Accurate VS. Absolute
June 2, 2012 at 7:04 pm #63633
In another discussion this came up and it has been on my mind all day. So here’s the question:
What is the difference between accurate Christian Science and absolute Christian Science?
Does the difference have an impact on the practice or demonstration of Christian Science?June 3, 2012 at 10:46 am #63653
In the Research Room of The Mary Baker Eddy Library we have spent time studying Mrs. Eddy’s use of the word, “absolute” in both her published and unpublished writings. For the most part she seems to us to be using it in the sense of “absolute” meaning pure, without anything foreign or erroneous mixed in. So in that sense, absolute Christian Science would mean, for instance, the pure teachings in the whole of Science and Health, without any erroneous doctrines, such as theosophical teachings, for example, mixed in.
I think it would be wrong to tell someone that they are not living absolute Christian Science if they are recognizing and repenting of a sin they’ve been committing, since this repentance is part of the pure teachings of Christian Science as we live them in human experience.
In another sense, Mrs. Eddy seems to use “absolute” to indicate divine Science — the laws governing the universe from God’s viewpoint. In this sense, spiritual man is always living in accord with absolute Science, since there is no error to be conscious of.
I think we also need to make a distinction between Mrs. Eddy’s use of the word, “absolute” and the way in which some others use it. In some Eastern philosophies, for example, “the absolute” is seen as meaning pure undifferentiated infinite consciousness without any attributes. I think this would be foreign to Mrs. Eddy’s use of the term. She also never anywhere contrasts “the absolute” and “the relative,” which can imply that there is an “absolute” realm and also a “relative” realm. My understanding of her teachings is that there is only one realm — the perfect spiritual universe, and that we are living in it now. A material sense of the universe only objectifies mortal mind’s distorted sense of this one spiritual universe. It is not a separate self-constituted realm that we need to get out of and into a spiritual universe. The pure, accurate teachings of Christian Science in Science and Health enable us to progressively destroy mortal mind’s false conceptions and demonstrate that we are indeed actually living in the spiritual universe here and now.June 3, 2012 at 11:36 am #63655
Thank you, Mike. Very helpful and interesting.June 4, 2012 at 9:43 am #63686
Ian, as pointed out, Mary Baker Eddy never made a distinction herself between the “absolute” and the “relative.” And certainly I’m sure you’re familiar with S&H 427:23.
I believe the use of “absolute” versus “relative” first arose after Mrs. Eddy’s passing, and with the publication of a Journal article titled The Absolute and the Relative by Judge Septimus Hanna, CSD. You might want to check it out!June 4, 2012 at 5:06 pm #63697
Hi Gordon, thank for the reply, but I really am not asking about the relative and the absolute. My question stemmed from our music discussion in the other thread. There was discussion about accurate verses absolute Science and it got me thinking…Is there really any difference?
Not sure if this is really a worth while piece to be discussing…but anyway…I hope that give you an understanding of why I had the question.
All the best.June 4, 2012 at 7:45 pm #63708
I know this discussion is meant to center around passages, but I’d like to offer this in terms of why accurate and absolute were distinguished in the other thread…
I recall a statement from a recent discussion: “Love is acceptance.” This appears to be a statement in the absolute. It attempts to declare what God is. In the words of Judge Hanna, it attempts to “express the spiritual fact.” But there is a great need to question whether “Love is acceptance” is actually an accurate statement of Christian Science. If Love is acceptance, it must by its very nature accept all things, but in Science we see plainly that there are things Love does not accept, such as sin, disease and death. So perhaps this is an absolute statement without being an accurate one – or maybe it is in fact an absolute statement without being absolute statement of Science. So granted, this may mean such statements are neither absolute nor accurate – but they do present themselves as the former and yet may not be the latter.
The point is, we can try to make all sorts of statements and claims in the words of the absolute, but they are only accurate statements of Christian Science in so much as they can be proved through Scripture and Mrs. Eddy’s writings.
Hope this helps
With LoveJune 5, 2012 at 12:06 am #63720
Interesting. So am I understanding you correctly that you feel an absolute is a statement that is only accurate when it’s proved?
That’s interesting. It almost seems from your explanation that you are saying that an absolute statement of Truth could be deemed inaccurate. I’m not sure about that.
Anyway. Food for thought. Thanks for sharing your perspectives.
June 5, 2012 at 1:25 am #63726
- This reply was modified 11 months, 3 weeks ago by Ian.
To my humble understanding, an absolute statement is accurate only when it is provable in Christian Science – so YES to the question…
And NO to the statement in the second paragraph. As I understand the term, an “absolute statement of Truth” or “an absolute statement of Christian Science” or “an absolute in Christian Science” is always accurate, always Scientific, always supported by Scripture and Mrs. Eddy’s writings, and is unimpeachable.
But just because something is stated “in the absolute” doesn’t make it “an absolute statement of Truth” or “absolute Christian Science” (a pure, unadultarated and accurate statement of Christian Science – dealing wholly with the spiritual). Take a statement like “Love is passion” for example… this statement is represented in the absolute – it is an attempt to speak of what God is, and is worded such that it tries to (but in this case does not) declare a spiritual fact. This declaration has no support from the books – in fact it runs counter to what we read in the books, and is therefore not “an absolute statement of Truth” or “is not an absolute” in Christian Science – it is in fact inaccurate despite being stated as an absolute. Whereas a statement like “God is Love” IS an absolute in Christian Science, for it has support from Scripture, and is echoed in Mrs. Eddy’s writings.
The rectangle and square may be a decent comparison… like a square is always a rectangle – but a rectangle is not always a square. So an “absolute statement of Christian Science” is always accurate – but not all absolute statements are accurate statements of Christian Science. These statements we should both avoid making, and be aware of when we see them made by others.
Again, this is my present understanding of the term
Hope this helps
June 5, 2012 at 11:20 am #63729
- This reply was modified 11 months, 3 weeks ago by Mike.
Thank you, Mike.
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