The issue of religious exemptions for vaccine mandates has raised the profile of “Christian Science,” a group that previously helped push through similar exemptions in American jurisprudence. Yet despite Christian Science’s having been around for 142 years, most people don’t know much about this small and declining religious movement.
Here are nine things you should know about Christian Science.
1. The ‘science’ of Christian Science is spiritual healing.
Christian Science is a non-Christian sect that was created by New Englander Mary Baker Eddy. After being severely injured in 1866, Eddy turned to the Bible, where she claims to have discovered the laws of spiritual healing. In her view, spiritual healing isn’t miraculous, but an “effect of understanding God’s all-power and love.” Eddy and two dozen of her followers were granted a charter by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in 1879 to found the “Church of Christ (Scientist).” The group changed its name to the “Church of Christ, Scientist” in 1892.
2. Christian Scientists claim to have no doctrines—though they do have six tenets.
When asked if Christian Scientists had a religious creed, Eddy replied, “They have not, if by that term is meant doctrinal beliefs.” Yet Eddy did offer six tenets that briefly summarize the teachings of Christian Science:
1. As adherents of Truth, we take the inspired Word of the Bible as our sufficient guide to eternal Life.
2. We acknowledge and adore one supreme and infinite God. We acknowledge His Son, one Christ; the Holy Ghost or divine Comforter; and man in God’s image and likeness.
3. We acknowledge God’s forgiveness of sin in the destruction of sin and the spiritual understanding that casts out evil as unreal. But the belief in sin is punished so long as the belief lasts.
4. We acknowledge Jesus’ atonement as the evidence of divine, efficacious Love, unfolding man’s unity with God through Christ Jesus the Way-shower; and we acknowledge that man is saved through Christ, through Truth, Life, and Love as demonstrated by the Galilean Prophet in healing the sick and overcoming sin and death.
5. We acknowledge that the crucifixion of Jesus and his resurrection served to uplift faith to understand eternal Life, even the allness of Soul, Spirit, and the nothingness of matter.
6. And we solemnly promise to watch, and pray for that Mind to be in us which was also in Christ Jesus; to do unto others as we would have them do unto us; and to be merciful, just, and pure.
3. Their ‘pastor’ is not a human, but a pair of books.
For Christian Scientists, the ultimate textual authority is not the Bible but Eddy’s Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. In that book, Eddy says that “Christian Science is unerring and Divine” while the Bible has been corrupted and contains “manifest mistakes.” Yet together, Science and Health and the Bible (usually the KJV) are considered the “universal Pastor” for the Church of Christ, Scientist. During worship services on Sundays, a Bible lesson—a sermon of passages from these books—is presented by readers. Their Wednesday services include “topical readings from the pastor” and time for congregants to “share how it has illumined their inseparable relationship with God and brought about healing through prayer.”
4. Christian Scientists distinguish between Jesus and Christ.
For Christian Scientists, Jesus was a man who lived in first-century Palestine and Christ is the name for a certain divine idea: “Jesus is the human man, and Christ is the divine idea; hence the duality of Jesus the Christ.” The invisible Christ (“the ideal Truth, that comes to heal sickness and sin through Christian Science”) became perceptible in the visible Jesus, who was a mere man and demonstrated the divine idea. Eddy once said, “If there had never existed such a person as the Galilean Prophet, it would make no difference to me.”
5. Christian Scientists deny the Trinity and replace the person of the Holy Spirit with ‘divine Science.’
In Science and Health, Eddy denies the historic doctrine of the Trinity: “The theory of three persons in one God (that is, a personal Trinity or Tri-unity) suggests polytheism, rather than the one ever-present I AM.” In place of this concept, Eddy outlines her version of the triune God:
Life, Truth, and Love constitute the triune Person called God,—that is, the triply divine Principle, Love. Divine trinity They represent a trinity in unity, three in one,—the same in essence, though multiform in office: God the Father-Mother; Christ the spiritual idea of sonship; divine Science or the Holy Comforter. These three express in divine Science the threefold, essential nature of the infinite.
