“Christian Science, Rational Choice and Alternative World Views”
DesAutels, Peggy. “Christian Science, Rational Choice and Alternative World Views.” Journal of Social Philosophy 26, no. 3 (1995): 89–104.
DesAutels’s article is a response to Margaret Battin’s book, Ethics in the Sanctuary (1990), which includes a critique of those who appear to take health risks through religious practices. Battin’s arguments include: 1) Christian Science health choices should include quantifiable data to measure the likelihood of success; 2) the Christian Science Church is ethically remiss for failing to inform patients of the spiritual conditions necessary for successful attempts; 3) even if Christian Scientists do not approach health choices as choosing between alternative methods, others outside the faith view Christian Science treatment as an alternative healing method; therefore the Church is guilty of not providing the public with records of success for rational judgment. DesAutels’s response is that medical information is immaterial because the choice of health care is not a decision between alternative approaches to curing disease, but between alternate world views (92). DesAutels notes that Christian Science is a religion with a primary goal of spiritualizing consciousness. Healthy bodies are expected, but only in the sense that such healing demonstrates the goodness and power of God. Wherever the Church gives the impression of being an alternative healing system, it contradicts both Mary Baker Eddy’s teaching and the Christian Science periodicals. Rather, Christian Science promotes a radically different world view from that of medical scientists.
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