It has been claimed that Christian Science practitioners are unfitted to heal the sick in view of their asserted inability to diagnose disease, not having made a study of symptomatology, and to this charge practitioners have made the best possible answer by continuing to do the thing of which they are said to be incapable. We are sometimes called upon, however, to meet the question in words as well as works, and hence it is worth our while to examine the grounds of the allegation.

Etymologically the term diagnosis means to know through, or thoroughly; hence the definition, "to inquire into, to examine," and disease has thus been studied for purposes of classification. It is manifest, however, that to concentrate our attention upon things and upon conditions which are abnormal is necessarily harmful, and that this is particularly true in the case of disease, since the more we study its forms and phenomena the stronger, more fixed becomes that false sense of its reality and inevitableness which multiplies our fear of it and yet which anticipates it, opens the door for its coming and gives it cruel and desolating power in human belief when it arrives. It is coming to be seen, moreover, that fear and expectancy are not only the handmaids and abettors of disease; they are not infrequently its source. In the realm of false mortal sense they have been known to transform a mild malady into a devastating contagion. Every thoughtful person must have observed how crowded are the columns of the daily press with evidences of the pitiful prevalence of morbid and inevitably degrading interest in the phenomena of sin and disease, despair and death. It sometimes seems well-nigh impossible for one to acquaint himself with the important news of the day and yet escape the pollution of the malodorous tide which flows on and on to satisfy the gruesome appetites of mortal sense, and to these startling conditions the material study, classification, description, and general discussion of disease directly contribute.

In the presence of these unquestionable disadvantages and dangers of that diagnosis which seeks to master while incidentally exhibiting and exploiting the abnormalities of materiality, we can better understand why it should have had no part or recognition in the healing work of Jesus and his disciples, and we can better appreciate the significance of those passages in which Mrs. Eddy has called our attention to these things (Science and Health, pp. 369, 370).

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Letters to our Leader
August 4, 1906

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