Frequently asked questions about Christian Science
Christian Science is the same as Scientology, right?
No. Other than a similarity in name, the two have nothing in common. (Please see About Christian Science for further information on the healing system discovered by Mary Baker Eddy in 1866.)
Why is it called Christian Science?
Why do you call yourselves Christian?
Because Christian Science is based on the Bible, and Christian Scientists follow the teachings and ministry of Christ Jesus. In fact, the virgin birth, the crucifixion, the resurrection and ascension of Christ Jesus, and so on, are all central to Christian Science theology.
Is it true that Christian Scientists don’t take medicine?
Generally, a Christian Scientist’s first choice is to rely on prayer for healing, and in most cases, this means that a medical remedy is unnecessary.
There is no biblical or church mandate to forgo medical intervention, nor do Christian Scientists believe that it’s God’s will that anyone suffer or die. A Christian Scientist’s decision to rely on prayer comes from trust, not blind faith, in God, and from a conviction that God’s care continues under every circumstance.
What do you do in the case of communicable disease?
Christian Scientists care about their neighbors and fellow community members and gladly abide by city and state laws or mandates regarding quarantines, vaccinations, and the like. The Christian Science Journal, Christian Science Sentinel, and The Herald of Christian Science also contain documented healings of communicable diseases and show the role prayer can play, not just in protecting and healing individuals, but in helping communities as well.
An adult choosing prayer and not medical help is one thing, but how can you make that decision for a child?
Christian Science parents are like any other parents—they love their children and want the very best care for them. They also know they’re under a moral and legal obligation to ensure that their children receive this care. Parents who choose Christian Science treatment for a child do so because they’ve seen the effectiveness of this treatment in their own lives.
Why do you lobby for exemptions to health laws that allow you to keep your children from going to doctors?
Christian Scientists aren’t seeking exemptions from the law, but accommodations within it. Meaning, they’re trying to ensure that laws provide every citizen a choice of healthcare, including the system of spiritual prayer that Christian Scientists have found to be effective.
Do Christian Scientists carry health insurance or life insurance?
Is Christian Science the same as a positive thinking?
Is Christian Science faith healing?
No. Christian Science does not involve pleading with God to heal the sick and then accepting His will, good or bad. Nothing in Christian Science theology says it’s God’s will that anyone suffer, be sick, or die. Christian Science shows God to be entirely good, and therefore His will for each individual is only health and life.
Is Christian Science a cult?
No. There is no brainwashing, mind control, or blind following of a leader. Christian Scientists do have a deep respect and appreciation for the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, but they do not worship her.
There aren’t very many of you, are there? Isn’t Christian Science pretty much dying out?
It’s true that there has been a decrease in membership over the past several decades, a widely reported trend in many denominations. At the same time, there’s been an increase in dialogue about the power of prayer and a greater interest in spirituality, which is noteworthy—and promising.
How can you claim “thousands of healings” when in most cases there’s no medical diagnosis?
There have been many Christian Science healings of conditions that have been medically diagnosed, and many medical confirmations of those healings. However, one does not need a medical diagnosis to know a person was ill and then healthy.
What would you do if you broke your leg?
Many Christian Scientists would tell you that they would instinctively turn to God for healing because they’d seen the effectiveness of this approach in the past. This, however, does not prevent them from having a bone set if they so choose.
The Christian Science Journal, Christian Science Sentinel, and The Herald of Christian Science also contain documented healings of broken bones.
What is a Christian Science practitioner?
Christian Science practitioners are individuals who are self-employed, who have completed a course in spiritual healing given by an authorized teacher of Christian Science, and who devote themselves full time to helping and healing others through prayer. While practitioners do not offer counseling, diagnosis, prognosis, or any physical manipulation or treatment, they do offer Christian Science treatment—as explained in Mary Baker Eddy’s book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.
What’s involved in Christian Science treatment?
Christian Science treatment is the application of spiritual principles—who and what God is and what that means for each individual—to the specifics of any given situation. These spiritual principles, applied, have a tangible effect—restored relationships, financial well-being, physical healing, and so on.
What do Christian Science nurses do? What are their professional skills and qualifications?
Christian Science nurses provide skillful, non-medical physical care for anyone relying on Christian Science for healing. This care includes bathing, dressing wounds, assistance with mobility, feeding, and so forth. Preparation for the professional practice of Christian Science nursing often includes coursework provided by Christian Science nursing organizations, one-to-one training from an experienced Christian Science nurse, and/or experience with facility or private-duty Christian Science nursing.
Do you believe that Jesus is the same as God?
No. But Christian Scientists do believe that Jesus stands alone in his mission and purpose as the promised Messiah. Christian Science teaches that Jesus embodied the divinity of God but that he himself was not Deity—in keeping with Jesus’ own words that he was not the Father, and that God, the Father, alone should be worshiped.
What is the Christian Science view of God?
You’ll find a thorough answer to this question in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. But, just for example, you might hear Christian Scientists refer to God as Father-Mother, as divine Love, or as infinite Mind.
How do you explain all the suffering going on in the world?
The desire of every Christian Scientist is to see the suffering in the world alleviated, and Christian Scientists take encouragement from Jesus’ example in healing even the most extreme suffering. He overcame poverty, hunger, severe weather, even incurable mental and physical maladies—and he promised his followers they could do the same.
Do Christian Scientists believe in heaven and hell?
Not as places or as part of an afterlife, but certainly as a state of mind. Christian Science theology does not include a final judgment day. Every day each individual can make a new choice that determines the path he or she is on—a path away from God or towards Him.
What is the Christian Science view of homosexuality?
Christian Science sets out a high moral ideal when it comes to human relationships and sex. It accepts the Ten Commandments and teachings of Christ Jesus on these subjects. The book that explains Christian Science says that sex should be limited to marriage, and that marriage is “the legal and moral provision for generation among humankind.”
At the same time, Christian Science acknowledges that all of us have a lot of growing to do to reach the standard of pure spiritual love that Christ Jesus taught and lived. It encourages us to be as free as possible from judging each other, while still supporting each individual’s moral and spiritual progress. Christian Science affirms the spiritual identity that we all have from God. We believe this can bring healing to individuals and to society as a whole.
Does the Church have a position on abortion?
The Church trusts its members’ humble, soul-searching prayers to guide them to the steps that are nearest right for them in this situation. In most cases, Christian Scientists approach issues regarding their bodies and health with prayer instead of seeking medical solutions.
Women and men who face such a difficult decision deserve compassion and support. For society as a whole, the tragedy of so many unwanted pregnancies outside of marriage can point to the need for a deeper acceptance of the moral precepts that protect human happiness and stabilize society. Christian Scientists hold a deep conviction that the more we understand life to be wholly spiritual, the more we’ll find healing answers to even the most challenging personal and social problems, including this one.
Do you pay any attention to problems like poverty, racism, genocide, famine, etc?
These are terrible problems that need addressing, and this is the reason Mary Baker Eddy founded the newspaper The Christian Science Monitor—to alert the world to these problems and to invite solutions.
The Christian Science Journal, Christian Science Sentinel, and The Herald of Christian Science, along with Churches of Christ, Scientist, regularly offer healing responses to these problems as well as ideas to help each individual address them through prayer.