6. Christian Scientists believe that matter—and sin—are illusions.
Christian Scientists believe that while matter (material existence) appears real to our physical senses, it is ultimately illusory. To discover what is ultimately real, we have to rely solely on “spiritual sense.” The “blessed purpose of Christianity” is therefore to “awaken thought spiritually.” For this reason, they believe Jesus provided proof that the “material senses themselves are mistaken about the nature of reality” and that he “showed that Spirit and its spiritual creation are the reality.” Sin and evil may appear to be real, but are merely a delusion. “The only reality of sin, sickness, or death,” Eddy wrote, “is the awful fact that unrealities seem real to human, erring belief, until God strips off their disguise.”
7. Most people only know of Christian Scientists because of their Reading Rooms and their newspaper.
Two institutions most associated with Christian Science are Reading Rooms and The Christian Science Monitor. The Manual of The Mother Church directs that “each church of the Christian Science denomination shall have a Reading Room” and that “literature sold or exhibited in the reading rooms of Christian Science Churches shall consist only of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, by Mary Baker Eddy, and other writings by this author; also the literature published or sold by The Christian Science Publishing Society.” The sect describes a Reading Room as “a place to read, pray, and get inspired” and “a space where many have been healed by studying the lessons of the Bible and nurturing a connection with God.”
The Christian Science Monitor was founded by Eddy in 1908 as a daily newspaper. The paper, which has won seven Pulitzer Prizes, doesn’t consider itself a religious publication, despite being one of five publications produced by The Christian Science Publishing Society.
8. Christian Scientists helped create religious exemptions for medical-neglect laws.
A Christian Scientist named Dorothy Sheridan was convicted in 1967 of involuntary manslaughter for refusing to treat her child’s illness with antibiotics. The conviction promoted Christian Scientists to lobby the government for a religious exemption from state medical neglect laws. Massachusetts, where Sheridan was convicted, granted one in 1971.
Three years later, President Nixon’s Department of Health, Education, and Welfare issued a ruling requiring states either to pass exemptions to child medical-treatment laws based on religious exemption or lose federal funds (H. R. “Bob” Haldeman, Nixon’s chief of staff, and John Ehrlichman, the chief adviser for domestic affairs, were both Christian Scientists).
As a result, 44 states eventually passed exemptions. This requirement was removed in 1983. A religious exemption was added to the text of the law in 1996 but was again removed in 2003. The most recent reauthorization does not include a religious exemption. In 34 states (as well as the District of Columbia, Guam, and Puerto Rico), exemptions remain in the civil child-abuse statutes when medical treatment for a child conflicts with the religious beliefs of parents.
9. Christian Scientists can take medicine, visit doctors, and don’t necessarily oppose state-mandated vaccinations.
Spiritual healing is a core teaching of Christian Science. Yet while Christian Scientists are discouraged from using medicine or seeking health care from a doctor, it is not necessarily forbidden by the religion. The official position of the sect is that it is a matter of individual conscience. On the issue of vaccine mandates, the official position of the sect is it has “appreciated vaccination exemptions and sought to use them conscientiously and responsibly, when they have been granted.” But it also notes,
For more than a century, our denomination has counseled respect for public health authorities and conscientious obedience to the laws of the land, including those requiring vaccination. Christian Scientists report suspected communicable disease, obey quarantines, and strive to cooperate with measures considered necessary by public health officials. We see this as a matter of basic Golden Rule ethics and New Testament love.
