Christian Scientists and SDA on “Family Guy”

I just caught the tail end of an episode of Family Guy in which Lois kidnaps the infant son of Christian Scientist neighbors to take him to a hospital for medical treatment. The episode ends with an impassioned speech outside the hospital in which Lois wins the Christian Scientist parents over with a theological argument: If you’re praying for God to heal your child, doctors and medicine are the answer to your prayer!

The closing speech is presented as a perfectly serious rebuttal to Christian Science: the writers had to inject comic relief into the preachy moment by having Peter comment on the fact that the speech wasn’t comedic. (“So far, so good, Lois. Now try to work in some laughs.”) Apparently this was an issue on which the show’s creators wanted to weigh in.

The same episode included a cutaway gag about Seventh-day Advenists: A Methodist and an Adventist are standing on a street corner. The Methodist explains that he believes in Jesus Christ, etc. The Adventist says: We believe the same things you do, except we worship on Saturday. The Methodist does an absurdly exaggerated double-take (eyeballs leaping out of his sockets) and beats a hasty retreat.

Note that where the cutaway gag satirizes a negative mainstream reaction to a minority religion (Seventh-day Adventists), the thrust of the plot overall is to reinforce criticism of a different minority religion (Christian Scientists). In the moment leading up to the SDA cutaway gag, Lois makes a comment along the lines of: I’m beginning to think that Christian Scientists are a lot crazier than Seventh-day Adventists. It would seem the writers agree.

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9 thoughts on “Christian Scientists and SDA on “Family Guy”

  1. Anathema says:

    Christian Scientists, nowadays, are more likely to take their children to doctors when things get bad, and their mind-control “Scientific healing” fails. The little-recognized tragedy now is older Christian Scientists (some in their 50s!!) who are afflicted with cancers (and other ailments) yet refused to seek medical care until their condition is terminally advanced. They shut themselves away, and are loathe to let their families (especially non-CS adult children) know.

    I participate in a website of ex-Christian Scientists, which ministers to people who have been adversely affected (afflicted?) by this cult. Check out:

  2. Wow . . . I post, and less than 24 hours later, an anticult group has already located the post and seized the opportunity to advertise themselves. They’re certainly . . . diligent.

  3. Caron Cosden says:

    I was really disappointed in the way Christian Scientists were portrayed in this show. The practice of Christian Science is not nearly as simplistic as the storyline made it sound. The reason people adhere to this religion is because it not only helps one’s soul, but one’s body too. I can testify to it. I was not born into this religion, but came into it as an adult and have had many healings since. Can I take antibiotics if I want to? Of course! There is no church rule against doctors. But why would I do that when most of the time I can get over an infection completely in less time than it used to take when I did rely on antibiotics? It really works for me, and that’s all I wanted to say. I have a background in genetics and used to teach college. I am not into blind faith. It’s so much more than that.

  4. Mys NewView says:

    As an SDA, I found the sketch to be more making fun of Methodists and other Sunday observing denominations that make us SDAs seem so crazy for following all ten commandments instead of only nine. I didn’t see the writers as agreeing with the Methodists, but instead mocking them… of course not all Methodists are like this, so while I’m sure it was offensive, still..funny stuff.

