Einstein & Christian Science

264971_700bChristian Science enjoys associating itself with famous people, great thinkers, and Albert Einstein. Einstein fits both aforementioned categories nicely, and what better way to give some merit to Ms. Eddy’s claims than to say one of the greatest minds of the twentieth century was somehow involved, intrigued, or interested in it.

The Researchers at the Mary Baker Eddy Library very diplomatically state that:

Much of the evidence of Einstein’s interest in Christian Science has proven unreliable or based on sources that can’t be verified. However, there is certainly evidence to suggest that Einstein had some interest in Christian Science. (1)

So yes, much of the evidence is unreliable, but of course Einstein was interested in Christian Science. The Library is careful to reason through anecdotal evidence and provide proper footnotes, including the oft-cited paper by William S. Cooper, Professor Emeritus University of California, Berkeley, On Albert Einstein’s Interest In The Metaphysics Of Mary Baker Eddy, (2)

Cooper’s paper is worth reading, in addition to citing anecdotal evidence — apparently Einstein attended a Christian Science lecture, he states

So far as I have been able to discover, Einstein never commented in writing on Eddy’s metaphysics, and in conversation spoke about it only in generalities.[16]

As far as Cooper can tell, Einstein never addressed Christian Science directly. A bit further down, Cooper concludes

… Eddy’s metaphysical system stands in general sympathy with his stated reservations about popular religious thought, concerns itself with the derivative character of matter, and shares some ground with some of his favorite philosophers. (emphasis mine)

Christian Science shares some parallel ideas with some of Einstein’s favorite philosophers. Given Ms. Eddy’s propensity to liberally borrow from various philosophical and religious dogmas I can hardly claim to be surprised.

Further Reading:

  1.  http://www.marybakereddylibrary.org/research/einstein
  2. https://docs.google.com/document/pub?id=1SePVIC-mFMAGJtzElow5B8K-Wbe9bKo4cj5h3XZLoG8

image via http://d24w6bsrhbeh9d.cloudfront.net/photo/264971_700b.jpg


3 thoughts on “Einstein & Christian Science

  1. Bill Sweet says:

    More could have been done to shore-up the interest of Dr. Einstein to some of Mary Baker Eddy’s ideas. For example, I know of a mention that Einstein made about “The Scientific Statement of Being.” The problem is, the instance was so covered in secrecy that today it is undocumented. And it would seem the secrecy was on purpose. Why is that?

    The Quakers are outgoing about Albert Einstein’s interest in their religion. Christian Scientists are secretive about celebrities who show an interest in Christian Science. They say, “Don’t tell anybody. You’ll malpractice it.”

    The subject of secrecy is a reason Christian Science is falling apart. On the one hand, it says it’s a science. On the other hand, it has all these secrets. Secrets lead to one destination; oblivion. That is why one practitioner in Chicago wrote a book called “Christian Science Class Instruction.” He knew if secrets went on, they would all be lost. So he bravely wrote a book. Dr. John Tutt, who has a lot to be respected, had all his fifty Association Addresses destroyed, so no one could see them obviously. That is nuts.

    There are just a few reliable connections to Einstein out there in the documentation arena which have avoided the secrecy curse. I suppose a few references are better than none.

    I can recall numerous times, after sharing something with a fellow Christian Scientist, I was advised to keep what I said to myself. In other words, keep it a secret. How strange.

    • kat @ kindism says:

      I agree, if it is a science it should have demonstrable, repeatable results. If it works as well as Christian Scientists claim it does, they should not be afraid to prove it in truly documented way — beyond the “healings” and “testimonies” shared in their periodicals, but that is impossible, because the very act of going to a doctor would prejudice the outcome! The Malicious Animal Magnetism and Aggressive Mental Suggestion of the diagnosis of whatever could influence the end result and undermine Christian Science (oh noes!). I find that this paranoia undermines Christian Science all on it’s own, if an errant thought can derail the entire process does it really work? I think not.

      • Bill Sweet says:

        I understand where you are coming from and agree (I think) with much of your reply.
        I have met several MDs who have become interested in Christian Science, three of whom joined. One became a practitioner and was the first practitioner our family met with when we got into Christian Science while I was in high school. I write about that time in my book.

        I am sure that my experiences in Christian Science, especially early on, were quite different than the horror stories and strict religious rules that most other students have experienced. I have had people tell me that they didn’t recognize Christian Science very much in what I told them of my upbringing.

        The real trouble in CS has been a conservative attitude about almost every subject. It’s not a surprise that the liberals in the church who worked for “The Christian Science Monitor,” which tried to make news stories fair and balanced, have been rebuffed by most Christian Scientists who feel the end-result was that the newspaper was too liberal. Try open-mined in place of liberal please. Again, it was the conservatism that sunk the Monitor by Christian Scientists not supporting the newspaper more. It was this reason over other reasons that sunk the Monitor (I have been told) and I accept that explanation.

        The natural science element to Christian Science has largely been ignored. It’s sad since it’s in the scientific area, not the religion area, that Christian Science could have thrived. The best and brightest minds in science and religion had left or petered out of Christian Science when the conservatism of religion became the dominate force over a balance of being a Christian and being a Scientist.

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