What are the basics of Christian Science? ›
Beliefs and practices. Christian Science subscribes to the Christian belief in an omnipotent purposeful God, accepts the authority (though not the inerrancy) of the Bible, and holds the Crucifixion and the Resurrection of Jesus Christ to be indispensable to the redemption of humankind.Does Christian Science believe in Christmas? ›
Andrews emphasized that Christian Scientists celebrate Christmas in the same way as other Christian denominations. Many spend the day with family and celebrate with gift giving, and some may spend the day in quiet prayer and Bible reading.What did Mark Twain say about Christian Science? ›
Twain himself believed that mind could influence matter to some degree. He nevertheless took strong exception to the writings of Eddy, calling them "incomprehensible and uninterpretable." He was particularly incensed by the thought that Eddy was using Christian Science to accrue wealth and power for herself.What does the Christian Science Monitor believe? ›
The Monitor's global approach is reflected in how founder Mary Baker Eddy described its object as "To injure no man, but to bless all mankind." Our aim is to embrace the human family, shedding light with the conviction that understanding the world's problems and possibilities moves us toward solutions.What are the 5 essentials to Christianity? ›
- Prayer. It is important to spend time in prayer every day. ...
- Bible Reading. The second way to feed your spirit is with Bible reading. ...
- Fellowship with Other Believers. We all need help and support in life. ...
- Learn to Trust God. ...
- Memorizing Scripture.
Here are Priscilla Shirer's 5 Ps:
Pour over the passage and paraphrase the major points. Pull out the Spiritual principles. Pose the questions. Plan obedience and pin down the date.
A commonly held modern view is that Buddhism is exceptionally compatible with science and reason, or even that it is a kind of science (perhaps a "science of the mind" or a "scientific religion").Why is Christmas not in the Bible? ›
Dec. 25 is not the date mentioned in the Bible as the day of Jesus's birth; the Bible is actually silent on the day or the time of year when Mary was said to have given birth to him in Bethlehem. The earliest Christians did not celebrate his birth.Do Christians believe God came to Earth at Christmas? ›
For Christians, Christmas is all about God sending His son into the world as part of His plan to bring salvation to people everywhere. Christians also think about the 'incarnation' - literally meaning 'in the flesh' - when God became man in the form of the baby Jesus.Did Twain believe in God? ›
Twain's skepticism about religion lasted all of his life. He had a personal faith — he said he believed in God, attended church and donated money for the construction of a church.
Does science undermine faith? ›
In short, science has shown a historical, psychological, and rational tendency to undermine religious faith.What is Mark Twain's most famous quote? ›
- "Never tell the truth to people who are not worthy of it."
- "An uneasy conscience is a hair in the mouth."
- "When in doubt‚ tell the truth."
- "If you tell truth you don't have to remember anything."
Golden Rule, precept in the Gospel of Matthew (7:12): “In everything, do to others what you would have them do to you. . . .” This rule of conduct is a summary of the Christian's duty to his neighbour and states a fundamental ethical principle.What does the Church say about science? ›
Consequently, methodical research in all branches of knowledge, provided it is carried out in a truly scientific manner and does not override moral laws, can never conflict with the faith, because the things of the world and the things of faith derive from the same God.Why did the Church feel threatened by science? ›
Church officials feared that as people began to believe scientific ideas, then people would start to question the Church, making people doubt key elements of the faith. Church officials feared that scientific ideas would threaten the powerful influence of the Church.What are 10 things Christians believe in? ›
- There is only one God.
- God is a Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
- God is perfect.
- God is omnipotent.
- God is everywhere.
- God knows everything.
- God created the universe.
- God keeps the universe going.
- You shall have no other God's before me.
- Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven images. ...
- Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain. ...
- Remember the Sabbath day and keep it Holy. ...
- Honor your father and mother. ...
- Thou shalt not kill. ...
- Thou shalt not commit adultery. ...
- Thou shalt not steal.
This text goes through a clear scriptural study of nine doctrines covering the Bible, God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, man, salvation, the church, angels, and end times.What are the 7 principles of Christianity? ›
The 7 Basics of Christianity:
- God. You need to understand that God consists of three equal persons: ...
- Jesus. ...
- The Holy Spirit. ...
- The Bible. ...
- Prayer. ...
- Grace. ...
Belief in God the Father, Jesus Christ as the Son of God, and the Holy Spirit. The death, descent into hell, resurrection and ascension of Christ. The holiness of the Church and the communion of saints. Christ's second coming, the Day of Judgement and salvation of the faithful.
