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This provided fertile soil for the mind-cure groups, who argued that sickness was an absence of "right thinking" or failure to connect to Divine Mind.Eddy's idea of malicious animal magnetism marked another distinction (that people can be harmed by the bad thoughts of others), introducing an element of fear that was absent from the New Thought literature.
Between the 1880s and 1990s, the avoidance of medical treatment led to the deaths of several adherents and their children.
Despite her view of the non-existence of evil, an important element of Christian Science theology is that evil thought, in the form of malicious animal magnetism, can cause harm, even if the harm is only apparent.
Eddy viewed God not as a person, but as "All-in-all." Although she often described God as if discussing personhood—she used the term "Father–Mother God" (as did Ann Lee, the founder of Shakerism), and in the third edition of Science and Health referred to God as "she"—God is mostly represented in Christian Science by the synonyms "Mind, Spirit, Soul, Principle, Life, Truth, Love." There is no supplication in Christian Science prayer.
[and] acknowledge His Son, one Christ; the Holy Ghost or divine Comforter; and man in God's image and likeness." Christian Science theology differs in several respects from that of traditional Christianity.
Eddy's Science and Health reinterprets key Christian concepts, including the Trinity, divinity of Jesus, atonement and resurrection; from the 1883 edition she included a glossary that redefined the Christian vocabulary, and added with a Key to the Scriptures to the title.
Born Mary Morse Baker on a farm in Bow, New Hampshire, Eddy was the youngest of six children in a family of Protestant Congregationalists.
Her father, Mark Baker, was a deeply religious man, although, according to one account, "Christianity to him was warfare against sin, not a religion of human brotherhood." Eddy's first husband died just before her 23rd birthday, six months after they married and three months before their son was born, leaving her penniless; as a result of her poor health she lost custody of the boy when he was four, although sources differ as to whether she could have prevented this.At the core of Eddy's theology is the view that the spiritual world is the only reality and is entirely good, and that the material world, with its evil, sickness and death, is an illusion.Eddy saw humanity as an "idea of Mind" that is "perfect, eternal, unlimited, and reflects the divine," according to Bryan Wilson; what she called "mortal man" is simply humanity's distorted view of itself.In May 1885 the London Times' Boston correspondent wrote about the "Boston mind-cure craze": "Scores of the most valued Church members are joining the Christian Scientist branch of the metaphysical organization, and it has thus far been impossible to check the defection." She has delivered to them a religion which has revolutionized their lives, banished the glooms that shadowed them, and filled them and flooded them with sunshine and gladness and peace; a religion which has no hell; a religion whose heaven is not put off to another time, with a break and a gulf between, but begins here and now, and melts into eternity as fancies of the waking day melt into the dreams of sleep.They believe it is a Christianity that is in the New Testament; that it has always been there, that in the drift of ages it was lost through disuse and neglect, and that this benefactor has found it and given it back to men, turning the night of life into day, its terrors into myths, its lamentations into songs of emancipation and rejoicing.Parents and others were prosecuted for, and in a few cases convicted of, manslaughter or neglect.