Altered States

Yeah, I know it’s probably getting old, my habit of naming blog posts after movie or song titles, but I just can’t help myself. Today’s post is inspired by things I’ve heard mentioned many times in the ex-Christian Scientist Facebook groups, and also my own observations over the years. Specifically, I am talking today about how Christian Science has taken common things, or aspects of other forms of Christianity, and altered them or re-defined them to suit its own purposes.

A discussion in one of the ex-Christian Scientist Facebook groups I’m in has centred around hymns–a topic that brings up conflicting emotions among some of us. The Christian Science Hymnal is filled with hymns that would sound (musically at least) familiar to many Christians, but some subtle and not-so-subtle changes are made to the lyrics to make them conform to the unique theology of Christian Science. For my friends who have gone from Christian Science to more mainstream forms of Christianity, this was initially a shock, and now it’s just plain offensive, and although I am not Christian myself, I agree with them. If you need to change something about Christianity to conform to your version of it, how truly ‘Christian’ is your particular form of Christianity? I still and always will maintain that Christian Science is a form or sect of Christianity, and perhaps more accurately a cult, but I do question how truly Christian it actually is. I’ll leave that debate to others. In my opinion, it’s at least nominally Christian–even if it isn’t so in the strictest or most conventional sense.

Christian Science does this to more than just hymns. It has its own view of the Bible, and the meanings of biblical terms, events, and teachings. Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures has a glossary near the end where many a biblical term, as well as some everyday terms, are redefined according to Mary Baker Eddy’s supposedly more spiritual worldview–she even has her own odd definition of a river in the Middle East: the Euphrates. I guess all the apostles and prophets didn’t get it right or explain it well enough in the first place in the Bible. How about a big and sacrilegious one: rewriting the Lord’s Prayer! Oh how I used to chant along, pausing for Eddy’s ‘spiritual interpretation’ between lines like a good little devoted follower. As I think of it now, Jesus did a pretty good job on it himself without Eddy’s help. As I think on it now, it took a lot of hubris to do that little annotation on the Lord’s Prayer, and I can see why mainstream Christians find it so deeply offensive. I’m not even Christian and I find it offensive.

The biggest Christian Science alteration to the reality of the world as it is can be summed up in one word: denial; denial of the physical world around us as we see, hear, feel, and smell it. Christian Science would have you believe it’s not real. Yes, denial is a word I use often, but it lies firmly at the cornerstone of Christian Science theology. It permeates every aspect of the Christian Science view of the world, the universe, and everything like smoke permeates a smoked ham. It’s in every pore, and it’s impossible to overlook or remove. Denial is also the most dangerous aspect of Christian Science altered states. Denying that abdominal pain by declaring over and over again that it’s not real, it’s not real, it’s a mortal illusion is a heavy risk to take, especially if it turns out to be a cancerous tumour. Denying the pain isn’t going to make what’s causing it to go away. My mother tried that and it killed her.

Christian Science is one grand, ugly, and dangerous delusion. I think of it as the fun house from hell. It is a walk through a twisted and warped theology concocted by a mind that I am coming to increasingly believe was delusional. Mary Baker Eddy was masterful at inventing and building a legend around herself; plagiarizing other’s ideas as her own, and concocting a worldview that twisted and bent to her every whim. Too many have followed her down that slippery slope to their own deaths. Some have taken their children too. Christian Science is fraudulent in its very basis, and teachings. It masquerades as something it’s not: a science; and its claims to be Christian are dubious at best.

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