What is Christian Science?

The Bible, Science and Health, people, community

Thanks for asking!

The heart of Christian Science is Love. It's about feeling and understanding God's goodness. It's based on the Bible and is explained in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures and other writings by Mary Baker Eddy. It shows the practicality of better understanding God, Christ Jesus, goodness, life, sacrament, salvation, and more. Anyone can find God to be "a very present help in trouble" (Ps. 46:1).

Click on any of the links below to find more information on the topics that interest you.

You may also be interested in downloading our new "What is Christian Science?" brochure that provides basic information about the theology and practice of Christian Science and the activities of The First Church of Christ, Scientist and its publications. 

About Christian Science

Basic teachings 

Christian Science is Christian. It's based on the teachings of Christ Jesus, who said, “He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also...” (John 14:12). Mary Baker Eddy said, “these mighty works are not supernatural, but supremely natural...” (Science and Health, p.xi:14). This can mean resolving difficult challenges with health, relationships, employment, and other personal and global issues through prayer. People who practice Christian Science are free to make their own choices about what to think and do in each situation, including health care. But Christian Science is so much more than a system of self-help or health care. Ultimately, it is a way to draw closer to our loving Father-Mother, God, as well as all of humanity.  more about basic teachings

Common confusions

Christian Science is sometimes confused with Scientology, New Age practices, faith healing, and Eastern religions. It has also been called un-Christian or labeled a cult. Actually, Christian Science is none of the above. The inspiration it offers runs deeper than positive thinking. It is deeply Christian. Christian Science teaches that it’s never God's will for anyone to suffer, be sick, or die. Instead, it shows how God is entirely good, and therefore His will for each of us is only health and life. To see how Christian Scientists relate to other faiths and backgrounds, refer to the ecumenical and interfaith dialogue community on this site for blogs and discussions. Still have questions? Keep reading and/or feel free to ask someone.

What is God?

Sun shining through clouds

"Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's. The Lord executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed" (Psalm 103:2-6). There are many inspiring references like this in the Bible, and from them, Christian Science derives a definition of God as "The great I AM; the all-knowing, all-seeing, all-acting, all-wise, all-loving, and eternal; Principle; Mind; Soul; Spirit; Life; Truth; Love; all substance; intelligence" (Science and Health, p.587). God, our all-powerful, ever-present, tenderly loving Father-Mother, maintains our wholly spiritual identity and relationship with Him as forever perfect, made in His "image" and "likeness" (See Genesis 1:26).

Following Christ Jesus

Jesus' words and actions naturally inspire us to follow his example. This is more than worship. His pure and powerful love rouses us to love God supremely and to love others as ourselves. Learning from Jesus brings a desire to obey him by doing the works he instructed us to do. This includes healing the sick in body and mind by becoming so filled with the eternal Christ spirit that fear and doubt give place to God’s power. Christ is that Word of God lived so abundantly by Jesus that we can discern it in all ages. It is the healing power that dissolves suffering in exchange for the profound feeling of being loved and being well. Jesus was the divinely appointed Messiah, or Savior of the world, uniquely fitted to reveal the nature, all-power, and all-goodness of God in the way humankind could best understand. As the Bible explains, "there is one God and one mediator between God and humanity, the human Christ Jesus" (1 Tim. 2:5 Common English Bible).  more about Jesus

History of Christian Science

In 1866, after many years of study, Mary Baker Eddy discovered what she considered to be the Science of the Christianity which Jesus taught and lived. She dedicated herself to teaching, preaching, and healing others through this system for applying spiritual laws—Christian Science—and in 1875 she published her primary book about it, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. By 1879, she founded the Church of Christ, Scientist, “to commemorate the word and works of our Master, which should reinstate primitive Christianity and its lost element of healing” (Church Manual, p.17). Though it is not necessary to be a church member to study Christian Science, today, there are members in over 130 countries and democratically run churches in over 70 countries. 

