Adventures of the Madcap Christian Scientist

Karen Molenaar Terrell

Adventures of the Madcap Christian Scientist

The Bad Guys and the Good Guys

Do we see what we expect to see
when we look at one another?
Caricatures of the “them”
and caricatures of  the”us.”
Exaggerated images of
villains and saints – of the
stupid, ignorant, ugly, scary,
evil, threatening, noble, kind,
beautiful, brave, and wise. Cardboard
cutouts of humanity.

We better get them before they
get us, right?


And we build up the hate, and
ignore any efforts at friendship
and cooperation and peace.
Because where’s the fun in that?
Maybe we like being angry. Self-
righteous. Offended.  Frightened.

We better get “them” before they
get “us,” right?

The bad guys are the good guys
and the good guys are the bad guys,
depending on where you’re standing.
If A=B and B=C, then A=C
and the bad guys and the good guys are the same.

But we better get “them” before they
get “us,” right?
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

“Who is thine enemy that thou shouldst love him? Is it a creature or a thing outside thine own creation? Can you see an enemy, except you first formulate this enemy and then look upon the object of your own conception?… Simply count your enemy to be that which defiles, defaces, and dethrones the Christ-image that you should reflect.”
– Mary Baker Eddy



Forum Friendships

When the heart speaks, however simple the words, its language is always acceptable to those who have hearts.
– Mary Baker Eddy

Nine years ago, as I was entering a challenging period in my life, I clicked on a button at the bottom of my book’s page on Amazon and found myself in a zany world of Christians, atheists, Buddhists, pagans, and other assorted folks engaged in dialogue about religion. I was fascinated by what I saw there. I laughed out loud. At times my mouth literally fell open in disbelief. I was moved. I was inspired. I was disturbed. I was informed.

I tentatively put my toe in the forum waters and soon found myself sucked into the current and pulled into a rollicking, outrageous, epic verbal adventure. Ohmygosh! It was an amazing trip! As I was thrown here and there by the currents, bouncing around ad hominem boulders, I reached up to a raft going by, and the folks in the raft reached down and pulled me into their daring, laughing midst. Without further ado, they handed me an oar and made me one of their crew. They became my friends.

I was the only Christian Scientist in the crew. My crew mates were atheists, Christians, Buddhists, wiccans – some believed in a god, some did not. But they all had a couple things in common that, for me, were more important than whether they believed in a god or not – they all had the ability to laugh at themselves; and they were all enlisted in battling self-righteous busybody bullying and meanness.

Soon after I got on the forum I got it into my head to start my own religion. I named it Humoristianity. Here are the tenets of my faith:

1) You must be able to laugh at yourself.

2) You must be able to recognize how ludicrous your beliefs might appear to others.

3) You must want nothing but good for everyone, everywhere in the universe.

4) You must have a natural aversion to meetings, committees, and scheduled events (as we will be having none of those).

5) You must enjoy the humor of Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Tom Lehrer, and Jerry Seinfeld (if you’re a Jerry Lewis kind of guy, you might want to think about starting your own religion – although we wish you nothing but good).

My friends soon joined me in the Humoristian temple. We gave each other grandiose titles and set forth to conquer the world with humor. The conquering-the-world thing never really came to pass. But we did get a book out of it: The Humoristian Chronicles: A Most Unusual Fellowship.

For me, the most amazing things to come out of that time on the forum were the incredible and lasting friendships that were made there. In some ways these friends knew me better than my off-line friends because we had talked with each other about things that people rarely talk about in normal, polite conversation – we’d talked about our most deeply-held beliefs about God and life and the universe. We’d shared our doubts and our fears and our triumphs with each other. We got to know each other through our thoughts and words before we got to know each other in the person. It was a rare and beautiful opportunity.

During my time on the forum I was also working my way through a terrible depression – something I’d never experienced before. When I clicked into the forum I was allowed to escape, for a time, from the world of depression, and into a world of laughter – into a world where people actually wanted to hear what I had to say, and listened, and responded with kindness. Later, when I was telling a psychologist about my experience on the forum – suggesting to her that I might have actually been addicted to it – she told me, no, it looked like I had instinctively done something really healthy for myself; I had found something that was helpful to me and helped me cope.

