The Bible and the Christian Science textbook are our only preachers. We shall now read Scriptural texts, and their correlative passages from our denominational textbook; these comprise our sermon.
The canonical writings, together with the word of our textbook, corroborating and explaining the Bible texts in their spiritual import and application to all ages, past, present, and future, constitute a sermon undivorced from truth, uncontaminated and unfettered by human hypotheses, and divinely authorized.”
~Mary Baker Eddy (Explanatory Note to the Christian Science Bible Lesson)
This statement is read at each and every Christian Science church service from Boston to Botswana. It heralds the coming of one of the grandest snooze fests I’ve ever experienced…the Christian Science Lesson Sermon–usually read pedantically in an excruciatingly sleep-inducing monotone. Recall Ferris Bueller’s teacher? Yeah, you get the idea. I swear I could sleep for 24 hours straight right before a Christian Science church service, wake up, pound 3 Red Bulls and 5 cups of coffee, and still be rendered into a state of nearly catatonic stupor by its sheer blandness and lack of anything remotely resembling excitement. But, I digress–church services will be another topic when inspiration comes to me. I’m here today to talk about divinely authorized hubris. Looking at this statement and breaking it down, especially now that I’ve emerged from the deep dark forest of Christian Science denial, I see a statement that is filled with hubris and high-mindedness.
Corroborating and explaining Bible texts? I know a few evangelical Christians who would bristle and say you’re going to Hell if you think you’re going to be explaining “God’s word” anytime soon. Personally, I don’t think anyone can really explain the Bible. To me, it is a disjointed compilation of old tribal stories, the original meanings of which have been lost through years of translation from their original languages. It’s like an old trick I saw once: you make a photocopy of something (on an old-style analog photocopier, by the way), then you take that copy and make a copy of that, then you take the copy you just made and make a copy of that, and so on. After a few “generations” of copying successive copies, what you get does not resemble the original anymore. So, good luck with the whole Bible explainin’ thing. I can think of easier and more interesting things to do. I think Mary Baker Eddy had more balls than a thousand men to say to the Christian community that she was going to “explain” what God meant in the Bible. But then again, I guess a lot of preachers do the same thing, so she’s not necessarily unique in that respect, but as we continue through this statement, the hubris builds, so I think she sees herself as superior to all others.
A sermon undivorced from truth? It’s never even been on a first date with truth, let alone being undivorced from it! What’s the frequency Kenneth? Denial, denial, denial of reality as it hits you in the face. That big growth on your face? That’s not real! Christian Science is all about denial of truth. Yup, quite divorced from truth if you ask me.
Uncontaminated and unfettered by human hypotheses? Um…yeah, give me a break! Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures the “textbook” mentioned in this note, is one long series of run-on sentences containing a whole lot of hypothesizing by a human who suffered from frequent delusions of grandeur and severely high levels of paranoia. After all, Eddy was convinced that her third husband, Asa Eddy was murdered by “mental assassins”1, and issued press statements to that effect, despite evidence of a much more mundane cause–heart disease.2
And now we end off at the pinnacle of hubris: “divinely authorized”. By who? God? The Flying Spaghetti Monster? The Celestial Teapot? How do you know “God” authorized this? I have always viewed with suspicion anyone who says that God talks to them. Prove it. Give me some corroborating evidence, then I might believe you. Until then, you’re just making the same vapid claims that many others make about the crap they write. I think the overinflated ego and sense of self-importance on the part of Eddy is the only thing that “divinely” authorizes this.
Christian Science doesn’t wear its hubris and high mindedness as much on its sleeve as some faiths do. It’s a little bit more subtle, passive aggressive, if you will. Christian Scientists will put on a public show of humility, but when you scratch the surface a bit, and dig a little bit deeper, you will find that it is quite the opposite.
1 Fraser, Caroline. God’s Perfect Child: Living and Dying in the Christian Science Church. New York, New York: Henry Holt and Company. 1999. 78 – 79. Print.
2 Ibid. p. 78.