Various philosophical and skeptical critiques have been leveled against Mrs. Eddy’s Christian Science. We consider many of these below:
REASON #1: Mrs. Eddy’s “terrible fall” wasn’t that terrible
Mrs. Eddy exaggerated the claims of her “terrible fall” in 1866. Gardner writes,
Mrs. Eddy’s claim that Dr. Cushing told her that her spinal problem was incurable and that she had but three days to live was another of her fibs. On January 2, 1907, the Union of Springfield, Massachusetts, published a long, notarized affidavit by Dr. Cushing in which he stoutly denied having told Mrs. Eddy any such things. The statement was reprinted in a series of fourteen sensational articles about Mrs. Eddy that ran in McClure’s magazine in 1907 and 1908. Before giving this affidavit, let me digress with some remarks about this series, which aroused enormous excitement when it appeared. The articles were revised and expanded in 1909 as a book titled The Life of Mary Baker G. Eddy and the History of Christian Science by Georgine Milmine. It was the first major attack on Mrs. Eddy, and the primary source for all later unauthorized biographies, including these chapters.
Even friendly biographers like Gillian Gill stated,
As Dr. Cushing recalled, Mrs. Patterson [Mary Baker Eddy] had indeed suffered some kind of concussion and was semihysterical, complaining of severe pain in her head and neck. But there had never been any suggestion on his part that her injury was so serious as to induce paralysis or death.
Kenneth Boa writes,
This story is more than a little suspect, however, since the physician in question denied under oath that he pronounced her to be in dangerous physical condition. He also said she visited him four times later in 1866 to receive medical treatments. Furthermore, a pupil of the late P.P. Quimby received a letter from her two weeks after her fall saying that she had not yet recovered.
REASON #2: Mrs. Eddy plagiarized her ideas from others
Mrs. Eddy stated that her discovery of Christian Science was unique. In Science and Health, Mary Baker Eddy wrote,
In the year 1866, I discovered the Science of Metaphysical Healing, and named it Christian Science. God had been graciously fitting me, during many years, for the reception of a final revelation of the absolute Principle of Scientific Mind-healing. No human pen or tongue taught me the science contained in this book and neither tongue nor pen can overthrow it. (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures)
However, despite this claim, critics have noticed clear plagiarisms of her work from others who wrote before her. Gardner writes,
It is not a coincidence that 1866, the year Quimby died, was the very year Mrs. Eddy finally decided was the year God had revealed to her the mighty truth of Christian Science, a truth that had not been given to mankind since the time of Christ.
Mrs. Eddy was not the first to use the term [Christian Science]. As early as 1854 a minister named William Adams titled his book The Elements of Christian Science. Quimby himself used the term in an 1863 paper, although he preferred to call his theology ‘Christ Science.’
Few Christian Scientists realize that Mrs. Eddy’s writings… also bristle with plagiarisms. Quite aside from what she stole from Quimby’s papers, and from early books on mind healing, she copied shamelessly, often word for word, from John Ruskin, Thomas Carlyle, Charles Kingsley, Swiss critic Henri Amiel, and from other authors… not once did she credit her sources or even suggest to readers that she was cribbing.
Gardner cites these plagiarisms side by side with the stolen works in chapter nine of his book The Healing Revelations of Mary Baker Eddy.
REASON #3: Denial of disease
In her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mrs. Eddy denied the existence of disease:
In such cases a few persons believe the potion swallowed by the patient to be harmless, but the vast majority of mankind, though they know nothing of this particular case and this special person, believe the arsenic, the strychnine, or whatever the drug used, to be poisonous, for it is set down as a poison by mortal mind. Consequently, the result is controlled by the majority of opinions, not by the infinitesimal minority of opinions in the sick-chamber. (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures (177:31-32; 178:1-7).
The less we know or think about hygiene, the less we are predisposed to sickness. (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures 389:5-7).
