I beg the privilege of saying a few words in reply to an...

Victoria (B.C.) Times

I beg the privilege of saying a few words in reply to an editorial on Christian Science in the Times. I might say at the outset that I have been a student of this subject for a number of years, but I have met with nothing in the teaching of Christian Science, or in the experiences of Christian Scientists, that would in any degree justify such charges.

It seems to me that the whole question resolves itself into one of actual results, in accordance with the Master's teaching that a tree is known by its fruit. It is now generally conceded, even by its opponents, that much good has been accomplished by Christian Science, and that its influence upon the character and conduct of those who practise it is beneficial in a high degree. In view of these facts, the charge that Christian Science is "a menace to rationality and even to life," and that Christian Scientists have the liberty to practise their faith only "because their unconverted fellow citizens look after the public health," is somewhat astonishing. It would make strange reading to lay such a charge against the Methodists or the Presbyterians or the Episcopalians, and yet it would be as reasonable in one class as in the other. You must have a grotesque idea of the habits and mode of life of Christian Scientists, but I can assure you they are practically the same as other people. They believe in the best methods of sanitation, wholesome food, cleanliness in all things, and take as good care of the body in every way as do others. They believe in reporting cases of contagious disease to the proper authorities, and do so as a rule when the occasion arises. What more are their fellow citizens doing to conserve the public health? Of course it is true—and this may be what has caused alarm—that they do not take medicine when they are sick; but why should they? Many of the most successful physicians are prescribing less medicine all the time, some going so far as to deny that it has any virtue whatever. I venture to say that if your own experience had proved to you beyond a question that you enjoyed better health or recovered more rapidly from sickness, without the use of drugs, you would consider it the most common-sense course to leave them alone.

It is true, also, that Christian Scientists are learning to rely upon God alone for their healing when sickness overtakes them—and why shouldn't they? Is there anything in the Scriptures, or in the creeds and doctrines of "the great historic churches" you refer to, which would disparage one's Christianity on that account, or that would deny the Christian the privilege of trusting God with all his heart and soul and mind and strength? Is there anything in the Master's teachings which would impugn the wisdom of such a course? It must be true beyond question that God is worthy to be trusted with all we have, and that Christ is worthy to be followed and obeyed in all ways and all the way. Else, wherefore so much preaching and praying and church-going? I have seen the famous Dr. Osler quoted as saying that hope is the best medicine one can take; then, if hope is so good for the health, faith must be better, while the knowledge of God as the life of man is even more to be commended. One would imply from this editorial that a man's religion should be a matter of sentiment rather than of practice; and that no matter how earnestly we may be exhorted in the Scriptures and from the pulpit to have faith in God in time of trouble, it is dangerous and irrational to take these exhortations too seriously. What can Christianity be for if not to enable mankind to overcome evil of every kind?

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February 24, 1912

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