Denial of Reality is a Problem for Religious Science

By: Dr. John Ankerberg, Dr. John Weldon; ©1999
Although it is claimed that the principles of Religious Science work, they actually can’t work because they deny reality and because RS ideas have serious personal and social consequences.

Denial of Reality is a Problem for Religious Science

Although it is claimed that the principles of Religious Science [RS] work, they actually can’t work because they deny reality and because RS ideas have serious personal and social consequences. In spite of its claims to be “practical religion,” RS is so far removed from reality than any benefits of the applied philosophy can only be superficial at best.

When we sit down and talk with Religious Science followers, we discover they have the same problems most people have—the same concerns over money and circumstances, the same pains and frustrations, the same diseases, the same experience of evil in the world, the same impotence in the face of insurmountable problems that everyone faces as limited creatures. Of course, if our mind “IS the mind of God” how do we explain such shortcomings? [1] We don’t. So RS believers suffer like everyone else. They get sick and die, have car accidents, become emotionally wounded, get robbed and cheated in business and so on. Despite the fact they truly believe they can create and mold inner and outer reality according to their thought life, this is never so. So why continue to accept the philosophy?

Years ago a married couple slowly froze to death in their car, stranded in a Colorado mountain snowstorm. The woman died holding her husband’s hand. In the glove compartment was a scribbled note, “I don’t want to go this way.”[2] Notes found in plane crashes contain sentiments like, “I love you dearly. I never dreamt last night would be our last.” As tragic as these stories are, what could such people have done if they were Religious Scientists? Would their philosophy that “ALL is Good” have saved them? Could any Religious Science person anywhere escape death merely by mental power? If not, the theory of Science of Mind cannot be valid because it claims the Mind is divine and has all power. Their mind is the mind of God. They speak, and God speaks. All power flows through them. “I am God and there is none else.”[3] “He who understands this will take the position of one who wished to work in union with the creative power of God; and to such a one will come all the power that he can conceive of and believe in. His word will become in expression as the very Word of God, and he must realize it to be all powerful.” [4]

Why does no one ever experience the realization when it really matters? Why are there no manifestations of divine might in impossible circumstances? Does not God’s thought (man) control the image of God’s thought (the creation)? Infinite power can obviously stop bullets in mid air and raise the dead. But where is it in situations like the above? Do RS believers die in these cases merely due to their lack of faith in application of divine law? If Religious Science is true, it must be so. So where is its efficacy? Indeed, really trying to live the philosophy is proof of its error.

Science of Mind “testimonials” (we could more accurately call them “denials”) are almost frightening in their implications. We cite four examples from Science of Mind literature. First, is the lady who saw in the rattlesnake which nearly bit her five-year-old daughter the same Spirit of God that “lives in us both, speaks through us both.”[5] Earlier she had handled a defanged rattler: “It was God’s moment, this moment in time when our lives touched, the snake’s life and mine, here in a place so fearful to us both.” Would she, however, have continued to love the rattlesnake as God if it had bitten her little girl and caused her painful death? Would the philosophy hold up in the face of a child’s death?

Second, there was the woman who, being robbed by a thief and being threatened with death (a knife at her throat) said, smiling, “God is here.” With the knife still at her throat she reports: “Looking into his eyes, I saw him in his true identity—God’s Life expressing through him.” After being hit several times and then robbed, she realized that her thoughts had “erected a protective shield [around her]” and that “any apparent evil [lost] its power to harm… “ [6]

Consider a third example, this time of RS parents whose teenagers were engaging in criminal acts, using drugs, abusing alcohol or living promiscuously. Holmes told one distraught mother, almost beside herself with worry over her son’s activities, that her son “must work out the evolution of his own soul.”[7] The teenager is really “God’s life that is seeking expression,” and the parents are both to affirm and “salute the God-self in our wonderful teenager, and I know that Divine Love protects and Divine Wisdom instructs and guides him (her) now and always…. [Each] young person must learn what Life has to teach. Each one is unique. Each must do his own living; each has a right to express…. This is God’s perfect child growing up now into perfect adulthood, in a perfect way! Thank you, Father of all!”[8] (The parents of the children killed in recent school shootings would most certainly disagree!) In typical RS fashion, Proverbs 22:6 (“Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it”) is quoted as a biblical precedent for the affirmation! One can only wonder how many teenagers given this philosophy today have ruined or even lost their lives to drugs, sexual promiscuity or violence.

In our final example, a woman wrote in desperation that her husband had left her for another woman. She believed in Science of Mind. “I have tried to live one day at a time, holding to the faith that my husband would come back to me.” Holmes’ cold and unfeeling response was to tell her, “You have no right nor should you seek to coerce your husband…. Set him free in your own mind and know that whatever is for his best good and yours will be done.”[9] Where is the harmonious thinking here? Where is the power that is supposed to be available in times like this? Where is the Good that is everywhere present? When God has different viewpoints, where is the Unity?

Holmes asserted that in our “prayers” we are to turn from a belief in any evil to a belief in only good, thus accepting “the creativity of the Universe in a constructive way.”[10] Thinking of these parents, can we imagine a prayer that says, “God, thank you that my true child really is not taking drugs,” or “Thank you that my husband is not really committing adultery”? To the starving can we say, “Thank you that no one dies from starvation, that there are no victims in life”?[11] In the horrors of war, can we say with Religious Science that “Peace is; It is in everything, It is through everything”?[12] After the tornado, flood or hurricane can we accept that “there are disintegrating forces but no destructive forces in nature. The Universe remains only goodness forevermore”?[13] Or can we really accept that “good thoughts always overcome the imperfect ones”?[14] Who can logically believe any of this?

