Cosmology and our View of the World
Lead: Christine Driessen, Guest Lecturer
Summary by Claire McCahan & Christine Warden
CHRISTIAN SCIENCE – PRAYER HEALING
M. Baker Eddy “Science & Health”
R. Ornstein, D. Sobel “The Healing Brain”
D. Kotz “Grow your Brain”, Boston Globe
“It is sometimes said, in criticizing Christian Science, that the
mind which contradicts itself neither knows itself nor what it is saying. It
is indeed no small matter to know one’s self; but in this volume of mine
there are no contradictory statements, – at least none which are apparent
to those who understand its propositions well enough to pass judgment upon them.
One who understands Christian Science can heal the sick on the divine Principle
of Christian Science, and this practical proof is the only feasible evidence
that one does understand this Science.”
– Science and Health (pg. 345 line 10-20)
- Beginning of Christian Science (abbreviated CS)
- Key Principles Condensed
- Topics of Lecture
o Concepts of God
o Mind and Matter
o Prayer and Healing
o The Christ
- The Conversation – Questions from students and Christine’s
- Questions Arising from these Implications
A BIT TO KEEP IN MIND
I feel I may say with security that the evening’s discussion was not what everyone expected. It was to simply address the concepts of mind and spirituality, steering clear of particularly strong religious ties. I at least was a little naive assuming that this could ever happen. The concept of God or any higher deity is familiar to us whether we believe in it or not and therefore is a part of all our concepts of spirituality. Although this discussion was geared towards a specific sect of Christianity, and I admit that I in particular was especially challenging and pessimistic, there was more to take from it than just thoughts on divine love.
We should consider the power of the mind on our state of being and reflect on how our mindset affects our daily lives. How do you interpret your peers? What assumptions do you make about the world and the people around you that affect your actions or your emotional state? How can you use the influential power of your perceptions and beliefs to direct your behavior and thoughts in a way that will bring you and others happiness, and even health?
Aside from any mentioning of a deity, this discussion brought up many good questions, about what we create as a fabrication of our reality. It makes us think about life after death, or the lack thereof. It makes you consider the motivations for destructive acts and behaviors such as war, crime, jealously, hate, and greed. It questioned the location and definition of the mind and its purpose.
In conclusion, the following may be a summary of Christian Science, but of any Christian representation that could have spoken, it was the most pertinent to the goal of this course. I encourage those who are interested to really reflect on the subjects, which have arisen.
This summary begins by defining the fundamentals of Christian Science based on Science as Health as well as on comments made by Christine. The second part is a transcription of the conversation and the questions asked by students. I am sure you will find it very obvious that the questions were more straight-forward than the answers. Lastly we list questions which were not addressed, but which came about as a result of the claims and assertions made by Christian Science but more specifically by Christine. It is important to remember that she is only one member of the Christian Science church, but since she said that God is always speaking to her, I for one expected more clarity from her answers. Anyway, we present, to our best ability, the bases of Christian Science.
Mary Baker Eddy was suffering physically and emotionally. She was thought to not be able to survive. She then rejected medicine, turned solely to prayer and the Bible, opened her heart to God and was healed. She surprised everyone by walking when the day before she couldn’t. She identified as a child of God and wanted to know more about what had happened to her. Thus began her research, teaching, and healing.
• What is the power that healed her?
o She found in Genesis a “scientific” backing for prayer. “Whatever God does is forever” and humans are “perfect and in God’s image”. She used the examples of Jesus’ healings as a basis for health science.
