A comparison of the
contemporary scene with the standard that Mary Baker
Eddy established for her work, and for her own identity as the discoverer and
founder of Christian Science.
What am I saying?
I am saying, that as a mental scientist one needs to be careful of what one takes into ones consciousness. This means that one requires a standard for ones use against which one can judge the value of the many new Christian Science philosophies and scientific treaties that are presented to society. Indeed, I require such a standard against which to judge my own work, or have it so judged by others.
I have been asked by several people to evaluate some of the many new Christian Science philosophies. While it is not my intention to render a judgment, which belongs into the domain of an individual's responsibility, it is scientifically possible, even essential, to recognize for myself the standard that Mary Baker Eddy has recognized for her work and by which she judged herself by.
In this context it becomes possible to make exploratory comparisons between that standard in my experience, and the new philosophies and sciences, in order to determine for myself what I can embrace, and what I find questionable. Naturally, as a researcher, I have been asked whether or not I embrace some of the new scientific and philosophical work that is being presented in modern times in connection with Christian Science, especially those that appear to be presently at the leading edge of this trend. My answer is that I cannot embrace them for very specific reasons. I will explain those reasons as a statement of my personal recognition.
But first, let's explore the standard that I recognize for myself.
Mary Baker Eddy understood the existence of three types of spiritual science, each of which fulfills a unique function. Each of these she understood to be at the same level, the highest level perceivable, the level of a divine revelation.
These three types of spiritual science are:
1. The Science of the Christ, or Christ Science.
2. Christian Science, which Mary Baker Eddy described as the final revelation of the absolute divine Principle of Christian healing.
3. Divine Science, which she says is the promised Comforter that brings us into all truth.
Every one of these is recognized by Mary Baker Eddy to be at the same level, the level of a divine revelation. This means that they are functional, complete and eternal, requiring no substitute. My recognition of Mary Baker Eddy must therefore be based, clearly and consciously, on the fact that her discovery of Christian Science is a divine revelation that is complete. Nothing can be added to it, to augment its completeness. I cannot assume that God's self-revelation cannot be anything but complete.
Mary Baker Eddy uses the term, Christ Science, sparingly to denote the divine original. She said that she discovered the Christ Science and named her discovery Christian Science (S&H p.107). Other references are found in Miscellaneous Writings p. 176 and and Miscellany p. 238 by Mary Baker Eddy. These references put her perception of Christian Science squarely on the level of a divine revelation.
I must also recognize the same for what she termed Divine Science, the divine Comforter (S&H p. 55). She clearly associates the term, divine Science, in metaphor, with the numerous structures that she has created for the development in human thought of a scientific and spiritual understanding of Christian Science, all of which she has founded on the metaphor of the city foursquare.
What she has founded on the biblical metaphor of the city foursquare (Rev. 21) is a vast array of structures which gently develop the individual comprehension of Christian Science. If one considers their enormous scope and completeness and the gentle way in which they are designed to uplift thought, through scientific spiritual development, one cannot help but acknowledge their divine origin. Nothing exists anywhere, that I know of, that resembles even closely what Mary Baker Eddy has founded in this context.
Now, I need to compare this standard in my experience to what some of the leading Christian Science philosophers state as the leading edge perception of today, and what this perception would mean to me if I were to embrace it as a foundation for my work. Would I be satisfied with it? What effect would this have on me? This is the kind of question that I must always ask myself about my own work, and about the leading edge perception in the world at large. So, what is it that I do see, that some of my friends are concerned about?
I find in one of the leading new Christian Science philosophies, as an example, four levels of science presented for consideration, which are labeled hierarchically and include divine Science, Christian Science, absolute Christian Science, and Science itself. The latter being at the very top.
My experience has been that this kind of hierarchical rendering of divine Science and Christian Science, etc., introduces into my thinking a functional denial of the absolute divine nature of the Christ Science, Christian Science, and Divine Science, as divine revelations. In a technical sense, it introduces a hierarchical judgment of the self-revelation of God to humanity through the 'offices' of Christ Jesus and Mary Baker Eddy, and of course every human being as well. In my experience, this kind of hierarchical thinking has been detrimental to Christian Science healing.
