“Harmonialism and Metaphysical Religion” in Volume 2 of Encyclopedia of Religion in America
Ivey, Paul Eli. “Harmonialism and Metaphysical Religion.” Pages 937–42 in vol. 2 of Encyclopedia of Religion in America. Edited by Charles H. Lippy and Peter W. Williams. 4 vols. Washington, DC: CQ Press. 2010.
Ivey presents the historical context and timeline for the emergence, in late 19th-century America, of metaphysical religions and how they evolved into the 20th century. He specifically brings out the highlights of, and the inter-relationships between the practice of Phineas P. Quimby, Mary Baker Eddy’s Christian Science, all the movements and organizations that spread out from Emma Curtis Hopkins’ New Thought, and the more recent examples of Divine Science, Religious Science, Unity and Science of Mind. With the goal to be liberated “from bondage to materialism” (937), these metaphysical idealists sought to create a rapport with God, interpret scripture spiritually, and demonstrate physical healing. Early influences include Platonism, Hegelianism, Swedenborgianism, Transcendentalism, Vedanta Hinduism, and individuals such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Franz Anton Mesmer, Warren Felt Evans and Horatio Dresser. Ivey differentiates the theology found in Christian Science where the divine Mind is the only reality thereby making matter ultimately unreal, from Quimby and New Thought where the human mind acts as a “conduit between spirit and matter,” and material prosperity is a primary goal (938). Ivey also finds in the present day those who have benefited from these metaphysical movements, such as Joel Goldsmith, Wayne Dyer, and Marianne Williamson whose teaching is based on A Course in Miracles.
Annotations related by category:
- Availability: Library or Purchase
- Controversy: Theological Controversies
- Official Christian Science Publication: No
- People: Emerson, Ralph Waldo
- People: Evans, Warren Felt
- People: Quimby, Phineas
- Publication Date: 2001-2010
- Resource Types: Encyclopedia or Dictionary
- Subjects: Healing and Health
- Subjects: Metaphysical