It’s like a reverse marriage – sort of.
An Op-Ed piece entitled, “Medicine’s Great Divide – The View from the Alternative Side” published this month in the Virtual Mentor, the American Medical Association’s Journal of Ethics, describes the relationship between conventional medicine and alternative medicine like a bad marriage in reverse, starting with divorce, going through mediation, and working towards “a shy courtship”.
The author, Deepak Chopra, M.D., writes, “If both sides stopped being defensive, they would see that they share core values: treating the whole patient, reducing suffering, closing the gap between healer and healed, and doing the least harm while bringing the greatest good.”
Christian Science differs from conventional medicine in that it works from a spiritual standpoint, healing by addressing thought through prayer and relying on the divine laws and power of God, divine Mind. But it shares goals that focus on the patient’s well-being.
Consider this interesting statement by Mary Baker Eddy, Founder of Christian Science: “A genuine Christian Scientist loves Protestant and Catholic, D.D. and M.D., — loves all who love God, good; and he loves his enemies. It will be found that, instead of opposing, such an individual subserves the interests of both medical faculty and Christianity, and they thrive together, learning that Mind-power is good will towards men.”¹
I sometimes hear people refer to Christian Scientists as those people who “don’t go to doctors”. But in actuality, a “genuine Christian Scientist” loves doctors – indeed – loves everyone. For me, the “norm” of choosing spiritual care in Christian Science comes from a lifetime of finding it effective.
Chopra says, “One sign of growing reconciliation comes in the form of softened terminology. Instead of calling it alternative or holistic medicine, as I’ve been doing, the more acceptable term is complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), which sends the signal, ‘See? I am not your foe. We can cooperate. We’re complementary‘.” He envisions an even more complimentary term and system he calls “expanded medicine”, without divided or warring camps.
Here’s more common ground. Chopra also writes, “… we now realize that for every mental state there must be a corresponding state of physiology.” He points out that practitioners of conventional medicine cannot deny this since MRI’s show that receptor sites in the brain are activated by a sugar pill (a placebo) just as they are by “externally administered opiates”.
The textbook of Christian Science shares this sentiment, “A material body only expresses a material and mortal mind.“² “Whatever guides thought spiritually benefits mind and body. We need to understand the affirmations of divine Science, dismiss superstition, and demonstrate truth according to Christ.”³
Chopra says that “Medicine’s Great Divide” requires “a lot more marriage counseling.” Isn’t more successful healing the common goal?
¹ First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, page 4.
² Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, page 208.
³ Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, page 149.