Don’t miss Easter’s real meaning

April 12th, 2009

For me on this holy weekend, the contrast couldn’t be more stark between our Catholic parish’s moving Easter Vigil liturgy and what I remember of Easter as a Christian Scientist. Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh, suffered on the cross and rose from the dead to redeem us from sin and death. But in Christian Science, it’s the Christ Ideal we’ve always had with us. The man Jesus wasn’t (and isn’t) all that important. Nor was he God!

The Christian Science “Scientific Statement of Being” closes with “..for man is not material, he is spiritual.” After completing a four year scriptural study, I can put this statement in context: it exemplifies age old heresies of Greek Gnosticism and Aryanism! “Matter bad, spirit good! Jesus not divine! We must rise above matter and become spiritual!” (Thus, a glorified resurrected body is something undesirable!)

More than likely, this misconception is the root cause instances I’ve seen where Christian Science women cut off their husbands sexually, turning households into war zones. Rather than marriage being a sacrament, with the love of the husband and wife mirroring the love that Christ has for his church, it is something to be overcome. To quote from Science and Health (p. 534):

“ Hence she is first to abandon the belief in the material origin of man and to discern spiritual creation. This hereafter enabled woman to be the mother of Jesus and to behold at the sepulchre the risen Saviour, who was soon to manifest the deathless man of God’s creating. This enabled woman to be first to interpret the Scriptures in their true sense, which reveals the spiritual origin of man. “

The above passage has led to the conviction by the matrons who run the Christian Science Church that men are somehow spiritually handicapped and not even necessary. Men die young in the Christian Science Church. In my past days as a Reading Room attendant, I remember noting the absence of men and fathers in most of the books. Advertisements in the Sentinel proclaimed “I was a single mother, and then I found Science and Health”. Thus, this “man” Jesus has to be disposed of somehow. The solution: a “Christ Ideal” which dispenses with the incarnation of traditional Christianity and finesses around a divine man!

Historically, Gnosticism took probably 500 years to peter out as a major threat to the Church. Christian Science is maybe 125 years old, but it too is dying. Twenty years ago, the average age of all Christian Scientists appeared to be in the late fifties. What is it now?

I can only remember the cavernous empty Christian Science churches with a sprinkling of blue-haired crones and compare that with our dynamic parish, flooded with young families and hundreds of children.

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