Some thoughts on “Why I Am Not A Christian Scientist” by Rev. Evans

Some highlights from and thoughts on “Why I Am Not A Christian Scientist” By Rev. William Evans, D. D. Director Bible Course, The Moody Bible Institute of Chicago. Full text available from Archive.org, full link below.


I appreciate that Rev. Evans opens with the well-acknowledged (at least in former-CS circles) fact that

  • The Christian Scientist is forbidden to read books that speak against that cult; he is told he must not argue with any one, even those who are of the closest kinship, if they manifest opposition to the teachings of Christian Science; the doubts that arise in his mind must not be expressed to any one save his teacher; individual thinking and opinion is discouraged; in point of fact, the only books he is encouraged to read are those which are sent out by the Christian Science publishing house in Boston. (p. 4-5, emphasis mine)

Rev. Evans lists several reasons for why he is not a Christian Scientist, several of these are well-worn arguments:

  1. I AM NOT A CHRISTIAN SCIENTIST BECAUSE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE IS NOT SCIENTIFIC. — yes, yes, we know.
  2. I AM NOT A CHRISTIAN SCIENTIST BECAUSE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE IS NOT CHRISTIAN. — the arguments he uses are interesting, and if you’re concerned about the Christian (or lack of Christian) points in Christian Science, this section is well worth reading.
  3. I AM NOT A CHRISTIAN SCIENTIST BECAUSE OF ITS WRONG ATTITUDE TOWARDS THE BIBLE. — clearly the Rev. Evan’s audience is God-fearing Protestants, I’m sure he’d find my attitude towards the bible “wrong” as well.
  4. I AM NOT A CHRISTIAN SCIENTIST BECAUSE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE IS A FOE TO THE HOME. — this is an argument I have not heard before, and the one I will focus on.

In this fourth example, “Christian Science is a foe to the home” Rev. Evans cites two examples: the first being a family with an invalid sister — in the Loving Christian Family, the brothers help her, but in a Christian Science setting the poor woman is suffering under a false belief and it is her own doing.

  • Let Christian Science enter that home, and it asserts at once that the sister is not sick — she is suffering from a delusion. She is, therefore, to blame, and all these tender ministries of love are changed into the acidities of criticism and rebuke, silent, if not expressed.

Rev. Evans should probably stop here. The blame-the-sick-person trope is played out time and time again in Christian Science communities: nominal worshipers are not welcome, gas-lighting under the guise of “helping them know the truth” is common. There may be lip-service as to the “right use of temporary means” but Ms. Eddy is also clear that these “temporary means” usually bring about more suffering before the patient comes around to realizing that Christian Science is the One True Solution.

The second part of “foe to the home” argument is Rev. Evan’s decidedly 1900s privileged male views on marriage and motherhood. I have rather mixed feelings about this. I am both married and a mother, and I find myself disagreeing with both Rev. Evans and Ms. Eddy’s perspectives on both (although I agree slightly more with Ms. Eddy). Rev. Evans begins on p. 31, and starts by liberally quoting Science and Health, before moving on to Ms. Eddy’s less often read work, Miscellaneous Writings.

Christian Science Virtually Denies the Need and 
Dignity of Marriage and Motherhood. 

"Did God at first create man unaided — that is, Adam, — 
but afterwards require the union of the two sexes in order 
to create the rest of the human family? No!" (S. & //., 
pp. 531, 532, 1909). "Generation does not rest on sexual 
basis at all" according to Christian Science. 

"To abolish marriage at this period and maintain mor- 
ality and generation would put Ingenuity to ludicrous 
shifts; yet this is possible In Science, (meaning, of course, 
Christian Science), although it is today problematic." 

Being totally wrong about where babies come from aside, I’m going to stop Rev. Evans here, and remind him of what Ms. Eddy says in Science and Health, about the formation of mortals, which, to be fair to the good Rev. gets quite convoluted quite quickly. Ms. Eddy is not trying to abolish marriage — at least not yet.

"In Miscellaneous Writings, p. 288, the question is asked, 
'Is marriage nearer right than celibacy?' The answer is 
given, 'Human knowledge inculcates that it is, but Chris- 
tian Science indicates that it is not.' " 

For the curious, the full passage from p. 288-9:

Is marriage nearer right than celibacy?

Human knowledge inculcates that it is, while Science indicates that it is not. But to force the consciousness of scientific being before it is understood is impossible, and believing otherwise would prevent scientific demonstration. To reckon the universal cost and gain, as well as thine own, is right in every state and stage of being. The selfish rôle of a martyr is the shift of a dishonest mind, nothing short of self-seeking; and real suffering would stop the farce.

