In the "Diet and Health" column in your recent issue...


In the "Diet and Health" column in your recent issue there are quoted from the Medical Herald various answers to the question of why one's back aches, as they are laconically given by the "herb man," the "shoe doctor," the "dentist," the "osteopath," and others, including "It don't ache" as the declaration of "C. S." Later on the article says: "It's all right to say it 'don't ache' if it does not lead you to ignore investigating the cause. . . . An ache of any kind is a symptom of something wrong some place." One's back—as matter—certainly has no intelligence of its own to ache or be otherwise sentient; it requires something more than mere inanimate matter in order to experience feeling. That which feels, or aches, must be mental, whether we call it physical sense or something else. An ache is a symptom of something wrong somewhere, but Christian Science would go much farther in tracing the cause. The herb man, the shoe doctor, the dentist, et cetera, are presumably earnest and sincere in their efforts to overcome human ailments, but they make the mistake of seeking a cause where no real cause exists.

One great difference between such systems of healing and Christian Science is that their advocates delve for causation into matter and in what they consider to be the laws of nature; whereas Christian Science goes so far as to say that all law is spiritual, and all cause and effect mental, rather than physical or material. The matter-physician attempts to remedy physical difficulties by treating the body from the standpoint of cause and effect as material, while the Christian metaphysician takes a step farther, looks beyond material evidence, and finds the origin of all ills to be in the mental realm, where they can be corrected at their source. To go no farther than to treat the symptoms and material conditions of the physical body is not getting at the bottom of the difficulty. That would be attempting to remedy matters at the wrong end of the trouble. It is gratifying, however, to see how generally it is now being acknowledged that mental causation must be reckoned with. We all know how the mental states called sorrow and grief cause mental and bodily depression, and how, if prolonged, they may bring about a wasting away of the tissues of the body. Physical scientists tell us that extreme anger actually causes a chemical change to take place in the blood, fits of temper not only disturbing the normal functions of the body, but also originating poisons in the system not present under normal mental conditions. Scarcely a year ago the Telegram quoted Dr. Carl D. Camp, professor of neurology at the University of Michigan, as saying at a convention held in St. Paul, "Purely emotional reactions can actually cause organic disease and changes in physiological structure." And more recently Dr. Gilbert Fitzpatrick, president of the American Institute of Homeopathy, advocated before a convention at Philadelphia last June the saying of grace before meals as "an excellent aid to digestion," thereby recognizing "the therapeutic value of grace" as a form of expression of religious thinking. We might liken the material body to a stream whose source may become contaminated, rendering the water unfit for consumption, spelling disease for those who use it. No amount of "doctoring" the water, or cleansing the bed of the stream in spots, will ever purify the stream itself, or serve any better purpose than that of a temporary expedient. The source of the impurities must be sought out; and no matter how far upstream the water may be treated and a remedy applied, the impurities and their effect will never be fully eradicated and the trouble permanently overcome until the stream has been purified at its very source.

Bethlehem To-day
December 25, 1926

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