“The Position of the Christian Science Church”
Talbot, Nathan A. “The Position of the Christian Science Church.” The New England Journal of Medicine 309 (1983): 1641–44.
Talbot, an official Christian Science practitioner, addresses the medical community’s frequently asked questions about what Christian Science treatment is and is not. A key point is that Christian Scientists view disease as mentally caused, and therefore subject to treatment through spiritual means. While medical practitioners hold a radically different etiological view of disease, Talbot acknowledges that some readers of the New England Journal of Medicine may share the Christian Science perspective that physical suffering is neither caused nor permitted by God. Therefore, it is right to challenge disease rather than resign oneself to it. Talbot addresses some common misconceptions about Christian Science treatment, such as the belief that Christian Scientists try to ignore sickness as an illusion. They do not close their eyes to human pain, he explains, but neither do they accept disease as one’s God-given being. He also explains that the function of a practitioner of Christian Science is not intended to equal that of a medical doctor. The practitioner won’t deny that within a physical framework of causation, certain conclusions are warranted. But the basic diagnosis involves the conviction that whatever apparent forms a disease may take is a limited and distorted view of the true spiritual identity of the patient.
Print ISSN: 0028-4793
See also annotation:
“Faith Healing, Christian Science and the Medical Care of Children” by Rita Swan
(Note that Talbot’s article immediately follows Swan’s in this edition of the New England Journal of Medicine. Talbot and Swan were invited to write on this topic without seeing what the other wrote first. According to Relman: “Neither author read the other’s statement before preparing these articles.”)