1. MBE embodied Calvinism so many ways…
The ideas of Mary Baker Eddy have a deep rift in them. A huge split. On the one hand she is all light and love, has an abstract concept of the perfection (whatever that means, it’s a totally Calvinist idea) of God expressed in a series of synonyms, reaching so far beyond the concepts of some crazy dude smiting his sinful people, or a physical Godling on earth, running around in sandals and taking pitiful human action against the Romans, but losing the temple. These abstract concepts expressed as synonyms are far more meaningful to me and useful, than thinking of a god as a personage. And, because they are words, they stimulate a philosophical kind of thought gathering clusters of other words around them.
She changed how I look at God. In fact, I have pretty much abandoned that word and just stick with Love, Truth and the other synonyms, even when I am in an atheist mood, those ideas still work. Principle is as big as the Cosmos, Love is what holds the Cosmos together. Mind expresses intelligence. The Cosmos is intelligent. I like her concept of prayer as alignment with Mind or Love, etc and have never petitioned God again for what I want, but instead tried to open myself to what is best and highest in the situation. I liked her interpretation of the Lord’s Prayer, though I didn’t always like to add her words in, I thought about the old words in a new way that made sense.
The idea that we are whole and complete and everything is good is positive thinking at its best.
This is what attracted me to CS.
On the other hand, she teaches the concept of mortal mind as something bad, she believes the body is an extension of the mind, which is revolutionary, but she does nothing useful with it before she denies reality to both. This is a big mistake. You need to give the body its due and it will serve you well when you get old.
Then, to top it off, she teaches an overriding fear of malicious animal magnetism (m.a.m), the idea that you can use your thoughts to mentally harm someone else. I thought that nasty little Puritan weed of an idea was outgrown after Salem, MA 1690ish, but I was obviously wrong. There is no theological reason she needed to have the concept of M.A.M. it was entirely pragmatic. It was an equivocation, to cover her method when it did not work. And it was a handy excuse for having human aches and pains as well.
I am sorry she believed that. I sure don’t. But that belief is just another metaphor for the Calvinist idea of witchcraft. Having both these sides is very consistent with Calvinism. But it ruined Christian Science for me.
Nowadays, you can take your pick of several systems that emphasize the positive and ignore the downside, as it has nothing to offer when you remove the idea of the devil from it. Being afraid of the lack of good, is like cataloging all the mistakes kids make mispronouncing words before they get them right and teaching the mistakes to other kids even as they say they don’t want the kids to make those “errors”.
2. Starship Earth
While I am willing to grant that before life on earth and after life on earth, we are certainly not material beings, we are stardust or Mind, or something, when we buy a ticket to the carnival ride that is earth, we should follow all the fixed rules. You know, Gravity, Propulsion. Having an apparent body made up according to its DNA does appear very real to us here and now, and it is MEANT to. We all “know” that E=mc2, that our material bodies are mostly empty space, that the earth goes around the sun and more, even though we don’t EXPERIENCE it that way. In this body, on this earth, we have senses, our bodies have rules and they won’t give one any trouble if those rules are followed too.
In this world, IMO, there are hard rules and there are soft rules and MBE did not know the difference because she was so alienated from her body. Hard rules include eye color, number of digits, the universal necessity of exercise (aka moving across the earth) eating, drinking water, sleeping, eliminating, mating, and death. Soft rules include the strength of the immune system, type of physical activity, kind of diet, ability to concentrate and focus, developing every kind of talent or ability, all of which have strong effects on the physical body and lack of mindfulness over any of these needs, is courting error.
3. The body as a computer.
I am not sure where this analogy will lead, but want to give it a try:
Let’s say the anatomy is the hardware, the physiology is the Linux, Mac, or Windows platform, the brain is like the harddrive. And the mind is the programs. Our minds come out of the electricity engendered by the brain. The mind chooses and runs the programs. All human body/mind programs already have the natural, healthy impetus built in and most people do not need to worry about it, but just use the programs to create their lives- within the limits of the hardware. MBE has no respect for the hardware or the software, yet expects the results she wants.
To continue the analogy, it is good to get vaccinations from computer viruses, which really mess up the entire computer, and infect other computers, if not repaired. But mostly computers, our bodies, and all the technology, or evolution, behind them work just fine once up and running- and if one or the other gets wanky, then a restart will fix a lot. A restart on a computer is like a simple demonstration for an issue, because it allows the computer to shut down just long enough to let all the processes unwind, then on the restart, everything is lined up right again.
Most of the time, the restart button does fix the computer’s temporary overload of confusion, but sometimes, deeper interventions on the platform or computer itself need to be fixed and a restart or a million of them just won’t do it. The next fix is to download patches and updates to fix vulnerabilities. The update is like getting fixed by the computer owner, the CS practitioner of the computer. Those levels are both OK interventions for Christian Scientists in the bodily equivalent.
But in Christian Science, if it comes to fixing the hardware- that is not allowed, and for some strange reason, if the platform gets messed up, it can self-repair if it can, but it is not allowed for owner to reinstall the platform, because the programming will be lost, unless it is artificially stored elsewhere, etc. and that just isn’t right.
Well, the analogy kind of works. My point is that it a computer won’t run right if you don’t use the known tools to adjust not only the programs, but to repair the platform and even rebuild the computer itself according to recognized science.