest. Let those who oppose [Christian Science] hide their opposition behind a sincere effort to find a better way to reach the kingdom all men desire.

Ventura Free Press Editorial, quoted in "Signs of the Times"
Christian Science Sentinel, October 18, 1919


         . . . [A] critic finds fruitless fault with Mrs. Eddy's teaching to the effect that the real man of God's creating cannot depart from holiness and is incapable of sin, sickness, or death. But we need only turn to the first epistle of John to confirm her position: "Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God." Being without sin he is, therefore, not subject to sickness or death, as Jesus proved. Before criticizing Mrs. Eddy one should at least make a reasonable attempt to understand her. "Anybody," she writes on page 345 of Science and Health, "who is able to perceive the incongruity between God's idea and poor humanity, ought to be able to discern the distinction (made by Christian Science) between God's man, made in His image, and the sinning race of Adam."

Excerpt from "Selected Articles"
Christian Science Sentinel, September 6, 1919


         The tirade of abuse directed against a noble and spiritual-minded woman, as Mrs. Eddy was known to be by many thousands of grateful followers in this and other lands, is to be deeply regretted. Like all great religious and moral reformers, Mrs. Eddy has been the target for misrepresentation and sometimes malicious attack by those who fail to understand her. The animus of these attacks, however, is so apparent that they have fallen harmless in the past and can have no better success in the present instance.

         Christian Scientists welcome and invite a thorough investigation into their teaching and practice, and those who wish to be correctly informed will scarcely be content with the interpretations and denunciations of its avowed opponents. In regard to contagious diseases Christian Scientists obey the laws and strictly observe sanitary and quarantine regulations. As to the "money making" of which our adversary discourses so glibly, there are few who do so much work for others gratuitously as the Christian Science practitioner is constantly doing. It is not to be supposed that anyone would expect to call a physician who might, or might not, cure him, without paying him his bill, small or large. The Christian Scientist asks for a modest fee, which will compare quite favorably with that of any medical practitioner or surgeon.

         Christian Scientists believe in God, in the divinity of the Christ, in the inspiration of the Scriptures, in unceasing prayer, in the highest morality of thought and conduct, and in the practical possibility of a present overcoming of sin and all its effects through spiritual apprehension of the Christ, "the Comforter," "the Spirit of truth."

Excerpt from "Selected Articles"
Christian Science Sentinel, November 29, 1919


         . . . Now because Christian Science reminds us that God, Spirit, made man in His image and likeness, Christian Scientists do not believe that God is material. On the contrary, they are persistently seeking for the man of God's creation, namely, the reflection of Himself, Spirit; and in proportion to the faithfulness of their seeking this reflection, are they witnessing the healing works which Jesus promised should be performed by all those who believe. . . .

Excerpt from "Selected Articles"
Christian Science Sentinel, October 4, 1919


         When Mrs. Eddy first gave to the world her remarkable definition of God, found on page 587 of Science and Health, she little suspected probably that one word contained therein would arouse such a storm of protest from the old school theologians, and all because that one word, "Principle," as she used it, is so little understood by them. The definition referred to reads (p. 587): "GOD. The great I AM; the all-knowing, all-seeing, all-acting, all-wise, all-loving, and eternal; Principle; Mind; Soul; Spirit; Life; Truth; Love; all substance; intelligence."

         Now even the most strictly orthodox people find themselves in agreement with the first part of this definition, for being familiar with the Bible they see that the definition is strictly Scriptural; but the theologue always stops at the word "Principle." It sounds new; it is Mrs. Eddy's teaching; therefore, says he, it is wrong.

