Time again to round out the facts concerning seminal textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, first written by Mary Baker Eddy in the 19th century.
A statement from the leaders of First Church of Christ, Scientist, has been brought to my attention. Their statement, found in the 2014 July edition of The Christian Science Journal, answers the question: “Should Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures be changed to keep up with the times?”
The Q&A is one-sided and demands correction. Therefore, I would like to offer a rounded out viewpoint.
I would also like to defend Mary Baker Eddy. The statement given by the church leaders immodestly speaks for Mary Baker Eddy as if they personally know what she is thinking or would say.This pride of opinion imposes grave misunderstandings upon Eddy.
Speaking on behalf of someone, especially not present, grates the reader’s senses, both physically and spiritually, therefore I absolve Eddy of falsities imposed upon her in this Q&A statement.
Mary Baker Eddy authored the book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures to explain what she termed Christian Science, a.k.a. divine Science, the Science of Christ, spiritual Science, or Christ Science. She revised her book hundreds of times until her death in 1910. Basically, she changed her words numerous times while keeping the complete explanation of Christian Science intact.
As for her contemporaries, Mary Baker Eddy’s published book shouldn’t be changed, morally or legally, but it can be updated and published as a new version with an inclusion of the new author/authors/name/names.
Fact is, revisions and interpretations of Eddy’s writings are not new. For the last one hundred years, people have been interpreting Mary Baker Eddy’s writings.
Every conversation, every lecture, every article or testimony, every answer, encompassing the subjects of Science and Health and Christian Science involves interpretation. Thinkers, practitioners, teachers, lecturers and church leaders, repeat in their own words, what they interpret in Eddy’s writings. They change her words.
I myself interpret Eddy’s writings, literally and spiritually. The spiritual interpretation inspires the clearest literal interpretation, whether read or written. The spiritual interpretation heals. The spiritual interpretation frees us from putting Eddy on a pedestal to get her knocked down. The spiritual interpretation frees us from the belief that a human being was perfect. Mary Baker Eddy made mistakes and more importantly, she corrected them.
The spiritual interpretation also disallows us from establishing the unwritten church commandment: Thou shalt not read any other Science and Health but Mrs. Eddy’s. This unwritten church tenant has led to greater errors with proven consequences.
- Restricting the authority of Christian Science to the human language results in an inaccessible Christian Science.
- Restricting the explanation of Christian Science to the human language, or worse, one book, results in an inaccessible and unread book.
- Insisting that only Eddy’s Science and Health is closest to truth, results in Science and Health being misread and misunderstood. Readers even believe that they can be healed by reading the human language or words.
I understand the feeling of being healed after receiving an inspiration while reading a book, however over-emphasis stressing the claim that “reading Science and Health heals” gives the wrong impression to readers ill-equipped to understand the meaning.
Who wouldn’t love to simply read a book and be healed? Or take a pill and be healed? But this is not the case.
Do we stand with the lies? Or with truth?
Genuine healing involves divine Truth and the power of Spirit. God is the healer.
Any impression that Christian Science and a book is the same thing sadly misleads readers, no matter what their level of intellect is.
Christian Science and Science and Health are not synonymous. Christian Science involves metaphysical rules, like mathematics, and mathematics is not in a math book, no matter how clearly that math book teaches how to add, subtract, divide, and multiply. Reading a math book won’t solve math problems.
Along the same line, Mary Baker Eddy is not synonymous with Science and Health.
You will not forget who Mary Baker Eddy is by reading revisions of her writings. In fact, Eddy is being forgotten now, because very few people read her writings and because her writings are becoming fractured. Readers stopped reading or pondering the outdated language sections, whether they want to admit it or not.
It is impractical to insist that a reader must first learn a foreign language before contemplating the ideas in Science and Health. Readers do not need to study 19th century history and lingo, they do not need to use a 19th century dictionary, in order to read Science and Health or learn about Christian Science. Eddy understood Christian Science before her book was ever written.
It is unreasonable to compare reading Science and Health with a puzzle, telling the reader they can answer only the clues they understand before moving to the unknown. This analogy fragments Science and Health.
I don’t believe Science and Health was designed to be like a puzzle, to skip around and find clues in. I believe Science and Health was designed to be practical and clear on the subject of Christian Science and that is why Mary Baker Eddy wrote on page 361 of Science and Health that revisions are requisite.
Updated 2015: 21st Century Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures is now in its 5th edition.
Updated February 2016: My book, from science & religion to God, has been released online at www.Amazon.com It is a briefer narrative of Mary Baker Eddy’s Science and Health.
Updated October 2016: Mary Baker Eddy wrote about the possible loss of Christian Science due to inadequate statements in regard to Christian Science. We read in Eddy’s booklet, Retrospection and Introspection, on page 61, “Posterity will have the right to demand that Christian Science be stated and demonstrated in its godliness and grandeur, that however little be taught or learned, that little shall be right.”