The Scientist knows that there can be no hereditary disease, since matter is not intelligent and cannot transmit good or evil intelligence to man, and God, and only Mind, does not produce pain in matter. (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures 412:31-32; 413:1-2)
You say a boil is painful; but that is impossible, for matter without mind is not painful. The boil simply manifests, through inflammation and swelling, a belief in pain, and this belief is called a boil. Now administer mentally to your patient a high attenuation of truth, and it will soon cure the boil. (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures 153:16-21).
The sick are not healed merely by declaring there is no sickness, but by knowing that there is none (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures 447:27-29).
It is plain that God does not employ drugs or hygiene, nor provide them for human use; else Jesus would have recommended and employed them in his healing. (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures 143:5)
The tender word and Christian encouragement of an invalid, pitiful patience with his fears and the removal of them, are better than hecatombs of gushing theories, stereotyped borrowed speeches, and the doling of arguments, which are but so many parodies on legitimate Christian Science, aflame with divine Love. (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures 367:3)
Of course, this denial of disease has led to many people dying due to lack of medical care. However, Mrs. Eddy couldn’t live consistently with her beliefs. She said, “But if it were my child I should let them vaccinate him and then with Christian Science I would prevent its harming the health of my child.” Additionally, Whorton writes, “Eddy did not believe in communicable disease, of course, but for purposes of avoiding legal conflict and negative publicity, she came around to recommending ‘that Christian Scientists decline to doctor infectious or contagious diseases.’ For the same reasons, church members agreed to accept medical treatment for seriously ill children, as well as vaccination of children.”
REASON #4: Mary Baker Eddy was addicted to morphine—a painkiller
Mrs. Eddy’s Christian Science denies the existence of pain, and yet, she herself took painkillers and may have been addicted to them. In 1888, Mary Baker Eddy denied her use of drugs like morphine. She writes, “I use no drugs whatever, not even coffea (coffee), thea (tea), capsicum (red pepper); though every day, and especially at dinner, I indulge in homoeopathic doses of natrum muriaticum (common salt).” However, it is beyond dispute that Mrs. Eddy used morphine. Whorton writes,
In her later years Eddy used eyeglasses and a dental plate, and when in the early 1900s she began to suffer from gallstones she readily accepted a physician’s prescription of morphine; she in fact resorted to the drug repeatedly for the rest of her life. Mrs. Eddy also had her grandchildren vaccinated and paid for a mastectomy for her sister-in-law.
Calvin Frye—a close, personal servant of Mrs. Eddy—writes in a diary,
Mr. Dickey last night told Mrs. Eddy that she shall not have any more morphine! She had for several days been suffering… but yesterday seemed normal and so having had hypodermic injections twice within a few days he believed she did not need it but that it was the old morphine habit reasserting itself and would not allow her to have it.
Miranda Rice wrote an article in the New York World (October 30, 1906) in which she said,
I was one of Mrs. Eddy’s first converts and associates. I have treated her hundreds of times. Finally we could not support Mrs. Eddy’s pretensions to evil powers. We resigned in a body. I was not able to subscribe to Mrs. Eddy’s practices. When she received my resignation she came to my house and pounded on all three of the doors with a stone. She was wild. She sent me word she intended to have me arrested for deserting her. I know that Mrs. Eddy was addicted to morphine in the seventies. She begged me to get some for her. She sent her husband Mr. Eddy for some, and when he failed to get it went herself and got it. She locked herself in her room for two days excluded everyone. She was a slave to morphine.
Gardner writes, “Mrs. Eddy’s adopted son, Ebenezer Foster, also spoke about his foster mother’s morphine addiction in an interview in the New York World (March 12, 1907). Mrs. Eddy had accused him of falsifying her account books.” Boa writes, “She herself periodically relied on doctors and medication, and ultimately she was unable to prevent her own death.”
REASON #5: Malicious Animal Magnetism
Mrs. Eddy’s first student—Richard Kennedy—left her school after an argument. Mrs. Eddy believed that he was using mind powers to harm her, and she had a name for these mysterious mind powers: malicious animal magnetism (MAM). Gill writes, “As Mrs. Eddy saw it, Kennedy had not only deceived her and let her down; he had sought to subvert the very basis of her teaching by using his powerful mesmeric abilities to undo the good she was seeking to do for patients.” Whorton writes,
For Eddy, MAM was the agency utilized by rivals and enemies to undermine her benevolent mission of healing… When Eddy’s husband passed away in 1882, she announced in the Boston Post that his death ‘was caused by malicious mesmerism,’ even though the autopsy she had requested showed that he had been stricken by heart disease. Whenever attempts at healing through Christian Science failed, it was due to someone subverting the process with MAM.