But this is only the beginning of the great loss I would incur of the structures of divine Science that Mary Baker Eddy has provisioned for my scientific and spiritual development. If I were to perceive the city foursquare in terms of a hierarchical ranking of divinely ordained sciences, instead of a ranking in human perception as outlined by Mary Baker Eddy in Science and Health on page 115, I would loose that wonderful perception she has developed of the main cardinal points that she cared about (see illustration).
If I were to loose that, a whole chain reaction of losses would begin to unfold. I would necessarily loose the significance of the four rivers as development streams that all represent the four cardinal points in their development processes (see illustration). I would of course loose also the profound significance of all the structures that Mary Baker Eddy has provided in a manner that uniquely matches this interrelationship between the rivers and the cardinal points (see illustration).
This would also mean that I would loose this wonderful interrelationship of these structures to the Christian Science Bible Lessons (see illustration A and illustration B). I would even loose the significance of the vast structure of the scientific interrelationship of the 144 Glossary definitions that Mary Baker Eddy has provided for her city foursquare (see illustration). The loss would be immensely great. This would have to a part my answer to those would ask me why I cannot embrace all the various modern Christian Science philosophies and hierarchical concepts.
Another reason is, that the hierarchical ordering of a divine revelation, in my experience, involves the denial of the absolute nature of a divine revelation, including my perception of its therefore necessary completeness. A hierarchical rendering of an absolute, like Mary Baker Eddy's discovery that she called Christian Science, would completely change my perception of it. It would put into doubt her very statement about it:
In my estimation there is no ranking possible for something that is clearly of divine origin, as if it were a human invention. I cannot allow myself anymore to accept such a ranking. The hierarchical presentation of divine Science, and Christian Science, that I find in modern thinking, in respect to divine revelations, would shift the status of these revelations away from their real nature as a divine absolute. In such a ranking process, either the divine status of these revelations would be put out of sight, or our perception of God would be subjected to hierarchical rendering, which is a concept that I cannot accept.
As an individual scientist, I must defend my perception against the temptations to perceive a hierarchical rendering of divine revelations. In my experience, Christ healing depends on the clear recognition of the divine as absolute, and its revealed manifestation in the same context. This perception of the divine absolute was Christ Jesus' authority for healing. "As I see the father do, so do I." Didn't he say something like that?
Mary Baker Eddy said the same thing herself, in many ways. Her own testimonies of healing illustrate this.
If these are examples for me to follow, then I, as an individual working in the field, have to reach up to the same level of the absolute divine authority that Mary Baker Eddy recognized for herself by recognizing the divine nature of her revelation. Mary Baker Eddy's perception of Christian Science as a divine revelation clearly gives her that authority in healing that she so amply exercised.
This is also the authority that she finds in her work as the discoverer and founder of divine revelation. That is the authority that I must also embrace myself. Therefore the divine nature of her work must remain intact in my perception, and I must protect this perception with all the alertness that I can muster.
The hierarchical presentation of the four levels of science noted above, puts in this particular case Christian Science at the very bottom in the hierarchical order. So, I must ask myself in the above context if I can allow such a perception to enter my consciousness. It goes with out saying that I can't do that. Still, I must say gently to those whom I may disappoint with my answer, that if I were to allow myself to evaluate Christian Science in this hierarchical manner as the lowest form of science, in my experience, such a rendering would deny Christian Science as a divine revelation, which would invariably remove the authority for Christian Science healing from the field of my human perception. Obviously, I cannot allow myself to do this. If this recognition creates a disappointment among my friends, I do apologize, but I can't travel that path. And why would I?
Personally, I cannot find any references in Mary Baker Eddy's work that would justify me to follow the path of the hierarchical rendering of Christian Science, which Mary Baker Eddy referred to as a divine revelation, since such hierarchical rendering presents not only Christian Science, but also the Science of the Christ, that Christian science is the discovery of, as something less than an absolute divine revelation. Wouldn't this fundamentally counter the very foundation for Christian Science healing, nut just for myself, but for all? Wouldn't it also deny the divine nature of Mary Baker Eddy's work.
