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An amusing assault on Christian Science's more extravagant claims to cure illness and on founder Mary Baker Eddy's obfuscating writing style. An amusing assault on Christian Science's more extravagant claims to cure illness and on founder Mary Baker Eddy's obfuscating writing style.


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An amusing assault on Christian Science's more extravagant claims to cure illness and on founder Mary Baker Eddy's obfuscating writing style. An amusing assault on Christian Science's more extravagant claims to cure illness and on founder Mary Baker Eddy's obfuscating writing style.

30 review for Christian Science

  1. 4 out of 5

    Trevor

    I’ve always been a bit literal and so when I was a child walking along St Kilda Road and first saw The First Church of Christ Scientist I just assumed that this was a church that had started here in Melbourne and that somewhere there must be a second church. I don’t think I ever made the connection with the Christian Scientist Reading Rooms that are dotted about the place – there’s one in Glenhuntly Road, for example. Then I grew older and read a book that said various joking things about religi I’ve always been a bit literal and so when I was a child walking along St Kilda Road and first saw The First Church of Christ Scientist I just assumed that this was a church that had started here in Melbourne and that somewhere there must be a second church. I don’t think I ever made the connection with the Christian Scientist Reading Rooms that are dotted about the place – there’s one in Glenhuntly Road, for example. Then I grew older and read a book that said various joking things about religions – and one of the only things I remember from that book was that when Mary Baker Eddy (affectionately known as Mother Mary to her congregation) was asked about the efficacy of her mind cure and more specifically why members of her family had not lived longer than the average Joe or, in fact, why they had also had the standard illnesses everyone gets – she answered that it was because of the bad feelings directed at her and her family by wicked people. I always thought this was very amusing. Then when my youngest daughter started drama at CAE and my eldest daughter and I would wait to pick her up in Degrave Street we would invariably stand waiting for her outside the Christian Science Reading Room there. And I told her what little I knew of Ms Eddy and we looked in thorough the window at the endless copies of Science and Health on display and I smiled to myself. It was only when I got my Kindle that I found out Twain had written a book on the subject. I wasn’t going to read it, but then I read William James’ Varieties of Religious Experience and he talks extensively about Christian Science (if in rather general terms) and I thought it would be good to learn a bit more. I like Twain, I really enjoyed Huck and found his Life on the Mississippi wonderful – so, who better to take me on a journey into the dark world of Christian Science? Christian Science believes that there is no such thing as matter – Matter is merely prejudice we seem to have been lumbered with. What is true is God, and God is spirit, not matter, and we are made in God’s image, so we aren’t really matter either – if you follow my logic. Christ wasn’t just a religious leader, he was also a healer. So, it makes sense that the followers of Christ should also be healers. And by the way, a Christian Scientist doesn’t need to be in the same room to heal you – since matter doesn’t exist, space doesn’t either. Really, to be healthy is just a matter of removing sin from your life and then your spirit will be healthy and therefore so will your body be. Twain is much more respectful of this view than I probably would have been – the desire to simply point and laugh is obviously very great here, but I will follow Twain’s example. Twain points out that it is probably true (and I’m translating into modern language here) that given that most illness is psychosomatic it can therefore be ‘cured’ by the placebo effect. Given it is notoriously difficult to know which is a real and which is a psychosomatic illness – then perhaps Ms Eddy is wiser than as the rest of us in just grouping all illnesses as illnesses of the spirit. Perhaps treating all illness as if the body didn’t really exist is just as good as some of the other treatments available in her day – bleeding, poisoning with mercury, cutting people open with dirty knives and so on – in fact, there is no ‘perhaps’ about it. Twain makes it clear right from the beginning what he thinks of the views that form the basis of Christian Science, even if he does so using humour and satire. The first few chapters here are the supposed treatment he receives from a Christian Scientist after falling off a cliff and breaking most of the bones in his body. When the Christian Scientist effectively tries to cure his broken body by telling him to have faith (about as effective as trying to cure a broken arm with iridology or aromatherapy) he really goes to town on the whole idea. But this isn’t the main point of the book. Twain’s main point is to show that he doesn't think very highly of Mrs Eddy at all – and not because he thinks her ideas are stupid. In fact, it is clear that his main concern is that he thinks she is money hungry and obsessed with power to the extent that she virtually believes she is divine. Now, she is hardly the first founder of a religion to have those faults. What is really interesting, and takes up a large part of the book, is that he also does not believe that she actually wrote Science and Health (virtually the second bible of Christian Science) – and he believes he can prove it. And, do you know what? His proofs are pretty convincing. Let’s say that besides all of the plays and all of the poems and sonnets of Shakespeare’s there were also a series of letters that we absolutely knew for certain Bill had written. Let’s say that in these letters he mentions some bits of poetry he has been working on and the poetry in the letters is invariably in the form of limericks. Now, this wouldn't in itself be conclusive proof that Shakespeare didn’t write the plays, but then, you might be much more prone to have another look at the evidence for Bacon having had a hand in them. And what if the letters were so badly written, so unclear, so jumbled and convoluted that it was just obvious that the pen that wrote the letters couldn’t possibly also be the pen that wrote Hamlet? Well, that is pretty much what Twain shows with Mrs Eddy. He even appends slabs of Science and Health and her preface and it is as clear as day that the two bits of writing were not done by the same hand. Where one is sharp and clever and clear the other is uninspired, hard to read and just badly written. This really was an interesting book. Mrs Eddy seems to have suffered from megalomania and also seems to have been a plagiarist. But I’m even more fascinated by Christian Science after having finished this book than I was before reading it. Her megalomania might have implied (ought to have?) that once she died the church would metaphorically follow her to the grave soon after. That this didn’t happen seems rather remarkable. I might also have thought that the advance of modern medicine might have helped to undercut some of her ideas – although, why I might think this given the growth of New Age Medicine is yet another mystery. If I had time I would like to find out more about this church post-Eddy, but Twain’s message and manner of attack here is enlightening and, I should think, proved a bit of a head-ache for Christian Science at the time. This was well worth the read.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Fr.Bill M

