By Palina Yamkavaya & Damaris Fernandez
Scott Thompson and Peter Ross, representatives of the First Church of Christ, Scientists, led a discussion on the evolution, beliefs and practices of Christian Science for Introduction to Journalism and Cross-Cultural Health Care students. They shared their insight about COVID-19. The presentation aimed at providing knowledge and understanding about their religion and beliefs.
Contrary to popular beliefs, “Christian Science’s physical healings is not the main purpose of this moral and spiritual teaching, but it is seen as the significant result of it,” said Thompson, church member. Christian Scientists do not consider the so-called “miracles” described in the New Testament as actual miracles, but as an act that “naturally takes place when one opens up to God’s presence and power,” said Thompson.
Mary Baker Eddy is referred to as the discoverer of Christian Science. “She felt that what she discovered was a practical and scientific understanding of Christianity as it was lived and taught by Jesus,” Thompson said. During the presentation, it was also addressed why it’s called “science.” Thompson pointed out that it’s demonstrable, based on divine law, and the law is not circumstantial, but “the starting point is God as Spirit.”
The church was founded on the life of Jesus’ teachings and the Bible as a whole. “He [Jesus] taught us about God’s profound love for his children, he reflected that love in countless healings, said Thompson, “including blindness, deafness, fever, leprosy, insanity and many others.”
While many confuse Christian Science and Scientology, Thompson reassured the audience from the jump that those beliefs have nothing in common. Christian Science teaches that Jesus is a spiritual healer, and Christian scientists practice spiritual-based health care rather than relying on medical help.
Christian Science has a significant number of successful cases. According to Christian Science Testimonies of Healing, the total number of physical healing was over 10,000 in 1969-1988. Of these, 2,337 involve healings of medically diagnosed conditions, including 27 cases of cancer, 42 of tumor, 16 of polio, 68 of tuberculosis, 88 heart disorders and 203 broken bones.
While other Christian churches practice what they call faith healing, Christian Scientists believe that healing is always God’s will. “It is not God’s will, ever, for anything other than health, healing, and progress,” said Thompson. “We do not believe that God could ever have an approach to anything that isn’t perfect, harmonious, pure, healing, loving etc,” said Ross, member of the church who joined Thompson in the speech.
Although Christian Science recognizes and respects medical practice and doesn’t reject other approaches, “it’s not recommended to seek medical help and help from Christian Science practitioners at the same time,” said Thompson. “If you’re doing both, it’s pulling in different directions.”
Aside from their beliefs, Christian Scientists have an immense respect for the individual.
“Each family and individual is free to think for themselves,” said Thompson, referring to families and individuals who decide to seek medical aid to fight illness. “Jesus taught us to love our neighbors, to love our enemies. It seems to me that this world can use more of this kind of love,” said Thompson.
Editors Note- An early version of this story mistakenly identifies Mr Scott Thompson as a grandchild of Christian Science founder Mary Baker Eddy.