Through the years I’ve had the opportunity to meet some of my forum friends in the person. I have never been disappointed by the people they are in “real” life. They have been a blessing to me.

Yesterday my husband (who has met several of my forum friends with me) and I met my forum friend, Craig, and his wife, for lunch. Craig and his wife are from Jamaica, but they are currently living in Dubai. The last month they’ve been vacationing in the USA – traveling up the west coast – and, happily, I live on their route. Craig and his wife are WONDERFUL people. His wife is smart and beautiful and accomplished – a high school chemistry teacher. And Craig is as kind and funny in the person as he was on the forum.

Afterwards I asked my husband: “Weren’t they great?!” And he said, yes, they were. “Didn’t I meet cool people on the forum?”

Without hesitation, he answered “Yes, you did! Very cool people!”

Humoristian friends


Where do your beliefs lead you?

Snippet of a dialogue from a discussion forum…

Robert says:
The requirements for an observation to be considered to be evidence are strict: the phenomenon must be repeatedly observable by anyone who is interested, and must be able to show, and actually show, that the thesis under discussion is true, if such is the case — AND must be able to show, and would actually show, that said thesis is false if such is the case. And this arises for good reason: it is extremely easy to fool oneself as to the nature and significance of a subjective phenomenon. Clearly, no subjective phenomena of any sort can qualify as evidence in a scientific sense.

None of this has anything whatever to do with anyone’s position on the rights of women and LGBT people — nor whether one is a theist, atheist, or whatever.

Karen writes:
Robert, you write: “None of this has anything whatever to do with anyone’s position on the rights of women and LGBT people — nor whether one is a theist, atheist, or whatever.”

Exactement!! Exactly! Which brings us back to my original question: Seeing as how my beliefs in God don’t cause me to do harm to others, why do you REALLY care about them? What impels you to want to refute them? Why does it matter to you what I believe? Why is it any of your business?

And if I were to tell you that my belief in God has made me a better person – has helped me become kinder, more compassionate, more tolerant – doesn’t that actually make my belief in God a positive thing? Something to be glad about?

I don’t think it’s our beliefs that are important. I think it’s what we do with them that matters. If your belief in Nogod has made you kinder, more compassionate, and more tolerant – then I celebrate your belief in Nogod with you.

Robert responds:
Good post. “…my beliefs in God don’t cause me to do harm to others…” Most of the time, they probably don’t. But if you ever do ANYTHING for religious reasons, there is a distinct possibility that there will be, somewhere, an adverse effect. But the more salient point is: do not these beliefs cause you to do harm to yourself? Do you spend time in a church, as opposed to doing something productive? Do you contribute time or money to religious things, instead of to things that actually improve peoples’ lives? Do you approve of what is demonstrably irrational thought?

“…my belief in God has made me a better person…” I would ask for your grounds for this. Such beliefs can impel people to do good things — or truly horrible things. And, since there does not (and, provably, cannot) exist any means for validating any such belief, whether you do well or ill in accordance with a religious belief is strictly a crapshoot. No doubt you temper your religion-impelled actions on the basis of your appraisal of their overall effect on the society in which you live, but not everybody does this. (Examples of such perfidy are rife in the news these days.)

“I think it’s what we do with them that matters.” Agreed. But the standards to be applied in determining this cannot be based solely on any religion.

Karen responds:
Robert, you ask: “…do not these beliefs cause you to do harm to yourself? Do you spend time in a church, as opposed to doing something productive? Do you contribute time or money to religious things, instead of to things that actually improve peoples’ lives? Do you approve of what is demonstrably irrational thought?”

I am a teacher in a non-profit alternative high school. Seventh-eighths of the population is composed of minority students. My students and their families are dealing with challenges that a lot of us can’t begin to imagine – and that I can’t really share here. I came to the alternative high school after a 20-year career in public education. I get paid peanuts, but I love my job and love working with these kids. I love helping them find academic success and helping them discover their gifts. There are days when I come home totally emotionally drained – not from my students, but from seeing the crap they have to deal with just to survive in our society. I feel useful there. I really like feeling useful. My work is not in any way connected with a religious institution.