    Twain was not known for his Christian orthodoxy (!), so it is a shame to orthodox Christians that he wrote this book rather than an orthodox Christian of that period writing it. Twain wrote this book in the early years of Mary Baker Eddy's religious fantasies. Perhaps he thought he was lampooning modern Christian fantasies, and he got away with it (again, shame on orthodox Christians!). At any rate, the book excels in two ways: 1. It thoroughly deconstructs Christian Science in a time when deconst Twain was not known for his Christian orthodoxy (!), so it is a shame to orthodox Christians that he wrote this book rather than an orthodox Christian of that period writing it. Twain wrote this book in the early years of Mary Baker Eddy's religious fantasies. Perhaps he thought he was lampooning modern Christian fantasies, and he got away with it (again, shame on orthodox Christians!). At any rate, the book excels in two ways: 1. It thoroughly deconstructs Christian Science in a time when deconstruction wasn't even on anyone's radar. 2. Twain undoes Christian Science with a tool that is virtually impossible to defend against: humor. When Twain can get us to laught at Christian Science, at Mary Baker Eddy, and at those who bought her special gnostic blend of religious snake oil, AND when that laughter has no guilty strain at all, because he shows us clearly how ridiculous it is -- well, there's no better example of using humor polemically than this book. Polemicists should study it carefully.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Illiterate

