The ordinary argument against Christian Science is that...

Brixton Free Press

The ordinary argument against Christian Science is that it is contrary to the evidence of the senses, opposed to common sense, or, as it was put the other day, "a denial of facts which common sense is accustomed to regard as obviously real and self-existent." May I be permitted to say that common sense is not infrequently a polite way of saying uncommon ignorance. And if some of the people who talk so readily of common sense would read certain remarks by Huxley on the subject it would add considerably to their fund of information. "The fish of immortal memory," Huxley wrote, "who threw himself out of the frying-pan into the fire, was not more ill-advised than the man who seeks sanctuary from philosophical persecution within the walls of the observatory or the laboratory." This sanctuary seeker, according to Huxley's description, is the individual steeped in common sense.

How right Huxley was is sufficiently obvious. Common sense declares that the sun rises and sets. It declared for centuries that you could see it for yourself, and for centuries it burned men and women for denying the evidence of their God-given senses. When the metaphysical philosopher came by with his upsetting speculations, common sense shouted its version of "Great is Diana of the Ephesians." It ran to the observatory. And to its consternation the observatory answered, "The sun is stationary." Common sense again declares pain to be in the wound. Its says it knows it is there because it can feel it there, and a certain common sense philosopher prescribes a furious hating attack on people who, like Christian Scientists, deny the evidence of their God-given materiality. When the metaphysical practitioner comes upon the scene, it gathers its microbes round its skirts and vigorously declares it version of Tertullus' declaration, "We have found this man a pestilent fellow and a mover of sedition among all the Jews throughout the world; and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes." In support it turns to the Felix of the laboratory; and from the mouth of one of the greatest natural scientists who ever stepped inside a laboratory it is informed, "It is utterly impossible to conceive of pain except as a state of consciousness."

As a last resort it turns to the church; it asks that the ægis of orthodox theology should be cast over it. And again the scholar in the church grimly replies that the word miraculum was far from ever meaning anything supernatural, but was simply the term used by the pagan philosophers to describe their speculations—speculations which required quite as much faith to imbibe as the speculations of the scientists of today on atoms, electrons, and ether. The miracle, common sense is told, is simply the translation of two Greek words in the New Testament which never meant anything but an act of power and a sign; and so the miracle is reduced to its true meaning of a powerful proof of the truth of the theology of Jesus. The theology of Jesus was contained in the phrase, "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free," because this knowledge of the truth is the knowledge of the absolute; it is the most scientific knowledge in the world. And because it is scientific knowledge it is knowledge capable of demonstration. The miracle was the demonstration of this knowledge, and in proportion as a man learns this truth he is able to demonstrate it scientifically. That is the claim of Christian Science: "He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also."

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March 23, 1912

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