I am involved in supporting political issues that matter to me – I served as a state delegate to the 2012 Democratic convention, and write letters to politicians and newspapers, and write posts on my blogs that take the time to address these issues. I have given money to the ACLU, Amnesty International, the Nature Conservancy, Sierra Club, Environmental Defense Fund, World Wildlife Fund, Habitat for Humanity, Humane Society, and Doctors Without Borders, among others. I have helped build a house for Habitat for Humanity.

I also like to keep moving – hiking, gardening – healthy activities that keep the blood pumping. And I’ve found it’s important to my well-being to set aside time for creative pursuits, too – I’m big into photography, singing, and writing.

I am not, actually, a very religious person. Not all theists are. There are periods in my life when I don’t attend church. And there are periods when I do. Right now I am the Reader at the mid-week testimony meetings, and my job is to pick the week’s topic, find readings on it, and conduct the service. I try to find readings that I think will be helpful and healing to the world. Last week’s readings were on “wrath/anger” and “love/forgiveness.” People seemed really grateful for the inspiration they felt from the readings, and I was glad I could provide that for them.

And now I give the question back to you: How do your beliefs in Nogod help mankind? How do they make the world a better place?

“We must think critically, and not just about the ideas of others. Be hard on your beliefs. Take them out on the verandah and beat them with a cricket bat… Be intellectually rigorous. Identify your biases, your prejudices, your privilege.” – Tim Minchin

I really like that quote. I especially like the thought that we need to start with our OWN biases when it comes to thinking critically. How much of your time do you spend on self-reflection? When was the last time you changed the way you thought about something? Or recognized a bias that wasn’t healthy for you to have?

How do we know when we need to change our beliefs about something? Well, for me it starts with looking at where my beliefs are taking me. If they’re leading me towards hate, fear, anger, bigotry, bullying, greed, and selfishness, then those beliefs have got to go. But if my beliefs are leading me towards love – guiding me to a place of courage and compassion, generosity and hope, joy and kindness and forgiveness and integrity – then those are the beliefs I’m going to nurture.

What about you? Where do your beliefs lead you?

Robert responds:

A most excellent post. It appears that you have your life well together — something that is rare in this day and age. I entirely approve of the Minchen quote. I am not young, and have spent much time and intellectual effort on identifying the source and nature of knowledge and what can be done with it.”it starts with looking at where my beliefs are taking me.” In other words, you are looking for evidence. Are your theses sound, or are they refuted by evidence of some sort? This is exactly what you should be doing — and are, with the notable exception of religious beliefs. You are doing appropriate things with respect to society, but your foundation is weak.”Where do your beliefs lead you?” Among other things, to participate in these forums. We have all seen the horrors that religious beliefs have brought to the world society; it is my purpose to show these to be the nonsense that they are. So, that instead of flying airplanes into tall buildings, we can indeed spend our efforts productively in things like teaching the next generation, discovering cures for loathsome diseases, and making it possible for people to live in comfort and peace.Carry on!

Seeker responds to Karen:
I read your post and then the reply from Robert, and I have to say that I don’t see your “foundation” as being weak. Even though I would probably side with Robert on the idea that there is no proof of God, I don’t see religious belief as automatically detrimental. In fact, in proper perspective and using definitions appropriately I have seen great value from those that profit by their faith. That said… it is sad that so many use religion to justify those reprehensible things you mention, “hate, fear, anger, bigotry, bullying, greed, and selfishness”, and do it in the name of religion. What is strange is that most of those failing in these areas ARE the religious. Very sad, and certainly detrimental to those that use faith as you apparently do.

I believe your last question, in context with your examples of guidance, is one that all people should be aware of. So I will ask it again…Where do your beliefs lead you?

Robert writes:
Re Karen T., above and elsewhere: You have well described your various activities, which I consider meritorious. Suppose, now, that you concluded that, since the existence of any god cannot be demonstrated by any means [1], you decide that it is pointless to believe in one. In what way (if at all), would your subsequent activities differ from what you are doing now?

1. Recall that this is provable.

Karen responds:
Thank you, Robert. You don’t know what a relief it is to learn that my life has met with your approval. 🙂

I guess I could lie and tell you that I no longer believe in God – and maybe win your complete approval of me and stuff… but… well, it wouldn’t be honest of me.

My belief in God is based on happenings I have witnessed or experienced first-hand – so, although these experiences are just nice anecdotes to people who didn’t live them or see them, to me they are more than that. For me, they are “proof.”