    Twain uses a sledgehammer to crack a nut.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    For of all the strange and frantic and incomprehensible and uninterpretable books which the imagination of man has created, surely this one is the prize sample. -p20 … almost any reader can see that her work was the uncalculated puttering of a novice. -p73 Mark Twain was concerned that the Church of Christ, Scientist, was ascendant. This is a polemic unlike any I have read. He had such distaste and contempt for Mary Baker Eddy (MBE), the founder and promulgator of the cult of Christian Science. This For of all the strange and frantic and incomprehensible and uninterpretable books which the imagination of man has created, surely this one is the prize sample. -p20 … almost any reader can see that her work was the uncalculated puttering of a novice. -p73 Mark Twain was concerned that the Church of Christ, Scientist, was ascendant. This is a polemic unlike any I have read. He had such distaste and contempt for Mary Baker Eddy (MBE), the founder and promulgator of the cult of Christian Science. This following grew to several tens of thousands of adherents in her lifetime, by which time MBE was charging exorbitant prices for her holy books and seminars. She seems to have stolen whole cloth many of the metaphysical (read: bogus) principles from Phineas Quimby, a proponent of faith healing who she briefly followed as an acolyte. Regardless, Twain loathed her. This book is all sass, wit, and rhetorical pounding. I enjoyed it immensely. Imagine 200 pages of condescension and aphorisms. He dissects her incoherent, awkward writing, and makes a serious case that her main work (Science and Health) was not her own. The rules and regulations of her organization were comically self-aggrandizing. She installed herself as a type of Grand Nagus, blessing all decisions and leaving no room for usurpation in her ranks. …I seem to recognize in her exactly the same appetite for self-deification that I have for pie. -p189 Twain is relentlessly contemptuous of her, but never of her followers. He recognizes the peace she may bring to others (even if that peace was provided by babble and self-promotion). In her own words, Mary Baker Eddy eschewed the knowledge of the rational world: "After my discovery of Christian Science, most of the knowledge I had gleaned from school books vanished like a dream." (Mary Baker Eddy, Autobiography) MT was afraid that this sect was ascendant 120 years ago, but fortunately the number of followers has dropped dramatically since the 1930s. But he knows that human beings are unfailingly susceptible to false consolations. Often it does seem such a pity that Noah and his party did not miss the boat. -p110

  5. 5 out of 5

    Noreen

    This is an examination and critique of the Christian Science religion. Today most people know of the church only because of news stories about people who die of neglect because believers deny them medical care. Those incidents are declining as courts step in to intervene on behalf of children. Mary Baker Eddy, the founder, was a contemporary of Samuel Clemens. She felt she was given a special understanding of the bible, and wrote a book called Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures. First h This is an examination and critique of the Christian Science religion. Today most people know of the church only because of news stories about people who die of neglect because believers deny them medical care. Those incidents are declining as courts step in to intervene on behalf of children. Mary Baker Eddy, the founder, was a contemporary of Samuel Clemens. She felt she was given a special understanding of the bible, and wrote a book called Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures. First he describes the beliefs of the church in a fictional tale in which he meets a Christian Science practitioner after he has been badly injured in a fall. Followers "imagined that there were no such things as pain, sickness and death, and no realities in the world; nothing actually existent but Mind." What he learned from practitioner seems absurd, if not downright unintelligible. It's not easy to tell what Twain intended here. The first book reads a little like a prospectus in that he praises the business practices of this new "church" and predicts rapid growth and financial success. On the other hand, he lampoons its doctrines and dogma and the gullibility of its disciples. Then he seems to like it for its potential to heal the world of psychosomatic* illnesses, which according to him, may constitute four fifths of all ailments. Considering the state of medical science at the time, placebo* remedies were probably an improvement. He opined that by curing imaginary illness with imaginary treatments, this religion could save a lot of people from the risky ministrations of doctors and surgeons. He predicted that its success would challenge the Catholic church and perhaps even government. The second book takes a closer look at Mary Baker Eddy and her writings. It also vacillates between criticism and apparent admiration. He notes that it is obvious she had a ghost writer, and he quotes many samples as evidence. Her writing skills are those of a romantic-minded fifteen-year-old, and her contributions are easy to detect. He admires her business acumen while at the same time castigating it as piracy. He portrays Eddy as greedy, selfish, and power hungry, and calls her a despot and a tyrant. But then in an appendix he says "she is easily the most interesting person on the planet, and, in several ways, as easily the most extraordinary woman that was ever born upon it." As a freethinker, I enjoyed Chapter 9 of the first book. It contains many brilliant comments about the nature of religious belief. He criticizes those who predict that the church will fail because it appeals to "the unintelligent, the mentally inferior, the people who do not think," when that appeal is precisely why cults succeed. He says -- and I am paraphrasing here -- that critical thinking must be learned, and that people can make intelligent evaluations only in the areas in which they have expertise. He says people get their religion not through their minds, but through their feelings and even more through their environment. If that were not so, we would see different religions among members of the same family. He uses the rapid spread of Mohammedanism to argue that a successful religion does not appeal to the intellect. He saw Christian Science, having the necessary environment and the appeal to the unintelligent, as a formidable threat to regular Christianity. I don't know why the church didn't enjoy the wild success he predicted. Few people have heard of Mary Baker Eddy today, though the progeny of her cult, such as New Thought, the Law of Attraction, and The Secret, are many. There is never a shortage of cults and true believers to join them -- in fact the more outrageous the claims, the more entrenched the disciples. Maybe Christian Science wasn't crazy enough. *Twain didn't use these modern words, but his meaning is clear.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Christa