  5. Drew Stevens says:

    I was born into and brought up in Christian Science. I am no longer a Christian Scientist and now find my Spiritual connection in the Tao.
    I feel compelled to make a few comments.
    First, I have had, and witnessed physical healings that have been proclaimed as miracles by some and disbelieved by most. All of my life I have found It interesting how many say they believe in God, The Bible, Jesus and other mystical and biblical beliefs, but to believe that today, someone could have a Spiritual healing sounds just to crazy.
    Second, Christian Science IS NOT A CULT!!! The fundamental beliefs of CS is to take the INSPIRED word of the Bible and LOOK at what a possible interpretation of that passage might be. We don’t “Bow Down” to any person as a Cult would have and the ENTIRE CS experience has ALWAYS been greeted and surrounded with Divine Love.
    Age 13 I decided to explore other Spiritual options. I went with friends to their places of worship. I went to Temples, Synagogues, Mosque, Churches and other places that brought forth the many faces of God. I was amazed by a few things. First, When will we realize that we all believe in a Supreme Spiritual Being … Does it really matter what it is named? God, Allah, Jehovah, Emmanuel? We are ALL CHILDREN under the same stars. The second thing that I noticed was how many people changed the second they walked out of that Holy place of worship.
    I was brought up in a CS home and attended Sunday School and when it came to decisions involving my medical care , my choices were ALWAYS taken into consideration. There were a few times I did decide to go the route of modern medicine and was extremely disappointed how after spending all this money on office visits and trips to the pharmacy and I was still not better. How the reason I decided to go the Dr. was because I was too afraid or too lazy to see what was going on inside of ME that was coming out as illness or disease.
    It was about 3 weeks before my 13th birthday. I got really sick. I rarely got sick as a child and while my class mates were out with whatever the seasonal ailment was, I wasn’t. This was different; I was down for the count. We were working with a CS Practitioner (kind of like a coach) and after a few days of prayer, what actually came to light was somehow , subconsciously, I was afraid of becoming a Teenager and all that it represented. My body somehow manifested as a 104 fever that tested my Mother’s belief.
    My Mother’s beliefs were tested when she was diagnosed with uterine cancer. My mother, a petite woman, physically fit, never smoked, rarely ever drank, no habits or family history to get her there, but poof. At the age of 65, She had to choose between her faith and modern medical. We both prayed about it. We both cried about it and decided to follow the advice of the Doctors, but continued prayer. After 8 months of Hysterectomy, radiation and chemo, I watched my mother wither away. I was very grateful that I was able to hold her in my arms in the ER and sing hymns to her as she left us. I sometimes wonder what might have been if we had stayed the course in CS.
    I know that every Doctor and Nurse that came into contact with us were using their Divine given talents to heal the sick, but there are many paths and we all have to respect each other’s beliefs.
    We have an opportunity at every moment to make a choice. Everything we observe we assess. We can choose to look at the positives of that moment, of the negatives. I have made it my choice to look at the positives. They are there, somewhere, even in the crappiest of situations and sometimes I have to look really hard. In my case with my Mom, I got to spend 2 hrs everyday with her driving her to her Dr’s appointments. My Mother got to know me as her Son the Man, and let go of her son the Boy. She always told me that I was God’s Child, not her’s and that she was just my caretaker. I was so blessed to have been brought up in Christian Science.

    Drew Stevens
    Corpus Christi, TX

    • kirk says:

      I’m touched Drew. You are indeed God’s child.

      Don’t take offense to satire which is meant to shed light upon issues.

      We all need to be able to laugh at ourselves, our religions, our politics, our family traditions. Then we need to reflect upon why we do what we do, admit that we are not perfect, and be willing to consider other opinions.

      I’m sorry for your loss, Drew. Your mom can be proud of her son.

      Keep looking up!


  6. Steve says:

    I was raise in CS, worked for the mother church, class taught, etc. I was lucky to get out alive. Most of my family wasn’t. It is a cult.

    • Xandyr says:

      Dude, that is so bizarrely made up. I was raised in a very strict CS family and left with no fall out whatsoever. There is no “getting out”. That church doesn’t chase you down or pressure you or practice shunning. You just say one day: “I don’t buy into this anymore, sorry.” and nobody winges about it. They just tell you: “ok, if you change your mind we will be here.” There is no concept of hell or punishment for leaving or not being apart of it, imagined or real. Calling it a cult and making up some BS about “getting out alive” is insulting to people who were apart of actual cults who suffered real problems in their lives and careers, genuine harassment from cult members, and shunning from family members still involved.

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