o God made man in divine likeness and intelligence. God is not in things, but we and all other things are manifestations of the divine
1. Main Ideas
a. God is a principle, not a person – there is only one God
i. Christian Science Synonyms for God – incorporeal, divine, supreme, infinite, Mind, Spirit, Soul, Principle. Life, Truth, Love
b. There is no life, truth, intelligence, or substance in matter
c. Man is not material; he is spiritual
d. Evil, sin, disease, sickness and death are all illusions of the Mortal mind
e. Man is perfect [Adam & Eve is an allegory, the tree being matter]
f. The sinner makes his own hell by doing evil, God does not punish or bring suffering
2. The Christian Scientist’s Universe
a. The true universe is a spiritual one, in which all God is all spirit, and all spirit is one
3. Why these ideas lead to prayer healing (solely)
a. CS’s believe their successful healings prove the authenticity and truth in their practice
b. Thinking one is not sick is not enough, one must believe that sickness is not real (false, and illusion of the senses) in order to be forever healed
4. What are Christian Scientists wrong about?
a. We don’t know, because the practice of modern medicine and the CS method of prayer healing both result in successful healings.
b. Medical professionals cannot prove CS practice is ineffective.
5. Concluding Ideas
a. Christian Science is a religion based on holistic living and the power of belief
b. The power and influence of the Mind over the body is impenetrable.
TOPICS OF LECTURE
The three defining attributes of every religion are the positions on God, Reality, and Origin. Below we will discuss how these ideas and others transcend through Christian Science (CS).
*(S&H) = Science & Health by Mary Baker Eddy
ON THE CONCEPT OF GOD
CS does not believe that God is a tangible object, but a principle. God is incorporeal, divine, supreme, infinite, Mind, Spirit, Soul, Principle, Life, Truth, and Love. These definitions are used synonymously. There is only one God, and that God is infinite Truth. God is universal, eternal, divine love (agape). The divine spirit is behind all life, and good is the God of the universe, therefore there is no such thing as evil. God does not punish us for our sins, but is an all-loving spirit. The Devil is a figment of the imagination, for there is no other power in the universe than God.
CS differs, however, from pantheistic religions, which believe that God is in everything and anything that came from nature. This distinction between the CS view of God and a Pantheistic view stems from their different ideas of reality. Christianity is a way of living, not about going to church. The most valuable rule to live by is to love God supremely and love your neighbor.
ON THE MIND AND MATTER
Mind is the source of all movement [pg. 284 line 4 S&H]. There is no inertia to retard or check its perpetual and harmonious action. Mind is the same as Life, Love, and wisdom. We know all, because all our minds are one [pg215]. There is one creator and therefore one mind, and we are manifestations of God and belong to the one mind. Mortal/carnal mind denies the idea of God being all-inclusive.
CS believes that all bad comes from matter. We were originally sculpted of spirit and therefore sin when we get too involved with matter. By calling something matter, one is affirming that the object can die or be destroyed. Matter is that which is finite vs. the spirit which is infinite and universal. THE BRAIN IS NOT THE MIND – the brain is matter. Divine conscience is with everyone and can therefore communicate with everyone, even those with brain disorders.
CS states that thinking you have a disease is equivalent to believing that you have fallen out of God’s grace. They caution to not be deceived by the physical senses. The senses will always deceive you if you give them power over your mind and your faith [pg 86]. Mind moves you, not matter, so anyone can do something physically amazing, it has nothing to do with how much muscle you have. You will not be sore the next day if you believe that disease is fictional. Jesus resurrected to prove the spirit is life, not matter
The CS view on reality is what sets it apart from most other religions and world views. CS believes that God created man, woman and the universe out of spirit; “Mind, not matter, is the creator.” Goodness and love are the foundations of the universe. Many religions believe in a harmony between a spirit world and the one we are currently tied into, the matter world, but CS believes that there is only the spirit world and nothing more. “Substance is that which is eternal and incapable of discord or decay” (S&H).
An easy parallel to make is the idea of the Matrix, our matter world is just something we have constructed with our minds; it is all in our head. And like Neo, you can control what you see and what happens. “Evil can only seem to be real by giving reality to the unreal” (S&H). The difference between the Matrix world and the Christian Science world, is that there is no “real” material world outside of the Matrix.
CS believes that allowing one’s self to be governed by matter denies the essence of God and is a sin. We strayed from the path of God and are now surrounded by a world filled of disease and suffering. Since both of these stem from matter, Christian Scientists believe that they are an effect of our sin. This idea of disease and suffering stemming from matter leads into the idea that they too are not real, merely another illusion.
