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Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 17.djvu/217

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0HBI8TIAK 201 OHBISTIAK

centralised and, formerly at least, highly efficient quasiphilosophical language of the book, the abuse organisation, and its reputedly enormous wealth, of terms, the employment of ambiguous words at the impression has rather generally prevailed that crucial points, the character of the exegesis, the Christian Science boasts a vast number of fol« broken-backed paradoxes, the astonishing language, lowers. Actually it ranks in membership about the egotism, and the contradictions which abound fiftieth in the list of the denominations existing on nearly every page. Tested by Catholic doc- in the United States at the present time (1022). trine, however, sufficient statements can be gleaned In the United States census of 1890 the Church from it to prove that it is^ the ne jdus iutra of of Christ, Scientist, reported 221 churches and 8724 here^ and error. We shall first subject its doc- members, an average of 40 members to each church, trine to a parallel comparison with the statements In the United States religious report for 1906 they contained in the Apostles' Creed: I believe. Faith, reported 638 organizations, Nevada and New or intellectual acceptance of revealed truth on the Mexico alone being without an organization, authority of God revealing it, is not admitted by Nearly one-half of the members were in the north Mrs. Eddy according to her question and answer: central group of States, Illinois having the largest Have Christian Scientists any religious creed? number with 54. There were 85,717 members, less They have not. if we accept the term as doctrinal than 120 to each organization; 28 per cent of the beliefs." She does, however, speak of being fitted members were males, 72 per cent females. There by God "for the reception of a jfinal revelation of were 253 church edifices, 551 Sunday schools, 3155 the absolute divine Principle of scientific being and teachers, and 16,116 pupils. The Readers numbered healing." In God, the Father Almighty, Creator 1278. The value of the church property was $8,806,- of heaven and earth. Mrs. Eddy teaches a form 441. In computing the membership, however, it of Pantheism, in which she identifies a non-per- must be remembered that there is much duplication gonal God with man. Thus she says: "God is all

in the church records, since many members belong in all, but all things are not God He is an

both to a branch church and to the Mother Church, infinite Man and we are men by virtue of our

Thus in 1906 nearly one-half the membership derivation and conception from Him." "God is

(41,309) belonged to the latter, so that, deducting Principle and not person, Mind, and not matter.

for this duplication, the real net membership in all .... God, which (sic) is the perfect Mind or

the organizations was probably somewhere between Principle, including the perfect idea, is all that is

fifty and sixty thousand. real or eternal." "Like the ray of light that cometh

Since 1906 Christian Scientists have refused to from the sun, man is the outcome of God." "All make public their membership statistics in accord- is Mind, and Mind is God." "God, without the ance with the following article which Mrs. Eddy image and likeness [man] of Himself, would be a inserted in the "Manual": "Christian Scientists nonentity or Mind unexpressed." The Trinity she shall not report for publication the number of the misunderstands and rejects. "Who," she says, "can members of the Mother Church, nor that of the conceive either of three persons as one person or branch churches. According; to Scripture they shall of three infinities in one infinity?" And again, the turn away from personality and numbering the Trinity she says, "is suggestive of polytheism." As people." Probably a decrease in the previous rapid for the Creatum, it "consists of the unfolding of growth caused this order, but whatever its reason spiritual ideas and their identities, which are em- since then no statistics have been published and braced in the infinite Mind and forever reflected." the Christian Scientists were not enumerated in the Matter according to Mrs. Eddy is error, mortal government religious report' for 1916. However, a mind, and the 2nd chapter of Genesis, she tells fairly accurate estimate based on the list of their us, "contains a statement of this material view of churches and societies in the world as published in God and the universe," which "is a lie." Mortal the "Christian Science Journal" has been made by mind, matter, she explains originated from a mist a recent writer (see bibliog., Snowden). In 1919 which went up from the earth. there were 1702 organizations in the world, 1504 And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord. (840 churches and 664 societies) in the United Mrs. Eddy tells us that "there is a dual personality States (a total of 1589 in 1922), and 198 (122 in Christ, the unseen and the seen, the spiritual churches and 76 societies) in foreign countries, and material, the Christ and Jesus." "Christ is The estimate of total membership on this basis eternal, Jesus is mortal," while she states in another may be placed at about 115,000 in 1922, but deduc- passage that Christ is "Truth," "the divine mani- tions for duplication make it probable that the testation of God, which comes to destroy incarnate total membership in the world is under 100,000. error," and "Jesus is the highest human corporeal Outside the United States the sect is located in concept of the divine idea." Again she tells us, England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Germany, Hoi- "Christ is the Holy Ghost, the Comforter." The land, Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, Canada, chief error which Mrs. Eddy resurrects in her treat- Mexico, Argentina, Australia, China, and the Trans- ment of our Lord is Nestorianism (holding two per- vaal. The apparent discrepancy between the small sons in Christ) against the Catholic teaching that number of members and the vast number of copies there is only one person (the Divine) in Christ. At the of "Science and Health" issued (there have ap- game time she goes further and denies His divinity, peared as many as nine editions in one year) is and his position in the Trinity since she admits no explained by the fact that each new edition be- such doctrine. Who was conceived by the Holy cornea the standard and authentic one for use by Ghost, bom of the Virgin Mary. Mrs. Eddy admits the members, who accordingly are suppof«d to the Virgin birth of our Lord, but merely because discard the "old" and buy a "new" edition, even she blasphemoilsly denies its miraculous character, though the latter differed at times from the considering "His birth what everyone's should be," previous edition merely by the addition of one or and "explaining" it by saying that in the birth of two lines. ^ Jesus "tne Science of being overshadowed the sense

CBinaBM.-^There is no clear and precise state- of the Virgin mother, witn a full recognition that ment of philosophy and theology in "Science and Spirit is the basis of being." She taught further Health," the textbook of Christian Science, and a that any woman with "sufficient science*' can con- criticism of its doctrines and tendencies is rendered ceive a child through mental generation, and in doubly difficult by the confusion of thoiight, "the fact at least one of her disciples claimed to have