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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 72.djvu/227

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CHRISTIAN SCIENCE

nounced not dangerous to the neighbors or likely to result fatally to the patient. It is for this reason that there is justification for the movement to restrict the practise of mental medicine, which would otherwise be an unwarrantable interference with individual liberty. It would seem possible to compromise the various warring interests, by requiring all mental healers to pass an examination, before receiving a license, in anatomy, physiology and diagnosis.

The whole subject is one which calls for tolerance and impartiality. Both sides claim too much. We have reason to believe that a very large proportion of all maladies can be materially assisted by mental healing, either alone or in connection with medical treatment. Even surgical and infectious cases may be benefited by improving the general tone and keeping up the spirits of the patient. In many ailments, however, this system is absolutely useless, while in another class regular treatment is unavailing, and mental methods are likely to succeed. It is a hopeful sign that a few physicians are devoting themselves to mental therapeutics, and that others send their nervous patients to the christian scientists. There is a field for both, and the two schools ought to work in harmony. One great bar to this is the prejudice, not only of the medical profession, but of the more intelligent portion of the community, against the new system, well founded, without doubt, on manifold errors, abuses and unreasonable claims. On the other hand, while there is much in the philosophy of christian science which is satisfactory to many minds, especially the portions resembling the Hindu beliefs as developed by Kant, the rest is illogical and irrational, and can not be accepted by thinking intellects.

The christian scientists have undoubtedly made many useful advances, mostly by pure empiricism, but these results are not essentially bound up with the christian science beliefs, and can be applied fully as well by any of the other christian churches. These methods can be studied, and are at the service of any one who will take the trouble to master them. It is a fact that they will work just as well with a pagan religion as with a christian one, as a doctor can cure a Chinaman of malaria as readily as an American. On the other hand, while the processes of mental healing can be applied by any one, and are being used daily unconsciously by many medical men, yet the essential elements are more easily furnished by the church, and it is most encouraging that one of the episcopal churches in Boston is adopting mental healing with gratifying success. The emotional nature of man, which controls mental healing, is intimately connected with his higher aspirations, and belongs rather to the domain of religion than to that of medicine.