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.
If their principles be true, food should not be necessary. Mrs. Eddy affirms this:
Gustatory pleasure is a sensuous illusion, an illusion that diminishes as we understand our spiritual being ami ascend the ladder of Life. This woman learned that food neither strengthens nor weakens tho body, — that mind alone does this. . . . Teach them that their bodies are nourished more by Truth than by food.
Then, finding herself unable to silence the testimony of the senses, she endeavors to circumvent it thus:
Admitting the common hypothesis, that food is requisite to Bustain human life, there follows the necessity for another admission, in the opposite direction, — namely, that food has power to destroy life, through its deficiency or excess, in quality or quantity. This is a specimen of the ambiguous character of all material health-theories. They are self-contradictory and self-destructive.— "a kingdom divided against itself, that is brought to desolation." If food preserves life, it cannot destroy it. Tho truth is, food does not affect the life of man; and this becomes self-evident when we leam that God is our only life. Because sin and sickness are not qualities of Soul or Life, we have hope in immortality; but it would bo foolish to venture beyond our present understanding, foolish to stop eating, until we gain more goodness and a clearer comprehension of tho living God. In that perfect day of understanding, we shall neither eat to live, nor live to eat.
When they dispense with food because "mortal mind" is under the influence of an illusion concerning it, — absurdly supposing "that food supports life," — and continue to live with the accidents of the human body sustained entirely by the divine "substance" of which they speak, they will furnish a demonstration which will utterly destroy every remaining illusion of mortal mind. But so long as they eat, they are either voluntarily perpetuating an illusion, or demonstrating that they are wrong in their notions. If they are in such a low stage as to be compelled to eat when it would not be necessary if they were in a higher plane, they may, for the same reason, be compelled to use drugs.
They deny that drugs, per se, as taken into the human system, have any power.
Christian Science divests material drugs of their imaginary power. . . . The uselessness of drugs, the emptiness of knowledge, the nothingness of matter and its imaginary laws, are apparent as we rise from the rubbish of belief to the acquisition and demonstration of spiritual xinderstanding. . . . When the sick recover by the use of drugs, it is the law of a general belief, culminating in individual faith that heals, and according to this faith will the effect be.—Eddy.
Surely the mind needs healing that could invent the following absurdity:
The not uncommon notion that drugs possess absolute, inherent curative virtues of their own involves an error. Arnica, quinine, opium, could not produce the effects ascribed to them except by imputed virtue. Men think they will act thus on the physical system, consequently they do. The property of alcohol is to intoxicate; but if the common thought had endowed it simply with a nourishing quality like milk, it would produce a similar effect. A curious question arises about the origin of healing virtues, if it be admitted that all drugs were originally destitute of them. We can conceive of a time in the mental history of the nice when no therapeutic value was assigned to certain drugs, when, in fact, it was not known that they possessed any. How did it come to pass that common thought, or any thought, endowed them with healing virtue, in the first placet Simply in this way: Man finding himself unprotected, and liable to be hurt by the elements in the midst of which he lived, forgot the true source of healing, and began to seek earnestly for material remedies for disease and wounds. The desire for something led to experiments; and with each trial there was associated the hope that the means applied would prove efficacious. Then what was at first an earnest hope came at length to be a belief; and thus, by gradual steps, a belief in the contents of the entire pharmacopoeia was established.— Marstoh.
It is true that in many cases the effect of a medicine is to be attributed entirely to the imagination, or to the belief that it will have such and such effects; but the statement of such extreme positions as these shows the irrationality of the theories upon which they are based. According to the above, if it were generally believed that alcohol were unintoxicating, nourishing, and bland as milk, it would be an excellent article with which to nourish infants; and, on the other hand, if it were generally believed that milk were intoxicating, all the influences of alcohol would be produced upon those who drank it. If the public could only be educated to believe alcohol to be nourishing, the entire mammalian genus might be nursing their offspring upon alcohol with equally good results. No insane asylum can furnish a more transparent delusion.
That drugs produce effects upon animals has been demonstrated beyond the possibility of contradiction, and that, when the animals did not know that they were taking drugs; and small doses have produced not the slightest effect, while large doses — the animals in each case not knowing that they were taking medicines—have produced great effect, and do so with uniformity. Also the effect of medicines upon idiots and unconscious infants is capable of exact demonstration.
Allied to the effect of drugs is that of poisons, almost every drug having the effect of a poison if taken in excess. Some poisons, however, are of such nature that the smallest possible dose may be attended with fatal results. In the case of animals, poisons introduced into the system without the knowledge of the animals do their work effectually. Strychnine carefully introduced into a piece of meat so small that a cat will swallow it whole, will in a very short time show its effects. The instinct of the animal will cause its rejection if there be the slightest possibility of perceiving it; but if sufficient means be taken to keep the animal from knowing that it is taking anything except meat, it will swallow the meat, and the poison will do its work.