The Word Demonstration

The frequent misuse of the term "demonstration" prompts the following brief statement. A demonstration consists of a scientific illustration, manifestation, or achievement. In Christian Science nothing can be called a demonstration except the realization of satisfactory results. A normal condition or an advance toward such a condition is the only evidence of demonstration. An uncertain, inefficient effort or attempt to apply the teachings of Christian Science could not be truthfully called a demonstration, therefore to use the term as synonymous with the term treatment is not proper. Moreover, such a use of the term is apt to appear ridiculous to the public, and is confusing not only to non-Scientists but to Scientists as well. The healing of a case in Christian Science may be properly called a demonstration of the truth, while a treatment may or may not effect a demonstration. The term treatment, as generally used, is broad enough to apply to any sort of an effort, however feeble or inefficient it may be. If every effort of a Christian Scientist resulted in an actual demonstration he would never need to give a patient more than one treatment.

In our declarations we should be very careful not to jeopardize the true sense of Christian Science by the use of misleading terms and expressions. In conversation with each other we may find such terms as "belief" and "claim" to be valuable in minimizing our sense of the reality and power of disease, but the use of such terms in the presence of non-Scientists is likely to intensify the human sense of the reality of error. It is therefore wise to guard against the use of such terms in the presence of those who do not understand them. This applies to our Wednesday evening testimonies, since we always have in attendance those who know little or nothing about Christian Science. Even among our fellow-believers why say, "I would like to demonstrate a good home or a good position"? Why not say, in plain, unmistakable English, "I would like to have a good home or a good position, if it be God's will"? But even this might be considered improper, for what we really need is to be more Godlike.

Much of the present opposition to Christian Science,—which, however, is rapidly decreasing,—and some of the criticisms which we are obliged to meet in the public press, are directly traceable to the unwise things which have been said and done by Christian Scientists. Hence may we not be permitted to hint, in reference to corrections, that "charity begins at home." The saving truth which our Leader has given us in Christian Science ought not to be subject to misapprehension at our own hands. It is much needed by mankind in general and when we offer it to others we should do it tactfully and not in a manner that will render it inacceptable. As a rule, it is not Christian Science that is rejected by the honest critic, but what he in his misapprehension believes it to be.

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