All partnerships are formed on agreements to certain compacts: each party voluntarily surrenders independent action to act as a whole and per agreement. This fact should be duly considered when by the marriage contract two are made one, and, according to the divine precept, “they twain shall be one flesh.” Oneness in spirit is Science, compatible with home and heaven. Neither divine justice nor human equity has divorced two minds in one.

I can see where Rev. Evans is drawing his conclusions, but I read this as more of a cautious warning from a thrice-married, twice-widowed woman: be careful what you’re getting yourself into. Evans’ continues:

These statements show where Christian Science stands 
with regard to the question of marriage. It shows that in 
the mind of the Christian Scientist celibacy, or the unmarried 
state, is nearer right than the married state. It is true that 
Christian Science does not openly forbid marriage, but who- 
ever heard of a marriage taking place in a Christian Science 
church, and performed by Christian Science readers or 
ministers? Such facts as these ought to make those of us 
who have the moral welfare of our nation at heart pause 
and think, if not shudder!

I’m sure Rev. Evans has read 1 Corinthians, that’s a requirement to be a Reverend right? Ms. Eddy’s view of marriage and children is not unlike that of Paul, in 1 Corinthians 7: verses 8-9, and again in verses 25-40.

Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion. (1 Corinthians 7:8-9).

There seems to be a bit of suffer it to be so now in both Ms. Eddy and Paul’s perspective. Both see marriage as distraction from the spiritual path, but if you must be with a woman (or man), and you must have children (although Ms. Eddy seems unclear on where babies come from… Generation does not rest on sexual basis at all), being married is the appropriate way to go about it.

I’m not sure what choosing not to be married has to do with “the moral welfare of our nation” — the unmarried Christian Scientists are choosing a life of celibacy, I see this as no different than monks or nuns opting to devote their lives to God, but instead of being cloistered away in a monastery, these Christian Scientists are going about their day-to-day lives.

The good Rev. Evans then moves on to Ms. Eddy’s perspective on Motherhood. I’m going to start with saying I’m not sure I’d take Ms. Eddy’s advice on marriage (even if she was married three times), where babies come from, or how they come into the world, but I also take issue with the Rev. Evan’s perspective:

Motherhood is not, according to Christian Science, the 
highest badge of womanhood. In Miscellaneous Writings, 
p. 289, we have these words: "Human nature has be- 
stowed on a wife the right to become a mother, but if the 
wife esteems not this a privilege . . . she may win a 
higher." What is that higher? ... to become a wife 
and not a mother? Thus motherhood is to be avoided; it 
is to be put in the category of that which is below a 
woman's highest and noblest function. This is the Chris- 
tian Science idea of the marriage relation. May we be pre- 
served from such a doctrine as this! It reminds us of the 
heresy foretold by the apostle concerning those who are led 
captive by silly women, and who forbid to marry.

-- emphasis mine -

To follow Rev. Evan’s logical interpretation of Ms. Eddy’s work: remaining celibate is the highest honor, but if you must settle, than be married but don’t have children. I think what Rev. Evan’s finds most problematic is Ms. Eddy’s thought that people, including women, have a choice: a woman can choose to become a mother or not.

The larger context of Ms. Eddy’s quote makes this slightly more clear:

Rights that are bargained away must not be retaken by the contractors, except by mutual consent. Human nature has bestowed on a wife the right to become a mother; but if the wife esteems not this privilege, by mutual consent, exalted and increased affections, she may win a higher. Science touches the conjugal question on the basis of a bill of rights. Can the bill of conjugal rights be fairly stated by a magistrate, or by a minister? Mutual interests and affections are the spirit of these rights, and they should be consulted, augmented, and allowed to rise to the spiritual altitude whence they can choose only good.

Mutual consent must be a foreign concept to Rev. Evans. I’m fairly sure Ms. Eddy is not referring to fun-sexy-time when she talks about “exalted and increased affections,” and while “allowed to rise to the spiritual altitude whence they can choose only good” does not mean Neotantra, the emphasis here is mutual, both parties must want it — regardless of what “it” is, and regardless of how much it may differ from what Rev. Evans’ thinks.

Reverend William Evans, your male privilege is showing, and while this may not have been a problem in 191.”?, I take issue with it now. What people mutually consent to do within (or without) the bonds of marriage is really none of your business.