    While the first chapter of this book is enough to make you roll on the floor with laughter, the rest of the book makes a thorough argument against Christian Science, complete with Mark Twain's acerbic commentary. I expect that most of his arguments wouldn't be particularly effective when trying to convert a Christian Scientist, but gives some interesting insights into the early days of the development of the movement. Mrs. Eddy was still alive - and commented on - Mark Twain's essays and books o While the first chapter of this book is enough to make you roll on the floor with laughter, the rest of the book makes a thorough argument against Christian Science, complete with Mark Twain's acerbic commentary. I expect that most of his arguments wouldn't be particularly effective when trying to convert a Christian Scientist, but gives some interesting insights into the early days of the development of the movement. Mrs. Eddy was still alive - and commented on - Mark Twain's essays and books on the subject, making for an interesting dialogue of sorts. The humor of the book is not evenly dispersed - it is mostly concentrated in the first two chapters with only hints of some rather sarcastic humor later, so if you pick up this book expecting the first chapter to be a taste of what's to come, you may be disappointed, but still, a very good and interesting (if not completely hilarious throughout) read.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Scott

    It would not surprise me if were to learn that Christian Science is Twain`s least read book. I don't know whether this is true,but it could be. Nevertheless, the book is worth reading. It provides insights into Twain`s way of thinking, maybe even more so than his complete autobiography. We see his humor, his vews on religion, on the human race, and we even get surprisingly current views on politics, and especially party politics. It's an unusual and not entirely successful book, but it's Twain in It would not surprise me if were to learn that Christian Science is Twain`s least read book. I don't know whether this is true,but it could be. Nevertheless, the book is worth reading. It provides insights into Twain`s way of thinking, maybe even more so than his complete autobiography. We see his humor, his vews on religion, on the human race, and we even get surprisingly current views on politics, and especially party politics. It's an unusual and not entirely successful book, but it's Twain in his old age, when he was not afraid to share views that might not have been popular, his often-dark opinions about people and our race in general. This might not be the Twain most people think of,but it's the real Samuel Clemens, and Twain fans will be entertained--if sometimes bewildered--by his thought processes and his acid wit, which is not always humorous.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Colton

    "Let us consider that we are all partially insane. It will explain us to each other; it will unriddle many riddles; it will make clear and simple many things which are involved in haunting and harassing difficulties and obscurities now." "The twelfth chapter of the Apocalypse has a special suggestiveness in connection with this nineteenth century... Revelation xii. I. And there appeared a great wonder in heaven—a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown o "Let us consider that we are all partially insane. It will explain us to each other; it will unriddle many riddles; it will make clear and simple many things which are involved in haunting and harassing difficulties and obscurities now." "The twelfth chapter of the Apocalypse has a special suggestiveness in connection with this nineteenth century... Revelation xii. I. And there appeared a great wonder in heaven—a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars." "There is nothing to Christian Science; there is nothing about it that appeals to the intellect; its market will be restricted to the unintelligent, the mentally inferior, the people who do not think." Seven continues to be a sacred number. Huzzah.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    twain's a pleasure to read, whether he's notoriously frog-jumping in calaveras or just ripping to tiny bits mary baker eddy's prose style and her claims of holy intentions. ever-so-slightly biased start to my foray into researching christian science, but i don't need much goading to be cynical about such matters, do i? he sticks to the surface stuff without digging too far into doctrine; serves also as a guide to wouldn't-be messiahs and an intriguing take on your average style and grammar book. twain's a pleasure to read, whether he's notoriously frog-jumping in calaveras or just ripping to tiny bits mary baker eddy's prose style and her claims of holy intentions. ever-so-slightly biased start to my foray into researching christian science, but i don't need much goading to be cynical about such matters, do i? he sticks to the surface stuff without digging too far into doctrine; serves also as a guide to wouldn't-be messiahs and an intriguing take on your average style and grammar book.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Dan Brent