Some of my friends may argue here that Mary Baker Eddy does herself employ a system of hierarchical ordering in her work. Indeed, all of her works incorporate that type of hierarchical ordering, but this ordering is always related to levels of human perception instead of to the nature of divine revelations. While she does use the term Christian Science in the context of such a hierarchical ordering, where it does indeed appear in association with the lowest level of human perception, or human thinking, or society's axiomatic assumptions, she employs this unique association to illustrate the nature of the deep penetration to the lowest levels of perversity and disease, that the divine revelation of Christian Science is capable of reaching, due to its divine potential. Indeed, this potential is something that I must never loose sight of. When Christian Science becomes more fully understood as an absolute science, astonishing breakthroughs will become possible.
Another example in which Mary Maker Eddy suggests an hierarchical presentation of science, is in association with the second row of the city foursquare related to the Christ, the original Exemplar of Christ Science. While she does not use the term science in association with the Christ in her description of the cardinal points, it appears to be implied since she does use the term Christ Science to refer to the divine original for her discovery of Christian Science. Indeed, the Christ in human consciousness, in its functioning as a gateway to truth, involves invariably a type of scientific process that reflects the omniscience of infinite Mind.
Again, the hierarchical reference that includes the term Christ in the cardinal points, does not define the nature of the the Christ Science, but its functional relevance to human thought at this level, as a gateway to truth.
In contrast to Mary Baker Eddy's association of the various types of science with different hierarchical levels of human thought, which I find logical and beautiful, the hierarchical ordering of the sciences themselves appears illogical to me. Others may disagree. As I said, in my experience, Christian Science and divine Science cannot be hierarchically ordered without me giving up their status as divine revelations. Perhaps my friends who would like to challenge me on this point should think about this deep reaching implication.
The shift in perception that is involved with this point may be small, that would be introduced into my consciousness by the hierarchical rendering of Christian Science and divine Science. It may even be barely noticeable superficially, but its implication would be huge and be fundamental to everything that Mary Baker Eddy stands for in my perception. Thus, I must say to myself: Don't go there! Don't take this route! And why should I? Are Mary Baker Eddy's provision for my self-development in understanding Christian Science not almost infinite in scope, in their divine in revelation, and certainly sufficient for my needs for all times to come? So, why would I want to deny her and look for something that in my experience doesn't measure up by the divine standard that she has established for herself, and that she clearly represents, and presented to humanity in the most ideal manner possible?
If I ask myself the above question, I find no answer why I would want to look outside of Mary Baker Eddy's wise and complete provisions for understanding Christian Science in divine Science. The very thought of wanting to go elsewhere represents a denial of the completeness of the divine revelation that Mary Baker Eddy has founded. In such a case I have to caution myself that this subtle denial destroys the foundation on which I intend to build my healing work. It also destroys my image of Mary Baker Eddy's work, by defining it as something incomplete, and thereby the image of her person as the revelator. I must be careful that I do not allow myself to do that.
Does this mean that I should not allow myself to consider the discoveries and experiences that other Christian Scientists share? No, it does not imply that. Mary Baker Eddy has created the channels of the Christian Science Sentinel and the Christian Science Journal for this purpose. In other words, she found this type of sharing valuable. However, this sharing involves the responsibility of assuring that the sharing does not involve a perversion of her work.
Officially, this responsibility has been assigned to the trustees of the Christian Science Publishing Society. In today's world, in which we find a virtual Pantheon of Christian Science philosophies unfolding, the responsibility of this determination falls upon the individual. That's an awesome responsibility, which involves a greater understanding than the individual searcher for the truth of Christian Science healing obviously has, or is likely to have.
This situation creates a dangerous paradox for the searchers who find the wide field of new Christian Science philosophies logical, clear, and exciting, but who are unable to detect the fundamental flaws that create perversions of Mary Baker Eddy's work in the minds of the searcher. It appears to me that the searcher for truth is not served in this manner, but is exposed to errors and uncertainty that could potentially lead to confusion and frustration.
But how can today's philosophical diversity be addressed and corrected? The answer is really quite simple, by uplifting society's standard to Mary Baker Eddy's standard. Most modern Christian Science philosophies are build around a few tiny fragments of Mary Baker Eddy's work, which then become elevated to a new religion. Society seeks out the new philosophies because they appear brighter and richer than the old dogmas and practices that have become stale and lifeless, and overburdened with irrelevant concerns. Even some of the new philosophies trend that way, because there is very little in them in comparison to the richest that Mary Baker Eddy really had to offer, which by there very nature are inexhaustible. Most Christian Science philosophers of today are like guest at a great banquet table, loaded with the finest food, who, with their eyes closed claim but a few crumbs of the abundance that they refuse to see, who then stand up and make eloquent speeches about the wonders of the delicious meal they had had.
