Eddyism, An illusion or a delusion? The confused contradictory world of Mary Baker Eddy by Jack Kettler
Christian Science is a 19th Century religion that emphasizes divine healing as allegedly practiced by Jesus Christ. It is officially known as The Church of Christ Scientist, headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, founded in 1879 by Mary Baker Eddy. In its heyday, Christian Science numbered over 300,000 members worldwide.
In the Christian Science religion, Mrs. Eddy is the absolute authority. The Christian Science Church uses and quotes the Bible. The Bible, however, is interpreted through the grid of Eddy's ideas. Instead of the Bible being allowed to speak for itself by allowing Scripture to interpret Scripture or consulting lexicographical tools, Mrs. Eddy's interpretation of the Bible is absolute and final. The Bible is not the final court of appeal in settling disputes, in Christian Science, Mrs. Eddy is.
A brief survey of Christian Science foundational beliefs from Mary Baker Eddy's Science and Health With Key To The Scriptures with my comments:
To start, the creed of Christian Science or Eddyism is found in the “Scientific Statement of Being,” which is read at every Christian Science church service:
Question. - What is the scientific statement of being?
There is no life, truth, intelligence, nor substance in matter.
All is infinite Mind and its infinite manifestation, for God is All-in-all.
Spirit is immortal Truth; matter is mortal error.
Spirit is the real and eternal; matter is the unreal and temporal.
Spirit is God, and man is His image and likeness.
Therefore man is not material; he is spiritual. (Science and Health With Key To The Scripture, p. 468).
This a very craftily worded creedal statement, and suggests a Platonic dualistic world view in which the material world is diminished. While this is true, (the neo-platonic influence) it is more closely aligned with Eastern metaphysical conceptions of reality since it holds that spiritual reality is the only true reality and that the material world including sickness, death, and evil are nothing more than illusions.
“Evil is unreal” (Science and Health, p. 339).
I'm sure this was a great comfort to the Jews in Nazi Germany.
The devil or Satan is an “illusive personification” of the human mind (Science and Health, p.187).
How could a follower of Eddy explain: Jesus speaking to the devil and the devil speaking back during the temptation in the wilderness? See Matthew 4:1-11.
“The cause of all so-called disease is mental, ..a mistaken belief…” (Science and Health, p. 377). Really? Go visit the Children Hospital's oncology department.
“Man is never sick, for Mind is not sick and matter cannot be” (Science and Health, p. 393).
Tell your self that when you have the stomach flu.
Eddy rejected the traditional doctrine of the Trinity, saying that it “suggests polytheism” (Science and Health, p. 256).
Really? Who is Eddy to talk, since her religious philosophy is dependent on Eastern metaphysical conceptions of reality?
Hell is “Mortal belief; error; lust; remorse; hatred; revenge; sin; sickness; death; suffering and self-destruction; self-imposed agony; effects of sin; that which 'worketh abomination or maketh a lie.'” (Science and Health, p. 588).
Is Eddy correct?
“There is no disease, when the supposed suffering is gone from the mortal mind, there can be no pain” (Science and Health, p.421).
To bad Mrs. Eddy was not around when the bubonic plague was ravaging Europe between 1348 and 1350, and killing between 75 million and 200 million people worldwide.
“Life is real, and death is the illusion” (Science and Health, pp. 427-28).
Tell that to the non-Christian Science family members who have witnessed 1000's of people who have been injured or died and millions of dollars in economic damages due to this denial of reality.
“Sin, sickness, and death are to be classified as effects of error. Christ came to destroy the belief of sin” (Science and Health, p. 473).
Christ did nothing of the sort, Christ came to save sinners! “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15).
“Man is incapable of sin, sickness and death” (Science and Health, p.475).
Really? The apostle Paul said: “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulcher; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes” (Romans 3:10-18).
"Jesus Christ is not God” (Science and Health, p. 361).
The Scriptures are clear: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made” (John 1:1-3).
Starting in the 24th edition of her Science and Health book and up to the 33rd edition, Eddy admitted that there is an agreement between Hindu Vedanta philosophy and Christian Science. She also quoted certain passages from an English translation of the Bhagavad Gita. These quotes no doubt was later removed when they became problematic for recruitment.
