Today’s post addresses three questions from a blog reader (R2D2) who earlier commented on “Evaluating the science of Christian Science.”
This will be the first in a series of responses to questions on this topic. If you’d like to join the discussion, please feel free to send in your thoughts and I’ll try to include them.
R2: “I’ve been interpreting your original post as a claim that Christian Science is scientific, and my questions were all meant to investigate how well Christian Science adheres to the criteria of science, as opposed to pseudoscience. (This page has a pretty good summary of such criteria.)”
Bill: There is no question that the scientific method, which you refer to, has been invaluable to scientists and their work. We share a great appreciation for it, but I don’t see it as the arbiter of all truth or science. When it comes to health care, scientists themselves are beginning to admit the serious limitations of this method. As an example, see the recent article by Jonah Lehrer in The New Yorker, “The Truth Wears Off, is there something wrong with the scientific method?”
Christian Science is reliable and scientific, but it is not an allopathic method of healing. Allopathy or conventional medicine works with the body to bring about physical health. Christian Science works with spiritual principles and the patient’s thought towards the same ends. Allopathy and Christian Science are based on different premises, making evaluation by the same method difficult. It gets back to the fact that results are what matter most.
R2: “Regarding the evaluation of whether Christian Science is scientific, I find it dubious that the best way is studying and proving Christian Science for myself. Do you also recommend studying and practicing any other field (such as Scientology or homeopathy) to evaluate their claims of being scientific, or is there some other better way in that situation?”
Bill: I’m not the best person to ask regarding the study of Scientology and let’s save homeopathy for another post. What I can share is that what Mary Baker Eddy discovered and named Christian Science is not just another science or field of study. She unlocked the deep meaning of the Bible and proved the validity of her discovery through healing others.
Thousands of people can tell you that Christian Science has healed them—so many that at this point it is simply not credible to claim otherwise. Again, every one has the opportunity to demonstrate this for themselves, by reading Eddy’s book and applying her teachings.
Yet, let me add that some are better prepared to approach this study than others. This doesn’t mean one can’t study and early put it into practice, but it helps to have an open and an unbiased mind. As I’ve noted before, these are characteristics that are hard to measure for the purpose of clinical study.
R2: “Have any of the sincere, unprejudiced thinkers you’ve known shared the details of their reasoning which led them to demonstrate Christian Science? This seems like it would be very helpful for others.”
Bill: This is a great question and I’m so glad you raised it! There are many accounts of individuals sharing how they found Christian Science and the reasoning that led them to study and practice it. I’ll be happy to post a few examples on this blog in the near future. Thanks for the good questions R2; I’ll look forward to addressing more soon.