         A bishop in an address before the Fourteenth Annual Convention of Inland Empire Sunday Schools, held in Spokane, as reported said, "I cannot think of one of these social cults in which people have thought seriously of God. The God they thought of was only principle. I don't see what the use is of praying to a principle." The bishop is right from his standpoint. No one could see the use of praying to a principle, or a mind, or a spirit, as these words are commonly used, for it is generally believed that there are divers principles, minds, souls, and spirits good, bad, and indifferent. Mrs. Eddy has used these words, however, as synonyms of God; and when Christian Scientists speak of God as Principle, Mind, Soul, Spirit, and so forth, they speak with the clear understanding that comes with the casting out of the mortal belief in innumerable other principles, minds, souls, and spirits all outside of or opposed to God. . . .

Excerpt from "Selected Articles"
Christian Science Sentinel, October 4, 1919


         . . . Out of the [strictly] literal interpretation of the Bible come all the contradictions and inconsistencies in which critics find satisfaction. The two accounts of the conquest of Canaan, taken literally, differ in important details, yet the spiritual significance, the truth intended to be conveyed, is identical in both cases. It is immaterial whether all the tribes acted together under a unified command as described in Joshua, or whether they operated separately or in groups as narrated in Judges. The essential thing, and the fact at the heart of each narrative is, that the experience in the wilderness, followed by the occupation of the promised land, is typical or allegorical of the steps taken by every human being in his journey out of the material sense of existence into the spiritual, wherein obedience speeds his progress, while disobedience leads to suffering and ends in downfall. "Take away the spiritual signification of Scripture," Mrs. Eddy has well said on page 241 of "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," "and that compilation can do no more for mortals than can moonbeams to melt a river of ice."

Excerpt from "Selected Articles"
Christian Science Sentinel, November 15, 1919


         . . . The Bible opens with the record of the spiritual creation, wherein man is described as made in the image and after the likeness of God, which creation was declared by Him to be "very good." Then follows the record of another creation, which is an account of the mortal or Adam man, and our critic evidently has failed to discern this distinction; yet without perceiving this distinction the Bible must necessarily lose most of its meaning. On page 320 of Science and Health Mrs. Eddy writes: "The most distinguished theologians in Europe and America agree that the Scriptures have both a spiritual and literal meaning. . . . The one important interpretation of Scripture is the spiritual."

Excerpt from "Selected Articles"
Christian Science Sentinel, December 27, 1919


         Mr. Justice Wilbur well says, in his Sunday school reference to the healing which Jesus brought to Peter's mother-in-law, that "the great fact that stands out before us is that Jesus ministered to the sick and the suffering." So far and so successfully did Jesus carry this ministration, it may be added, that he asked no aid of medicine or physicians, but simply applied the spiritual truths which he taught, to the healing of supposedly incurable diseases and even to the raising of the dead.

         Thus he was quite willing to test the soundness of his teachings, which have since become known as Christianity. He did not ask his hearers to accept his doctrine merely on his say-so; he was ready to prove its validity by actual demonstration. To him sickness was an opportunity for presenting an object lesson in the science which he practiced and which of course has not the remotest relation to medical practice.

         That Jesus regarded the cure of disease as a vital part of Christianity is evidenced by his command to his disciples to heal the sick, and his promise to all who believed in him that they should do what he did and even greater things. . . .

         It is surprising that Justice Wilbur, being a lawyer, has not cited authority for his assertion that "Christianity has furnished the background and impulse for modern medicine." Certainly the New Testament holds no brief and furnishes no precedents for modern medicine. Animal experimentation is the background of modern medicine. Imagine the seventy disciples, after they had "returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name" imagine them inoculating guinea pigs or vivisecting their neighbors' four-footed pets.

         There is no record of Jesus using or recommending drugs, nor of Luke, "the beloved physician," following his profession after being converted to Christianity. Luke is supposed to have been with Paul at the time of the shipwreck at Melita, but there is no account of his lending first aid when the viper fastened itself on Paul, nor of standing at attention with his medicine chest while Paul, by prayer, healed the father of Publius of a fever and "others also, which had diseases in the island."