What are the 7 gospel values? ›
They chose: love, friendship, honesty, respect, forgiveness. The spiritual, social, moral and cultural development of pupils is important to us and one way in which we foster this is by promoting our 'Gospel Values' alongside our British Values.What is the No 1 religion in the world? ›
Of the world's major religions, Christianity is the largest, with more than two billion followers. Christianity is based on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ and is approximately 2,000 years old.What religion believes God is energy? ›
Pantheism and panentheism are two we might think of in this regard – perhaps these would be comfortable with the idea of God as energy.Which religion is oldest? ›
The word Hindu is an exonym, and while Hinduism has been called the oldest religion in the world, many practitioners refer to their religion as Sanātana Dharma (Sanskrit: सनातन धर्म, lit.When was Jesus actual birthday? ›
The date of birth of Jesus is not stated in the gospels or in any historical sources, but most biblical scholars generally accept a date of birth between 6 BC and 4 BC, the year in which King Herod died.What religion believes in Jesus but doesn't celebrate Christmas? ›
Jehovah's Witnesses do not celebrate Christmas. Why not? First, Jesus commanded that we commemorate his death, not his birth — Luke 22:19, 20. Second, Jesus' apostles and early disciples did not celebrate Christmas.Who started Christmas? ›
The origins of Christmas stem from both the pagan and Roman cultures. The Romans actually celebrated two holidays in the month of December. The first was Saturnalia, which was a two-week festival honoring their god of agriculture Saturn. On December 25th, they celebrated the birth of Mithra, their sun god.Is there Christmas without Jesus? ›
"In our day, especially in Europe, we are witnessing a type of 'distortion' of Christmas" in which "all reference to Christ's birth is eliminated from the holiday". In reality, however, "without Jesus there is no Christmas; there is another holiday, but not Christmas".What does Jesus have to do with Christmas? ›
For two millennia, people around the world have been observing it with traditions and practices that are both religious and secular in nature. Christians celebrate Christmas Day as the anniversary of the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, a spiritual leader whose teachings form the basis of their religion.Will there be Christmas in heaven? ›
There are the same traditions as ours here on Earth, such as decorating pine trees with ornaments and lights, exchanging gifts among friends and family members, and singing classic songs created for the season.” “Christmas is also celebrated in heaven on December 25 in the presence of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.”
What part of the brain believes in God? ›
Belief, whether religious or nonreligious, is associated with greater signal in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vMPFC), a brain region important for self-representation, emotional associations, reward, and goal-driven behavior.What did Benjamin Franklin think about God? ›
Franklin believed in a Creator – God who possessed great wisdom, goodness, and power. This God not only created the world, but sustained it.What did Einstein say about belief in God? ›
Einstein says: “The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honourable, but still primitive, legends which are nevertheless pretty childish.”What does science say about the existence of God? ›
Scientists don't try to prove or disprove God's existence because they know there isn't an experiment that can ever detect God. And if you believe in God, it doesn't matter what scientists discover about the Universe – any cosmos can be thought of as being consistent with God.Is there a conflict between faith and science? ›
Over the centuries, the relationship between science and religion has ranged from conflict and hostility to harmony and collaboration, while various thinkers have argued that the two concepts are inherently at odds and entirely separate.Why science does not disprove God? ›
Science doesn't have the processes to prove or disprove the existence of God. Science studies and attempts to explain only the natural world while God, in most religions, is supernatural.What are the 2 most important days in your life? ›
"The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why." – Mark Twain.What is the most famous line of all time? ›
- “ May the Force be with you.” - Star Wars, 1977.
- “ There's no place like home.” - The Wizard of Oz, 1939.
- “ I'm the king of the world!” - ...
- “ Carpe diem. ...
- “ Elementary, my dear Watson.” - ...
- “ It's alive! ...
- “ My mama always said life was like a box of chocolates. ...
- “ I'll be back.” -
Job's book Three Simple Rules: A Wesleyan Way of Living. Six sessions provide extended reflection for adults on three principles of Christian life: do no harm, do good, and stay in love with God. Each rule has a session to help you understand the rule and a session to help you explore ways to practice the rule.What is the greatest law in the Bible? ›
“Jesus replied: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. ' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbour as yourself. ' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.
