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Christian Science

Christian Science

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Spiritualism. The religious imagination of Americans had never been contained fully by inherited or orthodox religious organizations and dogmas. Throughout the nineteenth century many popular religious movements crystallized around new leaders and ideas. Spiritualism, for example, appealed powerfully throughout the nineteenth century to many Americans, even though it was widely condemned by established Christian denominations. Spiritualism maintained that the spirit was the prime element of reality and that spirits of the dead could communicate with the living, usually through a medium. It cut across denominational and religious lines, in part because it offered relief for many people yearning for contact with dead relations, often either children or other relatives killed in the Civil War.

Eddy. Interest in Spiritualism was often particularly strong among women. One of the most famous female religious thinkers was Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian Science. Eddy, a native of New Hampshire, experienced the intense sense of loss felt by many New Englanders as Calvinism declined as the central force that gave the regions dominant culture its meaning and direction. Throughout her early life, like many middle-class Victorian women, Eddy suffered chronic, debilitating, and unexplained ailments and turned to religion for comfort. In 1862 she experienced a dramatic mind cure at the hands of an itinerant healer and mesmerist. Phineas Parkhurst Quimby strongly influenced Eddy, suggesting that all disease and suffering originated in mental phenomena and could be resolved without medicine. He also used a vocabulary that included the phrases Christian science and science of health. Soon after Quimby died in 1866, Eddy underwent a powerful spiritual experience. After a wrenching fall on ice, Eddy cured her injured back by mobilizing her spirit and the mind. Over the next several years she worked to reinterpret Quimbys teachings in terms of Christian language and correlated them with biblical teachings. She developed a distinctive religious argument, which she believed was both an act of human discovery and a divine revelation. She taught that God constituted all reality, and that all reality was ultimately spiritual. Human regeneration came from recognizing that the empirical evidence of the material world was an illusion and by subsequently allowing God through Christ to transform ones being. This recognition of the illusory character of the material world also led to physical health without resorting to doctors or conventional medicine. Eddy held her first public religious service in her home in Lynn, Massachusetts in 1875. She published the first edition of Science and Health the same year (later she would add the subtitle With a Key to the Scriptures). Eddy incorporated the Christian Scientists Association in 1876 and the Church of Christ, Scientist in 1879. Over the next several decades, Eddy led the church from a small band into a sophisticated international organization that claimed one hundred thousand members at the time of her death in 1910.

Sources

Stephen Gottschalk, The Emergence of Christian Science in American Religious Life (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1973);

Robert Peel, Mary Baker Eddy: The Years of Discovery (New York: Holt, Rinehart 6c Winston, 1996);

Peel, Mary Baker Eddy: The Years of Trial (New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1971).

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Christian Science

Christian Science, religion founded upon principles of divine healing and laws expressed in the acts and sayings of Jesus, as discovered and set forth by Mary Baker Eddy and practiced by the Church of Christ, Scientist. The church teaches that God is good and the only reality, and that sin, evil, and illness are overcome on the basis of this understanding. Adherents rely on spiritual, rather than medical or material, means for healing. The occasion of Mary Baker Eddy's discovery of divine healing was her immediate recovery of life and health when in 1866 she read an account of healing by Jesus in the New Testament. In 1875 her Science and Health (later published as Science and Health, with Key to the Scriptures) was published. In 1879 she established the Church of Christ, Scientist. In Boston in 1892 was organized the First Church of Christ, Scientist—the Mother Church, of which Christian Science churches throughout the world are branches. Each individual church is self-governing and self-supporting, but all accept the tenets framed by the founder and incorporated in the Church Manual. Upon Eddy's death in 1910, the administrative power was assumed, as laid down in the Manual, by the Christian Science Board of Directors. An extremely active organization, the board enabled Christian Science to grow steadily in numbers and scope of activity during the first third of the 20th cent. Of the numerous publications the church issues, the most important include the Christian Science Monitor, a daily newspaper; the Christian Science Quarterly; the Christian Science Sentinel; and the Christian Science Journal. These are published by the Christian Science Publishing Society. Other activities are conducted by a board of education and a board of lectureship. The churches have no individual pastors. Services are conducted by two readers, one reading from the Scriptures, the other from Science and Health. All churches use the same lessons at the same time. The teachings are drawn from the life and words of Jesus. Although most Christian Scientists are in the United States, the religion is found in 70 countries with large Protestant populations. A great percentage of its adherents are women.

See R. Peel, Christian Science (1958); S. Gottschalk, The Emergence of Christian Science in American Religious Life (1973); C. Fraser, God's Perfect Child: Living and Dying in the Christian Science Church (1999).

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"Christian Science." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Christian Science." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved August 16, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/christian-science

Christian Science

Christian Science. The Church of Christ (Scientist) was founded by Mary Baker Eddy (1821–1910). She had been a semi-invalid who, in 1862, began to learn from Phineas Quimby the possibility of cures without medicine. In 1866 (the year in which Quimby died), she claimed a cure from a severe injury (after a fall on ice) without the intervention of medicine. She devoted herself to the recovery of the healing emphasis in early Christianity, and in 1875 she completed the 1st edn. of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. In 1879, the Church of Christ (Scientist) was incorporated with the purpose of ‘commemorating the word and works of our Master’. She became chief pastor of the Mother Church, and wrote The Manual of the Mother Church to govern its affairs.

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"Christian Science." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Christian Science." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. . Retrieved August 16, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/christian-science

Christian Science

Christian Science (officially Church of Christ Scientist) Religious sect founded in 1879 by Mary Baker Eddy, and based on her book Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures. Its followers believe that physical illness and moral problems can only be cured by spiritual and mental activity. They refuse medical treatment. Divine Mind is used as a synonym for God. Each human being is regarded as a complete and flawless manifestation of God.

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"Christian Science." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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Christian Science

Chris·tian Sci·ence • n. the beliefs and practices of the Church of Christ Scientist, a Christian sect founded by Mary Baker Eddy in 1879. Members hold that only God and the mind have ultimate reality, and that sin and illness are illusions that can be overcome by prayer and faith. DERIVATIVES: Chris·tian Sci·en·tist n.

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"Christian Science." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Christian Science." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 16, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/christian-science

"Christian Science." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved August 16, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/christian-science

Christian Science

CHRISTIAN SCIENCE

CHRISTIAN SCIENCE. SeeChurch of Christ, Scientist .

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"Christian Science." Dictionary of American History. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Christian Science." Dictionary of American History. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 16, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/christian-science

"Christian Science." Dictionary of American History. . Retrieved August 16, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/christian-science