Our critic advances certain objections to the acceptance of...

Sydenham Gazette

Our critic advances certain objections to the acceptance of Christian Science without apparently realizing that these objections must have occurred to every Christian Scientist when they began to interest themselves in its teachings. For instance, he asks, "What is the good of writing a book with the intention of trying to cure that which does not exist?" If he will stop to think, he will realize that all education is devoted to destroying man's ignorance, that is, his belief in something which is not true. Two and two certainly do not make five, but would he leave a child learning the multiplication table under the impression they do, simply because it is not so. A man may suffer from nightmare, and believe he is nightly chased by a lion; he certainly is not, but would our critic try to destroy the cause or would he leave him to suffer in his dreams, simply because there is no lion. A lunatic may believe he is a teapot, though he certainly is not, but because of this would the critic leave him the victim of disordered imagination or endeavor to restore him to sanity? The Christian Scientist contends that a belief in consumption is only in a less degree the result of disordered imagination than the beliefs of a pronounced lunatic. If the critic wishes to contend that a lunatic is manifestly not a teapot, whereas consumption is a visible condition, may I remind him, in advance, that the whole teaching of idealism for centuries has been that matter itself is only a subjective condition of mind, and that it is more and more coming round to the contention of the writer of the book of Proverbs, that as a man "thinketh in his heart, so is he."

Another phase of the criticism is a habit of begging the question. He quietly assumes that God created medicines for man's use, and then declares it is suicide not to avil yourself of them. It is true that a little later on he expatiates on "the dangers of drug taking," and in a sentence which seems unnecessarily contradictory of his own argument denounces "the habit people have got into of swallowing nauseous draughts and pills which have not only multiplied diseases but made them more fatal;" but I will let this pass, merely observing that "nauseous draughts" is rather a severe term for "medicines created by God," and return to his main argument. The use of material remedies is probably contemporaneous with the human race, they were in vogue for centuries before the Christian era just as they have been during its entire continuance. The ministry of Jesus was to a remarkable extent a ministry of physical healing, but what separates this healing entirely from the healing of any other time or teaching is the absolute reliance on spiritual as opposed to material methods,—"Whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk?" The critic writes for all the world as if Hippocrates or Linnæus were the rounders of Christian healing.

August 22, 1908
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