Questions & Answers

Below are questions and answers submitted by our visitors about Christian Science and how it relates to life, love, and our Group.

Select a Question:

Question: My mother was a devout (as they say) Christian Scientist. When she got cancer, she worked with practitioners for over twenty years, to no avail. Things got pretty bad. Finally, she accepted medical intervention — which saved her life (or that's what I think). After the operation, not one of her Christian Science friends visited her. The practitioners didn't visit her. She wasn't allowed in a Christian Science rest home because she'd been to a doctor. My understanding of a cult is that it is an organization which doesn't allow members to mix, intellectually, and sometimes socially, with people and ideas who aren't part of the cult. I once read that C.S. is classed as a cult by government organizations. So, is it a cult? Why is there so much rigidity in the religion, or at least the church? I appreciate some things I learned in Science — some of the teachings are invaluable, yes. But something's wrong. Cult? Not a cult?

Answer: There are many definitions of "cult", from groups that practice manipulation, brainwashing, and psychological abuse to groups whose teachings simply deviate from the "norms" of society. Christian Science has been classified by some governments and non-governmental organizations as a cult, but usually these organizations know very little about the religion. And it is a true religion, although it presents a different way of looking at the world: its people, its science, and health. Perhaps this is the source of the confusion.

Christian Science teaches no restriction no limits on the actions, abilities, or conditions of anyone. Students of Christian Science are free to live their lives any way they see fit. They are free to go where they want, do what they want, associate with whomever they want, and even seek medical help if the individual feels it's necessary, without consequence. In her writings, Mrs. Eddy strongly advocates self-government and personal responsibility. She writes in Science and Health, "'Work out your own salvation,' is the demand of Life and Love, for to this end God worketh with you." (pg. 22:11)

As to the question of rigidity in the church: all branch Churches of Christ, Scientist, are self-governing. The members of each church are solely responsible for the rules or by-laws that govern it. If there is any rigidity, it lies within the culture of the individual branch or membership. The Mother Church can assume no control over its branches or any other Christian Science institutions which are separate from its headquarters in Boston.

We are disappointed to hear about the unfortunate experience your mother had with her church friends. We hope you will not judge all of Christian Science by the failings of a few. Christian Scientists are instructed to live by the Golden Rule: "to do unto others as we would have them do unto us." In Science and Health, Mrs. Eddy writes, "The vital part, the heart and soul of Christian Science, is Love." (pg. 113:5)

Our group may take this up as a possible topic for one of our meetings. Please come back and visit us again.