Christianity vs. Christian Science: What’s the Difference?

Christianity and Christian Science, despite their similar names, hold distinct beliefs and practices. This article will explore the key differences and similarities between these two faiths.

If you’re seeking to understand the nuances of these religious traditions, this article will provide you with valuable insights.

With so many variations of religious beliefs around the world, understanding the unique tenets of each faith can be an enriching and informative experience.

We invite you to read on and deepen your understanding of Christianity and Christian Science and compare the different ways they approach spirituality and religious practice.

Christian cross
How many adherents do Christianity and Christian Science have? See below

Comparing Christianity and Christian Science: At a Glance

“Christianity” is derived from “Christ,” referring to Jesus Christ, the central figure in the religion, combined with the suffix “-ity,” meaning quality or state.

“Christian Science” combines “Christian,” referring to the religion, with “Science,” representing the application of systematic methods to understand spiritual truths and heal.

CriteriaChristianityChristian Science
NameChristianityChristian Science
SizeApproximately 2.3 billionApproximately 100,000 to 400,000
Date StartedCirca 1st century AD1879
FounderJesus ChristMary Baker Eddy
Key BeliefsBelief in the Holy Trinity; salvation through faith in JesusBelief in the all-powerful nature of the Divine Mind; rejection of the material world as an illusion; belief in spiritual healing
Key PracticesPrayer, worship, communion, baptismPrayer, spiritual healing, study Eddy’s writings
DivisionsCatholic, Orthodox, ProtestantNo major divisions
Central LocationVatican City (Catholic); None for Protestants and OrthodoxThe First Church of Christ, Scientist, Boston, MA
Sacred TextsThe Bible“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” by Mary Baker Eddy, the Bible

What is the Divine Mind in Christin Science?

The Divine Mind is a term for God, who is understood as the infinite intelligence governing the universe. It represents the source of all true understanding, and Christian Scientists believe that aligning one’s thoughts with the Divine Mind leads to spiritual healing and insight.

What is spiritual healing in Christin Science?

Spiritual healing refers to the process of overcoming physical and mental ailments through prayer and a deeper understanding of God. It is believed that aligning one’s thoughts with the Divine Mind can result in the removal of negative beliefs and the restoration of health.

What does Christian Science teach about the material world? See below

Christian and Christian Science Beliefs: Differences

Christianity teaches the belief in monotheism, asserting that there is one God who exists in three distinct persons. Known as the Trinity, God is comprised of Father, Son (Jesus Christ), and Holy Spirit.

CriteriaChristianityChristian Science
God or godsOne God in three persons (Trinity)One all-powerful Divine Mind
The UniverseCreated by God; physical and spiritual realms existSpiritual reality is true; the physical world is an illusion
Ultimate realityGod is the ultimate realityThe Divine Mind is the ultimate reality
Human beingsMade in God’s image; have a physical and spiritual natureEssentially spiritual, true identity is in Divine Mind
Problem with the worldSin and separation from GodFalse belief in material reality and the existence of evil
Solution to the problemFaith in Jesus Christ, repentance, and salvationSpiritual understanding and realization of the allness of the Divine Mind
Nature of the afterlifeHeaven and Hell; eternal life with God or separationNot emphasized; focus on understanding spiritual reality here and now

Why does Christian Science say the world is an illusion?

Christian Science teaches that the physical world is an illusion and that true reality is spiritual.

It is based on the belief that the Divine Mind, or God, is the only true reality and everything else is a distortion of this spiritual truth.

Illness and suffering are seen as the result of a misunderstanding of this truth. Healing occurs when one recognizes the spiritual reality and aligns oneself with the Divine Mind.

The Key Practices of Christianity and Christian Science

CriteriaChristianityChristian Science
WorshipRegular church services with singing, prayers, and sermonsChurch services with readings from the Bible and Science and Health
PrayerIndividual and communal prayers to God for guidance, strength, and forgivenessAffirmative prayer
HealingPrayer, anointing of the sick in some traditions, and the use of modern medicineSpiritual healing through prayer and understanding of spiritual truth
CommunionSacrament of the Eucharist (Communion) to remember Jesus’ sacrificeNo equivalent in Christian Science
BaptismBaptism with water as a sign of initiation into the Christian faithNo equivalent in Christian Science
Bible StudyStudy of the Bible for spiritual guidance and understanding of God’s wordStudy of the Bible, along with Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures
FellowshipFellowship and community activities to strengthen bonds among believersChurch meetings and group discussions about Christian Science teachings
Bible study
Who was Mary Baker Eddy? See below

Comparing the Bible to the Works of Mary Baker Eddy

CriteriaThe BibleMary Baker Eddy’s Works
StatusSacred text, inspired by GodInspired writings, interpreting the Bible
CompositionWritten by multiple authors over centuriesWritten by Mary Baker Eddy
LanguageOriginally in Hebrew (Old Testament), Greek (New Testament)English
Main BookThe Bible (Old and New Testament)Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures
Other WritingsCommentaries, interpretations, etc.Other works including “Miscellaneous Writings,” “Retrospection and Introspection,” etc.
Role in ReligionFoundation of Christian beliefs and practicesExplains the metaphysical ideas behind Christian Science and offers guidance on applying them
Used in WorshipCentral to sermons, hymns, and liturgyUsed alongside the Bible in church services
Theological FocusRevelation of God, life and teachings of Jesus Christ, and moral guidanceExplanation of spiritual healing and the divine laws of life

What is Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures about?

Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures outlines the core teachings of Christian Science, including the belief that spiritual understanding can lead to physical healing.

The book interprets the Bible in a way that emphasizes the spiritual nature of reality and the potential for healing through prayer and understanding of the Divine Mind.

10 Key Events in Christian and Christian Science History

Christian HistoryChristian Science History
1. Birth of Jesus Christ (c. 4 B.C.)1. Mary Baker Eddy’s healing experience (1866)
2. Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus (c. 30 A.D.)2. Publication of “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” (1875)
3. Conversion of Paul (c. 33 A.D.)3. Establishment of the Church of Christ, Scientist (1879)
4. First Council of Nicaea (325 A.D.)4. Incorporation of the Massachusetts Metaphysical College (1881)
5. Great Schism (1054)5. Establishment of the Christian Science Publishing Society (1898)
6. The Crusades (1096-1291)6. Establishment of “The Christian Science Monitor” (1908)
7. Protestant Reformation (1517)7. Passing of Mary Baker Eddy (1910)
8. English Reformation (1534)8. The Church Manual is published posthumously (1911)
9. The First Great Awakening (1730-1755)9. The building of The Mother Church Extension (1906)
10. Vatican II (1962-1965)10. Legal recognition of spiritual healing practices (various dates)

Daniel Isaiah Joseph

Daniel's seminary degree is in Exegetical Theology. He was a pastor for 10 years. As a professor, he has taught Bible and theology courses at two Christian universities. Please see his About page for details.

Related Questions

error: This content is copyrighted.