Christian Scientists say that illnesses are an illusion and, as far as I understand it, what they mean by that is that all illnesses are psychosomatic. But they also say that death is an illusion. What does that mean?

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    I would give you a stronger question if you could give the source (and perhaps quotes) of these Christian Science assertions about illness and death. Jun 18, 2023 at 11:03
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    @MikeBorden Christian Science is famous for such assertions, citation not needed. Jun 18, 2023 at 13:20
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    Citations ARE needed on Christianity Stack Exchange. If you are going to make claims about what Christian Scientists believe, then you need to back up those claims with an authentic source.
    – Lesley
    Jun 18, 2023 at 13:53
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    @FlatAssembler says "citation not needed". That's not a good attitude to have on any Stack Exchange site, not only here. Questions here will be read by people that are not familiar with Christian Science, and a relevant quotation and source would be very beneficial to them. Without a citation, the question appears to be nothing more than someone asking about hearsay. Jun 19, 2023 at 12:53

1 Answer 1


Christianity Stack Exchange Tag: A sect of Christianity founded by Mary Baker Eddy. It is best known for its teaching that all forms of illness are an illusion that can be overcome by prayer alone.

What does it mean, that all forms of illness and even death itself, is an illusion?

Adherents subscribe to a radical form of philosophical idealism, believing that reality is purely spiritual and the material world an illusion. This includes the view that disease is a mental error rather than physical disorder, and that the sick should be treated not by medicine but by a form of prayer that seeks to correct the beliefs responsible for the illusion of ill health... The church does not require that Christian Scientists avoid all medical care – adherents use dentists, optometrists, obstetricians, physicians for broken bones, and vaccination when required by law – but maintains that Christian Science prayer is most effective when not combined with medicine.

[Mary Baker Eddy] dismissed the material world as an illusion, rather than as merely subordinate to Mind, leading her to reject the use of medicine, or materia medica, and making Christian Science the most controversial of the metaphysical groups. Reality for Eddy was purely spiritual... The Holy Ghost is Christian Science, and heaven and hell are states of mind.... She saw Jesus as a Christian Scientist, a "Way-shower" between humanity and God... "there is no doctrine of the soul" in Christian Science: "[A]fter death, the individual continues his probationary state until he has worked out his own salvation by proving the truths of Christian Science." Eddy did not believe that the dead and living could communicate.

[A]ll healing is a metaphysical process. That means that there is no person to be healed, no material body, no patient, no matter, no illness, no one to heal, no substance, no person, no thing and no place that needs to be influenced. This is what the practitioner must first be clear about. Practitioner Frank Prinz-Wondollek, 2011. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_Science

The above extracts, taken from a Wikipedia article on Christian Science, state their views. Make of them what you will.

Partial quotes from a 1947 Christian Science article starting with a quote by Mary Baker Eddy:

"Life is real, and death is the illusion. A demonstration of the facts of Soul in Jesus' way resolves the dark visions of material sense into harmony and immortality."

“God and His spiritual man and universe are the only real, and the real man and universe reflect the Life which is God... [Jesus] rose above matter to give the final proof of the eternality of divine Life, which knows no death, no sorrow or suffering. This was his way of demonstrating the facts of Soul in proving Life to be real and death but an illusion. We as earnest Christian Scientists must work as he worked; his way of overcoming must be our way. It is the way of Spirit, not matter; of eternity, not time; of reality, not illusion; and the goal is the eternal life that we should strive to attain.”

“It is life discerned spiritually, then, that bridges over the interval of death. To discern, understand, and demonstrate spiritual Life is to know God and His Christ and to unknow or cast off the belief that a corporeal mortal is man. It is to discern and prove that the man of God's creating reflects and possesses by reflection all that God is or has. It is to know and prove that all that is unlike God and His reflection is unreal, and that death, the claimed opposite of Life, is therefore but an illusion.”

”May we look beyond the illusion to envision the real, spiritual man, God's likeness, in the spiritual universe of Mind, in the full consciousness of his true selfhood and heritage of eternal life, where Spirit reigns and "sin, sickness, and death are unknown." https://sentinel.christianscience.com/shared/view/15254xk761g

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    I don't think that answers the question. Jun 18, 2023 at 14:23
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    I am not here to explain why Christian Scientiests believe that illness and death are merely illusions. However, the last quote, from one of their Practitionsers, suggests they view life, death and everything else inbetween, as an illusion. For them, it would seem, only the spiritual realm is real.
    – Lesley
    Jun 18, 2023 at 14:32
  • I am not asking you to explain why they believe that, I am asking what they believe. Jun 18, 2023 at 19:16
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    @FlatAssembler Welcome to the site. This answer details why they believe death to be an illusion by quoting from their founder, citing the references to the quotes, even though the answerer does not wish to explain Christian Scientist beliefs. If any Christian Scientists care to answer, that might be helpful but you only asked about one of their beliefs; this answer sticks to that. Specific questions get specific answers. If this answer is not what you want, you need to change your question, I would suggest. Try posting a new question, perhaps?
    – Anne
    Jun 19, 2023 at 9:36
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    @FlatAssembler Doesn't this, "It is to know and prove that all that is unlike God and His reflection is unreal, and that death, the claimed opposite of Life, is therefore but an illusion.”, serve as a direct answer? Everything unlike God is unreal, God is life, therefore death is an illusion. Jun 19, 2023 at 11:24

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