Mary Baker Eddy: Christian Science

Mary Baker Eddy (July 16, 1821 – December 3, 1910) was a Christian reformer and founder of Christian Science. Born into a religious background, Eddy’s life until her “discovery” of Christian Science in 1866 had a great impact on her interest in religious reform. Eddy’s spiritual quest took on an unexpected turn in the 1850s as a result of homeopathy; treating diseases by use of natural substances that a healthy person would produce on his/her own. She, therefore, lost her faith in the general medical systems and hit on what today would be known as the placebo effect.

She was convinced that disease was rooted in the human mind, and that it was God’s will. In this paper I will discuss the history of Christian Science, its founder, and how it is still a part of life today.

Mary Baker Eddy once said, ‘In the year 1866, I discovered the Christ Science or divine laws of Life, Truth, and Love, and named my discovery Christian Science.

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” Mary Baker Eddy was a renown American author, teacher, and religious leader. Throughout her life, Eddy focused on changing healthcare and spirituality, founding a new belief called Christian Science. In 1875, Eddy published Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, one of her most famous works in which she described her ideas and the foundation of Christian Science. Four years later, in 1879, Eddy founded the Church of Christ, which today has branches all around the world.

A Brief HistoryMary Baker Eddy was born on July 16, 1821 on a farm in Bow, New Hampshire, and was the youngest of six children to Mark and Abigail Baker.

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Eddy’s formal education was constantly interrupted by periods of sickness. Nonetheless, Eddy did not let her sicknesses take over, and while at home, she studied as much as she was able to. Her parents tried bringing many doctors to help her, but they only brought her temporary relief. At a certain point, Eddy gave up and turned to prayer, instead, for hope and inspiration. In December of 1843, Mary Baker married George Washington Glover, who died the following June, three months before the birth of their son, George. In 1850, Mary was still suffering from her occurring sicknesses, and found herself unable to properly care for George.

Therefore, she placed George in the care of her family’s former nurse. In 1853, Mary married a dentist, Daniel Patterson, who proved to be unfaithful and abandoned her in 1866. After years of living apart, she divorced him in 1873. In 1862, the Civil War broke out, and Baker sought the help of Phineas P. Quimby who was a popular healer in Portland, Maine. She reached out to him for help with her medical issues. Under his treatment, her health improved radically; but, shortly after, she suffered a relapse. When she relapsed, she returned to Quimby for more treatment and to learn about his approaches. She concluded that his methods relied on his training in hypnosis and not on divine principle.

On December 3, 1910, the founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, died. It was believed that she died of pneumonia. Many people began to doubt Christian Science when she died, since it seemed that prayer and belief was pointless. However, those who really believe in Christian Science found an easy explanation for her death. Christian Scientists believe that everything that God does is good, even if we don’t see it that way. Furthermore, they maintain the belief that God sometimes does not answer in our favor. Therefore, they believed that regardless of Eddy’s prayers and beliefs, God felt it was time for her to leave this world, and she did.

Christian Science

In 1866, Mary hit a major turning point in her life, when a bad slip on ice left her bed-ridden and in critical condition. Since Quimby had died a month prior, she was unable to seek his help. So, she began reading her Bible, and suddenly found herself feeling much better. Eventually, she referred to this as the moment she discovered Christian Science. When people asked how this had happened, she was unable to explain herself. Baker was convinced that her healing was a result of her spiritual belief, and in the nine years to come, she engrossed herself in intensive scriptural study, healing activities and teaching. At the culmination of the nine years, Baker wrote her most famous work, Science and Health with Key to Scriptures in 1875.

In this book, Baker highlighted what she understood to be the science behind the spiritual healing method. According to Baker, the healing works of Jesus were divine, natural, and repeatable. Over the years, Mary Baker taught her teachings and healing methods to many people, who went on to practice her methods throughout the United States and all over the world. In 1877, Baker married one of her students, Asa Gilbert Eddy, who supported her unconditionally and gave her the name with which she became publicly known, Eddy. Her husband, however, died in 1882. Eddy had tried getting her practice accepted by churches but was unsuccessful. Instead of losing hope, Eddy began her own church. In 1879.

Eddy was authorized to begin her own church, the Church of Christ, Scientist, which was established to “commemorate the word and the works of our Master, which should resonate primitive Christianity and its lost element of healing.” Two years later, Eddy founded the Massachusetts Metaphysical College, where she taught until 1889. In 1889, Eddy closed her school so she can focus on revising Science and Health. When Mary Baker Eddy was asked if Christian Scientists had a religious belief, she responded: “They have not, if by that term is meant doctrinal beliefs”. However, Eddy did state that there are key points to this healing system which do summarize the main points of Christian Science, all of which are rooted in the Bible.

How is it Christian and Science?

