But it can happen. And according to the recent article Losing your faith is bad for your health in the UK’s Daily Telegraph a new study suggests that people doing so can suffer health consequences as a result. The study that is the subject of the article, which has just been published in the Journal of Health and Social Behaviour, says that self-reporting of “excellent health” goes down from 40% of those who remain in “strict (religious) groups” versus 25% among those who have left them.
The report concludes with a qualifying comment from the study’s author, Christopher Scheitle. He said “the study did not necessarily mean that leaving a religion caused poor health because in some cases poor health could prompt a person to leave, given the demands placed on them.” This is because “A belief that an “all-powerful being who failed to heal their condition” also left them feeling despondent.”
That cause for despondency is, or at least should be seen as being, misplaced, whether for a member of the “strict groups” mentioned in the article, or for adherents in a spiritual healing movement like Christian Science where individual freedom of conscience is paramount.
No-one should feel that either they or God are unworthy because of a healing that hasn’t come quickly. And yet if one has had clear-cut experiences of healing and is praying diligently and striving to live a life in accord with that prayer, then one can find oneself asking “What does it say if healing doesn’t happen?” It seems to say that either God isn’t there, or else that God doesn’t care, or that the one who hasn’t been healed isn’t doing enough to deserve it.
Any of the above would be logical cause for despondency…if they were true.
In Christian Science healing, though, the premise – and basis for prayer – is the opposite: that God is always there for everyone; that His/Her care is boundless and all-sufficient; and that every single individual – no matter their circumstances – is inherently worthy of experiencing the impartial love of divine Love that heals. All are entitled to see themselves to be, and feel themselves to be, the apple of His/Her eye.
For many of us, coming alive to these ideas has brought healing – often quickly, sometimes through greater persistence.
Admittedly, there are critics of this healthcare approach who, in their own attempt at a Jerry Seinfeld moment, might say that leaving the Christian Science movement would be good for your health. But that’s not the way I have found it. Losing faith in blind faith can certainly be a good thing – but blind faith and Christian Science are very different approaches to care and cure. Christian Science offers a systematic and reasoned explanation of how to perceive and prove God’s healing grace in practice.
For three decades now I have used this systematic approach to spiritual healing, described in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, in preference to the medicine I grew up with. And despite some fairly significant ailments I have found it more than sufficient to meet my needs. Best of all, though – just as for those whom Jesus healed – Christian Science healing reaches far deeper than just the surface problem and restores qualities like integrity, patience, forgiveness, joy…
Oh, yes, and faith…
Which is a grand quality that is good for your well-being. Especially if it is the kind of thoughtful faith that is a stepping-stone to an understanding of God’s infinite goodness and impartial love, which dissolve the mental darkness of fear and other factors which can conspire against good health.
That kind of faith has helped steer many people to the Science of healing since Mary Baker Eddy first discovered it in 1866, and articulated her demonstrated findings in Science and Health in 1875.
Many people say laughter is good for your health. Here’s a small dose of early Jerry Seinfeld…