This is another in my series on contradictions in Christian Science practice, teachings, and culture. See others under the category of ‘Contradictions‘.
Yes, I know the irony of this title, given the well-known animosity of Christian Science culture and teachings towards the medical profession and doctors, otherwise known as materia medica. I didn’t even see this post coming, but it came to me as I was doing some research to add a few new terms to my Glossary page. I was looking up the term ‘CSD’, a degree once conferred upon certain graduates of the Massachusetts Metaphysical College. Anyone who is or has been a Christian Scientist knows about folks who are CSB (they’re Teachers of Christian Science), but less known is the CSD.
CSD actually stands for a degree known as “Christian Science Doctor of”. Yes, you read that right, doctor of. So, there is such a thing as a ‘Doctor of Christian Science’, although I doubt you’ll see one in the emergency room anytime soon, or for that matter at all. As I understand it, the last people who held the degree of CSD died out in the 1940s. You see, one could only get a CSD not only after attaining a CSB degree, but also after being taught in a more advanced class by Mary Baker Eddy herself. Since Mary Baker Eddy died in 1910, there have been no CSD degrees granted for well over 100 years.
I just find the irony funny that while Christian Scientists famously eschew the services of those we call doctors, that they actually had ‘doctors’ among them for awhile. How interesting that in not only this, but many other ways–namely by the fact that Christian Science nursing care in accredited facilities is covered by Medicare/Medicaid in the United States, the push by the Church to have Christian Science treatment covered by medical insurance, and even a term coined by Mary Baker Eddy herself ‘metaphysical obstetrics’–the Church pursues the appearance of a medical or health care institution of sorts. Even the Massachusetts Metaphysical College was chartered under state law for “medicinal purposes” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. xi). The Church has also pushed recently to have Christian Science viewed as ‘alternate health care’.
Yes, I see big contradictions here. I’ll call it as I see it: BS–and I’m not referring to “bachelor of science” degree. I’m talking about what you’ll find in the farm yard. If you eschew anything resembling medical care, why do you embrace the appearance of it?
When I first read about CSD in Caroline Fraser’s book I was dumbfounded. This was one of many shocking revelations about CS of which I had never heard while reading that book. Definitely a contradiction!