However, as this is 191.”?, the Rev. feels entitled to weigh in on another hot-button topic that continues to have charged internet debates today: is motherhood a woman’s highest calling? (click on that embedded link, I dare you).

Ms. Eddy and the dear Rev. clearly diverge on the question is motherhood a woman’s highest calling? Rev. Evans seems to think that motherhood is a woman’s highest calling, while Ms. Eddy seems to feel woman should at least be able to consider an alternativehigher calling — an uninterrupted Relationship with God. Ms. Eddy already feels that sex, alcohol, matter, etc. all distract from this relationship, so clearly children belong on this list as well. I’m fairly certain the Reverend is Protestant, as the Catholic church has no problem with men (and women) devoting their lives to God.

I disagree with Ms. Eddy about what a woman’s highest calling being to have a Relationship with God, and I disagree with Rev. Evan as well. Both are problematic at best.

Rev. Evans does not seem to know when to quit: his arguments against Christian Science stem from a fundamentally flawed notion that his version of Christianity is correct (it isn’t), and he needs to re-read Paul and re-examine his interpretations of Ms. Eddy’s views on marriage. The most solid argument he makes is that of the siblings, as so many of us have seen the blame-the-sufferer trope is played out again and again.


More by Rev. William Evans, D.D., Director, Bible Course, Moody Bible Institute of Chicago

Links of interest & Further Reading

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My Inner Quiet

A number of years ago, my father gave me a small pendent of an anchor. I wore it on a necklace, similar to the way Christians wear crosses. I never felt comfortable wearing a cross, none of them ever felt “right” and I never had a Christian Science “cross and crown” pendent, although for a time I longed for one because everyone at Principia seemed to wear one as a little symbol of their faith. They had their cross to bear, I had my anchor to keep me grounded.

I stopped wearing my anchor shortly after I had my first child, the little grabby hands would yank on my necklace (and any jewelry I wore) so it was tucked safely into a drawer. Not forgotten about, just put aside until the children were out of the grabby phase.

At first it was difficult not wearing a necklace all the time. The anchor had served as a little reminder not to get swept up in the madness that could so easily permeate every day activities – the drama of the mothers groups, the baby who refused to sleep, the unceasing mountains of laundry, my father’s deteriorating health.

When my father passed away last year, I inherited some of his Masonic books. Dad was a 32nd degree mason, and while not particularly active in the movement, he did enjoy wearing his masonic jewelry – a ring with an impressive diamond (it had been in an engagement ring which “came back” so he decided to keep it for himself), and small pin.

In my “spare time,” I enjoy reading esoteric literature (even if it is often over my head), and Mackey’s Revised Encyclopedia of Freemasonry falls firmly into that category. I was flipping though it the other day and came across the entry for ANCHOR AND ARK, which made me smile:

ship_and_anchorAs an emblem of hope, the anchor is peculiarly a Christian, and thence a Masonic, symbol. It is first found inscribed on the tombs in the catacombs of Rome, and the idea of using it is probably derived from the language of Saint Paul (Hebrews vi, 19), ”which hope we have as an anchor of the soul both sure and steadfast.”

The primitive Christians looked upon life as a stormy voyage, and glad were the voyagers when it was done, and they had arrived safe in port. Of this the anchor was a symbol, and when their brethren carved it over the tomb, it was to them an expression of confidence that he who slept beneath had reached the haven of eternal rest.
“The anchor,” says Mrs. Jameson in her Sacred and Legendary Art (1, page 34), “is the Christian symbol of immovable firmness, hope, and patience; and we find it very frequently in the catacombs, and on the ancient Christian gems.”
“The ark and anchor are emblems of a well-grounded hope and a well-spent life. They are emblematical of that Divine ark which safely wafts us over this tempestuous sea of troubles, and that anchor which shall safely moor us in a peaceful harbor where the wicked cease from troubling and the weary shall find rest.” (1)

My little pendent was exactly what I had envisioned it: the anchor that safely moored me in a peaceful harbor. I will forgive the Christian imagery, and the reference to St. Paul. It was a reminder of my inner strength, what Steiner would call “inner quiet.”

Inner Quiet

Quiet I bear within me
I bear within myself
Forces to make me strong.
Now will I be imbued
With their glowing warmth
Now will I fill myself
With my own will’s resolve.
And I will feel the quiet
Pouring through all my being,
When by my steadfast striving
I become strong
The source of strength,
The strength of inner quiet.

