It is an extraordinary fact that gentlemen who usually...

Florence (Italy) Herald

It is an extraordinary fact that gentlemen who usually are quite kindly, cannot approach the subject of Christian Science without parting company with their self-control. In this mental condition, they appear to think that obiter dicta constitude argument, and that humor is synonymous with execrable taste. The letter in your last issue in which a critic revels in the breathless ipse dixits of Mr. — is an example of this. If your readers will carefully study it, they will discover that from its exordium to its peroration it consists of a torrent of unproved assertions, in support of which not one single argument is advanced. These two Arcadians clearly indulge in the not uncommon but fond belief that everything which they fail to understand is without the focus of common sense. If I may dare, therefore, to offer them a hint, it would be that they should read a certain essay by Huxley, on common-sense philosophers. Provided before they have finished it they have not despaired of Huxley, it may have begun to dawn upon them that there are still some things undreamed of in their philosophy. Let us take an example. Mr. — evidently regards the teaching of the unreality of matter as beyond the pale. If he were not to be permitted to rely on the evidence of the senses, he would apparently be compelled to take refuge in the phraseology of Wilkins Micawber, "The God of day goes down upon the dreary scene, and—and in short you are forever floored. As I am!" He forgets in his indignation that Mr. Balfour, not many years ago, told the University of Cambridge that modern natural science had not merely explained matter, it had explained it away. He was speaking, of course, of the development of the idealistic theory of Bishop Berkeley, a theory vitiated by the fact that, inasmuch as it declared matter a subjective condition of divine Mind, it lost itself, in the words of one of the greatest of natural scientists, in undiluted pantheism. The teaching of Christian Science differs fundamentally from this. God, Jesus told the woman of Samaria, is Spirit; and that, he told Nicodemus, "which is born of Spirit is spirit." Consequently if, as John writes, God made all that was made, creation, Christian Science maintains, must be spiritual and not material; and matter is nothing but the negation of spiritual creation, and so unreal.

It would be tedious to expose all the misconceptions and misstatements of which this critic is guilty. It must suffice to say that a system of assertion which enables you to reverse an opponent's premises natually permits of reducing his conclusions to an absurdity. I will not, however, follow him into this wilderness of mere assertions, but will prove the truth of what I say. He says that Christian Science "declares all mind is God," and then qualifies mind as mortal. It does, of course, nothing of the kind. It says that God is Mind, and that mortal mind is the negation of this divine Mind, and is not intelligent. You might as reasonably say that natural science described light as a positive, and then qualified it as darkness—as absence of light, or as a negation.

The simple fact is that if Christian Science were the unadulterated nonsense of the critic's fervid imagination, its teaching could never have spread entirely round the globe, nor could it have gained the adherence of thousands upon thousands of cultivated men and women, nor succeeded in running a great ordinary daily newspaper. While, however, he is wasting his time in futile polemics, Christian Scientists are scientifically demonstrating the absolute truth of their faith, healing sickness and conquering sorrow and sin in every quarter of the globe. Against such proofs, the efforts of such a critic are like the attempt of Dame Partington to sweep back the ocean. She was excellent, says the chronicler, at a puddle, but she had no business to meddle with the elements.

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January 20, 1912

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