Disease Not Real

The teaching of Christian Science, that disease is not real, is not always hospitably received, even in quarters where it is most needed; yet it is the best friend of the sick, for it offers them the only means of escape. If disease were real in the way that love and goodness are, it would indeed be a sad outlook, for mankind would forever be attended with its haunting fears and pains. If it were real, it would be useless to doctor it, since there is no process that can destroy reality. Christian Science, however, heals disease on the basis that it is not real, and it takes this ground because disease is not of divine origin.

It may be asked here why Christian Scientists treat disease at all, if they do not believe in its existence. It may be answered that, strictly speaking, they do not; they treat only a false belief in disease. For example: A gentlemen who had lived in the South once told the writer that tomatoes, at that time called "love apples," were regarded as poisonous, and had been known to cause serious and even fatal illness. Now, would an enlightened physician, having to doctor such a case, regard the illness as a reality or as a false belief?—that is, would he set himself to antidote the imaginary poison or to dispel the patient's hallucination? From a purely physical standpoint, could a person be made ill by partaking of a suppositional poison? If man is a materially organic being, as is generally taught, how could the poison that was not there, poison the person who did not eat it but who thought he did? On the other hand, if a wrong thought caused the illness, why should not the right thought heal it and be the natural and only remedy therefor? Then if it should be discovered that wrong thinking causes all disease, would not right thinking be the rational and only effective remedy?

Let us suppose that a person in a state of delusion tells us that his house is on fire, and we know it is not: would we call out the fire-brigade in order to convince him of his mistake, or would we endeavor to dispel the delusion by proving that his house was intact? In other words, would we treat the fire, or the false belief in it? From our knowledge of the facts, would we regard the fire as real, or as unreal? Again, let us suppose that, instead of his house, this person believes his body to be on fire with fever. The doctor is called to put out the fire, and falling in line with his patient's belief, he proceeds, figuratively speaking, to turn on the hose. This was not Jesus' method. The doctor, accepting the same material sense of being as his patient, attacks the fire that, according to the spiritual truth of omnipresent good, is not there at all. The Master, understanding that God's ideas are always perfect, "rebuked the fever;" that is, condemned it as having no place there, and we read that it left the patient immediately. It is plain that Jesus did not treat the fever as a reality, but as a false belief; and he was preeminently the most successful physician and the wisest teacher the world has known.

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Thought Gardens
May 22, 1915

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