What are the essential ethical dimensions of Christian Science healing as it is practiced around the world? How do the ethics of this practice play out in everyday situations? In this second installment of their discussion (Part I appeared in the February 2010 issue), three experienced practitioners, who also teach Christian Science healing, address practice ethics in a conversation with the Journal's Arlington, Virginia; is based in Boston, Massachusetts; and lives in Norwell, Massachusetts.conducts her practice from
Warren Bolon: Let's say someone calls you and wants prayer-based treatment as a complement to various forms of care that they're using, such as nutrition, acupuncture, or other forms of physical treatment? They just want to be able to have "all guns blazing," if you will. How do you respond to that kind of request?
Karl (Sandy) Sandberg: When that's clear to me—either it's been made clear by the patient, or it's clear to me through observation and prayer—I want the patient to understand the poles-apart difference between all those other systems and Christian Science. I would explain that Christian Science is so much more than just an alternative health-care system, because it's not starting from the same standpoint at all. The effect of treatment in Christian Science is to spiritualize thought and to elevate individuals in their understanding of God, to be able to recognize something that is true about themselves that they could see in no other way. With any other form of treatment that's out there, they're caught in the web of thought that is based on material-sense testimony, that is suggesting that there is something wrong that needs to be fixed, something out of balance that needs to be balanced, something that is off the scale that needs to be brought back into scale. And that is not where we start from in treatment. Helping people understand that distinction usually helps them recognize that there is a choice to be made with treatments. When I feel that there's consent to go forward, these other things naturally drop away. If patients feel a need to hold onto them, they are acting out of their own best interests, and my responsibility is to allow them to do whatever they feel is appropriate. We're not to take control or take charge of their thought. They need to be free to choose whatever form of treatment they desire.
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