Imagine trying to describe colour to someone who has been blind from birth. In quiet, pensive moments, I’ve sometimes wondered how I could. How would I describe the deep blue of the Caribbean Sea to someone who has no idea what the colour blue looks like? I don’t think I could. I could describe very well how I feel about it. But without their own knowledge of something that can only be truly experienced by seeing it, they would not have any way to truly understand it.
The same holds true for explaining Christian Science to someone who has no previous knowledge of it. I’ve had occasions over the past few years to try just that when I’ve told some of the story of what happened in my family, and the circumstances of my parents’ deaths. I usually start by telling the person to imagine that everything around them, including their own bodies, is a complete illusion. It’s not real at all; kind of like The Matrix. I’ve gotta admit, I’m very grateful to the Wachowsky brothers for making a series of movies that make Christian Science a lot easier to explain. Often, after my opening statement, the person looks at me like I just grew two heads.
While many, including most of my friends, do pray in some ways for physical healing, and strongly believe that prayer does have power outside the body, they do not foolishly eschew proper medical care like the radical Christian Scientist will. In the sweat lodge I attend, and in other ceremonies, it’s common to pray for those who are sick or in difficult circumstances. Improvements in those peoples’ lives is often attributed in some degree to the prayer. Do I believe in the power of prayer? Honestly, I don’t know. I neither disbelieve nor do I believe in it. I keep my mind open, and I’m swayed by evidence. I’ve seen some evidence that would suggest it maybe does have some power, but I’d need to see more to be convinced. I have heard it theorized (sorry I can’t footnote a source) that the human brain possibly does operate on a quantum or perhaps inter-dimensional level. Who knows what is possible? If prayer and other things we consider to be supernatural prove to be truly able to effect change or action outside the body, it’s my belief that there will be a rational explanation for it. What I do believe is that prayer and meditation can affect one’s own body to some degree–I have personally seen great benefit to simple meditation, something I try to practice daily.
But, how do you explain a radical and esoteric theology like Christian Science? It’s not easy, and like describing colour to someone who’s never seen it, on some level you have to accept the fact that the person is not likely to ever get it 100%. Metaphors like the one I’ve used in this post, have worked for me–especially in-your-face ones. Metaphors help us to explain the unexplainable.