Last week a newspaper publisher took me to lunch at his local Rotary Club. Although I enjoyed the soup and salad, I have to say that the most satisfying part of the meal was being reminded of what the Rotarian’s call “The Four-Way Test.” This includes four simple questions we can ask ourselves to make sure that what we’re thinking, saying, and doing is on the moral and ethical up-and-up.
When I applied this test to my practice of Christian Science (in a nutshell, relying on spiritual means in lieu of medical care for my health and general well being), I was pleased to discover that it passed muster.
Here are the questions… and my answers…
Perhaps a better way to phrase the question is this: Based on all the healings I’ve read about, witnessed, or experienced myself, does the practice of Christian Science ring true? Does it make sense? Honestly, if I weren’t seeing such consistent results, I’d probably say no. But that hasn’t been the case. On the contrary, since the latter part of the 19th century, there have been tens of thousands of verified cases of physical healing of those who relied solely on Christian Science treatment. For me that’s hard to dismiss or deny, especially when at least a small handful of those healings have been my own!
One way for me to address this question is to respond to a concern some people have about the practice of Christian Science: “Relying on prayer is just fine for consenting adults,” they say, “but it’s not fair for you to subject your kid to something that could put their life at risk.” I think most people agree that the health and well being of children should be society’s number one priority and should never be trumped by religious dogma. That said, it seems only fair and reasonable for me to provide my child with the same type of care that has proven in my own experience to be the most effective – the most expedient, the most reliable. On the other hand, I think it’s also fair to expect that if I weren’t seeing immediate results, I should be open to providing my child whatever type of care is available.
I’ve heard it time and again: “But… I thought you guys hate doctors.” Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, I have nothing but respect for those who devote their lives to helping and healing others. That’s something that doctors and Christian Scientists have in common – the recognition of which can’t help but build goodwill.
As for building “better friendships,” I have no doubt that my religious practice – which includes doing my best to see others as God sees them and to “do unto others as I would have them do unto me” – is the reason I have so many wonderful friends in my life.
The physical healings I’ve experienced in Christian Science always include an improved understanding, not just of God and myself as His creation, but of my fellowman as well. On the flip side, I’d like to think that these healings also serve as a kind of beacon – a reminder to those who know me that anyone, anywhere, anytime can rely on prayer for healing. As Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer and founder of Christian Science, puts it, “whatever blesses one blesses all…” (Science and Health, p. 206).
So, what’s your verdict? Does Christian Science pass The Four-Way Test? Feel free to send me your answer via email or by sharing a comment below. I’d love to hear from you.
You can follow Eric’s blog at: http://norcalchristianscience.blogspot.com