What is the most important rule in Christianity? ›
Gospel of Matthew
"Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?" He said to him, "'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. ' This is the greatest and first commandment.
Science is a way of knowing and exploring God's creation. Science encourages students to use their senses to observe and understand God's world.Should Christians believe in science? ›
So, yes, you can be a Christian and teach or believe in science. When you do, you'll find yourself in very distinguished company. In fact, many Christian scientists believe that scientific pieces of evidence discovered in nature cannot be correctly interpreted outside the framework of the Word of God.What did Christianity do for science? ›
Christian scholars and scientists have made noted contributions to science and technology fields, as well as Medicine, both historically and in modern times. Some scholars state that Christianity contributed to the rise of the Scientific Revolution.What scientists went against the Church? ›
Galileo was ordered to turn himself in to the Holy Office to begin trial for holding the belief that the Earth revolves around the sun, which was deemed heretical by the Catholic Church.Is there any relationship between religion and science? ›
The relationship between science and religion has typically been characterized as one of conflict, especially on the issue of origins (creationism vs. evolution). The historical reality is that science and religion have more often been complementary to each other, and the relationship has been dynamic.Why was Christianity a threat? ›
Answer and Explanation: Christianity was a threat to the Roman Empire because it produced tension among Romans, a disturbance of the Pax Romana. While Rome did allow for many religions, the first priority of every citizen was the state.What religions do not believe in Christmas? ›
Most religions like Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism don't recognize Christmas and Easter as they are ancient Christian festivals so the only religion to celebrate Christmas and Easter is Christianity.Is it OK for Christians to believe in Santa? ›
There is no need for Christians to reject him," said Carol Myers, founder of the St. Nicholas Center in Holland, Michigan. "Because the Incarnation is such a wonderful and amazing event, it makes sense that it would be celebrated in all kinds of ways, including ways that just add to the joy of the season.Does the Bible speak against Christmas? ›
To begin with, the Bible does not say anything about Christmas; it does not even use the term or word. This event is something that was added. The Bible does teach against adding or subtracting from the scripture or doctrine (Deuteronomy 4 v2, Revelation 22 v19).
Which church does not celebrate Christmas? ›
Millions of Christians do not observe Christmas. Among them are Quakers, Jehovah's Witnesses, and members of the Churches of Christ.What is the atheist Christmas called? ›
Newtonmas and other celebrations
For atheists, holiday celebrations can range from nonexistent to the full family affair. Some folks have started celebrating “Newtonmas,” named in honor of English scientist Isaac Newton, who was born December 25 by the Julian calendar in use in England at the time.
The date of birth of Jesus is not stated in the gospels or in any historical sources, but most biblical scholars generally accept a date of birth between 6 BC and 4 BC, the year in which King Herod died.What is the normal age to stop believing in Santa? ›
Most Americans (67%) stopped expecting Santa to shimmy down their chimney by the time they entered seventh grade. Half (49%) of Americans say they stopped believing in Santa before the age of 10 – with a quarter (23%) reporting that they lost sight of him between the ages of seven (10%) and eight (13%).Is a Christmas tree a religious symbol? ›
Though several ancient cultures symbolized home decoration with evergreens as a positive sign of productivity, It is not a religious symbol. Also, Bible doesn't say anything about Christmas trees; since Christmas celebrations gained popularity later years after the Bible.Who created Santa Claus? ›
Much earlier, the American cartoonist Thomas Nast fashioned Santa Claus's image on the pages of the American magazine Harper's Weekly. The character of Santa Claus is believed to descend from Bishop Nicholas of Myra, who lived in the 4th century.Where does the Bible say to celebrate Christmas? ›
Luke 2:8-12 (NIV)
I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."
Meaning Of Christmas Tree In The Bible And Its Significance. The Christmas tree represents Jesus Christ's birth in Christianity. The tree's branches and bushes are thought to express Christ's crown of thorns while also serving as a symbol of immortality and eternal life.