A loaded question on Yahoo! invited a wide range of answers including the one below. Given the blunter aspects of social media, it’s not always helpful to respond to these things, but it was in this case.

[Posted answer:]

“For me, as I read the answers below, the real question is, Why is it that Christian Science has been and is still so dear to my heart? I’ve been a church member most of my life. I’ve read and considered all the criticisms raised here, and many more. But for me, the reality of God’s presence and love as Jesus taught it is at the heart of Christian Science, and it’s been a source of light and meaning that’s hard to imagine living without.

For me, too, the practice of Christian healing isn’t reducible to a “rejection” of modern medicine—there’s so much more to it. I’ve seen and experienced God’s love in so many practical ways—including being healed many times and witnessing healings in others’ lives—that I can’t dismiss these effects as “nature running its course,” placebo effect, mind-over-matter, or any of the other common put-downs for what can’t be explained by clinical models. Which is not to say that I’m the best example of a Christian Scientist—far from it. I’ve led an ordinary and less than perfect human life. But what the Christian Science church has helped me do, is to take seriously the teachings of Christ Jesus—to follow him more sincerely—reforming my character to some extent and making me, I hope, a better person. It also shines God’s comfort and forgiveness into the darkest corners of my life where my shortcomings would otherwise haunt and burn.

I’ve found Christian Science to be genuinely Christian, not in terms of creeds and dogmas, which we may not share in all the traditional ways, but in terms of the great spiritual core at the heart of Jesus’ life, teachings, sacrifice on the cross, and resurrection from death. The Master’s humanity opens our eyes to the tremendous reality he saw—a God who is Love itself—and to what we are as God’s image. I’d think this spiritual perspective—and the healing power that accompanies it—deserves at least an honest hearing as an expression of serious Christianity, but I realize this has to be earned by the lives we lead and the spirit we express.

Diane R. Hanover

(member of First Church of Christ, Scientist, Tucson, and currently serving as Christian Science Committee on Publication for Arizona)

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