Robert Peel, “Christian Science and Value Clarification,” Voices: Journal of the American Academy of Psychotherapists, 13, 3, Fall 1977, 62-65.
From a commentary requested by the editors of the Journal of the American Academy of Psychotherapists:
“…In the last analysis, the only contextual perspective in which the value system of Christian Science can be fully understood is New Testament Christianity. Religion has both philosophic and psychotherapeutic aspects but it is neither a philosophy nor a psychotherapy. It is basically a reorientation of self to a divine power at the heart of existence – a yielding, not an act of will; a discovery, not a construct. To the Christian Scientist, the kind of selfhood that each individual must discover and demonstrate in his own way is the selfhood revealed as concrete fact in the life of Jesus Christ. And the value system implied by that life might be summed up by the verse so often quoted by Christian Scientists: ‘Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things [the temporal values and benefits of a fulfilled human life] shall be added unto you’ (Matthew 6:33).
“This points to a sometimes overlooked but crucial fact. Christian Science cannot be understood if it is divorced from the Christianity in which it is rooted. A sizable minority of those who turn to it for help are non-Christian, even non-religious, but if they stick to it with any persistence they are inevitably forced to see both its theory and its therapy as involving the sort of regenerative Christian experience implied by the word ‘conversion’….
“Christian Science, fortunately, is not amateur psychotherapy. If it were, it could deserve all the censures that have been heaped upon it. But it can be properly understood only as a religious system basically and profoundly concerned with the clarification of ultimate values, in the assurance that a corresponding transformation of the empirical evidence will be ‘added.'”