Remember that I don’t believe in an anthropomorphic god. I believe in a power and presence and Consciousness of Love and Truth. There’s nothing supernatural about this God.

Nando Perrado describes “God” this way (Miracle in the Andes: 72 Days on the Mountain and My Long Trek Home) and I have not found a better description for the God I believe in: “…I did not feel God as most people see Him. I did feel something larger than myself, something in the mountains and the glaciers and the glowing sky that, in rare moments, reassured me, and made me feel that the world was orderly and loving and good… It was simply a silence, a wholeness, an awe-inspiring simplicity. It seemed to reach me through my own feelings of love, and I have often thought that when we feel what we call love, we are really feeling our connection to this awesome presence.”

Seeker responds to Karen:
That’s nice, and I am awed by what can be experienced, too.

Conversation about Christian Science on a Discussion Board

What prayer feels like, for me, is… it’s like waking up to a beautiful sunrise in the morning or listening to an inspiring piece of music, or looking at the stars on a clear night – it’s a feeling of uplift – of thoughts soaring, of fear dissipating, of a consciousness full of joy and good will. Often times my prayers come with humor – laughing always seems to help get rid of fear for me – and for me, fear is always a part of whatever problem I’m facing. And Love is always a part of the healing. I’ve sometimes known I was healed before I saw the healing manifested humanly – I could feel the change in my thoughts. 
– Karen Molenaar Terrell 

Every now and then something really amazing happens – people with different perspectives on life will get beyond biases, prejudices, and stereotypes and have a real conversation with each other! I love when that happens…

Here are excerpts from a recent conversation about Christian Science on an Amazon Discussion Forum:

Mustaaaaard says:
Yeah. Christian Science. The people who let their children die because they don’t believe in Tylenol. Eff off.

Karen says:
I was raised by a CS mom (now 87) and a non-religious dad (will be 97 in a month), and I could not have asked for better parents. My parents maybe didn’t share the same religious beliefs, but they shared the same values and taught their children to take care of the environment, to appreciate the beauty of nature, to look for the good in people, to play fair, to not be quick to judge others, to not buy into every piece of hearsay, rumor, and gossip that comes our way, but to do our own research, and question our own beliefs and biases, and recognize the biases of others, too. I’m really grateful they are still in my life.

The Weasel asks:

Karen, can the core beliefs of CS be boiled down to a few bullet points? Can you try to list them as far as you understand them to be please?

Karen says:
Hi Weasel,
It’s probably important to note that I am not an official spokesperson for the CS church or anything – and I do not speak for any other CSists – just for myself. CSists come in all shapes and sizes and colors and political parties and most professions (I even knew a CSist who was a dentist 🙂 ). There’s no one in our church leadership telling us how to vote or who to vote for or where to stand on social-political issues – that is left up to individual conscience. Some CSists are religious. Some are not. I am not. In my mind I make a distinction between the religion of Christian Science, and Christian Science as a way of living, and a way of looking at the world. 

It might actually be easier to start with what CSists don’t believe:
– CSists don’t believe in an anthropomorphic god
– CSists don’t believe the world was literally created in a week
– CSists don’t believe in literal places of hell and heaven
– CSists don’t believe in pleading, cajoling, and begging a capricious supernatural god who might choose to heal, or might choose to not heal his children
– CSists don’t believe in Original Sin, or that God’s children are sinners.

What CSists believe:
– Mary Baker Eddy, the discover of CS, offers these synonyms for God: Principle, Mind, Soul, Spirit, Life, Truth, and Love.
– CSists believe that Jesus’ mission here was to show us how to heal. In the CS textbook, Eddy writes: “Atonement is the exemplification of man’s unity with God, whereby man reflects divine Truth, Life, and Love. Jesus of Nazareth taught and demonstrated man’s oneness with the Father, and for this we owe him  endless homage. His mission was both individual and collective. He did life’s work aright not only in justice to himself, but in mercy to mortals,- to show them how to do theirs, but not to do it for them nor to relieve them of a single responsibility.”