Based on her understanding of MAM, Mrs. Eddy became paranoid of others using mind powers to malign her. Gill writes,
The ‘watchers,’ or spiritual staff, worked in shifts, under daily instructions from Mrs. Eddy, to ‘meet’ the challenges of each day and to combat Malicious Animal Magnetism whether it manifested as a misplaced document, an unseasonal cold snap, an infectious cold, or a hostile newspaper article. There were at least two hour-long ‘watch’ meetings every day at Pleasant View, and watchers were also supposed to work on their assigned topic individually during the day … Eddy got the term watch from the New Testament narrative of the night in the garden of Gethsemane, when Jesus chides his disciples for being unable to watch him even a little while.
Mrs. Eddy’s third husband—Asa Eddy—died of heart failure. But because she was so fixated with MAM, Mrs. Eddy denied the physical heart disease of her husband. Instead, she was convinced that opponents of Christian Science were using MAM to kill her husband. Gardner writes,
When Asa Eddy finally died in 1882, Mrs. Eddy was so convinced of her crazy theory about the cause of death that she ordered Dr. Noyes to perform an autopsy. This he did, finding no trace of anything resembling arsenic poisoning. He even showed her Mr. Eddy’s defective heart, but Mrs. Eddy’s opinion was so set that she refused to believe it was a damaged heart that killed her husband.
Later in life, she believed that up to 50,000 people were trying to kill her with this MAM.
REASON #6: Physicians have been extremely critical of the claims of Christian Science
Dr. Richard Cabot serves as one example. Cabot was from Harvard Medical School. Whorton writes,
Carefully examining one hundred cures reported in the Christian Science Journal, Cabot determined that at least three-quarters were functional or emotional ailments, conditions famously susceptible to mental influence. ‘The complication is in the patient’s mind,’ he concluded, not in the body (Eddy would have agree); ‘chronic nervous (that is, mental) disease is the Christian Scientist’s stock in trade.’ Physicians generally concurred that the only people helped by Christian Science were ‘hysterical patients, the morbidly introspective, the worriers, the malades imaginaires.’
MDs concurred as well with Cabot’s contention that Christian Science ‘cures’ of such things as broken bones and cancer could not be taken seriously, because of practitioners’ ignorance of medical diagnosis; as one cynic observed, ‘it is undoubtedly as easy to imagine a fictitious illness as to deny the existence of a real one.’
REASON #7: Mark Baker Eddy became incredibly wealthy from Christian Science
While Mrs. Eddy’s wealth doesn’t disprove the truth of her claims, we would be naïve to ignore the fact that her religion made her unbelievably wealthy. Boa writes, “[Mrs. Eddy] died in 1910 at the age of 89. Her personal fortune was then valued at over 3 million dollars, none of which went to charity.” When Eddy died, she was living in a “thirty-four room mansion in Chestnut Hill, a Boston suburb.” The estate was valued at “about two-and-a-half million dollars.” And remember, this was in the early 20th century! Whorton writes,
As early as 1868 she began taking on students with the promise she would instruct them how to heal ‘with a success far beyond any of the present modes,’ and do so in only twelve lessons. At first charging a hundred dollars for the course, she soon raised her rates to three hundred, ‘a startling sum for tuition lasting barely three weeks,’ she acknowledged, but a fee to which ‘God impelled me.’
Gill writes, “Peel estimates that $300 was about one third the average annual income for a shoe worker.” Gill also notes that Mrs. Eddy revised Science and Health multiple times, encouraging her followers to buy a new copy with each new revision.
For these reasons, even apart from a Christian worldview, we find Mrs. Eddy’s Christian Science to be highly questionable to believe in. When placed under rational scrutiny, her beliefs are found to be dubious at best.
