The latest internet-based challenge to go around is the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. I’m honestly ambivalent about these sorts of things; however I can’t deny the good it’s done by raising not only awareness of this disease (it’s also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease), but it’s also raised several million dollars to fund research into a cure (almost $10 million in Canada alone). To that end, I will donate some money to support ALS research, something I would not have otherwise thought to do if this challenge wasn’t happening. Want to get me to pour ice water over my head? You’ll have to nominate me.
Surprisingly, or perhaps not so surprisingly, some Christian Scientists have also jumped on this bandwagon. I’ve seen where an entire athletic team at Principia College has accepted the challenge, and most pathetically (to me) a house counselor at Principia College accepted the challenge, and I watched his video. It depicts him having a book fall out of a bucket ‘poured’ over his head into his hands. I’ll give you three guesses which book it is, and the first two don’t count. Yeah, it’s Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. He goes on to read a nauseatingly pithy quote from the book as well. What else would you expect from a Christian Scientist? To them, the greatest gift to the world is that damn book! When disaster strikes, many a Christian Scientist will be there with a stack of Science and Healths.
I’m surprised at the participation of Christian Scientists in this challenge because the main aim of this whole challenge is to raise money for what is undeniably medical research. If there is anything in this world that is absolute anathema to Christian Science, it is medical research. I knew many Christian Scientists back when I was still swilling the Krazy Sauce who were vocally and adamantly opposed to any sort of charitable contributions that supported any sort of medical research or medical care. Some went even as far as refusing to invest in stocks and mutual funds that included companies engaged in medical research, medical care, or pharmaceutical enterprises as well as the usual things not only Christian Scientists may try to avoid, but some other Christians as well (tobacco and alcohol). There are even some investment instruments out there tailored somewhat specifically to Christian Scientists that offer mutual funds that do not invest in pharmaceutical companies, companies engaged in medical research or medical care, tobacco companies, or any others that pursue things contrary to what a Christian Scientist would deem right and good (one of the fund managers for the one I linked to worked in the Investment Division at The Mother Church).
Conversely in some ways, it’s not surprising to me that some Christian Scientists have jumped in on this mainly because I believe they want to be relevant, get their voice out there, and they want their moribund 19th century faith to remain relevant (if it ever was). Often, they will stop at nothing to find an opportunity to slip a quote from Mary Baker Eddy in to make it seem relevant to some current event. For instance, plenty of the Committee on Publication bloggers have jumped on the bandwagon with the recent death of Robin Williams to write on and on about how Christian Science can cure depression and other serious mental illnesses. If ever a more false hope could be dangled in front of someone as desperate as a person afflicted with depression, I don’t know what could. Reading Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures may possibly make one feel good for awhile, but it can do nothing to affect the very real neurological and biochemical imbalances that lie at the root of depression, addiction, and other illnesses. The way I’ve seen some Christian Scientist writers capitalize on Williams’s suicide as an opportunity to promote Christian Science disgusts me to no end. However, it’s a free country, and they’re free to do so. I just dread how many innocent people will fall for the false promises Christian Science offers and do real harm to themselves or others.
So, I put this challenge to the Principia College athletic teams, and the Principia house counselors, and all other die-hard Christian Scientists out there who want to jump on the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge bandwagon: put your money where your mouths are. Don’t just pray about ALS. Don’t just spew out pithy quotes from your Dear Leader (Mary Baker Eddy), or just pour cold water over your heads in a nice stunt to get noticed by your friends. Donate some real dollars, euros, rubles, pesos, or pounds sterling to charities that raise money for ALS research. Better yet, I’d love to see institutions like Principia or The Mother Church donate to an organization like the ALS Association. Then you will really be doing something beneficial; something tangible that may lead to actual healing of this terrible disease. At the very least, you’ll be supporting organizations that offer real support to those afflicted with ALS. Otherwise, please just put your opportunistic bandwagon-jumping antics on ice. Thank you!
ALS Association (United States)
ALS Association (United States): Donation Page
ALS Canada: Donation Page
Wikipedia Article on ALS
Some ALS FAQs
Listing of ALS Organizations In the United States
Provincial ALS Organizations In Canada
Depression Hurts (Canada)
Depression Symptoms & Warning Signs
Wikipedia Article on Clinical Depression