fathermothergod book event at Chautauqua
Very interesting day in Chautauqua!
First, a big article in the Chautauqua Daily about fathermothergod. In the article, the New York State Committee on Publication for the Christian Science Church weighed in (Chautauqua likes to be very fair!) which gave me enough of a heads up that I was able to prepare in the event Christian Scientists turned out for the reading.
And they did.
Of the roughly fifty people in attendance, I’m guessing about five or six were Christian Scientists. After I spoke and did my reading, I started a Q and A. A few questions into it, a woman stood up and introduced herself as a lifelong Christian Scientist, a Practitioner and a Teacher. Funniest aspect of the whole thing was that I decided I would read the excerpt about Sherman’s and my visit to our mother’s practitioner, describing her as silver-haired, elegantly dressed. A dead ringer for the woman in the audience!!!
She and another Christian Scientist spoke, and tried to attack my credibility, but having spent years in a C.S. boarding school, and having a Practitioner and Teacher for a father kind of squelched that. A man got up, probably in his mid fifties, and said he and his children had all been beautifully protected by Christian Science, etc etc. Another member of the audience asked him, “but what would you do if your child were critically ill?” He didn’t give much of an answer. He then quoted the last part of the interview in the paper, where I called Christian Science anachronistic and said that behind the facade of the C.S. Monitor is a darker, more frightening truth. He tried to make me look like I was full of anger and bitterness. I explained my use of the term anachronistic….about how CS. was founded late 19th century before the advent of modern medicine: no xrays, no penicillin, etc, when saying a prayer might, in fact have been a better option sometimes than going to a doctor….
Several people came up to me afterwards and commended me on how I handled the hostile attendees, said the anachronism answer was especially meaningful.
Oh, one other thing. One of Christian Scientists who spoke said there was nothing in the church doctrine that says you can’t go to doctors. I was armed with some great quote –thanks to some quick reference work done by Rita Swan early this morning! — from Science and Health to refute his claim. Here’s the one I used:
“A physical diagnosis of disease–since mortal mind must be the cause of disease– tends to induce disease.” This is what Mary Baker Eddy wrote in Science and Health, the Christian Science textbook on page 370.
Why would anyone ever go to a doctor if getting a diagnosis meant getting sicker???