Mary Baker Eddy—Discoverer, founder, author

Mary Baker Eddy

Mary Baker Eddy (1821-1910) discovered and founded Christian Science. Raised in a Puritan home, she loved and studied the Bible throughout her life. Often ill growing up, she experimented unsuccessfully with multiple healthcare systems. A turning point occurred in 1866 when she had a severe fall. After three days her health was not improving, so she asked for her Bible and became completely well after reading two of Jesus' healings. Throughout her life she’d been able to heal others, but now she began to understand the science behind the activity. Often asked how she was able to heal, Eddy explained and documented it in her primary work, Science and Health, and named her discovery Christian Science. Eddy became a public speaker, teacher, and best-selling author. She founded a college for teaching Christian Science healing, an international church, and multiple publications, including the award-winning newspaper, The Christian Science Monitormore about Mary Baker Eddy

How can I learn more?

People walking on the beach

The best way to understand Christian Science is to delve into the Bible and Mary Baker Eddy's book, Science and Health. Take in the spirit, follow your inspiration, and put it into practice. For an example of how Eddy's thought relates to the Bible, read her spiritual interpretation of the Lord’s Prayer and how her understanding of divine Love enlightens the 23rd Psalm (Science and Health pp.16-17, p.578). Other resources for study include the weekly Christian Science Bible Lesson and The Christian Science Journal and Christian Science Sentinel. Plus, there are many ways for you to contact people and ask questions in person and online. You'll know you're getting an accurate impression of Christian Science if you're feeling loved and closer to God.  learn more

Talk with a Christian Scientist

Each of us has an individual relationship with God, the ability to communicate with Him, and a heart to understand His message of the Christ. At the same time, it's often helpful to share ideas with others. Stop by a local church or Reading Room, call or email a Christian Science practitioner or teacher anywhere in the world (you can search for contact information in the right column of this page), or participate in our online forums. People will be glad to hear from you and are ready to help you if you need it. For information in multiple languages, see our international sectionfind someone to talk with

The practice of Christian Science

How do prayer and healing work?

Through prayer, we can learn more of God’s nature and ability to touch and heal our lives and the world. If God is divine Love and has infinite wisdom, how could He cause sin or sickness? If God is all powerful and ever present, is there anything He can’t address? Jesus' life and works showed how God helps us through prayer, and Mary Baker Eddy explains that how this works is similar to the way light dissolves darkness. Studies show that increasing numbers of people are discovering how prayer and health are related. Many Christian Scientists find that prayer consistently results in healing. If you would like to talk about this idea or have someone pray with you for more light, health, and inspiration, Christian Science practitioners and teachers are available to help.  more about prayer and healing

How could Christian Science help me?

Christian Science is studied and practiced by people all over the world and it can help you in the same way it helped others. When asked why they love Christian Science, people said things like:

  • Christian Science works—I found healing!
  • I feel loved unconditionally, without judgment.
  • The Bible makes more sense to me.
  • Christian Science helps me feel safe.
  • Through prayer, Christian Science brought me comfort.
  • I feel God's tender presence more than ever.
  • Jesus' life and teachings are more relevant to me now.
  • I found a better sense of peace and harmony in my life.
  • It gave me the opportunity to bless others.

Here are links to some examples of healing and ways that people are praying about personal and global issues.  more about how Christian Science can help

Relationship with Western medicine

It’s up to each person who practices Christian Science to choose the form of health care he or she wants. Many Christian Scientists decide to pray first about every challenge—including health issues—and find it effective. Many health care professionals today are recognizing options outside of conventional medicine. Christian Scientists recognize and respect the interests of medical professionals and don't oppose them. We all care about the preventive and curative aspects of health care. Like all systems of healing, the track record for Christian Science isn’t perfect. But, over 80,000 Christian Science healings have been published throughout the past 140 years, including severe cases.  more about spiritual health care

