A parsed essay on Religious Science, which is Ernest Holmes’ Science of Mind, gave rise to a very interesting discussion wherein something typical of such religious groups came through very clearly.
The essay consists of the following segments:
Part 1: Introduction and Ernest the Infallible
Part 2: Power of the Mind
Part 3: Religious Science Affirmations
Part 4: The Bible is One of Many Holy Books
Part 5: Virgin Birth Not Unique
Part 6: Jesus and the Christ
Part 7: Rewriting Christianity: Jesus, Mediation and Resurrection
Part 8: No Sin, Just Mistakes
Part 9: Jesus, One of the Saviors
Part 10: Jesus Got it Right and So Could You
Part 11: Scientific Proof that Hell is a Myth
Part 12: Cosmology and Theology
Part 13: An Appealing Religion
Such groups are constantly told that they are open minded, inclusive, alternative theology friendly, tolerant, celebrative of diversity, you get the feel good all embracing picture. They claim to be syncretistic in that they, essentially, combine various theologies, philosophies, worldviews, etc.
However, what they do not realize—particularly when it is pointed out to them via evidence—is that this is simply not the case: this is mere a politically correct facade. It is a thin veneer that only thinly disguises an dogmatically authoritarian hierarchy.
Simply try an experiment: take Religious Science as an example, attempt to contradict Ernest Holmes and you will quickly find out that you have crossed the line of heresy. Attempt to, for example, apply to become a Religious Science minister whilst stating up front that you will teach that Jesus is the only way to salvation and see how far you get. Within the essay that was mentioned above and the substance of the discussion that ensued there from; you will readily discern how these various issue combine and clash.
The first commentator actually verified that which I concluded from reading and musing—and did so from personal experience—yet, they somewhat clouded over the issue by besmirching Christianity.
Great summary! I was drawn to Religious Science last October and am about 19 weeks of classes at the local church in to it. I certainly like reading a sceptical approach to it. Within the classes, they are extremely interested in everybody’s opinions about everything, and the point is to learn what Ernest had to say, but there is no pressure at all to agree. Generally, you are not drawn to this unless you want to agree to at least some of it. It definitely does not have the “convert or die” type of drive that the bulk of Christianity has.
As to being open at the top, in practical terms this is an admonition to the people at the church. *I* can be a member, and in good faith, know that the church doesn’t *tell* me what to believe. But in practical terms, the church needs to teach a consensus, which is dominated by Ernest and a variety of people who follow him. This is not a matter of doctrinal purity, as much as an instruction to the people in the church to go to the places where they think they can learn the most, with this being just one of them.
“‘convert or die’ type of drive that the bulk of Christianity has”?!?!?
That is one of the most malicious, generalized, hateful and vicious statement that I have read in a long long time—please do not get anywhere near Religious Science if it is leading you to such heights of hatred.
The reason for being so no-nonsense about it and blunt is that this is so very typical. It is the facade of; we are all embracing and you are dead wrong!
First of all Jesus said I am the way, the Truth and the Light. In the end times there will be false teachings and false religions, He also said that He is the only way! And He said I and the Father are one, now who do you say He is?
I say that Jesus is the way, the Truth and the Life, the only way and He and the Father are one.
Please research further before publishing an incompetent, biased and grossly misunderstood assessment of Science of Mind. Further thorough research will undoubtably reinform your opinion that Ernest Holmes was “the oppressive, ruling, hierarchical authority” Others should also consider that authors quoted and interpreted Jesus 40 years after his death. Perhaps both of you could be more “open at the top”
It is a simple fact that you cannot contradict Religious Science tenets and be in good standing with them. The top is opened only for those who are in the same shape as the opening and none other.
Note that Anon merely asserted that mine was an incompetent, biased and grossly misunderstood assessment yet, in a very typical and disappointing style, did not provide one single example of anything that I had gotten wrong. Lesson to be learned: emotive reactions do not amount to refutations.
I am very disappointed that there is so much misunderstanding about Religious Science. I have been looking on the web and seeing that many people think it is a cult. Let me list the reasons why it isn’t a cult:
1. A cult is defined as having a charismatic leader who controls the members by coercion and threats. He or she claims that their church is the “one true church” and if you don’t agree you are “damned.”
In Religious Science you are free to believe what you want. There is no one leader that dictates what you should believe. There is an emphasis on positive thinking but you do not have to give up your belief system to be part of the church.
2. Religious Science does not prohibite members from seeking medical attention. We believe that God can heal through many different modalities, including traditional medicine. I think the confusion comes from the similarity to Christian Science, which is too strict in these matters.
3. WE ARE NOT IN ANY WAY AFFILIATED WITH SCIENTOLOGY! Religious Science was founded long before Scientology and does not subscribe to the the tenets of Scientology.
4. Cults do not let members leave if they wish. In Religious Science you are free to leave if the church is not the right fit for you.
5. Lastly, many people define a cult as simply a movement that disagrees with their philosophy. Refer back to the top for the correct definition. If we define every church that we don’t agree with as a cult, then we are saying that every church is a cult! This is because no matter what church you belong to, someone is going to disagree with you. Our country was founded on religious freedom, let’s keep it that way.
Do not know if this is the same Anon but at last, some facts to play off of…sort of. Note that the very reason that this person can declare that which Religious Science is and is not or even state “WE ARE” is due to shared central dogmas…or not, or something.
