This section is from the book "Faith - Healing. Christian Science And Kindred Phenomena", by James Monroe Buckley. Also available from Amazon: Faith-Healing, Christian Science and Kindred Phenomena.
That his earlier work consists largely of passages taken from Mrs. Eddy's writings, and that it is as a whole in every respect inferior to them, is the simple statement of a fact. He has, however, acquired considerable reputation, and has a constituency. Before advancing the fundamental principles of his system, he attempts to show the inconsistencies of medical science in the following passage :
Materia medica teaches that mercury cures, also that mercury kills ; that ipecac causes vomiting, and that an overdoso checks it, etc.; these are contradictions in themselves. A rule that can be contradicted is not demonstrable, and therefore not truth. If one and one made two only occasionally, and at other times made three or more, it would be no fact or rule, because not demonstrable, and no dependence could be placed upon it. If from a science (truth) it is found that mercury cures, it would be found that the more of that so-called necessary quality taken into tho system, the better it would bo for the patient; such would be the result from a perfect rulo or from truth.
Here is an example of bis style:
Suppose I should be walkiug past a house, and a pane of glass should fall from an upper window cutting me and causing my death ; the glass was made and placed by life, and life broke it and caused it to fall. My life brought me here from Prussia and carried me by the house at the time that happened; therefore life was the cause of my death, and, strange as it may seem, is the cause of all action.
From this profound (?) reasoning he concludes:
If life is the cause of all action it must be the cause of sickness. . . . Thought is the first product of life, and as the thought is so will the action be. Life cannot act contrary to tho thoughts which are become beliefs or opinions, that is, which have taken root or are become attached to it, unless it acts unconsciously.
Mrs. Eddy sued this Dr. Arens for infringing her copyright, and obtained judgment against him, so that he was compelled to destroy a large edition of one of his pamphlets.
Dr. Arens established a university in the city of Boston, incorporated five or six years, called the "University of the Science of Spirit." It confers the following degrees: "F. D.," Defender of the Faith, and " S. S. D," Doctor of the Science of Spirit. The charge for instruction in the general course is one hundred dollars. These courses are somewhat pretentious. The first treats the "Scientific Basis of Theology," "the Difference between God and the Universe," etc., and, proceeding through twenty-one theological points, concludes by setting forth "the First Step in Irnmortahty," and "How to Destroy Sickness." The second course discusses "Theos, Chaos, and Cosmos"; gives a theory of the creation of the universe down to the creation of the " first material human body," which it treats under "its outline and quality; the necessity for respiration; the first consciousness of existence; the separation of male and female; the origin of self-will and its results." And finally, "the beginning of sickness and trouble".
Dr. Marston treats "God, Man, Matter, Disease, Sin, and Death, Healing, Treatment, and Universal Truth." In his book he states that "the mental healer does not care by what medical name the distress is known; it maybe nervousness, dyspepsia, asthma,fever,—words all alike to him, since the effects they denote are simply reflections or registers of wrong thinking." In illustrating this he says:
A case maybe cited to illustrate the meaning: A middle-aged man who has suffered many years with chronic rheumatism, until it is torture for him to move, has also an excitable temper, a despotic will, and is so intolerant that he cannot abide opposition, but flies into a towering rage if he is crossed. He has had many physicians who ascribe the painful inflammation of his joints to an improper secretion of uric acid ; and his nervousness and irritability are easily accounted for by the prolonged suffering he has endured. This case presents the same conditions to the mental healer, but his conclusions are different. To him the bodily trouble is a reflection or effect of lack of mental ease; and the unamiable nature results from a dominant feeling that other people are enemies seeking to oppose the poor man's wishes and thwart his plans. In treating the case, the doctor addresses remedies to the disturbed secretions which are an effect, while the mental healer directs his to the primary cause, which is fear.
