Let's talk about the future. More precisely, let's talk about a couple of studies from recent years that offer a snapshot of where society's view of traditional healthcare is today and, if the trends continue, where it could be in the future.
An October 2005 Harris Poll shows that only 9 percent of adults in the United States believe that drug companies are trustworthy. That continues a three-year slide in trust. Then there's a 2002 survey sponsored by the National Institutes of Health which shows that over 60 percent of adults in the United States say they have used some kind of therapy or alternative treatment. Of those same adults, 43 percent chose prayer, making it the top alternative choice.
These numbers and others, as well as several popular books on the subject, show a pattern familiar to many, an erosion of confidence in conventional medicine that is as unmistakable as is the rise of interest in alternative treatments – most notably prayer and spiritual healing. The scales are tipping.
Millions of people are sending a strong message through their healthcare purchasing habits and their responses to surveys that they are dissatisfied with the inadequacies of pharmaceutical products and traditional healthcare systems.
This may be because conventional medicine is coming up against a simple and inescapable fact: People feel intuitively that we're not merely physical, materialistic mechanisms to be treated as such; that our deepest desires and needs, our source of happiness as well as health – our very being – aren't found in matter. The higher view is that the essential elements of life and harmony exist outside and independent of matter; that they are spiritual, universal, health-giving, accessible by anyone, and indeed quite rational.
If this spiritual rationality is already evident to you, then for you the future is here. For you, it's apparent that the assumptions about life and health based on the material senses are misleading. You already know that God's allness means that goodness and harmony are everywhere, are spiritual, and that the more you love and live by this truth, the more good you do for yourself and others, including healing illness and living a more wholesome life.
Meanwhile, what about those who are dissatisfied with traditional healthcare, yet who aren't sure if there is a better choice? Maybe you or someone you know wants to move on from the status quo, but feels that the stakes are high and there is uncertainty about alternatives. What can help then?
You can open up some windows. You can let in more of the fresh air of this spiritual rationality. And you can give fresh consideration to the perspective Christian Science offers, which may be just the outlook and solution you've been hoping for, the real life experience that validates what you may be starting to feel is a trustworthy healing, transformative power. The record of Christian Science healing is extensive and remarkable.
The rising trend of people turning to prayer for healing, and today's interest in spirituality, suggests plenty of reasons for receptivity to the ideas found in this Science about cause and effect, about removing fear and how that relates to healing, about the true nature of each of us as the likeness of an all-good, all-loving Creator. In "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," a book that chronicles and has been contributing to this growing interest in prayer and healing, Mary Baker Eddy noted: "Spiritual rationality and free thought accompany approaching Science, and cannot be put down" (p. 223).
That's a refreshing way to look at the growth of spirituality on earth – as unstoppable. It's time for spiritual thinkers and healers to throw back the curtains and open the windows. The "advancing spiritual era," identified by Mrs. Eddy, is in the wind. Ready or not, the world is changing its mind.
First published as an editorial in the Christian Science Sentinel.