The CS idea of the spirit world is found in Genesis One. The story of Adam and Eve where Eve is convinced to take the apple from the tree of knowledge by a talking snake is in Genesis Two. CS believes that these two creation stories are contradictory in the sense that the second one acknowledges two powers, good and evil, when they acknowledge only one power, the power of the loving God. Genesis One is taken to be the true creation story and Genesis Two to be an “allegory”. Since God created man and woman all from spirit, matter never came into existence, therefore our current “material reality” is a façade.
ON PRAYER AND HEALING
The first genesis is where CS’s find the scientific basis for prayer healing. Christine said, “CS is not talking about miracles or magic via prayer”. It is not a ‘wish and it will come true’ situation. If you are sick, you do not pray directly to get better, but to understand what in your personal life is causing this sickness. What is it that you are focused on that is pulling you away from God? If you acknowledge material laws such as chance, you are supporting the idea that God does not govern everything. Health and intelligence are natural to us. Muscle does not control or govern you. You are separate from physical, “biological” laws and consequences.
ON THE CHRIST
Intuition is “the Christ”, that little voice inside your head. Christine’s example was, “The Christ is what told you not to go down that street when you say, ‘oh I knew I shouldn’t have taken that turn’”. It is the divine intelligence speaking to you, guiding you. The Christ is what speaks to us through the divine mind. (It can be argued, however, that sometimes there is a voice in your head tempting you to do what you know is wrong. If there is no evil, what is the identity of that voice? If there is only one Mind, how are we able to defy God at all? )
Why is there suffering? In Genesis 2 evil is a power, but that is considered an allegory and a contradiction to genesis 1. Genesis 2 and 3 are meant to be lessons. When you allow matter to take over your mind, you lose yourself in it, and things fall apart. God does not cause suffering; it is your own breaking of God’s law and the commandments, which causes you to suffer. It is when you become focused on that which is material or acknowledge that there could be an influence on you other than God. You see what you believe. How you see your fellow man determines what you see. (Do you see them as flawed or as manifestations of perfection?). Whatever lens you look through is what you are going to see. (There can be material lenses as well as spiritual lenses). If you view the world through a spiritual lens, you see the good and perfection. CS requires you to be constantly watching your thinking.
The following is an account of the questions and comments
of the evening. The questions and comments of the students are in bold
and the responses are Christine’s answers.
Q: How do the CS principles apply to things that are
It applies to everything. There have been many healings of animals. Everything is governed by the same one divine intelligence, and animals are so receptive to spiritual qualities. To the degree we can see them, and embrace them, they too can be healed. Same applies to plants. You can pray for plants.
Q: CS believes that prayer is the main way to become closer
with God and heal humans, but doesn’t that contradict the idea in the
Bible that humans were healed of their sins because of Jesus dying on the cross,
and without him we wouldn’t have been forgiven?
In the gospels, the word healing is used 53 times. Jesus healed the blind, the deaf, the lame, and healed sins. The Christ is the healing power of spirit. His crucifixion did not end in death, but in resurrection. He told them this would happen, and this was his final demonstration. Since the basis of healing is the 2 big commandments, it’s hard to do when people are torturing you and denying you, but he had to demonstrate the power of God’s love by letting people hurt him and “kill” his physical body. His message was spirit is our life, not matter. Jesus said whoever follows my teaching will be able to do what I have done. If you begin to emulate pride, you close yourself off to divine inspiration.
Q: Do you believe in the “Lord’s Table”?
CS values the Lord’s Supper. They don’t believe that someone would need to be able to eat bread or wine to supply healing. What heals is the prayer.
Q: If God created everything and we can see viruses, how
did God not create disease?
What you see is an illusion. You are hypnotized by the physical senses. It’s all mental. You see what is suggested.
Q: How do you reconcile the loving God in the New Testament
with the terrific God in the Old Testament? The punishments of God are in the
Some of the stories are allegory (Jobe, Adam and Eve). They are very important teaching tools. In the bible, you have history and thought evolving as it comes to understand what God is. What we know years from now will be more than what we know now. The Bible was written in a pagan world with ignorance about God. The writers of the stories did not yet understand God’s intentions and believed that God was causing their suffering when he was not.