What *I* have experienced: – I have found that when I’m able to draw my thoughts close to Love – to fill my thoughts up with joy, hope, and love (and eliminate fear, hate, and anger) – I experience healing in my life. I don’t have to plead with Love to heal me – it’s the nature of Love to heal. I don’t consider these healings “miracles” – I consider them natural. I apologize. I realize this was kind of long. I couldn’t figure out how to explain an entire way of life in a pithy post. Hope this helps you understand how at least ONE Christian Scientist looks at the world. And thanks for asking! 🙂

Lifelong Atheist says:
There is no evidence whatsoever that prayer works at all (and no, “I prayed and God healed my little girl” is not evidence). There is plenty of evidence that medical care works, preventable errors notwithstanding. I can personally testify to that. Christian Science parents who deliberately withhold medical care from their children in favor of prayer are potential murderers. If their child then dies, they’re actual murderers. That’s the bottom line for me.

Karen says:
I suppose there may be CSists who view medical science as The Enemy. I am not one of them. My brother-in-law is an anesthesiologist, my sister-in-law is an emergency room nurse, a niece is a medical doctor, a nephew just graduated from med school – and these are all people I love and respect very much – they are not my enemies – they work very hard to do what they can to help their patients. But they are also all people of integrity and honesty – and I don’t doubt that they’d be the first to tell you that medical science is not perfect – theories about cause and cure are constantly in flux; medications that help one person might kill another; what seems like “good medical practice” today might prove to be the source of woe tomorrow. I’m sure we’ve all had friends and family members for whom the medical treatment that was supposed to cure them actually ended up killing them – I know I have. And I’m pretty sure we’ve all seen those commercials on television that tell us about the side effects of drugs that might include liver problems, depression, vulnerability to infections, diarrhea, nausea, death, etc. – I’m always wondering who is running out to get those medications, you know? I think a healthy skepticism in regards to medical science – as well as Christian Science, faith healing, religious beliefs, mass media, and political propoganda – is a good thing. Blind and unquestioning trust in any form of treatment does not seem very healthy to me.

Have you ever read Norman Cousins’s Anatomy of an Illness As Perceived by the Patient? I would highly recommend it.  Here’s my review for it:

In the beginning of the book, Cousins tells us about the illness from which he was told by medical specialists he wouldn’t be able to recover. He briefly describes how he declined to accept this medical verdict for himself, and with the support of his personal physician, set about putting into action a plan of treatment for himself which included plying himself with high doses of ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and humor (Candid Camera episodes, and Marx Brothers movies).Cousins was able to recover from his illness and later wrote a story about his treatment and recovery for the New England Journal of Medicine.

The remainder of the book shares communication from doctors and medical research that supports Cousins’s belief that medical care is both a science and an art – and that positive human emotions play a big part in recovery from an illness. Cousins talks about the importance of a healthy doctor-patient partnership when treating disease, the part creativity and a “robust will to live” plays in longevity, and the power found in placebos. Cousins writes: “It is doubtful whether the placebo – or any drug, for that matter – would get very far without a patient’s robust will to live… The placebo is only a tangible object made essential in an age that feels uncomfortable with intangibles… The placebo, then, is an emissary between the will to live and the body. But the emissary is expendable.”

Cousins talks about the need so many seem to have to see their doctor DOing something, and giving them something tangible to help them. But Cousins suggests there may come a time when these “tangibles” are no longer needed. 

Near the end of the book, Cousins asks the question: “Is there a conflict at times between the treatment of disease and the treatment of human beings?” What a great question! If a doctor treats his patient as just a lump of flesh to be prodded, injected, weighed, measured, and tested then, I think, a really important part of the healing process is missing. The best doctors, to my way of thinking, are the ones who are able to listen to their patients, reassure them, provide confidence in their healing, and value them as partners in the process. In my life I have encountered several practitioners with these fine qualities. After reading Cousins’s book, and the letters he included from doctors around the country, I am encouraged to believe that there is a growing number of medical physicians ready and willing to treat human beings, rather than just disease.  

Art asks:
“It might actually be easier to start with what CSists don’t believe: – CSists don’t believe in an anthropomorphic god – CSists don’t believe in pleading, cajoling, and begging a capricious supernatural god who might choose to heal, or might choose to not heal his children” OK, final question for now Karen: I always thought that Christian Scientists WERE praying and pleading with a capricious supernatural god to heal illnesses rather than take a family member to a doctor. If not, what is the exact nature of the prayer involved?

