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September 19, 2009

'Christian Science is not Scientology'

William Battle III, a spokesman for Christian Science in Maryland, dropped by the office this week to introduce himself, and to talk about a little-understood denomination that he says has 19 churches and about 1,000 members in the state.

He later sent us some information, including a list of frequently asked questions, which struck us as interesting enough to post here, after the jump.

Why is it called Christian Science?

It is Christian because it is based on the teachings of Jesus. It is scientific because it uses the laws of God, and when systematically applied to any situation, brings about expected results. Christian Science is not Scientology.

Is Christian Science a religion?

It is a religion as well as a system of spiritually-based care. It is a religion in the sense that there is a church—the Church of Christ, Scientist—that supports the practice of Christian Science throughout the world, and it is based on the Bible, especially the teachings of Jesus. However, it is also a system of spiritually-based health care that is studied and practiced by people of all backgrounds.

Who is Mary Baker Eddy?

Mary Baker Eddy (1821–1910) was an influential American author, teacher, and religious leader, noted for her groundbreaking ideas about spirituality and health, which she named Christian Science. She articulated those ideas in her major work, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, first published in 1875.

Are Christian Scientists free to seek medical treatment?

Yes. All health care decisions are up to the individual. Having said that, many Christian Scientists have consistently found prayer to be a reliable means of health care.

Is Christian Science faith healing?

No, if by faith healing you mean that the result of prayer, good or bad, is the will of God. Nothing in Christian Science theology says it’s God’s will that anyone suffer or be sick, but rather it is God’s will for each individual to have health and life.

What do Christian Scientists mean when they talk about healing through prayer?

Prayer in Christian Science is rooted in the nature of God as good and in each individual’s relationship to God. It is the progressive understanding of this fact—that one can never be separated from God and God’s love—that brings healing of anything that needs healing, whether it involves one’s physical health, emotional well-being—or, for that matter, one’s community or the world at large. Through Christian Science, millions have learned that no problem is too big—or too small—for God. There are no rituals, formulas, or incantations in Christian Science prayer.

Posted by Matthew Hay Brown at 3:40 PM | | Comments (14)
Categories: Christian Science, Scientology


That was very helpful. One other difference between Christian Science and Scientology is that the Christian Scientists put out a very high quality newspaper, whereas Scientology only puts out ads and propaganda to sell Scientology. Well, I suppose that's what you have to do, if you are going to charge people $200,000 for the sacred gift of knowledge about Xenu.

Having had a very good friend who was a Christian Scientist, theirs is a very warm and caring religious group.

A basic point of agreement between Christian Science and the Church of Scientology is that a person is a spiritual being and the spirit can heal the body.

Dianetics ("what the spirit is doing to the body through the mind") is a therapy anyone can learn from the new DVD "how-to use" 2-disc set / 4.25 hours / $20.

Note: Scintologists go to medical doctors and take medication, including pain killers. Scientologists are opposed to mind altering drugs as pushed by the psych and drug industries.

Thank you Mr. Lightfield. As a Scientologist, no one has ever asked me to spend $200,000.

Christian Science is a religion, in that its goal is the betterment of its followers. It openly discusses its beliefs and practices, knowing that secrecy is the sign of a cult, not a religion.

The "Church" of Scientology's main goal is to make money. It hides its beliefs, its practices, even its own followers, away from the public. Many of the policies and beliefs of the organization are kept secret, and its "scientific" claims are in fact lies and falsehoods.

Dianetics is a false science introduced in the 1950s by a college dropout who mail order purchased a "doctorate" from a degree mill. Its techniques are stolen straight out of hypnotism and regressive therapy while borrowing beliefs and ideas from long since disproved methods of psychological study. It was introduced as a FORM of psychiatry, but the ridicule it received from the professional world made L Ron Hubbard do a 180 and declare a war on psychiatry.

All people everywhere are encouraged to do research into the history of Scientology, to discover the sinister lies that make up its past and present.

The basic point of agreement between Christian Science and Scientology is that there is a dangerous withholding of medical care. Difference is, Christian Scientists get prosecuted for it and Scientologists get away with it.

Mr Lightfield, using this forum as a Scientology sales pitch is so tasteless it makes me shudder.

Christian Science predates Scientology by 90 years or so. It is unfortunate they selected "Science" in their name, not knowing it would ever be confused with the fraudulent space cult of Scientology.

I noticed in your figures for Maryland, the Christian Scientists claim a modest 50 or so members for each of the 19 churches. In the last few years especially, with Scientology's mind control techniques and their "super secret" scriptures about Xenu, DC8s and volcanoes 75 million years ago being revealed on the web, Scientology can't resist inflating its dwindling membership into the many millions (8 to 10), whereas it is believed to be closer to 55,000 worldwide.

A legitimate religion like Christian Science tries to follow principles of integrity and fairness, rather than writing into policy that it is okay to lie like crazy, to get more vulnerable people and their money into Scientology.

You can't expect more from a fraudulent religion like Scientology, which started as a self-help con, and converted to a "religion" by tacking on absurd "space opera," only to avoid being shut down by medical authorities.

Christian Scientists accept things on faith, whereas the Scientologists, with all their "super powers" claim to "know" all the answers.

There really is no "point of agreement between Christian Science and Scientology." But I will say that Christian Science teaches us "to be charitable and kind, not only towards differing forms of religion and medicine, but to those who hold these differing opinions."