Christian Science relies on the belief that everything is from God and His love. Those who practice Christian Science believe and live their lives this way; everything that happens in life, both good and bad, is the will of God. This is the essence of its Christianity. Christian Science is also a science because God is understood to be constant, universal, eternal, and the only source of power that is all good. This divine Science answers all questions about evil, reality, and eternal life. It is reliable, consistent, and provable, showing us that true healing can only come from God.

Beliefs and Practices

Christian Science believes in the Christian belief that God is omnipotent and purposeful, it accepts supremacy of the Bible, and deems the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ to be essential to the redemption of mankind. Furthermore, it rejects deity (but not divinity) of Jesus. Christian Science does not view Jesus as a moral paradigm; rather, his healings work and his victory over death are proof that mortality can be overcome as one “gains the mind of Christ.” Eddy argued that redemption from sin is basic salvation, because all sin is denial of God and His existence. Furthermore, she viewed ultimate redemption as a lengthy process, stating that it involves a lot of patience and repentance.

Mary Baker Eddy’s teachings resulted in a complicated relationship between church members and the medical world. Christian Scientists do believe in the use of dentists and optometrists, as well as doctors for broken bones and delivering babies. They also encourage people to follow public health laws, such as vaccinations. However, they also believe that one should not rely solely on doctors; rather, they should pray that the doctors succeed in healing them, since all healing comes from God. If He does not will for one to be healed, healing will not occur.

Significance

Christian Science has had a major impact on the world. There have been more than fifty thousand testimonials proving that the beliefs of Christian Science healing methods do work since the beginning of the twentieth century, especially regarding undiagnosed mental and emotional disturbances, as well as psychosomatic illnesses. In the twenty years following Eddy’s death in 1910, there has been a significant increase in amount of Christian Science churches; from 1,213 to 2,400. In 1972, the Church Center opened in Boston and became a major tourist attraction. In the early twenty-first century, the church claimed to have over 1,700 congregants in over eighty countries.

Common Misconceptions about Christian Science

As with every religion, there are many misconceptions. The first misconception about Christian Science is that it is scientology; it is not. Christian Science and Scientology have almost nothing in common. Another misconception is that Christian Scientists worship Mary Baker Eddy; they do not. Eddy was very clear that she did not want to be considered divine in any way and she is not superior to anyone. A third misconception is that Christian Scientists don’t see doctors; on the contrary, they believe that people should go see doctors in addition to prayer. Furthermore, people believe that Christian Science is “faith healing.” As previously stated, Christian Scientists believe in seeking medical attention when needed. They do not rely solely on God to heal them; they believe that doctors are messengers of God.

What is a Christian Science Practitioner?

A Christian Science practitioner is a Christian Scientist who excels and devotes him/herself in helping others find a source of healing by turning to God. These practitioners have a major devotion to God and Jesus, as well as a commitment to human nature. Their primary focus is providing Christian Science treatment to people by use of prayer and belief in God, and they teach others to accept that God is ominous; He is one and provides only good, even when we may not see it as such. They do not give physical advise, nor do they diagnose people.

Christian Science Reading Rooms

The first Christian Science Reading Room was opened in Boston in September of 1888, under the supervision of Mary Baker Eddy’s students. These rooms were available to anyone who was unable to afford treatment, and here they could receive treatment by a Christian Science practitioner at little cost. These rooms began in 1888 and lasted until 1899. The original reading room was situated on the second floor of Hotel Boylston in the center of Boston, Massachusetts, near the hotels, public library, and the public garden.

References

  1. Beliefs and teachings. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.christianscience.com/what-is christian-science/beliefs-and-teachings.
  2. Caché, V. F., & Warneck, R. T. (1998). Mary Baker Eddy: Christian Healer Amplified Edition.
  3. Boston, MA: Christian Science Pub. Society.
  4. Eddy, M. B. (1875). Science and health: With keys to the scriptures. Boston, MA.
  5. Gottschalk, S., & Melton, J. G. (2019, February 15). Christian Science. Retrieved from https://www.britannica.com/topic/Christian-Science.
  6. Milmine, G., & Cather, W. (1971). The life of Mary Baker G. Eddy and the history of Christian Science. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.
  7. Questions and Answers. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.christianscience.com/press-room/questions-and-answers.
  8. The History of Christian Science Reading Rooms » Mary Baker Eddy Library. (2016, September 22). Retrieved from https://www.marybakereddylibrary.org/research/the-history-of-christian-science-reading-rooms/.
  9. The Life of Mary Baker Eddy. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.marybakereddylibrary.org/mary-baker-eddy/the-life-of-mary-baker-eddy/.
  10. Wilby, T. W. (1927). What is Christian science?New York: John Lane company.
  11. Whittenbury, W. (April 11). Common Misconceptions About Christian Science, Answered. Retrieved from https://northwestern.campuslabs.com/engage/news/89273.

Cite this page

Mary Baker Eddy: Christian Science. (2022, Jan 09). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/mary-baker-eddy-christian-science-essay

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