When Abraham was granted a son, he began to worship his son. When God said, ‘Abraham, let go of your son, you are supposed to worship me’, Abraham interpreted that as kill your son, but that is not what God meant. There are contradictions in the Bible because people were telling the stories while they were learning about God. The Old Testament changed because of people’s understanding of God.
By the end of the Old Testament, God emphasized forgiveness and kindness because people begin to understand the loving nature of God, when before they did not know it. By the time you get to Jesus, God is understood completely differently people were ready to understand that God is the father and that we are one with God. We are in the same unity as our father mother god. It’s a progression of people beginning to understand the infinite nature of God.
What about the plagues or the great flood? Are these not
Sin brings suffering, but not by God. You see what you believe. People used to believe that sin brought suffering. So when they saw a flood, they figured it was because of their sins. The Old Testament is based on law while the New Testament is based on grace. But it’s still the same God.
Q: In science we always ask the question of how something
functions. How do you put all this together with the discovery that we have
our own internal pharmacy that works without our conscious awareness? How is
that in sync with the spirit part, if there is no body involvement?
Mary Baker Eddy called this a science. Science is more well-known now as being defined by skepticism, which is what you get when you reason from the physical senses. But science in its truest sense is truth based on universal laws that anyone can study, put into practice and prove. The science of math is intangible. It is not guesswork, it is exact. Doctors’ studies contradict each other all the time, because they deal with matter. They look at effect and are calling it cause. “I have never found, among doctors, agreement on what they see.” I haven’t seen any actual proof that every time people know what the brain does.
You also have no proof other than a placebo effect. What you are saying about this strong belief that prayer will work isn’t causing god to heal you, it more you’re giving yourself a placebo effect.
If that were true, then my uncle with spinal meningitis would not have been able to do anything. Someone else was praying for him. People who have been sick all their lives and who have converted to CS have been healed and never had any more sickness. In order to believe it you will have to try it yourself.
But then I would be giving myself a placebo.
The difference is a placebo doesn’t heal. All it does is make the person feel better. But you still believe that disease is real, it comes right back again. Health is the normal state of man. You shouldn’t have to go from problem to problem. People think they need medicine in order to function. But once you realize that health is spiritual, you realize you don’t need all these medications. Health is maintained even if the person was very ill.
Q: If CS is very big on the idea that spirit is everything
and that the study of the physical sciences are wrong or incorrect because you
don’t look at matter as the truth, then does that mean that the study
of physical and biological sciences is futile? Because we all work with matter.
Paul says you need to be absent from the body and present with God’s spirit, but on the other hand academics of the right sort are necessary because it helps the mortal mind work out of itself. The more people explore in physics and biology and medicine, they are discovering more of the mental nature of things, and they’re discovering more about the continuous nature of things and it’s part of that divine wisdom helping us to get a better sense of it. CS equips your with a safe and sure medicine.
Q: You’ve listed all these instances where prayer
has worked but said nothing about the instances in which it hasn’t worked.
Can you speak of that?
It’s not magic. Just praying for something because you want it doesn’t make it happen. The Bible is very clear. Obedience to the commandments is what opens our eyes to the power of God. Even though I have had many healings... I had an instance where I was very resentful and it got in the way of my prayer. I had to understand that my ability to succeed was caused by God alone. I prayed to purify my thought. I wasn’t praying to heal my body I was praying to change my thought, which is where the healing comes from. There has been more than one case of cancer where the person has passed on.
So how do you rectify that?
In every case, the person was wracked with resentment and anger, and that is a mental thing.
What about people who are good and happy and not angry
at life who die?
Then it’s because of fear. There is no death. That person wakes up and doesn’t see anything changed. We see the change of death because we believe that the person resided in the body, but they are still there. If one believes that a person is anchored in the body, they won’t see them anymore.
But if a person let go of her vices, opened her heart
to god, and still died, how would you rectify that?