If the reader is at all familiar with Eastern metaphysics, it is quite clear from the above quotations that Mrs. Eddy's religion is nothing more than a Westernized Eastern metaphysical mind science religion. Or, more properly described a strain of philosophical idealism which believes that all reality is a Divine Mind. The material physical universe is nothing more than a giant construct within the Divine Mind.
The Christian Science Reading Room:
This writer on one occasion visited a Christan Science reading room and talked with a nice individual who was there to assist people who had questions about Christian Science. The man related a story of his healing from cancer that had formed on his big swollen toe and how his healing convinced him of the truthfulness of Christian Science teachings. When asked if he had cancer diagnosed medically, he answered no, he said, he just knew it was cancer. This subjective experience convinced him of Eddy's teachings.
The impartial reader will know that there is any number of explanations that would counter this man's belief. First off, just believing you have cancer is not the same as having it. Having a swollen toe could be caused by any number of things. The swelling goes down and his big toe returning to normal is easily explained by the body's own ability to heal itself because of our immune system. No doubt, this man actually thought he had attained victory over the illusion of the material world and thought this to be the cause of his toe returning to normal.
In Science and Health in the section called “Fruitage,” you have a number of glowing testimonials from people allegedly healed of all manner of conditions, including cancer. How exactly does the healing happen? One person going by their initials, E. O., from Georgetown, Washington says: “I was advised to buy Science and Health, which I did, and the study of this book has healed my back entirely” (Science and Health, p. 617).
Wow, imagine that just reading a book, and you are healed. Other testimonials are similar:
“I started to read Science and Health, and before I had half finished the book once I was eating everything that anyone does” (Science and Health, p. 618).
The testimonies go on and on, simply from reading a book and embracing Eddy's teaching of mind over matter. In Christan Science, you heal yourself by understanding that the material world is an illusion along with sin and infirmities.
Once you understand the alleged truth of sickness is an illusion, your sickness will disappear. It can be asked, why did not the whole body disappear since it is also part of the sinful illusion of physical material? It is a matter of fact, everyone who wrote a testimony recorded in the 1903 edition Science and Health has long since have died and are buried along with the alleged truthfulness of Eddy's theories.
The Dangers of using Personal Experience as the Basis for Truth:
It is truly dangerous to base your beliefs on personal experience like those recorded in Eddy's Science and Health. For example, when an experience influences your interpretation of the Scriptures, such as, letting the experience influence an understanding of the Scripture like the man who claimed he was healed of cancer on his big toe, it is not surprising that sound doctrine gives way to interpretations of Scripture that are influenced by these self-same experiences. The members of Christian Science follow this pattern precisely. Once the adherent has healed, or think they have witnessed healing, anything that Eddy says about the Bible, no matter how outlandish is the gospel truth.
Most people will see the circular reasoning that plagues this approach. Since the above-mentioned individual has experienced something, the Bible is interpreted in such a fashion as to support the Christian Science misinterpretations of the Bible. Thus, the Christian Scientist assumes that what Mary Baker Eddy has said about the Bible teaches must be true since they have witnessed or experienced it. This is a dangerous subjectivist circle of interpretation.
In Christian Science, this is particularly dangerous since historically they have forbidden their members to seek medical help. There are plenty of horror stories that could be cited regarding Christian Science practitioners who gave deadly advice to individuals, who subsequently died from these unreal illusions. Today they are softening their stance on this, letting members seek medical help if they desire. This may be due to declining membership, more than a shift in their beliefs. In the 1930s, at the height of their popularity, they were somewhere around 300,000 Christian Scientists members in the United States. Today, their numbers are probably no more than 100,000.
Questions regarding the self-refuting contradictions of Eddy's Christian Science metaphysics:
If the material world is an illusion, how can we know if what Eddy is saying is true since she quotes from a printed material Bible, which is part of the physical world and is supposedly an illusion? How can I know if the 1903 copy of Science and Health that I have is an illusion or real? Obviously, Christian Scientist's believe some things in the material world are more of an illusion than others.
Why do people die if sickness is an illusion? Have any Christian Scientists ever overcome death? If not, why not? Why did Mrs. Eddy die? She was supposedly the master of this religious philosophy. Surely, he strong belief in the power of mind over the false material illusion of reality should have saved her.