– Rudolf Steiner

For now, my little anchor is safely stowed away. Now, on occasion, I wear a beautifully carved piece of jade instead, it was found among my father’s things. I often wonder what the story behind it is — my mother had never seen it before and has been unable to provide any answers. I’m sure my father would’ve told me it was from his time in the Far East, from his time in Singapore or Dubai. There would be some romantic or adventurous story behind it, although he just as easily could’ve picked it up in a curio shop in Europe, New Orleans, or New York.

[Jade] is regarded as a symbol of the good, the beautiful and the precious. It embodies the Confucian virtues of wisdom, justice, compassion, modesty and courage, yet it also symbolises the female-erotic. …. In ancient Egypt, jade was admired as the stone of love, inner peace, harmony and balance. In other regions and cultures too, jade was regarded as a lucky or protective stone.

I think the jade pendent is more fitting for my current stage in life: as a mother I should attempt to be wise, just, compassionate, modest and courageous. The reminder to strive for inner peace, harmony and balance is one that I should heed. Jade is not mentioned by the Freemasons — as far as I can tell, it is not listed in the Encyclopedia of Freemasonry and Kindred Sciences by Albert G. Mackey, 1929. I find this comforting.

Neither the anchor nor the jade are the source of my Inner Quiet, only I am responsible for that: with my own will’s resolve, I will feel the quiet pouring through all my being. They are merely symbols, reminders to strive for something more – inner peace, harmony, compassion.


Image via http://www.themasonictrowel.com

  1. Encyclopedia of Freemasonry and Kindred Sciences by Albert G. Mackey, 1929 p. 75 (or http://www.themasonictrowel.com/ebooks/freemasonry/eb0091.pdf which appears to be an accurate PDF rendering of the aforementioned text
  2. International Colored Gemstone Association

the Right Dictionary, what is Love?

While Buddhists focus on the Rights of the Noble Eightfold Path, Christian Scientists focus on things like “the right hand soap,” the “right Sunday School teacher” and the “right” dictionary.

Yes, the right dictionary.

You might think all dictionaries are the same, but you’d be wrong. If you’re a good Christian Scientist you spend a good deal of time “with the books” and to understand them better you spend even more time looking at words and trying to diving their deeper spiritual interpretation.

Now, I’m no expert on “which dictionary is right” but I have been involved in marathon discussions of what words “really mean” and how they “apply” to me. While this can be an interesting philosophical exercise and a fun way to spend a lunch hour, it is usually a waste of time.

I happen to have a few spare moments this morning so I decided to compare definitions with the help of a quick google search for “definition of charity.” 40,000,000 results in 0.34 seconds later I decided to pick the top five or so well-known dictionaries to compare.

Why “charity?” In 1 Corinthians 13:13 Paul reminds us of the importance of “faith, hope and —” and the greatest of these is “—.” The the translations* all agree on “faith” and “hope” but the last, and most important thing is either translated as “love” or “charity” which might seem like a little thing, but with words and their meanings being important such an alternative interpertations or inconsistency should be exhaustively studied.

Google defines charity as:

char·i·ty/ˈCHaritē/ Noun:

The voluntary giving of help, typically money, to those in need.

Help or money given in this way.

Synonyms: alms – mercy – beneficence – benevolence – philanthropy

Merriam-Webster

char·i·ty noun \ˈcher-ə-tē, ˈcha-rə-\  plural char·i·ties

: benevolent goodwill toward or love of humanity
a : generosity and helpfulness especially toward the needy or suffering; also : aid given to those in need b : an institution engaged in relief of the poor c : public provision for the relief of the needy
a : a gift for public benevolent purposes b : an institution (as a hospital) founded by such a gift
4: lenient judgment of others

char·i·ty (chr-tn. pl. char·i·ties

1. Provision of help or relief to the poor; almsgiving.
2. Something given to help the needy; alms.
3. An institution, organization, or fund established to help the needy.
4. Benevolence or generosity toward others or toward humanity.
5. Indulgence or forbearance in judging others. See Synonyms at mercy.
6. often Charity Christianity The theological virtue defined as love directed first toward God but also toward oneself and one’s neighbors as objects of God’s love.

Dictionary.Reference.Com

char·i·ty  [char-i-tee]  noun, plural char·i·ties.

1.generous actions or donations to aid the poor, ill, or helpless: to devote one’s life to charity.
2.something given to a person or persons in need; alms: She asked for work, not charity.
3. a charitable act or work.
4. a charitable fund, foundation, or institution: He left his estate to a charity.
5. benevolent feeling, especially toward those in need or in disfavor: She looked so poor that we fed her out of charity.

