Philosophy Faculty Publications

Title

Christian Science, Rational Choice, and Alternative World Views

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

12-1995

Publication Source

Journal of Social Philosophy

Abstract

The health-related choices made by Christian Scientists are often criticized as being irrational. It is difficult for those who turn to medical means for healing to understand how Christian Scientists can rationally justify avoiding those medical treatments known to be effective. What is especially confusing to the observer of such chokes is that Christian Scientists are, for the most part, well-educated and otherwise rational individuals. In this paper, I analyze the nature of the choices made by Christian Scientists and argue that such choices are neither irrational nor the result of unethical church practices.

Margaret Battin has recently published a book on the ethical implications of certain religious practices which includes a critique of those religious organizations whose adherents appear to take health risks and to make health-related choices which non-adherents would not take or make. In a chapter devoted to the ethics of the practices found within “high-risk” religions, Battin argues that Christian Science institutional practices result in a Christian Scientist’s inability to make an autonomous and informed rational choice when faced with a life-threatening illness or injury.

In this paper, I respond to Battin’s criticism of Christian Science.

Inclusive pages

89-104

ISBN/ISSN

0047-2786

Comments

Permission documentation is on file.

This article is also a chapter in the book Meaning and Medicine: A Reader in the Philosophy of Health Care (Routledge, 1999).

Publisher

John Wiley & Sons

Volume

26

Issue

3

Peer Reviewed

yes