“Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need”
(Mary Baker Eddy)
If you’ve been a Christian Scientist, or even have the slightest familiarity with it, you’re probably familiar with this phrase. It’s a phrase that at one time brought great comfort to me and many other former Christian Scientists back when we still marinated in the Christian Science Krazy Sauce.
As with so many other sayings and aspects of Christian Science, what seems on the surface to be comforting, even positive in its affirmation, is damaging when you dig a little bit deeper. Such is the case with this statement. It is illustrative of a dismissive sense of denial that contributes to a sense of nihilism with Christian Scientists, and those effects stick with many of us long after we’ve left Christian Science. This outlook can ultimately impede one’s decision-making abilities, cause a deep sense of insecurity, and hinder a person’s career and educational goals.
I’ve seen many in the ex-Christian Scientist on-line groups talk about their feelings of inadequacy in life, mainly in their careers. Some talk about not feeling like they’re good enough for a job or promotion, others find it difficult to bring projects to completion, or declare something to be complete. Many find it difficult to make decisions, and often second-guess themselves. I’ve even written a post recently about my own feelings of inadequacy in the workplace in my own life.
This idea of Divine Love, or whatever you want to call it, magically providing everything you need is psychologically damaging. When ‘Divine Love’ fails, it’s not ‘Divine Love’ that gets the blame, it’s you. Divine Love, after all, never fails. If you sit on your ass and do nothing, you are going to fail; but if you take this statement literally, that’s what you’re supposed to do, isn’t it? God does it for you, right? Well, no, the Christian Scientist will argue that it’s God acting through you, but that’s not what Eddy says here, and I have heard countless testimonies of people who virtually claimed that dollar bills almost fell out of the sky at the right moment when they just prayed about it. Never mind that someone who owed them money just coincidentally mailed them a cheque that day or some other more mundane (but closer to the truth) explanation. No, it was all God and magical thinking.
There is no cosmic sky-god that’s going to rain down blessings on you just because you pray to it. It can’t print money. Only the central bank can do that. You’ll get out of life what you put into it. Nothing more, nothing less. If you need money, you need to earn it, win the lottery, or something else. God isn’t going to rain it down on you out of thin air just because you pray about it.
I’ve recently joined a 12-Step program. It is one in a series of different support groups originally begun as Alcoholics Anonymous, and then branching out to include areas such as gambling, debting, overeating, etc. They are not religiously affiliated, as some people believe them to be. In fact, atheists are quite welcome, and not infrequently give talks in relation to some area of interest to that particular support group. One will hear the phrase “putting one’s trust in a power greater than oneself”, but whatever that is, is not defined, the individual defines it for him or herself, or doesn’t, and the promoting of religion, or religious beliefs, as well as religious literature, is explicitly prohibited, as announced at the beginning of every meeting.
It’s a relief to have those areas not defined, nor implied, either. It’s a relief to be able to think for oneself, in that type of organization. The Christian Science absolutism…the idea that Christian Scientists “have the only truth”…that so many of us were indoctrinated with…and that feels so wonderful to be free of…is so refreshing. You can get help and support in whatever area you need, without having any religion or belief system being obligated onto you.
What’s interesting, is that, in the particular group I am meeting with now, is, they apparently rent some space for their meetings at a local Christian Science church. It’s always announced at the meetings as “the church of Christian Science.” (You know, a perfectionist would say…”No. It’s the Church of Christ, Scientist.”) But the former description is adequate…I’ve already been to that particular branch church on different occasions when I was active in Christian Science. It is in a very nice area, the church is quite pretty. It might have a warm and welcoming feeling to it, even if used for reasons that are non-C.S. related. But I’ve already grown up in that religion. I didn’t grow up in the warm and fuzzy end of it. I’ve already dealt with the mind control that religion exerts. I’ve already come from a home where it was employed as an excuse to do great mental stress and torment to me. Reading what other people have written, both here, and other sites, I know I’m not the only one…
I have no plans to re-enter another Christian Science church, for whatever reason