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.It was developed in 19th-century New England by Mary Baker Eddy, who argued in her 1875 book Science and Health that sickness is an illusion that can be corrected by prayer alone.The book became Christian Science's central text, along with the Bible, and by 2001 had sold over nine million copies.
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.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.Adherents believed that material phenomena were the result of mental states, a view expressed as "life is consciousness" and "God is mind." The supreme cause was referred to as Divine Mind, Truth, God, Love, Life, Spirit, Principle or Father–Mother, reflecting elements of Plato, Hinduism, Berkeley, Hegel, Swedenborg and transcendentalism.Medical practice was in its infancy, and patients regularly fared better without it.Eddy and 26 followers were granted a charter in 1879 to found the Church of Christ, Scientist, and in 1894 the Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, was built in Boston, Massachusetts.This includes the view that disease is a mental error rather than physical disorder, and that the sick should be treated not by medicine, but by a form of prayer that seeks to correct the beliefs responsible for the illusion of ill health.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.[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.