Karen replies:
Art, you ask: “I always thought that Christian Scientists WERE praying and pleading with a capricious supernatural god to heal illnesses rather than take a family member to a doctor. If not, what is the exact nature of the prayer involved?”

Thank you for asking this question. Christian Scientists have been lumped in with “faith healers” a couple times on this thread. Faith healers would not appreciate this – I’m pretty sure they consider CS a cult and its members “un-Christian” – and CSists don’t consider themselves faith healers. You wouldn’t hear a CSist ever saying “It’s God’s will” that someone died, or “God wanted that child with Him in heaven.” CSists don’t do the talking in tongues thing, or the laying on of hands thing, or the handling serpents thing. CSists may be crazy, but they are a totally different kind of crazy. 🙂

Mary Baker Eddy’s written a whole chapter on “Prayer” in the CS textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. Here are some thoughts about prayer from that chapter: 

“God is not moved by the breath of praise to do more than He has already done, nor can the infinite do less than bestow all good, since He is unchanging wisdom and Love… Prayer cannot change the Science of being, but it tends to bring us into harmony with it… The mere habit of pleading with the divine Mind, as one pleads with a human being, perpetuates the belief in God as humanly circumscribed,- an error which impedes spiritual growth. 

“God is Love. Can we ask Him to be more? God is intelligence. Can we inform the infinite Mind of anything He does not already comprehend? Do we expect to change perfection? Shall we plead for more at the open fount, which is pouring forth more than we accept?… Are we really grateful for the good already received? …The habitual struggle to be always good is unceasing prayer… 

“‘God is Love.’ More than this we cannot ask, higher we cannot look, farther we cannot go… In divine Science, where prayers are mental, all may avail themselves of God as ‘a very present help in trouble.’ Love is impartial and universal in its adaptation and bestowals.”

What prayer feels like, for me, is… it’s like waking up to a beautiful sunrise in the morning or listening to an inspiring piece of music, or looking at the stars on a clear night – it’s a feeling of uplift – of thoughts soaring, of fear dissipating, of a consciousness full of joy and good will. Often times my prayers come with humor – laughing always seems to help get rid of fear for me – and for me, fear is always a part of whatever problem I’m facing. And Love is always a part of the healing. I’ve sometimes known I was healed before I saw the healing manifested humanly – I could feel the change in my thoughts. 

Art asks:
Personal question Karen: you don’t believe as your parents do but you still self-identify as a Christian Scientist?

Karen responds:
My dad is non-religious. My mom is… she is simply wonderful. My mom wasn’t raised in CS – she found Christian Science not long before she married my dad – she was attracted to this way of life because she liked the idea of a God who is Love – a Love that heals. She never had any kind of official position in the church or anything – like me, she is not really a very religious person. She is an independent thinker and a free spirit – not into group-think. 

I identify as a Christian Scientist because I really like the ideas and thoughts found in the CS textbook – I believe in God as Love, and I’ve experienced healing through my understanding of Love.

Art responds:
“I identify as a Christian Scientist because I really like the ideas and thoughts found in the CS textbook – I believe in God as Love, and I’ve experienced healing through my understanding of Love.”
Thanks for the insight Karen. Anyways, like many here I’ve always had a negative opinion of Christian Scientists so I appreciate an intelligent perspective from somebody like yourself.

Karen replies:
You write: “Anyways, like many here I’ve always had a negative opinion of Christian Scientists so I appreciate an intelligent perspective from somebody like yourself.” Thank you.

And thank you for asking questions with a genuine interest in learning what I had to say. That felt really good. 🙂

Buck “Buck” Buckaw says:
Michael Nesmith is a devout CS (as I’ve mentioned to you on a previous occasion) but you wouldn’t know it by listening to his music. It didn’t come to my notice until I read a biography about him.

