This meme, created and posted in one of the ex-Christian Scientist Facebook groups I’m in by one of its members triggers memories of one of my many thoughts and doubts about the veracity of so many aspects of Christian Science theology. It cuts to the quick on a fallacy of this theology and so-called “prosperity gospels” that is obvious to anyone with eyes and ears: there is a lot of suffering in this world, and a lot of human needs that go unmet each and every day. On that basis, as I see it, Divine Love (another term for God) hasn’t always met and probably never will meet every human need. Poverty happens, strife happens, shit happens. It’s all part of the human experience.
I work with clients who struggle to make ends meet, often forgoing food for themselves so that their children have something to eat, or clothes to wear to school. I see youth whose best, and sometimes only meal of the day is the one they get at the youth program at my workplace. Many children suffer and die from the effects of malnutrition every day in many countries.
How does the die-hard, denying all imperfect reality, Christian Scientist see this? Well, I can say that if I was still in the faith, my immediate reaction would be that those dear folks just aren’t “seeing” or “demonstrating” God’s “abundance” (note my heavy use of quotation marks–the only way I can transmit sarcasm on the written page). Somehow they’re just not seeing what’s really there. You see, in Christian Science-land, there really is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Really, it’s there, take off your shit-coloured glasses and look through rose-coloured glasses–you’ll see it! According to Christian Science, all of our senses are deceiving us, blinding us to some “true” reality that is out there…somewhere…just out of sight.
Can you imagine if I told a client who lives night-to-night in drop-in shelters, and eats at the Gospel Mission, and spends his days on the streets that if he’d just see what’s really there, that endless abundance, he’d be able to live in the million dollar mansion up on the hill and his mental health and addiction issues would magically disappear? He’d probably give me a black eye, and I wouldn’t blame him.
Are bad things just an illusion, as Christian Science theology would suggest? No, I don’t think so, and only another former Christian Scientist would truly understand how liberating it is for me to really feel this way, completely unfettered by Christian Science-induced delusional doubts. There is good in this world, and there is bad. That’s the way it is. That’s the way it always has been, and I don’t think anyone can change that; and I don’t believe there is some “God” out there that will arbitrarily change it either.