And what about serious or life-threatening illness? Religious Science claims it does not deny the reality of disease in the “outer” man, in the false appearance, (“we do not say a man is not sick”).[15] But it also says that a woman with tuberculosis “is a perfect and complete manifestation of Pure Spirit and Pure Spirit cannot be diseased; consequently she is not diseased.”[16] In Religious Science “reality,” she is both sick and not sick at the same time: the real her is well; the appearance of her is sick. Of course, this is a con. The lady is seriously ill. But how many Christian Scientists, New Thought, Unity and RS believers have suffered or even died because they chose to deny and ignore the “unreal” appearance?

What comfort does Religious Science offer its devout members, who live it and praise it, when they face major surgery, divorce, the death of a child, terminal illness or some other tragedy? What do they do when they are hit by contradictions and doubts, by a feeling of betrayal? Why is it that even with their sincerest and best efforts to appropriate the All-Good, the Divine Mind, It still lets them down?

Religious Science may make one feel good. Hearing that one is divine and perfect, believing that it is “godly to live as you like,” is attractive. But this can never cure people’s real problems. Unfortunately, RS practitioners are made up of people who “find their own lives.” “It’s glorifying yourself, really,” admits one practitioner.[17] Yet Jesus said that he who “finds” (or selfishly loves) his own life will lose it, but he who loses his life for Jesus’ sake will find it to life eternal (John 12:25; Matt. 10:39).




  1. Ernest Holmes and Alberta Smith, Questions and Answers on The Science of Mind (New York: Dodd, Mead and Company, 1953), p. 23.
  2. Los Angeles Times, November 1, 1979.
  3. Fenwick Holmes, Ernest Holmes: His Life and Times (New York: Dodd, Mead and Company, 1970), p. 203.
  4. Ernest Holmes (compiled and edited by Willis Kinnear), The Spiritual Universe and You (Los Angeles: Science of Mind Publications, 1971), p. 88
  5. Science of Mind, December 1978, pp. 25-28.
  6. Science of Mind, February 1979, pp. 27-29.
  7. Holmes and Smith, p. 157.
  8. Craig Carter, How to Use the Power of Mind in Everyday Life (Los Angeles: Science of Mind Publications, 1978), p. 49.
  9. Holmes and Smith, p. 105.
  10. Ernest Holmes, Keys to Wisdom (Los Angeles: Science of Mind Publications, 1977), p. 93.
  11. cf., Ibid., p. 64.
  12. cf., Ibid.
  13. Ernest Holmes, Gateway to Life (Science of Mind Publishing, 1974), p. 19.
  14. Science of Mind, May 1979, p. 71.
  15. Science of Mind, July 1978, p. 59.
  16. Fenwick Holmes, p. 202.
  17. The San Diego Union, November 4, 1979.


  1. Abe Morgan on March 27, 2017 at 1:15 pm

    How did Ernest Holmes die? What did he die from? I cannot find this info.

  2. JNBarker on March 21, 2018 at 6:08 am

    Its absolutely incredible you people try so much to take someone else’s faith whether true or not, I believe the bible was written for a tool of manipulation but I care about people and know what religion stands for whether true or not whether the bible is real or not why do you as a journalist or Dr. Feel its in the best interest to tell someone who actually accepts the outcome of there life whether 54years old or 101 years old I happen to know someone from christian science background from both ages, one was Great Grandma the other just Grandma her dughter doctors didn’t help them and one lived nearly fifty years longer what they had in common was keeping there belief to themselves and accepting faith for what it should be BRINGING THOSE together for any reason religion relatedness or not. They did not say doctors were a lost cause they chose not to go but difference they still prayed for mankind and didnt try discreditting doctors even though I know more people who lost life under 50 at the hands of a doctor Where you choose to discredit hoping to sway more money financially they will still be present praying for all never telling you to not be a doctor so write an article thanking them for keeping some people safe and comfortable with any belief as the motivation doctors are no bigger religion or cult then any other

    Let’s band together as a whole universe make the universe one cult and write next the next article commending all who take the time to care for those who need a cause whether i Doctors or preachers. You guys charge for your service most religions say donations but no different right So get of the waggen and let’s become one whole instead of portions of universe or humans I need all my limbs to be a whole person I have 5 fingers on ONE hand right 1+1=1 Mom+Dad =child = family Be different for good not religion because I don’t agree much either but telling those who do would be the worst possible route you don’t want to tell your kid god isn’t real or maybe ot doesnt matter to you but if your child was religous how far would you go to get them out whether they are or not whether you have a child or not you get the idea so don’t tell the public thank you please stay kind be informing not a scarecrow

    J.N Barker
    Thanks much to all doctors man and women across the world to all practitioners we love you…..

    • JNBarker on March 21, 2018 at 6:18 am

      FYI no punctuation but you still read the message right spelling not perfect so it doesn’t matter you use punctuation we still deliver the same outcome concer to all public or not you doctors take oaths so you treat the religions why would you talk about them be my patient I will save you but faith can’t be real some don’t care about your article and won’t see it but some will and it will bother each one money appears to be the goal and if not you probably ly don’t like me saying that

    • JNBarker on March 21, 2018 at 6:25 am

      If Nero Cesar had a bible written for selfish needs do we hate him AMD blame for bad in the world or thank him for giving some a reason to live peaceful one for all or maybe its all for one

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