While checking out what my Facebook friends were posting today, one in particular piqued my interest. As I clicked on a link that she was promoting, I was surprised to find what the content was.
Because it brought me to a New Thought site whose author had developed a multi-step system for spiritual growth. As I read the post, I saw that superficially—and that’s all it was—particular turns of phrase appeared to be similar to some of the writings of Mary Baker Eddy—the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science.
But as I continued to read, it was clear that what this author/teacher/consultant was espousing was anything but Christian Science. Mental red flags appeared everywhere! And while perusing the rest of the site, I saw that many of her writings and books were about realizing one’s personal dreams and attaining wealth and prosperity.
This author may be a very fine person and earnestly doing what she feels will help improve her fellow human beings’ lives.
However, that’s not my point. What I’m raising a concern about is what we as Christian Scientists are intentionally or otherwise giving credence to.
We need to ask ourselves some basic questions: What are we promoting? What are we overtly or tacitly endorsing? What are we accepting?
Are we carefully considering what other systems of thought such as New Thought, or New Age, or any of the various other “isms” are actually saying, or are we perhaps too eager to try to find parallels between them and Christian Science?
I learned shortly after encountering Christian Science for the first time, that many of the ideas that I had spent the previous 20 years studying and trying to live my life by—ideas that were based on western and eastern spiritualism, occultism, and what would today be referred to as New Age thought—and which initially sounded similar to Christian Science, were in fact quite divergent. It was as if you were planning to launch two rockets, each destined to travel the solar system and beyond to the same destination, and one of the trajectories was off by a fraction of a degree. As the rockets traveled, the distance between them would become greater and greater until eventually they would be light years apart.
The gulf between the Science of Christianity and these philosophies is far greater than that of Lazarus and Dives (Luke 16::20-31). And we need to be alert to that gulf and not confuse ourselves or the public. There are enough impositions—misperceptions—floating around and, worse, being believed about Christian Science and its founder, that we don’t need to be adding to them by contributing to the mental air of ambiguity, delusion, and mystification by being confused ourselves.
I’ve found that it’s essential to daily pray for spiritual discernment and understanding to be aware of that clear line that Mrs. Eddy referred to as:
FIRMAMENT. Spiritual understanding; the scientific line of demarcation between Truth and error, between Spirit and so-called matter. (Science and Health, p. 586)
If we are to be the Christian healers that Jesus and Mary Baker Eddy expected us to be, we need to keep that line bright!
Amen, Ken! Do you hear me cheering? In a recent meeting and in a conversation at lunch with two friends/colleagues yesterday, the same point was made…When reading, read with discernment thoroughly considering the background, content, and source/authorship. When speaking with others: a) agree heartily where you can, b) recognize and acknowledge the point at which the ideas/systems diverge, c) be willing to stick with the conversation and make the distinctions practically and intelligently. Then, both parties do not leave the dialogue at the point at which they entered it, ~ rather each has learned a little something in the process.
Too often lately I’ve heard it said about other systems, philosophies, “ologies” and “isms” that “It is just like Christian Science”. If something is “just like Christian Science”, then it would be Christian Science. There is always a point at which Christian Science and the other systems, philosophies, “ologies” and “isms” diverge. The distinctions must and can be made to everyone’s benefit.
Thanks so much for making this very necessary and important point.
Thank so much! And thanks for sharing the 3 points you and your colleagues came up with. I couldn’t agree more with you in your assessment that “The distinctions must and can be made to everyone’s benefit.”