O’Brien’s interfaith reflections illustrate how sympathy can help bring heaven to earth—as evidenced in four women: Mary Baker Eddy, Emily Dickinson, Sarada Devi (wife and mission partner to Ramakrishna) and Simone Weil. O’Brien finds a basis for this sympathy in the common conviction found in many religions of “the experience of oneness between the supreme Spirit and everyday empirical reality.”View Annotation
Resources Discussing Philosophy
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Zamparutti claims that Mary Baker Eddy employs Plato’s dialectical method (defining terms by reference to their opposite) to transform the Platonic idea of ‘substance’ into a spiritual principle, God. From Platonist assumptions, Eddy re-conceives substance as the one immaterial Spirit. Burke, as an agnostic, developed his philosophy of language by converting some of Eddy’s ideas learned in childhood, to secular usage.View Annotation
Squires takes up the 1915 novel, “The Genius,” by Theodore Dreiser and compares the many semi-autobiographical parallels between the novel’s main character, Eugene, and Dreiser. Dreiser’s personal philandering and materialism are reflected in his portrayal of Eugene. After scandalous affairs with tragic consequences, both grapple with their own crisis of morality by conversing with Mary Baker Eddy’s teachings in Christian Science.View Annotation
Loue addresses the conflict generated among numerous parties concerned with the death or potential death of a child whose parents rely on religious, non-medical means for healing (including Christian Science). She calls for a systematic study with sufficient scientific rigor of the effects of religious healing, to confirm or refute claims of adherents and opponents of religious healing for children.View Annotation
Feehan argues that Burke, a famed literary theorist and philosopher, developed his philosophy by ‘secularizing’ principles he appropriated from Eddy during his childhood in a Christian Science household. For instance, in developing her system of healing, Eddy made prominent use of the principle of ‘reversal.’ Burke’s methodology of reversal depends on material existence being nothing other than a flawed reversible orientation.View Annotation
Wood highlights the role of Horton Foote’s faith tradition in his professional work as a highly acclaimed playwright who won a Pulitzer Prize (The Young Man from Atlanta) and Academy Awards for screenwriter (To Kill a Mockingbird and Tender Mercies). Wood explains both the theology and practice of Christian Science (especially that of Foote’s loving and nurturing mother) that show through in his writing.View Annotation
May approached the subject of medical authority and Christian Scientists’ opposition to medical treatment from a philosophical perspective. A consensus may not be possible, but May identifies at least one way both could reconsider their currently entrenched positions.View Annotation
Wills examines a range of past leaders—each paired with an “antitype” or “one who exemplified the same characteristics by contrast.” Wills sees Mary Baker Eddy’s story as mirroring 19th-century America—turning from the past’s “punitive Calvinism” to opportunism, “healthy-mindedness” and spirituality “untainted by the materialism of the times.” Wills also examines Eddy’s tutorship under Phineas P. Quimby (her antitype).View Annotation
In Wilson’s study of social dimensions of new religious movements, Christian Science is an example of one that provides existential and intellectual alternatives to normal social facilities. Topics of study include healing practices, the role of charismatic leaders, American-born religions, pragmatism, intellectual orientation, and the means of enduring in changing society. Communal involvement is low, and insulation from evil is operative.View Annotation
Judah’s 1967 monograph on the metaphysical movements of 20th-century America remains a valuable resource for a comparison between movements and a documentation of their impact on organized Protestant Christianity. Regarding Christian Science, Judah claims most of its basic biblical doctrinal points are similar to the beliefs of historic Protestantism, but their full explanations place them outside traditional Christian theology.View Annotation
Peel analyzes 19th-century Transcendentalism in relation to the philosophy of Christian Science. These historical voices sometimes blended in metaphysical similarities, but the pragmatic nature of a Christian Science commitment to healing was ultimately incompatible with Transcendental idealism.View Annotation
Organized around Principia’s symbolic sheaf of wheat, As the Sowing is a history of The Principia, a school for young Christian Scientists, from its beginnings (Seedtime) as an idea of Mary Kimball Morgan in the late 1890s through the Golden Anniversary years of 1947-48 (Years of Reaping). The ‘good seed’ underlying the foundation and unfoldment of the school is to serve the cause of Christian Science.View Annotation
Steiger sought a philosophical analysis from which he could account for the metaphysical coherence of the doctrine of Christian Science. He would classify Christian Science as a biblically based idealism, employ Eddy’s definitions of God, man, and ‘mortal mind’ into a unique study of dualism versus monism, and examine the doctrine as a science confirmed through its healing practice.View Annotation
Rawson claims that this book is obviously not a lecture upon, nor does it pretend to be an elucidation of, Christian Science, but is primarily an exposure of the innumerable fallacies of human theories past and present, made evident through the study of Christian Science. He represents himself as a student of scientific knowledge of natural science and practical metaphysics.View Annotation
This extremely important report covers the court trial, the ‘Next Friends’ suit against Mary Baker Eddy, which was dismissed. It includes records of pre-trial publicity, court proceedings, and press interviews, and is an important study for the American history of religion, the struggle between religion and science, medical and psychiatric history, legal precedence, and the powerful, long-lasting impact of yellow journalism.View Annotation