 Gardner, Martin. 1993. The Healing Revelations of Mary Baker Eddy. Buffalo, NY. Prometheus Books. 41.
 Gill, Gillian. Mary Baker Eddy. Reading, MA: Perseus, 1998. 163.
 Boa, Kenneth. Cults, World Religions, and the Occult. Wheaton, IL: Victor, 1990. 108.
 Gardner, Martin. 1993. The Healing Revelations of Mary Baker Eddy. Buffalo, NY. Prometheus Books. 51.
 Gardner, Martin. 1993. The Healing Revelations of Mary Baker Eddy. Buffalo, NY. Prometheus Books. 56-57.
 Gardner, Martin. 1993. The Healing Revelations of Mary Baker Eddy. Buffalo, NY. Prometheus Books. 145-146.
 See Gardner, Martin. 1993. The Healing Revelations of Mary Baker Eddy. Buffalo, NY. Prometheus Books. 145-158.
 Emphasis mine. Gill, Gillian. Mary Baker Eddy. Reading, MA: Perseus, 1998. 648.
 Whorton, James C. Nature Cures: The History of Alternative Medicine in America. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2002. 127.
 Friendly biographers to Mrs. Eddy do not believe that Mrs. Eddy was addicted to morphine. For instance, Gillian Gill writes, “I remain convinced that Mary Baker Eddy was never addicted to morphine.” Gill, Gillian. Mary Baker Eddy. Reading, MA: Perseus, 1998. 546.
 Eddy, Mary Baker. The Christian Science Journal. Christian Science Publishing Society. Boston, MA. Volume VI. April, 1888. 319.
 Whorton, James C. Nature Cures: The History of Alternative Medicine in America. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2002. 128.
 Calvin Frye’s journal. Cited in Gardner, Martin. 1993. The Healing Revelations of Mary Baker Eddy. Buffalo, NY. Prometheus Books. 86.
 Cited in Gardner, Martin. 1993. The Healing Revelations of Mary Baker Eddy. Buffalo, NY. Prometheus Books. 86-87.
 Gardner, Martin. 1993. The Healing Revelations of Mary Baker Eddy. Buffalo, NY. Prometheus Books. 87.
 Boa, Kenneth. Cults, World Religions, and the Occult. Wheaton, IL: Victor, 1990. 114.
 Gill, Gillian. Mary Baker Eddy. Reading, MA: Perseus, 1998. 208.
 Whorton, James C. Nature Cures: The History of Alternative Medicine in America. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2002. 128.
 Gill, Gillian. Mary Baker Eddy. Reading, MA: Perseus, 1998. 397.
 Gardner, Martin. 1993. The Healing Revelations of Mary Baker Eddy. Buffalo, NY. Prometheus Books. 28-29.
 Whorton, James C. Nature Cures: The History of Alternative Medicine in America. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2002. 125-126.
 Whorton, James C. Nature Cures: The History of Alternative Medicine in America. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2002. 126.
 Boa, Kenneth. Cults, World Religions, and the Occult. Wheaton, IL: Victor, 1990. 109.
 Gardner, Martin. 1993. The Healing Revelations of Mary Baker Eddy. Buffalo, NY. Prometheus Books. 106-107.
 Whorton, James C. Nature Cures: The History of Alternative Medicine in America. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2002. 122. Mary Baker Eddy stated, “When God impelled me to set a price on my instruction in Christian Science Mind-healing, I could think of no financial equivalent for an impartation of a knowledge of that divine power which heals, but I was led to name three hundred dollars as the price for each pupil in one course of lesions at my College—a startling sum for tuition lasting barely three weeks. This amount greatly troubled me. I shrank from asking it, but was finally led, by a strange providence, to accept this fee.” Retrospection and Introspection, p.50. Cited in Gill, Gillian. Mary Baker Eddy. Reading, MA: Perseus, 1998. 194.
 Gill, Gillian. Mary Baker Eddy. Reading, MA: Perseus, 1998. 194.
 Gill, Gillian. Mary Baker Eddy. Reading, MA: Perseus, 1998. 330-331.