    Go to Gutenberg.org and read this. As a supporter of the skeptic movement, this book does my heart good. With his humor flying high, Mark Twain goes after one of the most enduring insanities in the world, faith healing, and the science there in. Dawkins wishes he had the panache of Mr. Twain.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    I got about 40 pages into it, then got distracted and never finished. But it's sitting on the back of my toilet, so I'm sure I'll get to it. I got about 40 pages into it, then got distracted and never finished. But it's sitting on the back of my toilet, so I'm sure I'll get to it.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Alfajirikali

    Samuel Clemens was hilarious, including in this commentary on Christian Science. However, I could not bring myself to read it in entirety.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Marts (Thinker)

    Mark Twain's satirical investigation and deconstruction of the Christian Science faith... Mark Twain's satirical investigation and deconstruction of the Christian Science faith...

  14. 4 out of 5

    Vickie

    A very eye opening view of this very unique religion! Way to go MT

  15. 5 out of 5

    Onyango Makagutu

    Time to visit Church of Christ, Scientist

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sam

    Everything I am not. And the reasons why.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Hank Pharis

    This was interesting. Twain is more generous than I thought he might be while still demonstrating all sorts of problems with Christian Science and especially Mary Baker Eddy. When he wrote this CS was on the rise and he even states that he fears that someday it will be second in size only to Roman Catholicism. This prediction proves that he was not a prophet as the movement has been dramatically declining for decades. He says that MBE was the only absolute sovereign in "Christendom." He makes a This was interesting. Twain is more generous than I thought he might be while still demonstrating all sorts of problems with Christian Science and especially Mary Baker Eddy. When he wrote this CS was on the rise and he even states that he fears that someday it will be second in size only to Roman Catholicism. This prediction proves that he was not a prophet as the movement has been dramatically declining for decades. He says that MBE was the only absolute sovereign in "Christendom." He makes a strong case that she had much more authority over CS than the Pope does over RC. However he also identifies her as the most interesting woman in America. But he rejects all sorts of her claims including being able to know other people's motives. Typically he comes off inconsistent regarding his own religious views. At one point he identifies himself as a Presbyterian and sometimes praises Christianity. At other times he relativistically argues that no man's opinion/faith has any value. He laments the fractured state of Protestantism saying that there are now 139 denominations (few compared to today). And then there are the typical cynical/humorous comments about mankind: "It's a shame that Noah's party didn't miss the boat."

  18. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    This is an incisive take-down of The Christian Science church and of its founder Mary G. Baker Eddy. Given Twain's attitude towards organized religion in general, though, it left me wondering what it was that moved him to spend so much time and energy in taking on this one particular form of it. This is an incisive take-down of The Christian Science church and of its founder Mary G. Baker Eddy. Given Twain's attitude towards organized religion in general, though, it left me wondering what it was that moved him to spend so much time and energy in taking on this one particular form of it.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Shae

    The explanations about how the Christian science doctor treats injuries are amusing. I started skimming when it became a serious effort to refute Christian science, but not sad I read it.

  20. 4 out of 5

    James

    It was hilarious, especially the first chapter

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kevin Turner

    Interesting read. Know the Bible really well before you read this. It is wise to keep your Christian wits about you also when reading this with a dose of logic.