Was Jesus' physical appearance an illusion? If physical existence is an illusion as Eddy asserts, how can the Biblical accounts of Christ having a resurrected body as witnessed by the disciples be explained? Why does the Bible place such an emphasis on the disciples witnessing Christ's resurrection and using it as an apologetic? This is a question Eddy and her Christian Science practitioners have yet to answer convincingly.
Jesus appeared numerous times to different individuals and groups of people:
Mary Magdalene (Mark 16:9-11, John 20:11-18)
The other women at the tomb (Matthew 28:8-10)
The two travelers on the road (Mark 16:12,13, Luke 24:13-34)
Ten disciples behind closed doors (Mark 16:14, Luke 24:35-43, John 20:19-25)
All the disciples, and Thomas (John 20:26-31, 1 Corinthians 15:5)
Seven disciples while fishing (John 21:1-14)
Eleven disciples on the mountain (Matthew 28:16-20)
A crowd of 500 “most of whom are still alive” at the time of Paul writing (1 Corinthians 15:6)
Jesus appeared to the disciples in Jerusalem (Luke 24:44-49)
The group who watched Jesus ascend to heaven (Mark 16:19,20, Luke 24:50-53, Acts 1:3-8)
Paul with others present: (1 Corinthians 15:8-9, Galatians 1:13-16, Acts 9:1-8, 22:9, 1 Corinthians 15:10-20, Galatians 2:1-10)
You simply cannot declare the physical material world to be an illusion and then operate in it without involving yourself in numerous contradictions. For example, why do Christian Scientists go to the “Mother Church” in Boston? Or the read the “Christian Science Monitor,” their newspaper which reports on things that are supposedly evil, and according to Eddy are nothing more than illusions? When the left-ward leaning Christian Science Monitor editorializes on things that are supposedly evil and proposes solutions in the material world, they are simply refuting Eddy's belief system. Could it be that the religion of Mary Baker Eddy's Christian Science is, in reality, an illusion, or more to the point, a delusion?
All non-Christian philosophy contains its own internally self-refuting contradictions along with Eddy's numerous contradictions, which are in the same category as with those who assert “there is no truth.” Supposedly, assertions like this are true. Eddy and her followers cannot maintain with any credibility their insistence that the physical material world is an illusion and yet repeatedly appeal to these same physical illusions for their teachings and life practices. The whole religious structure of Christian Science is built upon contradictory absurdity. A more consistent form of this religious deadly nonsense is seen in Calcutta, India where the fruits of Eastern metaphysics has come to fruition or “Fruitage” as Mrs. Eddy put it.
More Scriptural refutations of Eddy's declaration about Jesus not being God:
“I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I AM he, ye shall die in your sins” (John 8:24). Jesus was claiming to be God, i.e., the I AM of Exodus 3:14, (John 8:58).
“The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God” (John 10:33).
Jesus affirms that he is “the Almighty” in (Revelation 1:8).
An attack upon the deity of Christ is one of the surest signs you are dealing with a group of cultists.
Regarding Eddy’s denial that there is no such thing as evil or sin, the Bible says that man has fallen into sin and that God has sent His Son into the world to die for sinners (John 3:14-21). In addition, the Bible says: the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). Everyone dies proving the Bible is correct about sin being a reality, and Mrs. Eddy to be a liar.
In sharp contrast to Eddy on evil, Jesus says: “And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man” (Mark 7:20-23).
Matter is not an illusion but is real, and was created distinct and separate from God. In other words, God is transcendent. To transcend means “to exist above and independent from; to rise above, surpass, succeed.” Christians are not pantheists. God called the creation “very good” in (Genesis 1:31). Sin, sickness, and evil are not illusions. They are a result of mankind's fall into sin. Temporal, physical, and eternal separation from God is the result of sin. See Romans 3:10, 5:12; 1 John 1:8,10.
Mr. Kettler has previously published articles in the Chalcedon Report and Contra Mundum. He and his wife Marea attend the Westminster, CO, RPCNA Church. Mr. Kettler is the author of the book defending the Reformed Faith against attacks, titled: The Religion That Started in a Hat. Available at: www.TheReligionThatStartedInAHat.com