American Born Religion: Church of Divine Science

The Church of Divine Science is one of the American-born religious movements that was founded in 1880 in San Francisco by Malinda Cramer (Heywood, 2017). The church derives its beliefs from the New Thought movement. The church had dramatic growth in the 1880s, and the officials were Malinda Cramer, Nona Brooks (Parsons, 2017). One of the leaders, Kate Bingham, was exposed to Christian Science on a trip to Chicago in the 1870s when the doctor told her that if her giving birth would cause her death. Kate had to travel East to terminate her pregnancy because there were no doctors in Colorado (Raab, 2015). While she was on the train, she encountered a Christian scientist who told her that she would give birth usually if she believed with both and spirit. She later had a safe delivery at home and that marked the beginning of Christian Science. The small meeting the women that came together had, bore a more prominent church and they decided to adopt Christian Science philosophy because they felt it was more practical in the application of Divine Spirit. Take, for instance; Divine Science allowed the followers to consult with medical professionals.

The Church Of Divine Science Sociology Paradigm

When looking at religion as an institution, it is possible to analyze its impact on human societies. As an institution, the church of divine helped to influence the beliefs of Christians who wanted to do something more practical within the divinity of their religion (Raab, 2015). Hence, the rational part involved science, and the other part was positive thinking and prayer. The followers of spiritual science believed in being in tune with their beliefs, practices and also the need to spread these gospels to others. The church was a powerful instrument of social control as it grew in numbers through its organized teachings about God. Already, within the American culture, people were spiritual, and these beliefs did not fall far from their spirituality. The Church of Divine Science was keen with teachings that were about God and the manifestation of God in creation (Knight, 2016). They did not oppose the acknowledgment of God, but they brought the beliefs nearer to man by teaching that God is everywhere even in us. The religion defined God as pure spirit, one that does not change, eternal, absolute and limitless. According to the Church, the man had permission to manifest in all creation. As such, this helped the believers to transform their thinking and having the power to change their lives through intentional thinking. 

Another sociological influence of the Church of Divine Science is they emphasized on the importance of Divine healing (Heywood, 2017). In any society, health, wealth, and such are the essentials that hold people together. Therefore, these teachings gave people, a sense of freedom knowing that their healing was a thought away (Knight, 2016). The practice of Divine Science was just the acknowledgment of the Presence of God, affirmative prayer and meditation. The people readily embraced these teachings, and by 1918, there were Divine Science Churches all over the United States. As stated earlier, this growth stems from the fact that the American culture embraces growth especially in matters of spirituality. According to Data, there were about 7000 members in 1935 (Raab, 2015). At present, numerous Divine Science branches have expanded through e-mail ministries providing materials online. Over the years, the church has influenced many other similar groups that incorporate Dive Science teachings. 

The Impact of Divine Science Teachings on the Society

The Church of Divine Science is a new though movement that has sustained its growth of the 20th century (Parsons, 2017). The church is responsible for its supply of institutional legitimation as well as theological support to alternative healing. The new age though has a significant influence on the American culture that it has boosted popular psychology of self-help. As opposed to other religions that emphasize on the reliance of divine for healing and other needs, the Church of Divine Science has influenced the popularization of ideas such as Think and Grow Rich but Napoleon as well as other teachings about positive thinking. The central stream religious practices such as Christianity had secularized the culture of prosperity and success and instead advocated for seeking God and avoiding sin (Parsons, 2017). Despite that the Church of Divine Science has had an impact on the American culture, there are various subgroups s that have brought insights into its formative period. The new though beliefs are conspicuously absent from general dictionaries and textbooks on world religions. There are no significant histories of the movement. Besides, there lacks scholarly knowledge of this religion. As such, Charles S. Braden’s Spirit in Rebellion only provides for the general history of New Thoughts.

On the other hand, J. Stillson Judah’s History and Philosophy of the Metaphysical Movements in America provide an insight into the religion. Practically, the Church of Divine Science is a religion that advocates for focus and aims to bring about self-improvements. The church’s teaching mainly targets emotion and physical health, material prosperity, and personal relationships. However, individual groups are not usually active when it comes to social spaces and tend to be silent on political, economic, as well as legal issues.

Christian beliefs and the Church of Divine Science

Christianity is a religion that follows the teachings and the miracles of Jesus of Christ (Heywood, 2017). As such, everything outside these beliefs contradicts with the central gospel of Jesus Christ and therefore, not Christian. Christian Scientists reject the original sin and do not believe that disease, death, and crime come from God. The Church of Divine Science does not ordain its leaders as opposed to Christianity. According to science Christian’s salvation is an everyday process while Christians have sanctification of the soul that warrants a believer into heaven (Knight, 2016). Christian Science is all about a reflection of the divine mind while Christianity considers that their teachings are consistent with the original teachings of Jesus.

Conclusion

According to this article, the role of religion in society is that it gives the people a guideline on personal growth. The Church of Divine Science beliefs stems from the need to think positively and affirmations. Since American society is highly spiritual, the doctrines of this church tend to align with the needs of the people. On the other hand, the mainstream of religion in America is Christianity whose teachings solely follow the principles of Christ. However, religious practices have an enormous potential for addressing social problems such as family, wealth, health, and even relationships. The religious traditions such as Divine Science and Christianity reflect on the fact that American society is highly spiritual and thrive in such practices. 

References

Ellwood, R., & Partin, H. (2016). Religious and spiritual groups in modern America. Routledge.

Erb, H. M. (2017). Divine power and the spiritual life in Aquinas. Studia Gilsoniana, 6(4), 527-

547.

Heywood, D. (2017). Divine revelation and human learning: a Christian theory of knowledge. 

Routledge.

Knight, C. (2016). Divine Action and the Laws of Nature: An Orthodox Perspective on Miracles. 

In Science and the Eastern Orthodox Church (pp. 41-52). Routledge.

Parsons, T. (2017). Christianity and modern industrial society. In Sociological theory, values, 

and sociocultural change (pp. 33-70). Routledge.

Raab, J. (2015). Frederic Church: The Art and Science of Detail. Yale University Press.

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