  22. 5 out of 5

    wally

    Twain takes a look at Christian Science...the religion, I take it. There's a paragraph or two early on that leaves the reader w/the impression that this is a revised take, an earlier one....something something. Begins: Vienna 1899 This last summer, when I was on my way back to Vienna from the Appetite-Cure in the mountains, I fell over a cliff in the twilight, and broke some arms and legs and one thing or another, and by good luck was found by some peasants who has lost an ass, and they carried me Twain takes a look at Christian Science...the religion, I take it. There's a paragraph or two early on that leaves the reader w/the impression that this is a revised take, an earlier one....something something. Begins: Vienna 1899 This last summer, when I was on my way back to Vienna from the Appetite-Cure in the mountains, I fell over a cliff in the twilight, and broke some arms and legs and one thing or another, and by good luck was found by some peasants who has lost an ass, and they carried me to the nearest habitation, which was one of those large, low, thatch-roofed farm-houses, with apartments in the garret for the family, and a cunning little porch under the deep gable decorated with boxes of bright colored flowers and cats... Since there is only a horse doctor and another a Christian Science woman, she is notified, but she tells the messenger to relay the message that it is late and all his pain is in his head, anyway. She'll begin administering to him from afar and the next day she shows to administer close up. The lady is from Boston and she is summering in the village...a Christian Science doctor and could cure anything. Her name was Fuller. He gets into a back-and-forth w/her about the theory, the roots of the whole shebang found in Revelation, some woman appearing with a "little book" and there's your whole ballgame, the "little book". I can imagine Twain and a host of other authors breathing a collective sigh of relief. Wouldn't want to get mixed up with the apocalypse. Onward and upward....about 20% complete at this point, Thursday evening...9-ish. update complete, finished, Friday evening, 9:01 p.m. e.s.t An interesting read, one worth the time considering that it is in a sense Twain's review of Mary Baker Eddy's Health and Science, something to do with the Church of Christ Scientist, or whatever name it has evolved. Another reason it is of interest is due to the interest and concern Twain took to look at what must have been--at the time---turn-of-the-century, a growing movement among the faithful of this branch of religion. And that is interesting because who today has heard of them? Didn't John Travolta become a member? I mean it's not like they're canvassing the neighborhood two-by-two, right? And so, for that "chicken-little" prophecy of Twain's--he saw them occupying Congress by 1930-1940...for that, we should be grateful for this piece as we see THAT so much today. The last bit I read, a selection of essays by Harry Crews, this jackrabbit was quoted as foretelling the doom of Alaska and the pipeline...some asinine remark about a 2-3 year supply. We have the benefit of hindsight and with the pipeline providing 30-40 years after the fact...well, it does get a bit tiring to hear the jackasses trying to "chicken-little" us to death. The president of the United States has been the latest jackass trying to tell us about the 2%. Bunch of damn sodomites! And the crowds roar their approval. The polar bear and God in heaven, the gull-darn owl and what else? By now, it's gotten to the point where "diversity" means everything BUT Christianity. Diverse does not include them and the world says hallelujah, verily, and just so. From this diet rich in irony, we believe we're all just swell and shortly we'll all gather at the campfire and begin to sing "We Are the Champions". Anyway, interesting piece...and apparently it has been written and published here and there in bits and pieces, as Eddy saw parts of it and answered bits of it. Twain claims over and over again that she did not author Health and Science, and his review of that work, contained here, is worth a read simply to see how someone of Twain's caliber goes about a review. You could do worse. Shine little glow-worm vampire, glitter!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Patrickhonest

    Some reviewers have mentioned that they agree or disagree with the author's standpoint. Others missed the point entirely, thinking Twain was condemning Christian Science. I hope to be a little more revealing. Being a Mark Twain fan, I of course read this book as well, and afterwords the one by Ms. Eddy. I've rated it 2/5 stars for several reasons. The first being that the book is dripping with ill used satire. If you've read the book, no explanation is necessary. Twain attempts to discredit that thi Some reviewers have mentioned that they agree or disagree with the author's standpoint. Others missed the point entirely, thinking Twain was condemning Christian Science. I hope to be a little more revealing. Being a Mark Twain fan, I of course read this book as well, and afterwords the one by Ms. Eddy. I've rated it 2/5 stars for several reasons. The first being that the book is dripping with ill used satire. If you've read the book, no explanation is necessary. Twain attempts to discredit that this Ms. Eddy wrote the book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, comparing it to her earlier works. However, Mrs. Eddy addresses this herself in her book. Paraphrase: she states that her earlier works were ill in understanding and in interpretation, and that they shouldn't be used or considered. Not only that, but this book was not the only work of the woman. She wrote countless pantalets, articles, letters, etc. exhibiting her writing ability. With this understood, most of this book is just that; satire at its best. A comical rendition of a misinterpretation. It should be noted that Christian Science is commonly misunderstood by those who do not take the time to understand it, and that rebuttals against the religion are often inaccurate or already addressed by the author. Furthermore, a common misunderstanding is that Christian Science, the religion, is in some way refuting or discrediting physical science or contemporary understandings of the word "science." The book is not a contradiction. The book by Mark Twain begins with an event where there was only a horse doctor. Ms. Eddy states in here book that anything requiring a surgeon should not only be handled by one, but handled by the BEST SURGEON. This is contradiction to the belief that Christian Scientists do not use doctors, or go to them. As with any individual, in any religion, belief system, or lack thereof -- it is always up to the individual to choose what to do in any situation. Another common error is that Christian Scientists don't believe in the world, or the body, etc. based on the book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. The viewpoints are relative and differentiate between physical identity and spiritual identity. In simple terms: an idea, thought, or concept, is not a material thing. Ask any scientist or mathematician, ideas aren't physical. This is what Ms. Eddy conveys in her book. When you take the time to understand, as I have after reading this book, it makes sense. Christian Science is not faith healing, as some irrelevant reviewer stated here.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Walter

