What is Christian Science? - M. M. Mangasarian - ebook
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In this book the author makes an earnest endeavor to understand Christian Science and define its mission. He scrupulously verifies all his citations and references, and appeals to the judgment of those who are willing to hear both sides of the question.Mangasar Magurditch Mangasarian was an American rationalist and secularist of Armenian descent. Mangasarian considered himself a Rationalist or a Secularist not an Atheist, since he considered atheism a non-verifiable belief system. He was pastor at a Presbyterian church in Philadelphia, which he resigned from, becoming an independent preacher and a lecturer on "independent religion" in New York.V

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WHAT IS CHRISTIAN SCIENCE?

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M. M. Mangasarian

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

What is Christian Science?

Why I Discuss Christian Science

Mrs. Eddy’s Mentality

“Mortal Mind”

Mrs. Eddy’s Prayer

Is Christian Science Scientific?

Is Christian Science “Christian”?

Arrested Mentation

Do Christian Scientists Use their Minds?

Examples of “Reasoning.”

Do Christian Scientists Practise what they Preach?

Christian Science Cures

Christian Science Testimonials

Get-Well-Quick

Christian Science Fashionable

Christian Science and Witchcraft

Marriage and Death in Christian Science

“Suffer it to Be So Now”

The New Autocracy

The Menace of Christian Science

Christian Science and Morals

WHAT IS CHRISTIAN SCIENCE?

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YOU DO NOT UNDERSTAND CHRISTIAN Science” is the usual reply of the followers of Mrs. Eddy to any one disputing their claims, or trying to point out the many inconsistencies in their creed. If it is impossible to understand Christian Science, how does it expect to propagate itself? To answer that one must accept the doctrine before one can understand it would be like asking a man to see before he opens his eyes, or to think after he has made up his mind. It is just as useless to try to understand Christian Science after it has been accepted as true as it would be for a judge to examine the evidence after a verdict has been pronounced. And if Christian Scientists can understand the beliefs which they reject, why may not other people have intelligence and honesty enough to understand Christian Science without believing in it?

But can a person who is not a mathematician understand or discuss profitably the intricate problems of mathematics? No; hence no one but a Christian Scientist may discuss its doctrines and interpret its metaphysics. Neither has that defence any value. We do not have to be expert mathematicians to know that twice two make four. It is possible to detect an error in an example of addition, multiplication, or subtraction presented by the greatest mathematician without possessing equal knowledge or ability. Mrs. Eddy may be more advanced in metaphysics than any of her critics, but twice two make four in “Divine science” as well as in human science. Square your statements with the facts, and you disarm criticism. Ignore, suppress, or tamper with the facts, and you will have the universe against you.

WHY I DISCUSS CHRISTIAN SCIENCE

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IF ASKED WHY I DEVOTE time and labour to the discussion of such seemingly foolish propositions as those propounded by Mrs. Eddy, my defence is that I am very much interested in the people who accept Christian Science, and would like to be of service to them, even though they may hold me and my motives in derision. Then, again, I feel that if we stand idly by while the Christian Scientists are concentrating all their efforts, sparing neither time nor money to spread their doctrine, we may wake up some morning to find that all our institutions—newspapers, courts, schools, etc.—have passed under the control of Mrs. Eddy’s followers. That, in my opinion, would be a national menace.

If the teachings of Christian Science prevail, there will come into prominence the type of mentality which will dispense with all forms of inquiry, and accept for authority the “say-so” of a book, a man, or a woman as all-sufficient and final.

The passive mind easily becomes the plaything or instrument of every kind of imposture—political, economic, or religious. Non-resistance will prove the death of free institutions. I am opposed to Christian Science because I am opposed to the least departure from sanity. I have no other motive in this propaganda against the new cult. Whatever undermines the morale of the nation or is hurtful to the free and rational development of humanity should be combated again and again until it ceases to be a menace.

MRS. EDDY’S MENTALITY

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THE FOUNDER OF CHRISTIAN SCIENCE was, indeed, one of the busiest women of her day. She was preacher, writer, teacher, missionary, organizer, manager, etc. But even a superficial reading of her books will show that her activity resembled that of children at play rather than of men at work. Mrs. Eddy’s mind displayed all the qualities and defects of primitive man. Though incessantly active, she followed in all her mental efforts the line of least resistance. Children are never at rest of their own will; they run and romp almost continually; but it is the activity of play, not of work, which they enjoy. To work requires concentration and effort in a definite direction, and submission to rules and regulations; while in play one is at liberty to follow one’s own fancy, moving in any direction and at any speed one pleases. Again, the worker is expected to show results; the player, on the other hand, though equally busy, keeps going round and round, or back and forth, just for the pleasure of being in motion.

