Christian Science is Christian idealism pushed remorselessly...

The Guardian

Christian Science is Christian idealism pushed remorselessly home to its logical and inevitable conclusions. All systems of idealism have, of course, some points in common, and Christian Science has some points in common with Berkeleyism, as Berkeley had with Abelard, and Abelard with the Neo-Platonists, but that is all that it is possible to say. The theory that the phenomenon of matter is nothing but a subjective condition of mortal mind is accepted in Christian Science, and to that extent the teaching of Christian Science is in agreement with the theories of scientific and philosophical idealism. But Christian Science does not stop at this point. It goes on to insist that this mortal mind or asserted energy is in itself nothing but a negation of the divine Mind, or Principle, which we term God. This surely makes matter unreal with a thoroughness which has never previously been contemplated, and constitutes as fundamental a difference from any other form of idealism as could possibly be stated.

If Christian Science left the question here, it would no doubt reduce the whole negation called evil to the level of a mere abstract privation, after the manner of one school of idealists, or be driven into the quandary (of another school) of attempting to account for its emanation from a first cause which is entirely good. It is here it once more severs itself from every other school of idealism, and accepts the burden of proof in the manner demanded by the Founder of Christianity himself when he said, "He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also." This is the meaning of healing in Christian Science. It is "a religion of health," if by that is meant that physical comfort is its essential aim. The essential aim of Christian Science is to give men that full, exact knowledge of God which will make them free from the oppression of those very physical laws which Berkeley regarded as part of the divine scheme; it is to bring about the destruction of sin through the understanding of the Christ. Incidentally, this heals man, of course, not only of sickness and pain, but of sorrow and want and fear; but the mere physical healing occupies to-day exactly the place it held in the teaching of Jesus when he bade the disciples of the Baptist. "Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: the blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them."

Christian Science is the effort to give men once more that supreme faith in and understanding of God which made the first century of the Christian era the age of miracles. Now a miracle is that manifestation of the power of God which, though divinely natural to a mind conscious of His omnipresence, is mysteriously supernatural to a mind convinced of the reality of matter. Nature is that which is; this is an axiom of natural science; and that this same nature is the creation of God, and that natural, physical law is consequently God's law, is the deduction of orthodox theology. Now there is a cycle of saying in the New Testament which is distinctly at variance with this view. In the suggestion of the uprooting of the sycamine tree, for instance, and the removal of the mountain, the belief of the world and the faith of the Christian are contrasted in the power of the latter to reverse the so-called natural law. There is nobody, presumably, who imagines that if Jesus had thought that the material law was the law of God, he would have suggested the possibility of its reversal. Nor does it make any difference if you insist that these sayings were not meant to be taken literally. It is just as impossible that Jesus should have used an illustration based on such an assumption. The fact is that these sayings are in absolute harmony with all Jesus' teaching on the subject of physical phenomena. And as men gain the understanding of this they are able, as Jesus said they would be, to demonstrate their knowledge by means of the miracle—"Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."

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