SIR – Readers of Harriet Alexander’s October 31st article about actor Val Kilmer’s denial he has cancer receive the wrong impression of the Christian Science religion he follows from her assertion that it “believes prayer can overcome reality”.
Founded by Mary Baker Eddy in 1866, Kilmer’s faith, Christian Science, is based on Jesus’ healing ministry which showed sickness is not the will of an all-loving God.
Far from suggesting “prayer can overcome reality”, Christian Science teaches that as we express more of the Christly qualities in our lives so we increasingly express our inseparability with the one perfect God, who members of various faith traditions believe is reality itself.
Harriet Alexander also writes that Christian Scientists “spurn medical treatment”. This common stereotype, too, is off the mark. For while Christian Scientists largely tend to choose prayer as an effective healing method based on their own experience of it, they are free to choose what they believe best under the circumstances and would be among the first to agree the medical profession brings comfort to many and is deserving of respect.
With kind regards
Robin Harragin Hussey
Christian Science Committee on Publication, London
District Manager for United Kingdom and Ireland