    I feel bad rating a book by Mark Twain, arguably the greatest American writer ever, with three stars. "Christian Science" however is not your typical Mark Twain work. It is not a novel, it is more of an expose on the Christian Science Church. You will not find "Christian Science" in your local Christian Science reading room. Twain excoriates the Church, and especially its founder, Mary Baker Eddy. Twain alleges that the Christian Science church is merely a scam, a means to separate fools from th I feel bad rating a book by Mark Twain, arguably the greatest American writer ever, with three stars. "Christian Science" however is not your typical Mark Twain work. It is not a novel, it is more of an expose on the Christian Science Church. You will not find "Christian Science" in your local Christian Science reading room. Twain excoriates the Church, and especially its founder, Mary Baker Eddy. Twain alleges that the Christian Science church is merely a scam, a means to separate fools from their money. In Twain's words, Eddy is a control freak, an absolute monarch the likes of which would make the Emperor Nero jealous, and a con artist. Worse than this, she is a fraud. He spends many pages analyzing her books, showing how her prose is simple and unrefined, and therefore she could not be the actual author of those chapters of her books which show learning and refinement. Twain's Christian Science theology is the stuff of fools who believe that all suffering is merely a mirage and through positive thinking the believer could overcome any amount of fear, suffering, disease or even death. If you think I am being overdramatic here in presenting Twain's views, I am actually holding back quite a bit from the language that Twain uses to describe this religion and its founder. Now I don't know much about Christian Science. I am not a Christian Scientist nor do I really have a desire to learn about it. But I do know that Christian Science is still around in 2013. Mary Baker Eddy died close to 100 years ago. And if what Twain said about Eddy were true, then the scam that she perpeturated in her life would have fell apart like a house of cards. It didn't. So there must be more to this thing that Twain acknowledges. Furthermore, when I read a book that excoriates a religion, I think about how I would feel if I were reading these words of Twain applied to my own faith. There but for the grace of God go I and my church. Because of this I am very reluctant to give a high rating to a book that is a satire on any religion or way of thinking. However, this book is a genuine Twain work. He is a funny guy, and I laughed in several places as I read "Christian Science." I have no doubt that Twain was sincere in his writings about Eddy and Christian Science. So I give it the benefit of the doubt. However, I would caution any of you who choose to read "Christian Science" to do so with a grain of salt that is worthy of perhaps the greatest satirist in American history.

  25. 4 out of 5

    John Harder

    I have always wanted to meet Mark Twain, but now I am not so sure…what if he didn’t like me? He didn’t think much of Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian Science and he so thoroughly roasts her I can still smell the char 110 ten years after its first printing. Just the deadly criticism of her grammar should have driven Eddy to a self-induced banishment, but given her character Eddy shield of infallibility no doubt effectively shielded her from an criticism. Twain spends less time discussing I have always wanted to meet Mark Twain, but now I am not so sure…what if he didn’t like me? He didn’t think much of Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian Science and he so thoroughly roasts her I can still smell the char 110 ten years after its first printing. Just the deadly criticism of her grammar should have driven Eddy to a self-induced banishment, but given her character Eddy shield of infallibility no doubt effectively shielded her from an criticism. Twain spends less time discussing the tenants of Christian Science, rather focusing more on Eddy’s elevation to the level of deity, crowning herself with more autocratic power than the Pope and an insistence of infallibility of her decisions both in theology and secular matters. As always Twain’s humor goes from droll, to hilarious, to biting. Great book.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Steve