Caring for children

Christian Science Sunday School Nursery Class

Christian Science parents care deeply for their children. They want the best for them in every aspect of their lives, at home, church, school, and everywhere they go. Parents often pray about the quality of their children’s relationships, safety, health, and more. There's a duty to practice all types of health care reasonably—including Christian Science—especially when it comes to children. Many Christian Scientists have found Christian Science to be a quick and effective healing option for their children. Protecting children’s lives and promoting their health and wellbeing is a standard parents should all be held to no matter what means of health care they choose. You're invited to explore the wide variety of free activities and resources available to support youth, teens, kids, toddlers, and infants. youth resources page

Social, political, and global issues

There are countless social, political, and global issues worthy of attention and discussion.  While the church takes no official position on these issues, one thing Christian Scientists can agree on and feel passionate about is the need to be aware of and pray about the difficulties facing our world. In fact, that is one of the reasons Mary Baker Eddy founded The Christian Science Monitor—a highly respected, independent, award-winning international news organization which covers global events with the mission, "to injure no man, but bless all mankind" (The First Church of Christ, Scientist and Miscellany, p.353). For information in multiple languages, see our international section.  inspirational ideas regarding these issues

The Church of Christ, Scientist

Find people and churches near you

You can search for churches and people near you using the directory here or in the right column of this webpage. There are also several pages on this website dedicated to activities happening at The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, MA, USA.  For information in multiple languages, visit our languages sectionmore about what's near you

Global membership

Church members come from more than 130 countries and all walks of life.  We are a worldwide family, committed to Christian Science and helping others. You don't have to be a member of the Church of Christ, Scientist to attend church or practice Christian Science and be benefited by it. People may join local "branch" churches, societies, or informal groups, and they may join The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston. There are local, democratically run branches in over 70 countries, made up of both non-members and members of The Mother Church, who join together to worship God and bless their communities. For information in multiple languages, visit our languages sectionmore about membership

Church services

People sitting in pews

Christian Science services include hymns, prayers, and warm fellowship. Also, instead of ministers giving personal sermons, democratically elected laypeople read quotes or “readings” from our “pastor,” which is the Bible and Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy.  Every church around the world will feature similar readings on Sundays. They may also simultaneously offer classes for Sunday School students under the age of 20. At Wednesday testimony meetings, the readings are unique from one church to the next, and participants are invited to spontaneously share gratitude and testimonies of healingmore about church services

Youth activities

TMC Youth interns 2011

Christian Scientists worldwide offer a wide range of opportunities and activities for young adults, teens, kids, toddlers, and infants. These include Sunday School, support for active church membership, college and university organizations, internships, and summer camps, plus national and international conferences including youth summits. A sampling of groups, activities, and these links for youth are listed on our youth website, time4thinkers.com. more youth information

Other church activities

Along with church services and Sunday School, Christian Science churches and societies around the world maintain public Christian Science Reading Rooms and sponsor public talks/lectures. Additional church activities vary widely from church to church, and may include community service, care committees, chaplain services in correctional facilities, etc. Of course church members may also serve individually in their communities by participating in many public charities and causes. Be sure to ask what is going on in your area. And of course you are invited to join our members in praying daily about the worldmore about other activities

Church structure, officers

The Mother Church, Boston

The Church of Christ, Scientist and its officers are governed by the By-Laws in the Church Manual. Church officers officially appointed by The Christian Science Board of Directors include a President, Clerk, Treasurer, and two Readers at The Mother Church. The Board also appoints members of the Board of Education (Christian Science teachers), the Board of Lectureship (public speakers), and military chaplains. Other church roles which are not appointed by the Board include Christian Science practitioners, Christian Science nurses, and volunteer chaplains at correctional facilities. Global Christian Science churches and societies appoint their own officers, Readers, Sunday School teachers, Reading Room librarians, etc. Everyone shares the same pastor, the Bible and Science and Healthmore about church

History and future of the church

The First Church of Christ, Scientist was founded by Mary Baker Eddy in 1879. The church, its officers, and members will always be governed by the By-Laws in the Church Manual. However, the Manual is a very short, public book (you can read it for free online), and Christian Science churches and societies are democratically run. This provides for transparency and sufficient flexibility to adapt to the needs of humanity as the church goes forward.  more about church