The church founded by Mary Baker Eddy, known as Christian Science, is built upon the premise that sickness and death have no basis in reality because matter itself is unreal. They are illusions produced by unbelief and the failure to understand the true concept of God.
Christian Science is best known today from the refusal of its followers to take medication or to consult a doctor. Eddy believed that reality, created by God and therefore inherently good, could not contain anything not good, such as poverty, suffering, and death. The illusion ended for Mary Baker Eddy on December 3, 1910, when she suffered a very real death resulting from pneumonia.
Mary Baker was born in New Hampshire on July 16, 1821. Her childhood was filled with frequent periods of sickness, physical and emotional, for which she was treated with morphine and hypnotism. This era saw the rise of many enthusiasms such as mesmerism, spiritualism, Quakerism, and Mormonism, all of which influenced her philosophy.
She claimed that after a fall on the ice in 1866 which left her with crippling injuries (later denied by the attending doctor in a signed affidavit) she rediscovered the secrets of faith healing used by Christ which were lost when the early Christian church apostatized. She proceeded to write down these spiritual laws in a textbook, published in 1875, known as Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.
Eddy claimed the book was dictated to her directly by God. Of its authorship she said, “I should blush to write a Science and Health with Key to the Scripturesas I have, were it of human origin, and I, apart from God, its author; but as I was only a scribe echoing the harmonies of heaven in divine metaphysics, I cannot be super-modest in my estimate of the Christian Science textbook.” In actual fact this work, considered by her followers to be of equal importance to the Bible, is of human origin. It is largely the result of plagiarism, the remainder being the pantheistic ramblings of Eddy herself.
The plagiarized material, much verbatim, was taken from the writings of P. P. Quimby and Francis Lieber.
Quimby was a hypnotist and faith healer who had previously treated Eddy and had won from her adoration and published endorsements. He coined the terms “Science of Health” and “Christian Science” to describe his theories which he compiled in a work titled Questions and Answers. A copy of this exists with corrections in Mary Baker Eddy’s own handwriting.
Lieber had produced a manuscript on the metaphysics of the philosopher Hegel, and Eddy freely copied from it. Newspapers of the day unmasked the plagiarism, The New York Times of July 10, 1904 printing parallel columns of Eddy and Quimby for comparison.
Christian Science purports to be a Christian organization. It borrows heavily from the Christian vocab-ulary but denies all the fundamental Christian dogmas. It rejects the belief in a personal God, the Trinity, the divinity of Christ, the existence of sin and the devil, the Resurrection, and heaven and hell. Instead Christian Science substitutes a vague pantheism. Referring to its textbook, Mark Twain wrote, “Of all the strange and frantic and incomprehensible and uninterpretable books which the imagination of man has created, surely this one is the prize sample.”
When her third husband, Asa Eddy died, Mary Baker Eddy convinced a coroner to change the cause of death from heart attack to “arsenic poisoning mentally administered.” In a letter to the Boston Post she insisted that former students had used “Malicious Animal Magnetism” to kill him. “MAM” was the term used by Eddy to describe the misuse of the mental powers she was teaching others to employ.
Mary Baker Eddy wished to acquire wealth. The original edition of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures was advertised as “a book that affords an opportunity to acquire a profession by which you can accumulate a fortune.” Her followers were commanded to buy and sell copies under pain of excommunication. They were forced to buy each new edition, even though only a few words might have been changed. Eddy, who started her religion without a penny, died a millionairess.
Christian Science is a non-Christian sect masquerading as Christian. When Mary Baker Eddy was alive, perhaps some were better off reading her fanciful textbook than submitting to bloodletting and primitive surgery. (Medicine was in a primitive state by today’s standards.) But disease is real, and modern medicine often can cure it. No one should labor (and die) under the illusion that “matter and death are mental illusions.” In short, Christian Science has proved itself neither Christian nor scientific.