University of Minnesota

“If It Isn’t Fun.” – Christian Science

One feels drugged on wakening to the heavy, humid vapors of a New Orleans late summer Sunday. Out of curiosity I attended the service of a popular and assuredly false faith — Christian Science. The nearby building, in New Orleans’s Garden District, was attractively simple, pure white, and cool. Emblazoned in gold on the walls inside were these slogans of Mary Baker Eddy:

“All things come to him who, believing, prays.”

“Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need.”

Ushers in white stood at their posts. Young and old, intelligent-appearing folks came quietly to worship under this strange “science.” The first reader was an oily-voiced, weak-faced, uninspiring man, the second a sharp-voiced, buxom woman in a long white gown. The service included several hymns, silent prayer, and The Lord’s Prayer, punctuated with readings of the emotional excrescences of “Truth” by MBE, readings from “Science and Health.” The service bore no semblance of emotionally or intellectually sincere worship, only repetitive chants of dogma written by the “divinely inspired, beloved” leader, MBE.

To think that intelligent people can return to this place week after week and never hear a warm call to God, an original elevated thought, or a spontaneous outpouring of prayer. They must all be mystics. There seems to be an utter denial of matter; only mind, spirit, and God exist. Such an anti-intellectual crutch, it seems to me, would fail in proportion to the degree of physical or psychic pain or pleasure experienced.

It’s hard to feel tolerant of people who refuse to look down a microscope, who make no effort to reconcile the matter of God’s creation with the endowment of His Spirit, or who deny the flesh instead of uplifting it by living fully, with all the graces granted us. As I think on it, there is nothing in Christian Science for me but amazement and disgust. I shall not return.

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