Insanity and Religion

New York Sun

The testimony of Dr. Flint in the Brush will case, in answering affirmatively a question as to the sanity of a Christian Science believer, opposes a view taken by certain alienists and by many other people which is really dangerous to society. It is a very convenient way to dispose of a religious belief by describing and treating those who have it as pestilent victims of lunacy, but such a method involves an interference with the liberty of religious opinion that outrages a fundamental principle established after centuries of bloody struggle.

The religious world is divided into a great number of contradictory sects and cults, and in this country they are especially numerous; there is hardly a possible form of belief which has not its representation in them. Over against them is the now vast body of infidels of one sort or another,—atheists, agnostics, and what not,—to whom the evidences on which all these believers found their faith seem purely fanciful if not actually the fruit of delusion,—mere creations of the imagination which defy the laws of nature; and in the ranks of belief one camp may look on the faith of another as approximating the absurdity of lunacy.

The course of Christian history has been reddened with the blood of people who were tortured and slain like noxious reptiles, on the ground that they imperilled the souls of true believers. Faith in miraculous cures, devoutly held even yet by millions in Christendom, is smiled at both by believers of other religious faiths and by infidels as a fanatical delusion which defies the laws of nature and the absolute limitations of the art of healing.

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Not Christian Science
March 7, 1901

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