I’ve sometimes wondered what might ever make me go back to Christian Science, if I ever would go back, and what it might be like if I did. Some in the ex-Christian Scientist groups fear that when they grow older and potentially slip into dementia, they might inadvertently revert back to Christian Science in the mental fog of dementia, and I honestly think that’s probably the only way I can see it that I would go back at this point, since the only other thing that would send me back is unlikely to ever happen. And…that brings me to the topic of this post.
What would make me return to Christian Science?
The answer to that question is very simple, yet the bar is extremely (probably impossibly) high. I would need to be presented with 100% irrefutable evidence that Christian Science as a method of physical healing actually works. How could that be demonstrated to me? Simple, and I’ll offer examples of the proofs that would work for me (in bullet-point form for your convenience):
- The re-growing of an amputated limb.
- The growing of a limb that is congenitally missing.
- The re-growing or growing of a missing or removed organ.
- The curing, without any medical or other curative intervention, of paralysis, cerebral palsy, or other irreversible physically crippling condition.
Now, some Christian Scientists will say, “what about people cured of AIDS, cancer, or other ‘incurable’ diseases?” Yes, there are claims of people being cured of AIDS and other medically incurable diseases through Christian Science, however in all cases I’ve seen either there is not a proper diagnosis, the evidence of the disease is anecdotal (often self-claimed), and the claim of having been healed is anecdotal (many diseases do go into remission–AIDS does, for example), so all of those claims will always carry some doubt for me. Christian Science relies upon anecdotal evidence for most, if not all of its claims of healing efficacy. I spent 41 years of my life as a Christian Scientist and I did not witness one single healing that could be 100% attributable to the healing efficacy of Christian Science alone. Not one. I want to see some stark and irrefutable evidence, and in my opinion, only the above examples fit the bill. Anything else is subject to some level of manipulation of claims and evidence, and anecdote can all too easily slip in.
Childhood doubts and unfulfilled promises…
My younger brother suffered from the most severe form of cerebral palsy, and as a child and teenager who always harboured doubts about Christian Science, I often said to my parents and Sunday School teachers that if he ever got up out of his wheelchair, shook my hand, and had a conversation with me, I would never doubt Christian Science. After all, Christian Science claims to heal as Jesus and the Apostles did, and they all famously (according to the Bible) healed those who suffered from palsy. So, I logically reasoned, Christian Science should have been able to heal my brother. Despite the best efforts of my parents and many a Journal-listed Christian Science practitioner, my brother was never healed. He died in 1985 at the age of 16 due to complications arising from his condition. He never walked, talked, or shook anyone’s hand. If Christian Science was an effective healing remedy, he would still be alive and around 46 years old now. His case is the most stark proof to me that Christian Science does not work, and that it’s claims of healing efficacy are a complete fraud. It promised a lot to me and my family, and gave us nothing.
My parting words…
Christian Science has failed many other families, often in far more tragic ways than it failed mine. I know one woman who lost a leg due to an untreated bone infection that could have been easily and routinely treated with antibiotics. If Christian Science really works and heals as it claims to, why isn’t everyone flocking to it? This webpage lists many other children that have needlessly suffered and died due to their parents’ reliance on Christian Science and other fraudulent faith-healing methods.
So, as the state motto for Missouri says, “show me”. Show me a re-grown limb, show me cured blindness, show me irrefutable scientifically documented proof–no anecdotal evidence allowed. I’m proud to be a ‘doubting Thomas’! Like I have yet to see many psychics winning the lottery, so I don’t see too many faith-healers (such as Christian Science practitioners) setting up shop in hospitals. It’s all BS.
I appreciate your sharing your brother’s physical condition, because my only sibling, a younger brother, was diagnosed as “severely retarded”. This was term of the forties. Though I feel assured you are telling the truth concerning your brother, I would like to comment on my brother’s medical experiences. Because he was incurable in the medical profession’s opinion, he was used in various tests, which were painful and cruel. One special example involved withholding water from him for long periods of time to see if haloperidol would better calm him.He was treated like an object, and without civil rights. Remembering that I first discovered Christian Science, via television, I remember thinking that at least they would be kinder to my baby brother than the medical institution he endured. The place was called Rosewood, located in the state of Maryland, and it was a trip to hell every time you entered. My dad brought him home to family kindness and care, feeling that if we were inadequate, we were still an improvement over such people. I am not sugar coating anything, but I do offer a glimpse of medicine’s underbelly, and why some people flee for the gentler world of Christian Science. Leslie Saunders
Sent from my iPad
are you frank Saunders wife?
Whereas nothing would make me go back to CS – I do know that it is very much inside of me still. Many years ago I took a “test” on Beliefnet.com – they had this test of , oh, I don’t know 25 or so questions – and when the test was done, you got a list of about 25 religions – and percentage wise how your beliefs lined up with each of these religions. It turns out that according to Beliefnet – I am 100% Christian Scientist! The lowest percentage was Jehovah Witness.
I’m going to see if I can find that test you took on Beliefnet. I’m curious to see how much, if any, of the Christian Science demon I’ve managed to exorcise from my mind.