In the teaching of the child who had epilepsy, and the doctors and disciples couldn’t heal him, Jesus took the child and ordered out all the devils, that is all the things that deny god as the only power, and the child fell dead. It looked like Jesus had failed, but Jesus was not impressed by the physical senses, this was his message. Sometimes the human beliefs about something are so aggressive and strong that you cannot separate yourself from it. (Question never really answered. Why would Jesus choose to resurrect one person but not another? What does that say for the value of each human being? I guess they were going to die anyway so they might as well be used to teach a lesson!)
Q: Do you believe the whole bible is an allegory or do
you pick and choose what is true?
Two things, it wouldn’t matter if Jesus had never lived, because I’ve proved what he taught in my own life, so I know it’s true. Bible scholars tell us that certain stories in the Bible are allegories used to teach, like Genesis 2 and 3, but it doesn’t mean they aren’t important. It’s the message behind it; it wouldn’t matter even if none of it actually happened.
Q: What if a CS has a child who is very ill, and they
do not want medical attention, what is your perspective on the government’s
role in deciding if it is against the law for a parent to withhold medical treatment
from their child?
The media and pharmacies work together. It is an aggressive campaign to push medicine to make money off of fear. Inoculations are putting disease into a child. Health care costs what? Prayer is free. They lose their money if people start relying on prayer. If we are required by law to have inoculations we will have them, but we have found another way.
The kingdom of god is already within you. It is not something you have to earn or get to in the next life, but you have to be as a little child to see it. Children come into this world already knowing their true identity; it’s the material world that pulls it away from them. Kids come into this world, knowing god, and they are so receptive, and that’s why they heal so quickly.
Q: If matter isn’t real, why would god create us
with the ability to be deceived?
Jesus answered that by saying the devil is a liar and the father of it. Evil is an imagination. Since the carnal mind is nothing but a suggestion, the only way it seems real would be for you to contemplate it. Since there is only one mind, we have never been deceived. It is a suggestion that there are many minds, and right now we’re being deceived, but the way you get out of it is to see that that it, too, is a lie and the father of it. “Since God has two eyes for evil so do you, but you have never been deceived.” (I thought she said there was no evil and it was not a power, so then how can god see it?)
Q: So why would a devout CS ever die?
It’s not magic. We are in a period of time where all is commanded by materialism and sexual revolution and ‘god is dead’. The church has become something on our social calendar. People have become so swept up with materialism, that they start buying in to ‘oh I’m going to get that disease and that disease’. You forget how to pray. You can never judge a religion by the people, because we go through periods when we don’t obey god’s law. (This does not even come close to answering this question…. She’s not even in the ballpark…)
Q: You seem to be leaving the sin part out. When you said
it wouldn’t have mattered whether or not Christ had lived, that doesn’t
seem consistent with bible. There are two significant events, the fall in the
garden and the death and resurrection of Christ. The whole book is centered
on that, so if those are removed you remove the power of the book.
You are making an excellent point. Although CS is used to heal disease, its real goal is to eliminate sin.
So how does it do that?
Anytime any of us buys into sin we feel wretched. It is because you were created in perfection that you realize when you have sinned. When you break the commandments you seem to suffer, god does not bring the suffering. If a child wants to touch fire and the mother says, ‘don’t touch that it will burn you’, and the child touches the coals anyway, is the mother punishing the child? No, the child brought the suffering through disobedience.
Christianity acknowledges that man is not inherently good,
which seems to reflect reality.
The bible says that the MATERIAL man sins at every step, but that is not god’s man. As long as we keep seeing ourselves as material, we will continue to sin. What makes people greedy and violent? Material, because they think they are going to lose.
Q: How do you know that Genesis 2 and 3 aren’t true?
“There’s never been a talking snake. It says god made people out of dust; do you look like dust?”
I will when I die and decompose!
Exactly, matter. Matter dies and decomposes.
But I’m a different form of dirt. I am made of what was on this planet from the beginning.
