Last week, USA Today published an article by Tom Krattenmaker titled, Even religious freedom has limits. The article makes an important distinction between faith healing and Christian Science. The two are often misinterpreted as being the same and they’re not.
Christian Science does not involve pleading with God to heal the sick and then accepting His will, good or bad. Nothing in Christian Science theology says it’s God’s will that anyone suffer, be sick, or die. Christian Science shows God to be entirely good, and therefore His will for each individual is only health and life.
Referring to Christian Science, the article noted,
“For decades, the church has promoted the spiritual dimensions of health and lobbied for legal space for their practices to go forward without undue burdens. But there’s a reasonableness about the Christian Science approach.”
In reference to prayer-based healing, Russ Gerber, manager of media and government relations for the Christian Science church, was quoted saying:
“’With an expectation of fairness comes a responsibility…There’s a duty to practice this type of health care reasonably, especially when it comes to children.’ Protecting children’s lives, he says, ‘is a standard we should all be held to no matter what means of health care we choose.’”
There have been many online comments in response to the article, including:
“I was brought up in a different Christian denomination. My parents spent every weekend taking one of us to the doctor. I began the study of Christian Science as a teenager. My sisters and I were enrolled in Christian Science Sunday School. Our health improved remarkably as did our self confidence and level of happiness. Frequent visits to the doctors became a thing of the past. So it was just natural to raise my own children in this religion. When our second son was admitted into the Air Force he had no medical record and no history of illness, broken bones, etc. Quite remarkable.”
Many thanks to Tom Krattenmaker for providing a balanced perspective to this issue.