Why do some people stay in Christian Science, despite its failures?

Why do we stay in Christian Science? Emerging Gently offers a theory:

Intermittent reinforcement: “The name given to any pattern of reinforcement where only some responses are reinforced.”

Sometimes the healing happens, sometimes it doesn’t. Try harder, maybe it will this time.

Emerging Gently

Many of us who’ve left Christian Science, and I’m sure others who know about it, wonder why otherwise perfectly rational and sane people remain steadfast believers, despite repeated and undeniable failures on the part of Christian Science to heal. Most of us ex-Christian Scientists would put our past selves into that category of former ‘true believers despite the evidence to the contrary’. On a discussion thread in one of the ex-Christian Scientist Facebook groups, a group member offered a possible answer to this intriguing (to me, anyway) question.

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The Slut Shaming, Sex-Negative Message in the Virgin Birth—It’s Worth a Family Conversation

I had Sunday School teachers who insisted that Christian Science takes the “inspired” word of the Bible, and that the stories were “allegorical.” The virgin birth story (inspired allegory or not) always made me a bit uncomfortable. See also, http://valerietarico.com/2014/12/09/the-not-so-virgin-birth-of-the-christmas-story/ on how Jesus’ birth became more virginal and miraculous.

AwayPoint

Christmas - AnnunciationThe birth story of baby Jesus celebrates the promise of new life, but for girls it also sends a harmful message. How can we acknowledge this without spoiling the rest?

Most Americans, even many who are not very religious, look forward to Christmas as a time to celebrate warmth, friendship, generosity and good cheer. Familiar festivities weave together stories and traditions from many cultures, which makes it easy to find something for everyone. But maybe it’s time to look a little closer at the Christmas story itself.

The birth story of the baby Jesus is heartwarming and iconic—the promise of new life and new hope in a time of darkness. It has inspired centuries of maternal art and is the best loved of all Bible stories. It also has a darker subtext, especially for someone like me—the mother of two daughters.

In the story, an angel appears to a virgin…

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Former Christian Scientists In Their Own Words

Former Christian Scientists in their own words, unplugged, and uncensored. Gripping reading I tell you, and very close to home.

Emerging Gently

An interesting discussion thread emerged in one of the ex-Christian Scientist Facebook groups. A friend thought it might be fun to share some of that discussion with a wider audience, and I agree. I now share with you, dear readers, former Christian Scientists in their own words, unplugged, and uncensored.

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Psychological Harms of Bible-Believing Christianity

Before you go jumping up and down screaming “that’s not Christian Science” take a step or two back and go re-read my blog and the blogs/books/articles of others who have left. Christian Science qualifies, they just use different language to manipulate.

AwayPoint

depressionBy Marlene Winell and Valerie Tarico

“I am 30 years old and I am struggling to find sanity. Between the Christian schools, homeschooling, the Christian group home (indoctrinating work camp) and different churches in different cities, I am a psychological, emotional and spiritual mess.”   –A former Evangelical

If a former believer says that Christianity made her depressed, obsessive, or post-traumatic, she is likely to be dismissed as an exaggerator. She might describe panic attacks about the rapture; moods that swung from ecstasy about God’s overwhelming love to suicidal self-loathing about repeated sins; or an obsession with sexual purity.

A symptom like one of these clearly has a religious component, yet many people instinctively blame the victim. They will say that the wounded former believer was prone to anxiety or depression or obsession in the first place—that his Christianity somehow got corrupted by his predisposition to psychological problems. Or they will say…

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California Mystery Worship Three: Matter is Mortal Error

An outsiders account of a Christian Science Service. Very insightful.

The Thoughtful Pastor

Mary Baker Eddy's seminar work“Matter is mortal error.” I’m seeking to understand this phrase after attending worship at First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Thousand Oaks, CA.

I arrived early, accompanying the friend of a friend who serves as summer vocalist. I had the opportunity to observe the two lay readers, the organist and the vocalist, all female, put final touches on the 10 am service.

I sat in the small, unadorned worship center, which would seat 100 comfortably, and thumbed through the hymnal, noting that two of the songs for the day were not in the hymnal. I saw no other song book available. Although I was eventually greeted by an usher, the only person who spoke with me while I sat there, she did not offer a different hymn book or an order of service

I finally went to the back of the worship area and found a hymnal supplement. I asked…

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Learning to Care Less about the Disapproval of Others

Awesome article that can be applied to many situations!

godless in dixie

misunderstandingFew things upset me like being misunderstood, and here lately that’s been happening a lot.  Leaving the Christian fold was an eye-opening experience in more ways than one, not least of which was in showing me how unable to think outside of their box this faith makes people.  As a Christian I was taught to believe that everyone is a God-believer at their core, but that some merely lie to themselves and/or to others about it.  Poor deluded atheists!  The Devil has blinded them to their own folly. Only a fool says in his heart that there is no God, amirite?  No wonder it always feels like my friends and family are misreading me all the time.  They’re looking at me through a lens which claims things about me that are patently false.  Seeing me the way they do requires ignoring several important things I tell them about myself…

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The Narcissism of The God of My Wants

We are taught that we should not covet material wealth, nor should we make false gods/idols out of material possessions, however, vast material wealth is seen as a reflection of vast Spiritual advancement.

The Christian Scientist’s willingness to rely on God to provide – to those leaning on the sustaining infinite today is big with blessings! – is met with remarkable demonstrations of supply. Interestingly, the supply demonstrated is often material which is, by Ms. Eddy’s own definitions is unreal, erroneous, evil and often associated with death.

Christian Scientists should be working to overcome the material (the lusts of the flesh, the need for food, sickness, disease, death, etc.), while simultaneously being comfortably surrounded by material things, and having adequate sources of income to provide comfortably for themselves and make generous donations to the Church.

If you’re confused, don’t be, it never made much sense to me either.

unpacked thoughts

Blessed_Trinity_One_God_Wallpaper_1600x1200_wallpaperhereIf I see one more person give praise to the almighty over something they received, I may blow my lid.

To see one more individual living in a nation as privileged as the United States give praise to god for a new car, house, phone, clothes or job may just push me over the edge.

I had a friend very recently tell me about how god blessed them with a new house. That Jesus himself gifted it to them. In that moment, it took some inner Herculean strength to not say some things I’d later regret.

Please allow me to try and put what my friend was saying into perspective, while god/Jesus (Gesus) is spending so much time blessing you with riches and your wants, there are people all over the world suffering horrible deaths because god can’t be bothered to give them simple things like food and water. While Gesus…

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Church of Christ, Scientist (aka Christian Science)

I love when non-CS go to a CS service and share their views, it is always refreshing to get a new perspective and to hear what stands out as “odd” to them.

Steeple Stretch

photo 3-2 First Church of Christ, Scientist

Sunday #14 – Church of Christ, Scientist, 501 N. Alamo, San Antonio, TX

After last week’s “toe dip” into Scientology, I thought I’d check out one of the other religions often mistaken for Scientology – Christian Science. The church is one of several on the decline in America’s religious landscape. However, you might be surprised to learn that some pretty well known people were raised in the Christian Science faith: Doris Day, Robin Williams, Marilyn Monroe, Henry Fonda, Andy Rooney, Bette Davis, Gene Autrey, Carol Channing, Ginger Rogers, Val Kilmer, Joan Crawford, Elizabeth Taylor, Marlon Brando, and on and on.

Though the church doesn’t publish its membership numbers, I’ve read estimates of membership in the 100,00 to 500,000-range worldwide. However, many feel the number is closer to the lower level. Why is this? I can only guess its due to its unwillingness of the…

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