His cure is reduced to its simplest form as follows: "The senses say matter can suffer pain; God says matter is insensible. The senses declare a man sick; God says the real man knows nothing of disease." Under the head of Sin and Death he says: " Scientific Christianity does not recognize the definition of theology, but holds that, strictly speaking, there is no sin." He finally describes the cure thus: "A mental cure is the discovery made by a sick person that he is well".
W. F. Evans, a voluminous writer, formerly an evangelical minister, then a Swedeuborgian, and lately a mental healer, remarks:
Tho process is essentially a spiritual work; it is held that there is a part of us that is never sick, and this part is mentally worked upon so as to control the sick person's consciousness, this destroys the sickness, for mind cures matter. A disciple of this school is sick — no, ho is not sick, for that is something which he will not admit; he has a belief that ho is sick; he then says mentally to the rebellious body, "What are youf You have no power over me; you are merely the covering given to me for present purposes; it is an error to suppose that I am sick; I recognize the great truth that I myself, my individuality, my personality, my mind, cannot be sick, for it is immortal, made in the image of God; when I recognize the existence of that truth there is no room left for the existence of error; two things cannot occupy one and the same place ; error cannot exist in tho same place with truth, therefore error is not in existence ; hence I am not sick".
Mrs. Grimk6, author of "Personified Unthinkables," says:
Now, rheumatism or pneumonia, etc., are verbal expressions for unthinkables, just as 24-2 = 5 is a verbal expression for a lie. By means of the picturing faculty, both of the individual and of those about him, the outward manifestation of the unthinkable will express itself upon the body just as surely as the magic-lantern will reflect the picture inserted between the light and the lenses when the proper conditions are met. . . . The problem of Health, then, would be how to cultivate and keep clean and healthy pictures in the mind. Health would then be an essential part of the ego. Man would be a strict unity, not a trinity, of Intellect, Body, and Morals, and the absolutely necessary postulates of this Unity would be Infinite Mind, Freedom, and Eternal Life.
There are those who in their own opinion have reached a greater elevation than either the Christian Scientists or the Mind Curers, " and profess to heal by the transfer of psychic energy." The chief practitioner in this sphere informed me that the relative rank of these sciences is, 1. The lower grade— the mere physical system. 2. What is called animal magnetism. 3. The mind cure. 4. The spirits (when they are good spirits). 5. Including all that is good in the others, he places in the supernal. He claimed that there has been in all ages an order called the Inspirati, who practised this method, and offered to make me a Knight of that order.
This will suffice until it fails to attract patients, when, no doubt, a sixth order, that of the Empyrean, will be devised.
Some of the Christian Scientists have attempted to construct a technical language, which, when translated, shows that they attach as much importance to learned terms as does any form of the material science that they denounce. "Gnosis.— The 'Spiritual Understanding' the 'Immediate Intuition.' Vir.— The God in Man. Harmatia. — Off-the-trackness. Homo.—The Creature of God. Ego.—The Homo as he is. Nemo.— The Homo as he sees himself. Entiie-asm.—Direct Communication with God. Nihlloid.— Like unto nothing, the proper name of disease, disorder, discomfort, Yoga.— Concentration of Thought. Dama.—Subjugation of Sense. Karma. —Law of Cause and Effect. Maya.—Illusion, 'Mortal Mind,' False Beliefs.—Chaos, The Habitat of Humbug".
Most of these terms appear to have had an oriental origin, and are as valuable in affecting the ordinary mind as chloride of sodium for salt, capsicum for pepper, and H20 for water. They serve also to make it appear that the Science is difficult, and that large fees for instruction are reasonable.
They make use of certain forms of expression which savor more strongly of cant than any phrases that have ever been used by religious sects. They use the word "belief" in speaking of a disease, or even of a defect of character. A lady, talking with a practitioner of this school of a mutual acquaintance, said she thought her selfish. " Yes," replied the Christian Scientist, " I believe she has a strong belief in selfishness".
To a patient who had every symptom of a torpid liver another healer of the school said, "It is unfortunate that you have such a belief in bile." To which the astonished patient, new to the Science, replied that he thought any one would have the same belief who had the same kind of liver.