Every Christian Scientist is free to go to a doctor, anytime, for any reason. But we have knowledge of a better method of healing, the same method used by Jesus and the early Christians. We don't always attain spiritual healing, but that is our goal. Our record isn't perfect, but it is considerable, and it is worthy of serious consideration. Christian Science treatment has healed cases, physical diseases and injuries, that doctors have failed to heal.

The Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy explains spiritual healing and answers all the common criticisms of materialists. Yes, there really is a Mind above and beyond brain, -- a Power, a Force, a Divine Energy above and beyond matter. And we can learn how to align ourselves with it, and how to use it for healing.

How predictable that a Scientologist would use this forum as an opportunity to make money. Of course, that's merely the tip of the iceberg: many people have paid $300,000 or more to these fraudsters, and the demand for more never stops. Scientology is greed personified. Not surprisingly, there is no charitable arm in Scientology. There are no food drives, hospitals shelters for the poor, soup kitchens, etc. Scientology does NOTHING out of a sense of altruism or charity.
They deny mental illness exists for the same reason: greed. Imagine having an autistic child and being told your child does not need medical intervention, that autism doesn't really exist. That depression or schizophrenia doesn't exist, Hubbard said so.

This "religion" is dangerous quackery, and about as "religious" as the Mafia.

You are beyond shameful Mr. Lightfield.

There is a completely different social atmosphere today than in Mary Baker Eddy's time. Being religious was the natural tendency in Mrs. Eddy's day and she brought out that healing sin and sickness by prayer was part of true religion.

Today, so much medical advancement has left the spiritual means of prayer on healing almost invisible for the educated class. Yet, some of what was considered outrageous about Mrs. Eddy and her Christian Science is accepted today. For example, Quantum Physics has shown that prayer, intuition at a distance, walking through walls, and matter as almost 100% empty space are probably all true.

Having been a witness to some experiments with consciousness work, I feel the future will bring many scientific concepts into Christianity and other religions. Perhaps the worlds of science and religion will become equals.

I'll say that again. In reality, Scientologists seek to destroy the Christian faith. They are instructed to inform christians that it Scientology is compatible with Christianity. Then when you are isolated, they attempt to destroy your faith in God by telling you that Christianity, or any other real religion, is merely a hologram projected by Xenu, a galactic overlord. As funny as this may seem to outsiders, it would not be funny to have your own faith destroyed, only to be filled with junk designed to make you obligated to a cult.

As much as the COS pretends not to, they hate christians. Otherwise, they would not be purposefully attempting to destroy Christianity.

When you write: "It is scientific because it uses the laws of God, and when systematically applied to any situation, brings about expected results.", what about the children who died because their parents used Christian Science over medical science? Are those the "expected results"?

People should embrace their God-given reason, not man-made or woman-made religions. Deism is belief in God based on reason and nature and innocent children do not die from it.

Progress! Bob Johnson

I could tell you of cases where doctors had completely given up on dying children, only to see them healed by Christian Science treatment. No man-made religion, or woman-made religion, could produce such results. When Christian Science practitioners fail to quickly heal children with serious problems, let the doctors do their best to help them. That is reasonable. But it is no exaggeration to say that millions of children could be saved from suffering and death if only their parents were willing to try Christian Science. Rejecting the Bible is not progress. Looking for the metaphysical and spiritual meaning of the Bible is true progress.

While Christian Science and Scientology are completely different organizations, they are both harmful to individuals by convincing them they do not need bonified medical or mental health care. Remember that Jim Henson died from a strep infection because hew waited too long to see a physician. His wife said he failed to go because he did not want to bother anyone, but thise close to him stated it was because of his faith.

While it is true Jim Henson was raised in Christian Science, he later left it. It is no doubt very difficult to live a spiritual life in the entertainment world where he resided. There is certainly no record of him seeking Christian Science healing in his last illness. I firmly believe Christian Science could have healed him, and he should have tried it. His behavior, as reported by his wife, sounds strange and is not representative of Christian Science in the least. Wikipedia documents his death as follows:

While busy with these later projects, Henson began to experience flu-like symptoms.

On May 4, 1990, Henson made an appearance on The Arsenio Hall Show. At the time, he mentioned to his publicist that he was tired and had a sore throat, but felt that it would go away.

On May 12, 1990, Henson traveled to Ahoskie, North Carolina, with his daughter Cheryl to visit his father and stepmother. The next day, feeling tired and sick, he consulted a physician in North Carolina, who could find no evidence of pneumonia by physical examination and prescribed no treatment except aspirin. Henson returned to New York on an earlier flight and canceled a Muppet recording session scheduled for May 14.

Henson's wife Jane, from whom he was separated, came to visit and sat with him talking throughout the evening. By 2 a.m. on May 15, 1990 he was having trouble breathing and began coughing up blood. He suggested to Jane that he might be dying, but did not want to bother going to the hospital. She later told People Magazine that it was likely due to his desire not to be a bother to people.

At 4 a.m., he finally agreed to go to New York Hospital. By the time he was admitted at 4:58 a.m., he could no longer breathe on his own and had abscesses in his lungs. He was placed on a mechanical ventilator to help him breathe, but his condition deteriorated rapidly into septic shock despite aggressive treatment with multiple antibiotics. On May 16, 1990, 20 hours and 23 minutes after he was admitted, at 1:21 a.m., Henson died from organ failure at the age of 53 at New York Hospital.

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About Matthew Hay Brown
Matthew Hay Brown writes and blogs about faith and values in public and private life for The Baltimore Sun. A former Washington correspondent for the newspaper, he has long written about the intersection of religion and politics. He has reported from Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East, traveling most recently to Syria and Jordan to write about the Iraqi refugee crisis.

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