I'd like to discuss the reason I believe some people think Christian Scientists don't live in the real world. It usually results from a poor choice of words on the part of a Christian Scientist.
Now I don't want to give the impression that I'm condemning any individual Christian Scientist, or Christian Scientists in general. Indeed, if you've known me more than twenty years you may well recall a time when I committed these faux pas with alarming regularity.
I've been talking about how matter isn't all there is. Well, to a Christian Scientist matter isn't anything at all. Why would a Christian Scientist believe such a thing? Because the first chapter of Genesis says that God made man in his own image... spiritual. And it further says that God made everything that was made, “and behold it was very good”. If that's the case, then there is no evil. Yet evil manifests itself in our material experience all the time. In the Christian Scientist's view, this is because matter and all evil are an illusion trying to assert that something exists beyond God's perfect creation.
Wait, did I just contradict myself? First I said that matter is nothing, and then I said it's an illusion. Isn't an illusion something? Well, when you see a mirage it's something, or at least it appears to be. But when it disappears, it's nothing.
We resolve this seeming contradiction by using the terms “absolute” and “relative” to differentiate conflicting statements. The statement “Matter doesn't exist.” is an absolute statement. But the statement “Matter is an illusion.” is a relative statement. Absolute statements do not recognize the existence of matter, but relative statements do. In my experience, sometimes Christian Scientists mix absolute and relative statements when talking to people who don't know the difference. This results in confusions about Christian Science.
A Christian Scientists heals by the mental assertion that man is perfect, made in the image and likeness of God. And as this perfection is faithfully asserted, the material picture of the individual's condition improves. To the Christian Scientist sickness is nothing. But Mrs. Eddy says plainly in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, “Sickness is neither imaginary nor unreal,--that is, to the frightened, false sense of the patient. Sickness is more than fancy; it is solid conviction.” She goes on to say, “If Christian healing is abused by mere smatterers in Science, it becomes a tedious mischief-maker. Instead of scientifically effecting a cure, it starts a petty crossfire over every cripple and invalid, buffeting them with the superficial and cold assertion, 'Nothing ails you.' ” Those statements are found on page 460.
So here is an example of the assertions I make throughout my day: Right this moment I am the prefect child of God, made in his image and likeness (absolute statement). Therefore, I cannot manifest any image of sickness or disease (relative statement). I am never for an instant separated from God's love and grace (always leave things in the absolute).
Does this really work? My condition improves each day (relative statement).