Welcome to the first entry in my blog about my journey away from Christian Science. If you read the ‘About‘ section, you’ll know what it’s all about. So, where better to start for my first post than a memory from my childhood.
I was born into Christian Science. Most Christian Scientists are. It’s a faith that attracts few converts, in comparison to many mainline Christian faiths. That’s not to say there aren’t converts–the Mother Church (the head church of the Church of Christ, Scientist, as the Christian Science church is known) admits new members every year, although the number is a closely guarded state secret.
I am a third-generation Christian Scientist–my grandmothers on both sides of the family, as well as my maternal grandfather, were the ones who got it all started in our family, and my parents continued the tradition. However, my branch of the family is the only one that stayed with Christian Science. While a couple of my aunts and uncles stayed in it nominally for some time, and a few of my cousins went to Sunday School, none are in it now. My one aunt who stuck with Christian Science died of untreated cancer that ended up ravaging her body.
Like most kids (before they’re teenagers), I loved my parents, and always wanted to please them. I went to Sunday School every Sunday, although to be honest, it bored me to tears most of the time, except when the teacher would tell us Bible stories. She was good at that, so I usually browbeat her into telling Bible stories–they were exciting, and often filled with comic book violence–just the thing little boys such as myself liked.
However, some of the more esoteric concepts of Christian Science escaped my pre-pubescent mind; especially the whole ‘matter is not real’ thing. I remember as an older student slapping my hand on the table and exclaiming to the teacher, “well, this is pretty real–if it wasn’t, then wouldn’t my hand go right through it?” I honestly don’t remember the teacher’s explanation, other than that he went through some amazing mental gymnastics to try and come up with an answer, and that answer did not satisfy me. Being a kid, my attention span was short, so I quickly moved on. The deep philosophical things didn’t stay in my mind for long. That was probably a good thing for the teacher’s sanity. One of the reasons I never wanted to become a Sunday School teacher as an adult was my fear of dealing with a student like myself.
But, that was amongst the earliest seeds of doubt that I remember. I’ve come to see that the decline in my faith in Christian Science has been akin to ‘death by a thousand cuts’. This was one of the first cuts. Sunday School would bring much more before it was done with me.