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Gobsmacked by a Christian Scientist

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gob-smacked (gob smækt) – adjective, slang
(Brit) 1. astounded; astonished; flabbergasted; shocked

This woman’s comment took me completely by surprise.

“I have to say, when you sent me an email asking if we could meet, I was completely gobsmacked.”

Really.  What’s so strange about someone wanting to get together for coffee?  

OH!  It’s because I’m a Christian Scientist, and the woman I was meeting (as I soon found out) thought that “we Christian Scientists” prefer keeping to ourselves, emerging from our ecumenical dens only on an “as needed” basis.

Having grown up in the faith, I can’t say that her impression is very far off the mark.  Sometimes “we Christian Scientists” do prefer to keep to ourselves.

Maybe it’s because we think our religion is “too hard to explain.”  Maybe it’s because people are always asking us the same questions: “Why don’t you go to doctors?” “Why can’t you combine prayer and medicine?”

Maybe it’s because it’s just easier not bringing up the subject in the first place.

Sure, I know plenty of outgoing Christian Scientists who bend over backwards to include their friends and neighbors in any number of community events: public lectures, book fairs, even the occasional open house at one of our ubiquitous Christian Science Reading Rooms.

But outreach is a two-way street.  As much as folks are willing to have you share something with them, they also want to know that you’re interested in what they have to share with you…

…which probably added to this woman’s shock.  Not only was she surprised to see a Christian Scientist “come out of his den,” but probably thought it equally astonishing that someone whose faith she knew very little about would be so interested in knowing more about her and her faith.

Now that I think about it, having coffee with someone who was so willing to learn about Christian Science left me feeling a little gobsmacked as well.

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About Eric Nelson

  • http://www.jeremystyron.com Jeremy

    “Now that I think about it, having coffee with someone who was so willing to learn about Christian Science left me feeling a little gobsmacked as well.”

    Christian science? Sounds like a paradox to me.

  • http://www.norcalchristianscience.com NorCalCS

    Yes… sometimes putting the words “Christian” and “Science” together sounds a little funny. The idea is that there’s a demonstrable, provable, repeatable “something” (Science) behind the healings we read about in the Bible, most notably those of Jesus (the master Christian). The physical healings I’ve experienced in my own life and seen in others would indicate that this is true.

  • Michael

    Humans are very adept at deluding themselves to believe something they wish to be true is true. That’s why we have the scientific method, to keep ourselves from fooling ourselves. Subject Christian Science methods to clinical, double blind experiments. If it works great, if it doesn’t ask yourself if you would change your beliefs and if not, why not?

  • http://www.norcalchristianscience.com NorCalCS

    Thanks for the comment, Michael. To me the ultimate “test” is whether or not a particular healing system is working for me personally. If Christian Science works (and it has, many times), I’m going to stick with it. If it doesn’t, I’d like to think that I would consider something else.

  • Michael

    Then it’s not science, it’s just hearsey. I had a grandmother who was never sick a day in her life and dealt with illness by novenas to Mary (she was Catholic). That hearsey is just as good as yours. There are many people in this world that blissfully follow the tennents of homeopathy and live happy healthy lives, but there’s no effectiveness at all in homepathic “cures”. How are they any different from you and your beliefs?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    HearsAy.

  • Michael

    Thank you good doctor. To spell hearsey with a an extra “A” is spelling herasy. :->

  • http://www.norcalchristianscience.com NorCalCS

    Interesting you should bring up homeopathy. Mary Baker Eddy, who founded the Christian Science Church, spent many years exploring this particular practice. Her conclusion was that “homeopathy takes mental symptoms largely into consideration in its diagnosis of disease [while] Christian Science deals wholly with the mental cause in judging and destroying disease.”

  • Michael

    Homeopathy and Christian Science have equal footing. Both require the individual to accept a approach that has no empirical evidence, yet could, but its adherents refuse to test it. It would be relatively easy to test the scientific validity of Christian science (or homeopathy or myriad other pseudo scientific claims) yet their proponents don’t. This should be a warning to anyone who is involved with it.

  • Brett

    Thank you Michael. I grew up a Christian Scientist and in the last year have realized what a dangerous delusion it is, and have come to a great appreciation for the scientific method and evidence-based living.
    Christian Science relies on revelation and authority, not empirical evidence, controlled studies or anything remotely scientific.
    The problem is most Christian Scientists have a hard time seeing that they’re deluding themselves (they think they’ve already freed their minds from the bondage of material thinking) and most are very unfamiliar with science.