    At this point in my attempt to read him in chronological order, I've hit a confusing wall, as different sources are giving me slightly different dates. Heck, this one was written in 1899 (the first part) and 1903 (the second part). At any rate, it's a hilarious take down of Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian Science, with more than a little polemic against the religion itself, and hints here and there that it isn't a whole lot less rational than other religions. Now here's a subject about At this point in my attempt to read him in chronological order, I've hit a confusing wall, as different sources are giving me slightly different dates. Heck, this one was written in 1899 (the first part) and 1903 (the second part). At any rate, it's a hilarious take down of Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian Science, with more than a little polemic against the religion itself, and hints here and there that it isn't a whole lot less rational than other religions. Now here's a subject about which I knew nothing, and about which I cared little - but Twain is such an entertainer, especially when he gets going in his satirical mode, that I was spellbound by this relatively short series of essays. Twain proves to his own satisfaction that Eddy stole the entire book on which her religion is based, though he doesn't know who wrote it originally.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Olivia

    This is a well written work about MBE from the perspective of a fellow writer alive and active at the same time. Mr. Twain likely had an agenda, and, at times, it is clear to the reader that he is stroking his ego while supporting his arguments. However, the author is able to use both literary analysis of several examples of her writing as well as logic to support his conclusion that MBE is not, in fact, the author of Science and Health. He also lays out a compelling argument - again, based on h This is a well written work about MBE from the perspective of a fellow writer alive and active at the same time. Mr. Twain likely had an agenda, and, at times, it is clear to the reader that he is stroking his ego while supporting his arguments. However, the author is able to use both literary analysis of several examples of her writing as well as logic to support his conclusion that MBE is not, in fact, the author of Science and Health. He also lays out a compelling argument - again, based on her own written texts- as to why and how she came to single-handedly rule a religion free from dissent and sects, and how she used her keen business sense to amass vast personal wealth from her followers.

  28. 5 out of 5

    John Bonsall

    Randomly opening the complete works of Mark Twain I became immersed in his hilariously ridiculous debate with a Christian Scientist in the Alps. Knowing nothing of Christian Science I nonetheless decided I might as well keep going. Unfortunately it gets quite dry after the anecdote in the Alps, especially when you know nothing about the subject and in light of his predictions of Christian Science's inevitable world conquest not exactly panning out as foreseen. I made it to the end of Book 1 but I Randomly opening the complete works of Mark Twain I became immersed in his hilariously ridiculous debate with a Christian Scientist in the Alps. Knowing nothing of Christian Science I nonetheless decided I might as well keep going. Unfortunately it gets quite dry after the anecdote in the Alps, especially when you know nothing about the subject and in light of his predictions of Christian Science's inevitable world conquest not exactly panning out as foreseen. I made it to the end of Book 1 but I see no reason to continue when by doing so I'd be foregoing other more interesting and highly likely more relevant topics.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ari

    It's a bit disjointed -- written in several pieces, years apart, without proper editing. However, there are many wonderful passages. I was laughing out loud for much of it. Twain is at his best when he's dissecting Mary Baker Eddy's murky prose. Part of being a good writer is being able to talk lucidly about others' writing, and Twain is a master of this. He asserts, and I think truly believed, that Christian Science had good prospects for replacing all the other Christian denominations and becom It's a bit disjointed -- written in several pieces, years apart, without proper editing. However, there are many wonderful passages. I was laughing out loud for much of it. Twain is at his best when he's dissecting Mary Baker Eddy's murky prose. Part of being a good writer is being able to talk lucidly about others' writing, and Twain is a master of this. He asserts, and I think truly believed, that Christian Science had good prospects for replacing all the other Christian denominations and becoming a major world religion. Turns out not...

  30. 5 out of 5

    Alexis Chateau

    My least favourite book from Twain. It was an amusing read, but he didn't need all of 144 pages on my tablet to get his point across. I know nothing of Mrs. Eddy or he church aside from what is in this book and do not wish to know it, but I can say Twain was very repetitive in sharing what he knew. I think this book will only ever interest people who know of Christian Science, and who find it equally as ridiculous as Twain did. My least favourite book from Twain. It was an amusing read, but he didn't need all of 144 pages on my tablet to get his point across. I know nothing of Mrs. Eddy or he church aside from what is in this book and do not wish to know it, but I can say Twain was very repetitive in sharing what he knew. I think this book will only ever interest people who know of Christian Science, and who find it equally as ridiculous as Twain did.

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