A Reply to Professional Criticism

Chicago Inter-Ocean

PROFESSOR HALLBERG'S strictures upon Christian Science are no doubt justified by his lack of information on this subject, and his misconception as to its principle and practice. "The materia medica of Christian Science" is a self-contradictory heading, since Christian Science relates in no way to materia medica, does not believe in it, teach it, or practise it in any form, but heals entirely through spiritual means. His interpretation of the lifting up of the serpent in the wilderness, and the attempt to justify the use of material remedies by this interpretation, is not supported either by the Mosaic decalogue nor by any of the teachings of Moses, who constantly urged the Israelites to rely utterly upon God and lamented and suffered discouragement at their repeated failures to do so.

The statement that Jesus and his disciples taught the use of drugs cannot be verified by anything in the New Testament. On the contrary, the greater part of the four gospels is taken up with the accounts of the healing by Jesus and his apostles without any material remedies whatever, and the words of Jesus himself, as given in one of these narratives, are: "And these signs shall follow them that believe; . . . they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover." Paul healed through faith in God and the understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The one instance when he recommended a material remedy to Timothy is set off against the many accounts of his healing of disease without any material remedies whatever. As for his being accompanied by Luke, whom he called the beloved physician, there is no evidence in any of the writings of the New Testament that Paul ever required Luke's assistance as a physician, or that Luke ever practised as a physician after he became a disciple of Jesus. And further, has the professor lost sight of the fact that the experimental science known under the name of materia medica has changed, even in one hundred years, so much that many of the remedies and methods employed a hundred years ago would be considered little less than murderous by members of the medical profession to-day?

What, then, does he think of the method that probably was in vogue in the time of Paul and Luke? Would he like to trust his life or that of his friends to such a method, or even to a method that was used a century ago? What is this assumption of superiority on the part of these learned gentlemen? Is the term materia medica so sacred in their opinion that mistakes may be going on under its name for four thousand years, and its changing, shifting theories always held up to view as infallible? Have its votaries been granted some sacred privilege and eternal right that they may assume to criticise all other forms of healing, and even to misquote Scripture in support of their criticisms? Not only this, but must every one be called weakminded and unscientific who refuses to accept the experiments of materia medica as science, and prefers to trust his life and health and welfare to God rather than to such uncertain hypotheses and conclusions?

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September 5, 1903

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