One day I was hanging out with a friend from work, and we were having a great time talking about our lives. I felt the conversation was going super well—that I was really connecting with her emotionally and we were coming to a better understanding of each other’s life experiences. At one point, though, religion came up, and she asked me what my religion was.
I was a little nervous about answering her question, because people tend to have a lot of prejudgment about religion in general. Plus, Christian Science is a religion that most people don’t know much about.
“I’m a Christian Scientist,” I said.
“That’s not Scientology, right?” she asked.
I understood why she might have confused the two, since both of them have some form of the word science in the name. But I told her no, they’re totally different, and that Christian Science is based on the Bible.
“I’ve never heard the words science and Christian in the same sentence,” she commented.
Her comment intrigued me, because since I’ve grown up in Christian Science, putting those two words together has always been normal to me, and I’d never considered that it could be so foreign to others. I realized for the first time that most people never hear science and Christian grouped like that.
I was a little nervous about answering her question, because people tend to have a lot of prejudgment about religion.
I explained to my friend why those two words make sense together. I shared that Christian Science teachings include a system of prayer that is proven to have results, bringing healing to the problems we are facing. I also explained that to me, Christian Science is the science of how to love others the way Jesus taught us to. For example, Christian Scientists follow what Jesus identified as the “first and great commandment,” “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind,” as well as a second commandment that he said was like the first, “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37–39, New King James Version).
I told her that a lot of who I am as a person stems from my beliefs and the values that I hold as a Christian Scientist, such as valuing love and sharing it with the world and the people around me. Christian Science has taught me how to love in a really powerful and healing way, because through reading the Bible as well as Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, I’ve learned that real love means seeing someone in God’s, divine Love’s, image—as loved, loving, and lovable. This means looking past surface appearances and labels and seeing all the good that is truly there in each of us as God’s children.
It turned out that my friend was totally open to what I shared.
While I’ve always been very hesitant to talk about Christian Science with my friends because I was afraid of being judged, it turned out that my friend was totally open to what I shared. She even said she could see how the qualities I’d developed from being a Christian Scientist were the ones she admired me for. It was cool that my sharing more about Christian Science helped her understand me better.
This experience was eye-opening for me, because I’d never really asked myself, “What is Christian Science?” Answering this question for a friend helped me clarify the reasons that I believe in Christian Science and reflect on the impact it’s had on my life. I am so grateful for all that Christian Science has taught me about how to love.