To my knowledge, the earliest of the new Christian Science philosophies was put forward by John Doorly, a Christian Science teacher in London England in the 1940s, who had discovered a tiny bit of the vast structures that Mary Baker Eddy had created. And John Doorly's work was remarkable as a first step, and still is remarkable for its historic significance. Nevertheless, it is similarly flawed as the modern philosophies, in my experience.
The great significance of John Doorly's work is that he discovered something of Mary Baker Eddy's vast structures of divine Science, as early as the 1940s, by recognizing that there exists a relationship between the chapters of the Christian Science textbook and the city foursquare. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, evidently under horrendous pressure, after having discovered but a tiny bit of what Mary Baker Eddy has provided, he stopped the further development of the discovery process. This happened almost sixty years ago. Had the work been carried forward that he had started, he would have recognized that the Christian Science textbook is organized in a developmental sequence and needs to be applied to the foursquare matrix in that manner. Instead, he applied it in an inverse relationship which evidently seemed appropriate at this particular stage of a largely incomplete perception.
Of course, John Doorly's work, although it is fundamentally flawed by reason of its incompleteness, is not useless, since it is the very nature of Mary Baker Eddy's development structures to cause one to always question one's perception and to search for the truth, and thus to reach higher.
As a researcher, I value John Doorly's work with the clear recognition that it represents the first faint historic discovery of a small fraction of Mary Baker Eddy's vast structures of divine Science. In this historic context, John Doorly's work is greatly significant. Though it is incomplete by a large measure, and therefore flawed in its specific presentations, it marks a significant historic milestone in the unfolding of the public recognition of what Mary Baker Eddy called the new Comforter, Divine Science.
What does it all mean?
It means to me, that while I cannot personally embrace the work of the work of the modern philosophers of Christian Science, their work is nevertheless significant to me. Their work forces me to revitalize my gratitude for the completeness of Mary Baker Eddy's work, which I recognize thereby to be still light years ahead of the very best philosophic interpretations that society has so far been able to render. What I see also forces me to revitalize my gratitude for Mary Baker Eddy's genius that played a large part in the conveyance of the divine revelation to humanity. What Mary Baker Eddy has founded in terms of her structures of divine Science was so far out of this world in comparison to the scientific conceptual capabilities of her time that it would take humanity fifty years to discover just a tiny fraction of it, by the efforts of John Doorly. And even today, nothing more than this tiny fraction is generally recognized to exist.
That's a sad record for a hundred years of scientific and spiritual development in Christian Science. In other words, what Mary Baker Eddy has presented is the work of a genius so profound, that is even today still far in advance of the perceptions of all the leading scientists and philosophers in our modern age.
The bottom line is, that Mary Baker Eddy remains to this very day no only unequaled and unsurpassed, but not even recognized in what she had achieved and represents. The ironic fact is that she is revered and honored while she is not recognized for her achievements by her most sincerely professed supporters. Thus, we find her greatest tribute as a discoverer and scientist for all ages, yet to come.
It is the natural outcome of the general lack of a correct perception of her work, that the greatness of Mary Baker Eddy and her work are virtually unrecognized in society today. And how could this be otherwise if a complete and correct recognition of her work does not even exist in any significant measure within the Christian Science church, the Christian Science field, and the field of society's philosophers and scientific researchers devoted to Christian Science.
Still, as an individual person in the field of Christian Science healing, the full recognition of her work as a complete and sufficient divine revelation is an essential foundation for ones work to proceed. Fortunately, nothing stands in the way that would prevent one from establishing that foundation in consciousness if the proper care is devoted to this task. This fact is greatly encouraging, because the healing work that Mary Baker Eddy has pioneered personally could not have been achieved on any lesser foundation. Neither can ours. Only on the basis of that recognition, of that foundation on which she stood, can we begin to recognize her profound healing work not as a body of miracles of a distant past, but as a model for the kinds of achievements that she bids us to emulate.
Rolf Witzsche, researcher.
(c) copyright 2002, Cygni Communications Ltd., North Vancouver, Canada