Thanks for the info.
I discern that you have a pre-packaged statement that you paste into every website that comments on Religious Science (SC).
This must be why you make statements that are not relevant to my post.
For example, I did not refer to RS as a cult, and I stated that “’Religious Science’ is not to be confused with, yet may be somewhat correlated to, Scientology or Christian Science”—not to be…
You state that in RS “you are free to believe what you want” but I noted that our local RS reverend does not allow occultist or New Agers. If you know more than they about RS, please correct them. But if they can believe what they want then if they want to exclude occultist or New Agers; then you cannot say anything about it.
You know very well that there are certain things with which you cannot disagree with Ernest Holmes about and still be an RS member and so according to RS you most certainly cannot “believe what you want” and be an RS member.
Thanks for responding to my post. To set things straight. This is the first posting I have ever made and it was designed to address common misconceptions about RS, not specifically what you say on this website. I will acknowledge that some people may have had different experiences depending on what congregation they belong to. Personally, I have never felt any pressure to give up my beliefs in order to belong. I believe in reincarnation, for example.
It is not a part of their philosophy, but no one has ever told me that I can’t believe in it (in contrast to Christian churches, who would say that I that I am going to hell:) As far as new-agers, we have had witchess, Buddhists and all kinds come to our church. My former minister, who is retired, had a college class where he invited people in to talk about their faith, including Buddhists and Hindus. And we also belong to the local Interfaith Council. As far as agreeing with Holmes, I stress that we acknowledge all spiritual paths, and if this one doesn’t suit you, then that is fine. You are free to find your own path.
Thanks for getting back to me.
FYI: it is considered un-kosher to respond to an argument that a website did not make; find those making the points against which you are arguing.
Do you acknowledge the spiritual path that condemns people to hell for believing in reincarnation?
So; one RS minister can say no to new-agers and occultists, another can say yes, and they are both right—fascinating.
Perhaps an experiment; what if I apply to be an RS minister and affirm that I completely disagree with everything that RS stands for and rebuke Ermest Holmes and, why not, commit to preaching only orthodox Biblical Christianity; let us see how far I get.
After reading your comments I wonder why you are determined to criticize a spiritual group that encourages open mindedness, learning, and acceptance. Are you opposed to a group that allows people to think for themselves and forces no doctrine upon them?
To answer your questions:
Yes we acknowledge the spiritual path that condemns others, I would just say that I don’t agree with every single tenant of their faith.
Yes, RS ministers can have different ideas and beliefs.
And I think that in order to be an RS minister you would only need to be open to all paths, even if your path was Christianity, which in your “experiment” doesn’t seem to be the case. So maybe ministry would not be right for you, but certainly you would be welcome to attend a service or be a member.
And to acknowledge others on the site: It is very difficult to persuade some one who doesn’t believe in the bible as the only authority by reciting the words of the bible proclaiming Jesus is the only way to the Father. That is circular logic. Not that you may not be right, but I suggest that you try something new to reach out to people.
Thanks for the comment.
Let us review:
RS is “a spiritual group that encourages open-mindedness, learning, and acceptance.”
But “RS ministers can have different ideas and beliefs” so: they do not have to encourage open-mindedness, learning, and acceptance and I demonstrated that some certainly do not.
To not force a doctrine upon, is a doctrine forced upon.
Yet, since “RS ministers can have different ideas and beliefs” they are free to force a doctrine upon unless they are prohibited from doing so in which case a doctrine is being forced upon them.
I should “try something new.”
Yet, you “acknowledge the spiritual path that condemns others” and certainly would acknowledge those that engage in “circular logic.”
Yet, since “RS ministers can have different ideas and beliefs” they can just reject my spiritual path and my “circular logic.”
“maybe ministry would not be right for” me, even though RS ministers “need to be open to all paths” which would include me being an RS minister.
Yet, since “RS ministers can have different ideas and beliefs” they can do as you just did and suggest that “maybe ministry would not be right for” me.
Now, this is a Christian apologetics blog and presupposes the authority of the Bible.
RS must “acknowledge” this “spiritual path.”
Yet, since “RS ministers can have different ideas and beliefs” they do not have to do so and can criticize my presuppositional “circular logic” path.
You are engaging in circular logic by criticizing me by appealing to RS standards, which any RS including ministers are free to disregard (or something).
Lastly, it is not circular logic to “persuade some one who doesn’t believe in the bible as the only authority by reciting the words of the bible proclaiming Jesus is the only way to the Father.”
Circular logic : Circular logic is where one bullshit argument is proven by another bullshit argument until your original argument is proven by itself.
If it’s in the Bible, then it must be true, because the Bible is the word of God, because it says it is, because the Bible is the word of god, et cetera.
So Mariano, go look it up on Encyclopedia Dramatica or any where else.
Thank you for your input.
I am not sure what your comment has to do with this discussion and I am certain that you have noted the faulty logic of those attempting to defend Religious Science.
I wonder where anyone, including myself, argue that “If it’s in the Bible, then it must be true, because the Bible is the word of God, because it says it is, because the Bible is the word of god, et cetera.”
This is a straw-man which is why it appears simple to you to knock it down—you have only knocked down your own misrepresentation.
And with that; we were done.
You see how for them it is all a facade of open mindedness that merely hides dogmatic theologies/worldviews that simply fall apart when merely questioned.