Over the last few months, there have been a few cases in the press, of children dying from medical neglect and one case of an actor who appears to be trying to hide a possible medical problem from the world's view. Such distressing cases and the pain of those respective family members, may only be imagined.
This has reminded me of the secrecy which is created within a strict belief system, in the non-acceptance of medical aid. What do I mean when I use the phrase "medical aid"? I sometimes wonder if the general public ever realises or understands that there are belief systems which literally mean it when, as in Christian Science, medicine is not an option? People sometimes say to me, "Yes, but surely a serious condition would mean the seeking of pain relief or anti-depressants etc. etc.". Not always so! (Science and Health p167 is one reference)
I know that some Christian Scientists, possibly in an effort to shake off criticism and become more plausible, suggest that visiting a doctor and using medicine is acceptable. But I know from former Christian Scientists and from my personal experience that this attempt to be sensible with one's health care is often resultant in judgmentalism from other church members, Christian Science practitioners declining to "treat" (by CS means) patients and an over-riding feeling of guilt by the patient.
I was shocked when a Christian Scientist, whom my late mother held in high regard within the Christian Science world, told me he had resorted to pain relief for a troublesome tooth. My mother took the study of Christian Science extremely seriously and endured untreated breast cancer!
Putting aside the issue of radical reliance within belief systems, I am left wondering to what extent secrecy plays its part in the lives of the wider families affected, in this case by Christian Science.
The hiding of ill health, hiding the symptoms - either by staying at home, increased resting or wearing looser clothing etc. more and more in-depth study of Christian Science, no discussion of what the "condition" might be! I'm quite sure some relatives of Christian Scientists will recognise the foregoing!
Does Christian Science have the effect of making its former members continue a pattern of secrecy within their daily lives? Is that a result of strict belief systems, in general? Are we embarrassed to mention Christian Science - either that we were in it or that we wonder whatever people would think of us? Having left Christian Science, do we remain as very private and secretive people? Thoughts?
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