Christian Science

Vanity Fair

Talking of symptoms, I am greatly interested in the recent case against the Christian Scientists. Without expressing an opinion on a subject of which I am almost wholly ignorant, I am unable to refrain from weighing the pros and cons of this religion in my mind.

On the one hand it seems to me incredible that intelligent men and women (and no one can doubt the intelligence of many members of the Christian Science community) can seriously say that they would call in a surgeon to replace a broken bone but would not call in a physician for a septic wound possibly supervening on an operation performed by the self-same surgeon. Neither can I understand why they should find it necessary to wash a wound with soap and water and dress it with lint and bandages if the wound is merely a disease existent in what they call the mortal mind. On the other hand, I think the outcry against their "cure failures" is unnecessarily bitter and vituperative. A doctor attends a person suffering from a disease, and after constantly treating his patient and giving an endless amount of drugs, the patient very often dies. No one has a word to say against the physician who has failed to cure. Also, it must be remembered that the person who goes to a Christian Scientist has often—I do not say always—been already given up as hopeless by the doctors. As a lover of fair play, I think too much is made of their failures. Moreover, they have, quite apart from the physical, an enormously beneficial moral influence.

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