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Thread: Christian Science dying

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    Administrator lpetrich's Avatar
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    Christian Science dying

    The Christian Science Church teaches that the physical world is not real and that one can cure disease by making oneself recognize that it does not really exist.

    Isaac Asimov once heard a rumbling sound from his NYC apartment on Sunday mornings. He tracked it down to an air conditioner in a Christian Science church. He thought about CS beliefs and he roared with laughter at the thought of how CS believers ought to be able to pray away the supposedly illusory heat. He also roared with laughter at how pointless it would be to explain that to him.

    Most recently, Val Kilmer had to go to a materialist hospital to get a lump cut out of his throat -- it refused to be believed out of existence.

    Dying the Christian Science way: the horror of my father’s last days | World news | The Guardian
    Now I’m delighted by a different kind of game: counting the churches as their doors close. In 20 years, drastic changes have taken place, but the most arresting is the church’s precipitous fall. It’s getting harder and harder to see all the people, because they’re disappearing.

    ...
    As Pritchett discovered, Cousin Dick’s results were impossible to replicate in the real world, and the consequences of Eddy’s strictures – she demanded “radical reliance” on her methodology to the exclusion of all else – quickly caused havoc. Newspapers and prosecutors noticed the casualties, especially children dying of unreported cases of diphtheria and appendicitis. In the early years of the church, this touched off battles with the American Medical Association, which tried to have Christian Science healers, or “practitioners”, arrested for practising medicine without a licence. Since practitioners did nothing but pray, however, their activities were protected by the US constitution. Reacting with righteous zeal, Church leaders doubled down for decades, furtively slipping protections into the law and encouraging insurance companies to cover Christian Science “treatment”. Since it cost very little, the companies cynically complied.

    As a result, by the 1970s – a high-water mark for the church’s political power, with many Scientists serving in Richard Nixon’s White House and federal agencies – the church was well on its way to accumulating an incredible array of legal rights and privileges across the US, including broad-based religious exemptions from childhood immunisations in 47 states, as well as exemptions from routine screening tests and procedures given to newborns in hospitals. The exemptions had consequences: modern-day outbreaks of diphtheria, polio and measles in Christian Science schools and communities. A 1972 polio outbreak in Connecticut left multiple children partially paralysed; a 1985 measles outbreak (one of several) at Principia College in Illinois killed three.

    In many US states, Scientists were exempt from charges of child abuse, neglect and endangerment, as well as from failure to report such crimes. Practitioners with no medical training (they become “listed” after two weeks of religious indoctrination) were recognised as health providers, and in some states were required to report contagious illnesses or cases of child abuse or neglect, even as their religion demanded that they deny the evidence of the physical senses. Practitioners, of course, have no way of recognising the symptoms of an illness, even if they believe it existed, which they don’t.
    Over the last few decades, many of those exemptions have been eliminated in various states, but some states still have them.

    Eddy forbade counting the faithful, but in 1961, the year I was born, the number of branch churches worldwide reached a high of 3,273. By the mid-80s, the number in the US had dropped to 1,997; between 1987 and late 2018, 1,070 more closed, while only 83 opened, leaving around a thousand in the US.
    Many CS churches have been sold off, and some are being rented out on weekdays.

    Then a lot of stuff on people who have died while attempting CS "therapy".

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    Contributor DBT's Avatar
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    Can't fade away soon enough. One less faith, hopefully with more to follow down the road to oblivion.

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    A smidgen of anecdotal evidence: my wife and I are friends with a couple who were raised as Christian Scientists. They left the church; and although they're still Christians and we're atheists, they asked us to be their children's godparents, and we agreed to. Their plan was that in the event of their deaths we'd have legal standing to get custody of their children, so the grandparents wouldn't get custody and force the children into the church.

    Quote Originally Posted by DBT View Post
    Can't fade away soon enough. One less faith, hopefully with more to follow down the road to oblivion.
    Seconded.

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    Didn't know they were dwindling. I attend a Shaker mega-church.

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    Member Tharmas's Avatar
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    My mother’s mother – my grandmother, whom I never met – was a Christian Science minister, old enough to have met and consulted with Mary Baker Eddy herself.

    When my mother was about ten she fell off her bicycle and broke her kneecap. No treatment was allowed. She was to remain in bed and contemplate her sins until it healed by itself, which it eventually did. She became an atheist at that point, and broke with her family.

    I have no memories of her oldest brother, who nevertheless sent me a book every Christmas, and never met my other uncle either, who never communicated with me. My mother did keep in touch with her younger sister, at least to a degree, so I did get to meet my aunt, whom I actually stayed with for a few days when I was nine or ten.

    For some odd reason my parents subscribed to the Christian Science Monitor when I was a boy. I never asked them about it.

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    Veteran Member skepticalbip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ideologyhunter View Post
    Didn't know they were dwindling. I attend a Shaker mega-church.
    Is that the Shaker mega-church with the massive day-care and kindergarten to take care of all the Shaker's kids while the parents are attending service?

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    Elder Contributor Keith&Co.'s Avatar
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    ...and all the 'Friends w/ No Benefits' t-shirts in the gift shop.

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    Intergalactic Villainess Angry Floof's Avatar
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    I used to know some Christian Scientists. They do go to doctors pretty routinely. It's just one of those hypocrisies they don't talk about, like the divorce rate that Southern Baptists don't talk about.

    Ironically, the Christian Science Monitor has served as an excellent source of decent journalism. It was started by the founder of CS, Mary Baker Eddy, because she was tired of shitty, biased news sources.
    The Authoritarians

    GOP and Trump supporters will not be able to say they didn't know. Vote in numbers too big to manipulate.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angry Floof View Post
    Ironically, the Christian Science Monitor has served as an excellent source of decent journalism.
    ^^^^ This. ^^^^ Seven Pulitzer Prizes

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