Mrs. Eddy had the child’s fondness for activity and the child’s dislike for work. She rebelled against discipline. Rules and restrictions were as distasteful to her as to children who have been allowed to “grow up” without discipline, while logic and reason meant no more to her than they would to primitive man.

Science and Health is a book consisting largely of extraordinary claims put forth with the most provoking indifference to the universally accepted rules of evidence, and with an abandon suggesting that of the steed who has thrown his rider. If her readers ask for proofs, she points to the authority of her name. Has she not received a revelation? Is she not “the Comforter” whom Jesus promised to send into the world? And if there are obscure passages in her writings, it is not because these are really “dark,” but because there is not enough light in the eyes of the readers of her books. This free-and-easy method carries her through seven hundred pages of her “masterpiece,” Science and Health, without encountering the least obstacle or being checked for an instant by a single difficulty. Writing was like play to her, and sentences and phrases flow copiously and swell into a veritable flood in her pages, because what satisfied her was that she could say so much, and not whether what she said had any basis in fact.

In the Preface to Science and Health, Mrs. Eddy, in order to prove the usefulness of medical knowledge, quotes the example of the antediluvians who knew nothing of drugs, and yet some of whom lived to be nearly a thousand years old. Mrs. Eddy makes this statement with as little concern as a boy tosses a ball. The reasoning that men were healthier and lived longer before the Deluge because there were then no physicians, whose presence in our times has shortened human life, may do for the “child-mind,” but is it permitted to a full-grown person to make such careless use of his or her faculties? How does Mrs. Eddy know that the antediluvians would not have lived longer if they could also have had the services of trained and skilful physicians? It would be just as reasonable to assert that there would have been no Deluge had there been doctors to prevent it, as to say that the antediluvians owed their longevity to the lack of them. Without caring to make sure of her data, or to look into the truth of the statement that there was a flood, or that before this terrible downpour men lived to be a thousand years old, Mrs. Eddy accepts the rumour of the tradition as if it were a demonstrated fact, and proves by it, to her own satisfaction at least, the utter uselessness and positive menace to the human race of medical science. What an argument and what a conclusion!

I am not accusing Mrs. Eddy of insincerity, but of mental indolence. Nothing, for example, but a distaste for work could account for her failure to verify her references in the following instances, or to supply to her readers the means of verifying them for themselves. She had to choose between making assertions and offering proofs, and she chose the easier of the two. “I have healed Infidels” (p. 359). * What were their names? Where did they live? Of what maladies were they healed? “One whom I rescued from seeming spiritual oblivion in which the senses had engulphed him” (p. 382). And what sort of a disease is that, and who was the person suffering from it? “A little girl who had badly wounded her finger” (p. 287); “A woman whom I cured of consumption” (p. 184); “A famous naturalist says” (p. 548); “One of our ablest naturalists has said” (p. 553); “It is related that a father” (p. 556), etc., etc. All these stories and illustrations fail completely to impress the inquiring reader, for the simple reason that Mrs. Eddy did not take the trouble to furnish the details to render her testimony admissible. In no court would such statements as “I heard a man say,” or “I knew some one who heard a man say,” or “It has been said by so and so,” be accepted as evidence. Very likely Mrs. Eddy possessed the data, names, addresses, etc., of the patients and the naturalists she writes about, but she was too indolent to reach for her note-book, if she kept one. Again, only mental fatigue or sheer indolence can explain a statement like the following, from which all the important items which alone could give it force and effectiveness are left out:—

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* The quotations, unless otherwise specified, are from Mrs. Eddy’s Science and Health, with Key to the Scriptures.

I have seen age regain two of the elements it had lost—sight and teeth. A woman of eighty-five whom I knew had a return of sight. Another woman of ninety had new teeth, incisors, cuspids, bicuspids, and one molar. One man at sixty had retained his full set of upper and lower teeth without a decaying cavity (p. 247).

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Evidently these cases are cited to carry conviction with the reader of her book; would it not, then, have greatly enhanced their evidential value had she made it possible for her readers to verify their claims? But how can they do so when no names or addresses are given! If Christian Science does not need demonstration, why cite these cases of remarkable cures at all; if it needs demonstration, why not supply the details necessary to complete the demonstration?