Karen responds:
Buck “Buck” Buckaw – 
I do remember our talking about Michael Nesmith – and I remember enjoying that conversation very much. 🙂

Another one of my favorite people – an atheist, not a Christian Scientist – had this to say about Michael Nesmith: “So then, a few years ago, I was introduced to someone who became a great friend of mine, Michael Nesmith, who has done a number of different things in his career: In addition to being a film producer, he was originally one of the Monkees. Which is kind of odd when you get to know him, because he’s such a serious, thoughtful, quiet chap, but with quiet reserves of impish glee… I just hope that there will be other projects in the future that he and I will work on together, because I like him enormously and we got on very well together.” – Douglas Adams (Adams died not long after that and I don’t think he was able to work with Nesmith again – but it really meant something to me that Adams saw those qualities in Nesmith, a CSist.)

And no, you will not hear a CSist knocking at your door. 🙂 Frankly, it took me a long time before I felt comfortable “admitting” I was a CSist or talking about my way of life in an open and honest way. I know there is a lot of… not sure what the word is… misinformation? bias? prejudice?… about CS, and I’m not always eager to enter discussions about CS… sometimes – if I sense that nobody is really interested in having their minds relieved of their prejudices – I choose not to enter those discussions at all. But it felt to me like there were people on this thread who were genuine and sincere in their questions about CS. It is good to hear your voice again, my friend.  Karen

Buck “Buck” Buckaw says:
Thank you so much for your kind words, I always enjoy our exchanges immensely and recall them with fondness.
Regardless of what belief system you might adhere to, you are a shining light. Keep on shining brightly.

Karen says:
Oh, Buck “Buck” Buckaw – thank you. You don’t know what your kind words mean to me tonight. Thank you. I am so glad to know you are in the world.

Buck “Buck” Buckaw says:
OK, that’s enough of the mutual admiration society.
We risk turning the whole thing into some sort of giant hug fest and that just won’t do, particularly for the more jaundiced participants of this thrill ride. Now, what were we talking about? Oh yeah…..Christian Scientists hey? What a kooky bunch.

Karen says:
I know, right? Tell me about it. 🙂

Posts taken from this thread:

If you wanted me to think like you…?

If you wanted to convince me that I should see the world in the same way you do, how would you go about doing that? Would you threaten me with hell? Try to out-shout me? Pummel me with your (carefully-chosen) *facts*? Do you think that showing hatred and bigotry towards people who don’t belong to your “team” might persuade me to view the world in the same way you do? Do you think you might so impress and humble me with your keen intelligence that I will want to be just like you?

Intelligence is an awesome tool and I respect people who use their intelligence to find ways to help make the world a safer, kinder, healthier place. Eloquence and wit and humor are all qualities I value highly – and I have great respect for people who use eloquence, wit, and humor to disarm and diffuse haters – on the other hand, I have little respect for those who use their wit to bully others and feed their own egos.

No, if your way of looking at the world doesn’t include love and kindness and generosity, it has – in my opinion – nothing of value to offer me. Facts are cool – I love learning new stuff – but if all you have to offer me are a bunch of facts – well, the internet is full of “facts” and accessible to all of us – I don’t need to convert to your way of viewing the world to get facts. You do not have a monopoly on facts.

Honestly, what attracts me to different perspectives is the kindness I feel from the people with those perspectives – the love I feel coming from them. That is something I recognize as useful to me. If you wanted me to convert to your view of the world – whatever that is – the best way to do that would be to show me the love and good will that come from your way of seeing things.

Of course, the people I MOST enjoy conversing with are those people who don’t have any interest in converting me, or showing off to their buddies, or feeding their egos – the people I most enjoy are the ones I can share with – the people who know how to shut up and listen every now and then, and have the courage to share their own views and insights without thinking their way of looking at the world is the ONLY way of looking at the world.

Love leads

The Anger Pandemic and Its Antidote

Hold thought steadfastly to the enduring, the good, and the true, and you will bring these into your experience proportionably to their occupancy of your thoughts.”
– Mary Baker Eddy

I just watched a great video on YouTube (“This Video Will Make You Angry”) about the epidemic spread of anger thought-germs on the internet. This video got my “brain” sparking in all kinds of directions: I thought about some of the internet “conversations” I’ve gotten myself involved in the last several years; took a look at how internet dialogues have changed since I first began participating in them seven or eight years ago; compared some of the thoughts shared in the video with thoughts shared by Mary Baker Eddy back in the late 1800’s – long before the invention of the internet, but, I think, still pertinent today; and began looking around me for some good news – signs of hope and salvation from the anger pandemic that seems to be infecting the globe.

