The following was submitted by “Joanna” via email.
Christian Scientists profess to use logic in their religion. But they really don’t like it when you point out lapses in their logic. One lady, a very dear lady much older than myself but whom I considered a friend, struggled with eye problems while serving as first reader. Her Teacher, (her CS teacher – a disgusting, arrogant woman in the next city) also had employed her to work for her a few hours a week doing secretarial work. But when the eye doctor strongly recommended medicated drops for the glaucoma, the teacher fired my friend. She also strong-armed my friend into resigning her post as first reader. In my opinion, since the teacher didn’t belong to our church, this was none of her business — not to mention unconscionably unfair to fire her from her job and lay her with a heavy guilt trip. This whole situation was rife with contradictions, but nobody seemed to see them. First of all, it was “okay” for my friend to see an eye doctor, but not “okay” to take the recommended treatment in order to avoid blindness.
Enter some Logic from stage left:
I asked my friend, “What if a CSist had a financial problem, or a legal problem. Would it be counted as a CS healing if the problem were resolved through prayer?”
“Would it still be okay for the CSist to get help from a lawyer or an accountant without any shame or guilt?”
It’s okay to get help from lawyers, accountants, financial advisors, mechanics, teachers, dog trainers, landscapers, journalists, antique dealers, neighbors, tech support, librarians, gas station attendants, taxi drivers, real estate agents, bus boys and the mailman. Any problem that is solved with the help of any other professional can be counted as a CS healing if you stand up and say you prayed about it.
“Then why is going to an eye doctor about glaucoma any different?”
“Oh. Um.” There was no answer for this. Too much logic! Stop with the logic already!
I asked my friend, “Why did your teacher make you quit as reader?”
It was because she had resorted to medical treatment for glaucoma.
I asked her, “Was there a practitioner on the case?”
“Yes.” The practitioner was (guess who) the teacher. (I already knew this.)
“So,” I said, “the case was considered to be a failure?”
That was why there was a lot of shame and humiliation heaped around. My friend valued her vision more highly than her secretarial job with the Queen of Arro Gance. How dare she.
“Then,” I asked her, “if there was a practitioner on the case, why is the failure not attributed to the practitioner? It was the practitioner’s case, and if guilt, blame and humiliation are going to be dealt out, they should all go in the direction of your teacher.”
“Oh!” She had never thought of it that way. And of course, I was wrong, I was dead wrong. She resigned from her tasks as reader, and continued to revere the teacher, but from a new, lower level of abasement and self-loathing.
And this is the way it always was. Any physical problem you might have that was not “resolved through prayer” was a source of shame. I remember asking my mom once, what happened to Mrs. So-and-So; I hadn’t seen her in church for a few weeks. My mom told me that Mrs. So-and-So had developed a limp, so she didn’t want to be seen in church. What kind of church is this, that shames people for having a knee problem, or for limping, or for just getting old? Disgusting.