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Proclamation Index

Responding to a Christian Scientist

EDITOR'S NOTE Every month this thoughtletter is mailed to hundreds of skeptics, agnostics, and other individuals who (per-haps like yourself) do not necessarily share our AIIA worldview and/or doctrine. While we always welcome response to this paper, we're particularly glad to hear from those who may sincerely doubt or disagree with what we present, yet remain open to further dialogue. In July of 1994 (one year ago) we ran an article entitled On Christian Science by Steve Tsoukalas of Sound Doctrine Ministries in Exeter NH. Shortly thereafter we received a phone call, and then correspondence, from a representative of the Christian Science Committee on Publication for Maine. The pleasant gentleman calling asked if we would be willing to publish a follow-up Christian Science response to our original article. We readily agreed, as this is very much within AIIA's stated policy and purpose. The actual response was written by yet another Christ-ian Science reader-Mrs. E (the 'E' is not for Eddy)- who had written us independently, but whose letter was subsequently endorsed by the Committee on Publication as an accurate and appropriate response to the original Tsoukalas piece. Due to space limitations, we are only able to excerpt and respond here to a limited portion of Mrs. E's letter of August 23, 1994. A CHRISTIAN SCIENTIST RESPONDS TO AIIA Mr. Tsoukalas' view of Christian Science is an old view that could use some freshening up! The incorrect view that Christian Science is pantheistic was argued in Mary Baker Eddy's own day and she answers it quite fully and clearly in her message to the Mother Church June 1898, "Christian Science versus Pantheism," still published today both in her Prose Works and as a separate pamphlet. _________________________________________________ "Christian Science is not only not pantheistic, it refutes pantheism." -from Mrs. E's August 23, 1994 letter to AIIA _________________________________________________ Also, anyone who has read Mrs. Eddy's well known book "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," and her other writings can readily determine for themselves that Christian Science is not only not pantheistic, it refutes pantheism. Anyone honestly wanting to know what Christ-ian Science teaches about pantheism can research her writings in most public libraries. Her books and concordances to them can also be found in any Christian Science Reading Room for more focused research. Mrs. Eddy's writings include several quotations from well known sources besides the Bhagavad Gita. She quotes Ben Jonson on the opening page of her Miscellaneous Writings, and the first sentence of the Preface of that book begins with a quote from a Talmudical philosopher. In Science Health she quotes Shakespeare, Benjamin Franklin, the Rev. George R. Noyes, DD, and several medical doctors, yet I've not read or heard anyone claiming she gleaned her under-standing of scientific Christianity from any of them! The article's questions about the source of Mrs. Eddy's views are all answered in her own statement in Science and Health, "...I have found nothing in ancient or in modern systems on which to found my own, except the teachings and demonstrations of our great Master and the lives of prophets and apostles. The Bible has been my only authority. I have had no other guide in 'the straight and narrow way' of Truth." (S&H 126). I'm sure these explanations and further objective research into Mrs. Eddy's writings will give your readers the correct answers they're looking for. -Sincerely, D. E. E. AIIA RESPONDS TO CHRISTIAN SCIENCE We find Mrs. E's response to be polite, articulate and, without a doubt, sincere. Her line about Shakespeare, Franklin, and Noyes makes a valid point-but only to an extent, because Tsoukalas never suggested that any of these three men's worldviews engender Eddy's writings as seems true of Advaita Vedanta Hindu thought. A larger issue is whether Christian Science (CS) espouses a pantheistic worldview. We have this dilemma: 1. Pantheism teaches that God is all. 2. Christian Science teaches that God is All (S&H 468). 3. Mary Baker Eddy claims that CS is not pantheistic. Does Mrs. Eddy intentionally muddle standard definitions and terminology in order to try to "have it both ways?" There is some evidence that she has done this in other cases, e.g. defines the Biblical Adam as "error; evil" (S&H 579); the river Hiddekel as CS (S&H 588). Did Mrs. Eddy muddle definitions? Mrs. Eddy also once defined death as only "an illusion", the "unreal and untrue". Yet all three of her husbands eventually died and, after a lifetime of writing about the nonexistence of sin, disease, and death, on December 3, 1910, Mary Baker Eddy herself also died.

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