Q: How is it that one character was able to live for 980
years nobody’s been able to do that recently? If you say that you avoid
the consequences of the material laws and so you have no disease, then how is
it that people age? There are physical and material things going on in your
body, which develop over time. Why is it that when you’re born you don’t
stay a baby? – Do you think that if you could be a perfect CS that you
would live forever?
You don’t’ stay in the material existence forever. Life is like a classroom, where you learn. But you don’t stay in one grade forever, you graduate. You move on to somewhere else and people don’t see you. You are still progressing.
Q: Do people ascend into heaven? Where was your spirit
before you can into this life?
No man knows what god has prepared for each person’s progress. It’s now about where we were and where we are going; it’s about learning that god is all and all. The more we try to follow the commandment and putting the teachings of Christ into our lives, the more we see the power of god here and now. Jesus says life is eternal, like when he made Lazarus rise from the dead. Jesus said, god is our life, and god is eternal. Spirit is our life. We live and have our being in god. God is love itself, and love itself is infinite, and unless you see that you cannot see god.
Q: Who was Jesus?
The Christ is not a “one liner”. God is infinite father mother love. A mother’s love may be manifesting in messages to her child, that’s like angel messages. The Christ is god’s love manifested in the human experience eternally. It spoke to many people in whatever way they need it. You cannot reduce god. It is insane that religions are arguing, it is the carnal mind that tries to get you to fight. People fight over the Christ. The Christ meets human needs. Sometimes it’s manifested as a message, sometimes as a holy ghost. Jesus was never before Abraham, but the Christ was.
Q: One of my biggest frustrations is that when people
believe that Jesus and Christ were one, it makes it seem that Christhood is
something that we can never attain. It seems that people can justify sin. They
don’t actively attempt to be compassionate or forgiving. I feel that the
Christ is greater than Jesus.
And Jesus said we are all children of god, god is our father. It is attainable for all of us.
Q: Is there anything that you cannot answer through your
beliefs in how the world works. Is there anything you can’t answer?
Oh yes, but god is a tender father mother, but all you need to know that there is a teacher who will help you. I’m not bothered by any questions because I don’t have the answers but god does. What is important is having a flexibility of thought. You might not know but you trust the father to guide you. God will provide you with what you need. Sometimes you ask god, saying ‘I don’t understand? How can I trust you more?’ It’s learning to listen to god more, and to be more patient and humble.
Q: You gave the example of when you were in danger, you
prayed and god saved you. What if you prayed and you were still hurt and god
didn’t save you?
That’s hypothetical, and to think like that would be to deny god’s all-ness. Giving up has become very common. It’s acknowledging that there could be a time when god would not protect you.
Q: There has never been a modern day Lazarus? If not,
Ms. Eddy brought many people back from death.
But I mean in your lifetime has it happened? And I know
you said society has polluted us, but do you think you could bring someone back
from the dead after four days? You think it’s possible.
Even after the physical decomposition of a body. You claim
that biological science could go out the window.
“It’s not the science of God.”
QUESTIONS WHICH ARISE AND ISSUES THAT ENSUE
Q: If the senses are always deceptive, then how is the sight of the words in the Bible not also deceptive? Is the written word of ‘God’ not then also deceptive?
Q: Why do Christian Scientists still eat, drink and sleep if deprivations of these three seemingly fundamental necessities are just forms of ailments?
Q: Shouldn’t a Christian Scientist be able to leap 50 feet into the air, fly and perform alchemy if the laws of physics don’t govern them?
Q: If we never fell out of God’s grace why did he send his son Jesus Christ to die on the cross to redeem us of our sins?
Q: How do you explain free will when it leads to defiance of God, since we are all of one mind and he is constantly channeling his grace through us? Have we shut out God so strongly that we no longer feel his affect?
Q: Why then do Christian Scientists age and die?
Q: If you can eradicate disease from your body via belief in God, shouldn’t you be able to lift the entire material façade?
Q: If matter does not exist, then being diseased is just as equally a state of matter as is being healthy, so isn’t striving to be healthy a sin in and of itself? If anything, shouldn’t you defy all material laws in order to prove them wrong and to prove your trust and belief in God?