In the video, the narrator tells us: “Anger by-passes your mental immune system…The internet is the best thing to happen to thought-germs…The more they (anger-germs)  are shared they under-go the same process (as biological germs), changing and distorting to become more aggravating. These have a better chance of spreading than their possibly more accurate rivals.”

– Ohmygosh! I’m guessing we can all recognize the truth of those words! According to this video there are two emotions that are highly contagious to humans – anger and awe. Anger and awe are almost irresistible. When anger or awe go hopping by us we are like the dog in Up! and…squirrel!  – we have to look, right?

The narrator in the video continues: “Once everyone agrees (on something), it’s hard to keep talking (about it)… but if there’s an opposing thought-germ then the thinking doesn’t have to stop. The more visible an argument gets, the more by-standers it draws in – which makes it more visible. These thought germs aren’t competing, they’re cooperating… working together they reach more brains… Thought-germs on opposite sides of an argument can be symbiotic… its divisiveness also  grows its symbiotic partner… gaining more allies also gains more enemies… Though the participants think they’re involved in a fiery battle to the death, from the anger germ’s perspective one field is a field of flowers and the other a flock of butterflies… ”

– I suppose most of us would now agree that the earth is roundish. Can you remember the last time you got in an in-depth conversation about the roundishness of the planet? No, right? We don’t generally talk about stuff we all acknowledge as true. But I can guarantee that if there suddenly appeared a large group of people – not outliers, but a mainstream group – that rose up and declared the earth was flat, there’d be a hot fiery debate about it all over Facebook. Flat-earthers would be calling round-earthers arrogant and smug, round-earthers would be calling flat-earthers ignorant and stoopid, and the oblate-spheroid-earthers would be denouncing everyone but themselves as unrealistic fuzzy thinkers.

The narrator continues: “When opposing groups get big they don’t really argue with each other, they mostly argue with themselves about how angry the other group makes them… We can actually graph fights on the internet to see this in action – each becomes its own quasi-isolated internet – sharing thoughts about the other…each group breeds thought-germs about the other…the group almost can’t help but construct a totem of the other so enraging they’ll talk about it all the time…”

– And don’t we see this in politics ALL THE TIME?!! Republicans are this. Democrats are that. Socialists are the other. And don’t even get me started on the Libertarians. 🙂  We take a certain pride in our alliances and our loyalty to our team. And we insulate ourselves from other perspectives and hang out with our own group. We lump everyone who belongs to another group into one monolithic unit – no longer seeing individuals – and rant about the short-comings of everyone who isn’t “us.” In short, we become bigots.

The narrator ends the video with these thoughts: “It’s useful to be aware of how thoughts can use our emotions to spread… If you want to maintain a healthy brain it pays to be cautious of thoughts that have passed through a lot of brains… it’s your brain – be hygienic with it.”  

– And this brings me to the writings of Mary Baker Eddy. In her Miscellaneous Writings, Eddy writes: “Beloved Christian Scientists, keep your minds so filled with Truth and Love, that sin, disease, and death cannot enter them. It is plain that nothing can be added to the mind already full. There is no door through which evil can enter, and no space for evil to fill in a mind filled with goodness. Good thoughts are an impervious armor; clad therewith you are completely shielded from the attacks of error of every sort. And not only yourselves are safe, but all whom your thoughts rest upon are thereby benefited.”

And in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Eddy writes: “The weapons of bigotry, ignorance, envy, fall before an honest heart.”

I have found this to be true. 🙂

 “We should remember that the world is wide; that there are a thousand million different human wills, opinions, ambitions, tastes, and loves; that each person has a different history, constitution, culture, character, from all the rest; that human life is the work, the play, the ceaseless action and reaction upon each other of these different atoms. Then, we should go forth into life with the smallest expectations, but with the largest patience; with a keen relish for and appreciation of everything beautiful, great, and good, but with a temper so genial that the friction of the world shall not wear upon our sensibilities; with an equanimity so settled that no passing breath nor accidental disturbance shall agitate or ruffle it; with a charity broad enough to cover the whole world’s evil, and sweet enough to neutralize what is bitter in it, – determined not to be offended when no wrong is meant, nor even when it is…” – Mary Baker Eddy

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