A Critic Criticised

Christian Science has its own advocates and apologists, and, if one may judge from the results of their labors, they are fully equal to their task. Perhaps no other religious sect in the world is growing so fast as this one; none gathers so many adherents from the folds of its opponents; none excites such consternation among the shepherds of those folds. To attempt a defence of Mrs. Eddy's faith is, therefore, unnecessary, and the secular pen is spared all temptation to assume that supererogatory task. In the interest of clear thinking, however, one may without presumption, and possibly without impiety, advert to certain logical deficiencies in the current criticisms of this victorious faith.

For the moment a well-known minister stands forth as the champion of evangelistic Christianity against Christian Science; and, since he is a man of acknowledged erudition and a master of polemics, it is fair to take the half dozen arguments which he made on last Sunday night as the strongest which the Christian pulpit can produce against it. While reading them one is impressed with their destructive force; they are just as valid against Christianity as against Christian Science. ... We must not blame in Christian Science what we praise in other religions. The critic's assertion that Mrs. Eddy's revelation contradicts the Bible is made by each Christian sect against all the others, and by all of them against geology, astronomy, and biology. It cannot be supposed, therefore, that he made it very seriously. Let us turn to the more important matter of her miraculous cures. It is useless to deny that these occur. The evidence for them is overwhelming. It is claimed that the cures are only apparent, a sort of self-deception, and that "the disease is, of course, present" after the patient thinks he has been healed. This cannot be admitted. Christianity in its early claimed, and indeed still claims, to make cures of precisely the same sort and by the same methods as Christian Science. The criticalleges that it is a baneful practice for Mrs. Eddy's followers to work these miracles. What, then, shall we say of the early Christians, and some later ones, who did the same things? Is the principal evidence for the superhuman power of Jesus to be classed as "criminal malpractice"?.... Concerning any religion, new or old, one pertinent question may be asked, and only one—"What does it do for its followers?" If it makes them healthier and happier, more at peace with themselves and the world, better to live with, sweeter in character and gentler in conduct, then it is a good religion. Whether Christian Science does this or not is a question of fact. Theoretical arguments are irrelevant to this issue.—Portland (Ore.) Oregonian.

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May 19, 1906

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