Oxford Dictionaries

Definition of charity noun (plural charities)

  • 1an organization set up to provide help and raise money for those in need:the charity provides practical help for homeless people
  • [mass noun] the body of organizations viewed collectively as the object of fundraising or of donations:the proceeds of the sale will go to charity
  • 2 [mass noun] the voluntary giving of help, typically in the form of money, to those in need:the care of the poor must not be left to private charity
  • help or money given to those in need:an unemployed teacher living on charity
  • 3 [mass noun] kindness and tolerance in judging others:she found it hard to look on her mother with much charity
  • archaic love of humankind, typically in a Christian context:faith, hope, and charity

Websters is the only dictionary that lists “benevolent goodwill toward or love of humanity” as a definition. Dictionary.com comes close, with “benevolent feeling” but it is predominantly aimed at “those in need or in disfavor.” Both the Oxford and Free Dictionaries list a “Christian” context/definition, but don’t seem to be able to agree on quite what that is.

This brings up the BIG QUESTION of what did Paul really mean? Are we supposed take what he says at face value and be nice to all of humanity, or give money to the poor?

This is quite a conundrum. Is there perhaps some deeper meaning? I don’t really want to associate with the poor or give money to the needy. I know! I’ll put aside those moral issues and “dig deeper” in the text. I’ll probably also decide that I like “love” more than “charity” even though Ms. Eddy used the King James translation which says “charity.”

After all, God is Love and love is also more nebulous of a concept. God will provide for the needy. What is love anyway? Does Love with a capital “L” mean something different than “love” with a lowercase “l”? Time to get out the dictionary again.

*This also brings up the debate over which translation of the Bible is the best. While the general consensus seems to be that the KJV is the “best” because that’s what Ms. Eddy used, there are some groups who think the New International Version should be used as well for the “more approachable” language (it is also what is used in most of Principia’s religion courses which require a Bible). I also had a professor at college who would the Bible in their original Hebrew and Greek when she wanted to delve in.

the formation of mortals

This is an incredibly long post which may be a little hard to follow. I mostly wrote it for myself, but thought I would share it here as well. It is a semi-metacognative conversation on selections from the chapter on Marriage in Science and Health. I was mostly left with a great desire to build a time machine and question a selection of Teachers and Christian Science-scholars at length over Ms. Eddy’s thoughts and careful word selection – if any happen to read my blog your insights are most welcome! Alternatively, I would love to put together a Wednesday evening service based on some of the passages.

After I finished this post I was left with an incredible sense of relief that I no longer practice CS, or ascribe to Ms. Eddy’s unique world views. My brain also hurt. I strongly recommend anyone who has questions look up the passages I’ve screen-captured in a book (or on the official Church website) so they can see them in the larger context.


The other morning over my husband asked why I had not yet touched on the topic of sex, the answer is simple, Ms. Eddy does NOT TALK ABOUT SEX,* she talks about the formation of mortals, which is not sexy, just weird.

My husband argued she has “that whole chapter on Marriage” which is true (I’ve read it several dozen times over the years). Yes, but in Ms. Eddy’s world marriage is something that that must be tolerated until the Apocalypse:

Screen Shot 2013-05-28 at 10.45.13 AM

Continue reading

Paul’s letter to the Principians (an excerpt)

The following is an excerpt from a letter Paul would write to the Principians if he and Ms. Eddy were alive today. It comes from an exegesis* by a Principia Student written in the Spring of 2003. 

“Principians, when Mary Baker Eddy gave her contribution of Christian Science she understood the religion would meet some opposition. Unlike with my situation with the Corinthians, she gave you the spiritual insight knowing you would come to it when you were ready.

Many of you have jumped to the false conclusion you have reached grand spiritual heights because generations of Christian Scientists have come before you in your family. Does Mary Baker Eddy support heredity or hierarchical behavior? NO! She stresses heredity is unreal, and to boast of one’s spirituality based off your upbringing is false. You are still in your material bodies, until you ascend there is no room for you to speak of lofty spiritual things.

It does not matter how many years your ancestors have been involved with Christian Science, or how many generations back your family has attended Principia. It is not right for you to say others can not be as spiritual as you are because they have not had the same background.

Mary Baker Eddy came and laid the foundation. She was inspired by God to do so. Your bickering does not help you build up yourself or others. Do not be caught up in the mortal sense of hierarchical ancestry, you need to build your own Faith upon the foundation you have made your own.