         The first great Christian missionary thus set an example of practical religion which modern missionaries might well emulate. The healing of the sick by Christians in those days was so obviously by spiritual, not material means, that modern Bible students are wondering why that fact has been so long overlooked. . . .

Excerpt from "Selected Articles"
Christian Science Sentinel, January 10, 1920


         A more careful reading of the letter to which exception is taken by the self-appointed critic of Christian Science writing in a recent issue would have satisfied him that no great difference exists between his contention that sin comes from wrong choice of a free moral agent, and the Christian Science teaching that sin, as the term is generally understood, is solely the product of mortal mind, alias mortal man. Unfortunately for our critic, however, he is laboring under the delusion, perpetuated by popular theology, that this free moral agent — this mortal, material man, the dust man of the second chapter of Genesis — is the man created by God, in God's own image and likeness.

         Charging God with the creation of a material, mortal, free moral agent capable of a sinful choice not only dishonors God but repudiates the plain teachings of the Bible. According to Scripture, God is Spirit, infinite good. The man made in God's image and likeness, therefore, must be spiritual and must be wholly good. He cannot be the author of sin, since it is unthinkable that an infinitely good God could create anything capable of sinning. Sin, then, is illusion, originating in the false belief of a mortal, material mind, setting itself up as a power opposed to God. It is material falsehood, and like any other lie, is destroyed by knowing the truth. This is the process by which Jesus cast out sin and evil, and it is the same method successfully exemplified in Christian Science today in the destruction of sin and the healing of sickness.

         In his attempt to prove the theory of a God-created free moral agent capable of sin, by comparing it with a carpenter doing a good thing by erecting a store building which might later be used for an evil purpose without subjecting the builder to the charge of creating an evil, our critic violates the admonition of Paul in his first epistle to the Corinthians. Paul tells us that we must compare spiritual things with spiritual, whereas our critic's illustration attempts to unite the spiritual and material, or good and evil.

Excerpt from "Selected Articles"
Christian Science Sentinel, February 7, 1920


         Because Christian Science is Christian it does not countenance vitriolic attacks upon any people and their religion, as indulged in by "V. N. S." in a recent issue. And because Christian Science is scientific in its teaching and practice it necessarily makes the same discrimination between Spirit and matter that Christ Jesus made. "God is a Spirit," said Jesus. He also said, "The flesh profiteth nothing," and, "A spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have."

         Thus Christian Science rejects only what Christ Jesus rejected and accepts all that he accepted, even the divine nature which animated him and made him immortal. That Mind, which Paul said was in Christ Jesus, is divine and omnipresent. His flesh disappeared, as all temporal things will disappear when the all-inclusive substance of Spirit becomes apparent.

         Now there is nothing at all in what I have said here or heretofore that warrants the statement made by the critic that Christian Science rejects Christ Jesus. There is not a word of truth in that statement. But I do insist that an acceptance of Jesus means also obedience to his commandments, — or it means nothing.

         When the critic speaks of Christian Science as a delusion of the devil, he does not seem to be aware that he is lowering Christianity to a plane of confusion and making it subject to chance and change. "If Christianity is not scientific," writes Mrs. Eddy on page 342 of Science and Health, "and Science is not of God, then there is no invariable law, and truth becomes an accident." No one has ever refuted the truth of her statement and no one ever will. The only answer it receives from unfriendly critics appears in some form of abuse, and abuse is an admission that no other form of answer can be given.

         The irrefutable answer to all kinds of abuse is this fact, that the truth of Christian Science has its proof in healing all kinds of sickness and disease and in reforming the sinful. These proofs Jesus demanded as a test of true disciples. But the history of almost two thousand years shows that proof is not obtained by a personal worship of Christ Jesus, or a mere lip service, but is made available only by implicit obedience to his teaching and commandments. Hence in his great mission for the salvation of all mankind Jesus said, "If ye love me, keep my commandments."

 

Excerpt from "Selected Articles"
Christian Science Sentinel, February 7, 1920

 

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