Christian Science: Healing from within
December 21, 2007
Thousands of valley residents drive past the Christian Science Society building at the western end of Main Street each day, but few have ever gone inside. The modest Victorian building houses a church that provides twice-weekly services, an open reading room and Sunday school.
Often, people who hear the term Christian Science confuse it with Scientology, a body of beliefs developed by science-fiction author L. Ron Hubbard in 1952, but the two belief systems could hardly be farther apart.
Christian Science is a form of Christianity founded on the idea that God is entirely good, that all existence is spiritual rather than material, and all suffering, pain and evil is illusion.
A Boston woman founded the church in the late 1800s following a spiritual healing from injury. As the story goes, Mary Baker Eddy had what some would call a “miraculous” healing and set out to understand how it happened through study of the Bible.
Through the study of healings by Jesus Christ, Eddy detailed a method by which people can heal using those spiritual methods and called it “Christian Science.” She detailed her methods in what is now a fundamental text to Christian Scientists, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.”
Eddy laid out the idea that every individual human is a reflection of a wholly perfect God and, therefore, is also perfect. Christian Scientists do not ask God to intervene specifically in real-world issues or problems but rather seek an awakening to spiritual truth.
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Hence, the most visible difference between Christian Scientists and many other Christians is the Christian Scientists’ deep-rooted faith in spiritual healing:
“We choose not to use the medical approach in solving physical problems,” said Edd Perkins, a Colorado spokesman for Christian Scientists. “We don’t object to anyone using medical means for their own uses, but we would chose not to as a general rule. We see the integral relationship between God and man with no third party as the avenue for better understanding of man’s true nature, which includes perfect health.”
To the Christian Scientist, sickness, fear and suffering are the result of false beliefs and can be revealed as illusion through the recognition that the material world is essentially false and God is the only power.
The philosophies that go into healing do not just apply to sickness. In essence, the healing power espoused by Christian Scientists is a road map for a way of life. Indeed, during weekly testimonial meetings at churches, people talk of healings in various contexts from relationships to finances.
Perkins stressed that there is no formal dictate from the church that says Christian Scientists cannot use medical care. But the belief system that underlies medical science is essentially opposed to Christian Science.
“The healing agent goes through one’s thought rather than through a physical application,” said Perkins. “That’s what separates Christian Science from other systems.”
Christian Science services do not have a priest or pastor. Instead, churchgoers elect volunteer readers who read to the congregation. Some of the services feature a time when people can testify to healings.
Christmas is less ritualistic than in most other churches. Christian Scientists do not have a specific service unless the day falls on a Wednesday or Sunday.
“We’re looking to celebrate the Christ Presence and give it honor,” said Piper Foster, a board member of Aspen’s church. “The important thing for Christian Scientists is that the Christ Presence is always the special energy moving in our lives constantly, but we pay it special homage during this season.”