God has given you choices, you have chosen Christian Science, it is here to help you, not to tear you apart worrying about human trivialities. Man is Spiritual, not material, to dwell in mere human pettiness is to go against the very basis upon which Christian Science was founded.”

*We may make the full text of the exegesis on 1 Corinthians 3 available at a later time.

Philippians 4:8 as applied to E-mails

While I generally dislike Paul (a post for another day), he does make some valid points and has contributed* extensively to what we now consider to be “Christian ideas.” Both Luther and Mary Baker Eddy were influenced by Paul’s work, and he remains an unavoidable figure in 20th century theology with his ideas on faith and grace.

While I don’t agree with everything Paul has to say, I do like Philippians 4:8

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. (NIV) Phil 4:8

How may people have gotten an email forward from someone who claims to be a “good Christian” (or good Christian Scientist) which is full of hateful, racist statements or just plain wrong? Usually the e-mail is very politically slanted and meant to be a “critique” of or “commentary” on the current administration/political situation. More often than not it uses questionable facts, mis-attributed quotes, and scary falsehoods in an attempt to sway opinions in one direction or another.

I’m not a huge fan of the current political situation, but I feel it is possible to have political discourse without stooping to racism, victim blaming, and flat-out lies**. I also feel such things don’t belong e-mails with subject lines that read: “fwd: fwd: fwd” and are BCCed (or worse yet CCed) to everyone.

I rarely forward e-mails, and almost never forward political ones. You don’t have to be a “Christian” to find Paul’s advice in Philippians 4:8 a good idea when it comes to deciding it you should forward an e-mail, just apply a little critical thinking:

  1. is the contents of the e-mail true, like actually true from verifiable sources? I’m a fan of FactCheck.org and other political fact checkers. I also enjoy the Economist’s political coverage (you can also follow them on twitter).
  2. is the content noble (of an exalted moral or mental character or excellence, admirable in dignity of conception)? If it says fwd: fwd: fwd, it probably isn’t.

I usually don’t make it as far as right, pure, lovely or admirable because 99% of the time the content isn’t true, or noble. Of course Ceiling Cat memes are always acceptable, but I prefer not to gunk up other people’s in-boxes with cute kitty pictures, it isn’t kind, and that’s what facebook is for.

*I don’t necessarily agree with the sermon I linked to, however, I feel it does make some good points regarding Paul and how Paul’s works have been interpreted. 
**While I could link to examples of this, I’d rather not give hateful websites any more publicity than they already receive. If you really need examples, visit almost any article covering the current administration posted by the Drudge Report and read the comments, they get nasty quickly.

faith, hope & love

Elder Fox and his shadow TSOWG and the subsequent missionaries liked to talk about Faith. All I needed to do was have faith (and read a book and pray), and God would show me what was True.

In my quest for something greater, I began by picking part Hebrews 11:1, Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

What is this substance? It is that which underlies the apparent; the basis of something, hence assurance, guarantee and confidence. That which stands under. A real or essential part or element of anything; essence, reality of basis of matter.

In Science & Health, (468:16-24) Ms. Eddy takes a more spiritual route:

Question. – What is substance?
Answer. – Substance is that which is eternal and incapable of discord and decay. Truth, Life, and Love are substance, as the Scriptures use this word in Hebrews: “The substance of things hoped
for, the evidence of things not seen.” Spirit, the synonym of Mind, Soul, or God, is the only real substance. The spiritual universe, including individual man, is a compound idea, reflecting the divine substance of Spirit.

What is Hope? Hope is a motivator to protect us from losing sight of God’s purpose. Faith is the foundation for our hopes/motivation to live good lives.

In 1 Corinthians 13:13, Paul reminds us: And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. In the King James, “love” is translated as “charity.”

Although I no longer believe in the God of the Bible and the trappings of Christianity, I do think some of the messages are good ones. Paul nails it when he says “…the greatest of these is charity.

Websters defines charity as

1: benevolent goodwill toward or love of humanity
2 a : generosity and helpfulness especially toward the needy or suffering; also :aid given to those in need b :an institution engaged in relief of the poor c : public provision for the relief of the needy
3 a :a gift for public benevolent purposes b : an institution (as a hospital) founded by such a gift
4 : lenient judgment of others
*emphasis mine

If everyone, across all religions and systems of belief could be more charitable to one another I feel the world would be a better place.

“Whether one believes in a religion or not, and whether one believes in rebirth or not, there isn’t anyone who doesn’t appreciate kindness and compassion.”–His Holiness the Dalai Lama, from “Kindness, Clarity, and Insight” by Snow Lion Publications.