Christian Science on Trial: Religious Healing in America by Rennie B. Schoepflin

By Rennie B. Schoepflin

In Christian technological know-how on Trial, historian Rennie B. Schoepflin exhibits how Christian technology therapeutic grew to become a conceivable substitute to medication on the finish of the 19th century. Christian Scientists didn't easily evangelize for his or her spiritual ideals; they engaged in a therapeutic enterprise that provided a healing replacement to many sufferers for whom medication had confirmed unsatisfactory. Tracing the evolution of Christian technological know-how throughout the overdue 19th and early 20th centuries, Christian technological know-how on Trial illuminates the movement's fight for life opposed to the efforts of equipped American drugs to curtail its activities.

Physicians exhibited an nervousness and tenacity to trivialize and keep an eye on Christian Scientists which exhibits an absence of self assurance one of the turn-of-the-century scientific career approximately who managed American well-being care. The restricted authority of the clinical group turns into even clearer via Schoepflin's exam of the pitched battles fought via physicians and Christian Scientists in America's courtrooms and legislative halls over the legality of Christian technology therapeutic. whereas the problems of scientific licensing, the that means of clinical perform, and the meant correct of usa citizens to healing selection ruled early debates, later confrontations observed the criminal concerns shift to issues of contagious affliction, public protection, and kid's rights. all through, Christian Scientists published their ambiguous prestige as clinical practitioners and non secular healers.

The Twenties witnessed an unsteady truce among American drugs and Christian technology. The ambivalence of many american citizens in regards to the perform of non secular therapeutic endured, despite the fact that. In Christian technological know-how on Trial we achieve a beneficial old context for realizing late–twentieth-century public debates over kid's rights, parental accountability, and the authority of recent medicine.

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Disagreeable experiences with regular medicine early in life had led her to become ‘‘disgusted with drugs,’’ and she turned instead to the principles of hygiene, which she practiced for twenty years before coming to doubt their ability to prevent disease. In the terms of her later Christian Science beliefs, because of these doubts she ‘‘rapidly grew worse in health’’ until her sister gave her a copy of Science and Health. After she ‘‘had read to, and through, [the chapter titled] ‘Teaching and Healing,’ ’’ she became so interested that she ‘‘began reading that blessed chapter over again’’ only to find that ‘‘I was cured of my dyspepsia, and that I could use my strength in lifting, without feeling the old distressing pain in my side.

19 However, contrary to such beliefs, often held by male critics, women converts to Christian Science were not just emotionally dissatisfied or mentally unstable; often, genuine intellectual dissatisfaction moved them. ’’ And many, like Collson, believed that science in some form held the promise of true and practical answers. ’’21 But many other women, stimulated by the demands of their supposed special duty to maintain America’s spiritual and physical health, found answers to these human dilemmas both emotionally and rationally inadequate and sought alternatives.

D. Scientists built their careers as practitioners in part on what historian Burton Bledstein has characterized as ‘‘the prestige of whitecollar employment that took pride in its competent service and its basis in science’’ and on their expertise in handling an esoteric body of Christian Science knowledge. Like Bledstein’s ‘‘consummate Mid-Victorian individual,’’ a Christian Scientist ‘‘never lost faith in the promise of his ‘becoming,’ despite adversity.

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