In an episode of the fictional television drama L.A Law, the actor on the witness stand, who was playing the part of a Christian Scientist, stated that Christian Science healing consisted of prayer and a faith that God would heal the disease. In earlier testimony, his distraught wife had berated herself for not having had enough faith in their prayers, the absence of which she felt resulted in the death of their only child.
It seemed to me the program depicted Christian Science treatment as mere faith healing, without any need for spiritual understanding or inspiration. Even the Christian Science practitioner was presented as merely a kindly voice on the telephone, giving out ineffective human advice and moral support.
My fifteen-year-old son, who was watching the show with me, became frustrated. "They really don't know what prayer is in Christian Science. They think we plead with God and beg Him to take away disease!" Having been raised in another religion, I tended to agree that this is indeed how many people look at prayer. In my early childhood training, prayer was regarded as appealing to God for intervention and salvation from some evil. But the evil was considered very real, and the belief was that God would or would not respond, depending upon how He felt about you at that particular moment. Even if He felt favorable, it was believed that He had to alter natural law to accommodate you. That's why healing was called a miracle, and miracles were seen as few and far between.
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