As the papers seem full of references to Christian Science...


As the papers seem full of references to Christian Science, both for and against, it may not be amiss for one to make a contribution whose work for twenty-five years has been along statistical lines in connection with life insurance. I was very much interested in reading in the morning papers articles pertaining to the low death rate among Christian Scientists. The Christian Science Publication Committee said recently:—

"There are not less than thirty thousand persons in New York State who rely wholly on Christian Science treatment for sickness. Since Jan. 1, 1907, there have been less than ten deaths in the entire State under Christian Science treatment. The average death rate for the year among the Christian Science population, even including those who were not Christian Scientists and who turned to it only after the doctors had given them up, was only 1.04 a thousand, as against the average death rate of more than eight for the entire State."

These figures are certainly astounding when analyzed by practical men who can take in their import and understand what they mean to mankind. The Christian Science Publication Committee very much understates the actual mortality of the State. In Greater New York, where most of the Christian Scientists reside, the mortality rate is more than double that given, or twenty in the thousand. For thirty thousand persons this rate would mean six hundred deaths for the year, as compared with ten in five months under Christian Science treatment. Life insurance companies take only those persons who pass a careful medical examination, and they are therefore supposed to show a lower mortality than that of the community in general. The death rate of eight in the thousand given in the Christian Science article was doubtless taken from life insurance tables for New York State. It is much higher in the city. It should be borne in mind that the Christian Science churches are receiving one class of people directly the opposite to those selected by the insurance companies ; that is to say, "rejected cases." In fact life insurance companies regard Christian Scientists as "extra hazardous risks," and therefore will not usually accept them. Most companies who take them limit them to small amounts of insurance. It is therefore evident that Christian Science has a larger task to perform in lowering its mortality than the life insurance companies have, for people taking Christian Science treatment usually do so as a last resort, because they have been unable to procure help from sources which have generally been supposed to supply the best methods of treatment. If, then, Christian Science treatment showed a mortality as high as that of the hospitals or homes for incurables it should not be censured, but should be considered as desirable as that of the medical fraternity.

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