Why are people seduced by cults? What would make an intelligent person fall into deception or be drawn into anti-biblical teachings? Something that sounds good on the surface perhaps, but is not what it appears to be when you do a little digging. Today we will discuss the Church of Scientology with an expert, James Walker of Watchman.org and touch on some basics.
People often emulate those they idolize, and worldly celebrities, athletes, and pop stars are no different. We must understand the power of celebrity when it comes to influence, even among those within the Christian church.
It is okay to appreciate the talents a person has or some of the good works a person has done, but we should be able to be a fan of someone without being a follower. Jesus Christ is the only One who should have our allegiance and yet, we’ve seen many Christian “followers” of New Age teachings and false teachers from emergent church gurus of ‘progressive Christianity’ to downright religious cults.
Tom Cruise was introduced to Scientology in the late 1980s by his first ex-wife, Mimi Rogers and is believed to be second in command today, and yet lost his cool in a 2014 interview with Matt Lauer on Today. Since that interview, he refuses to discuss Scientology perhaps because it showed a lack of progress or his human nature. Arguably the most famous scientologist, Tom Cruise said at one point to Lauer, “you could be a Christian and be a scientologist,” but is this really true?
Many claims have been made by proponents of Scientology that it is compatible with Christianity and that “there is no attempt to change a person’s beliefs or to persuade him away from any religion to which he already belongs,” which we know is completely untrue. Ron Hubbard himself stated: there were other messiahs prior to Jesus Christ, early Christianity is not the same as Christianity today, the New Testament contains legends, and Judgment Day is a superstition.
Satan disguises himself as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:13-15), and in these last days, false teachers will deceive many. We must ensure our foundation is established upon the eternal and infallible Word of the living God.
A few sources for today’s program include: James Walker of Watchman Fellowship, Got Questions, World Religions and Cults (Volume 3) by Bodie Hodge & Roger Patterson, and the A&E series, Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath.
Scientology shares the same worldview as all the false religions of the world by rejecting God’s Word as final authority and denying the deity of Jesus Christ as His offer of salvation. Scientologists have a pluralistic belief system that allows the individual to embrace whatever lifestyle they choose in order to make them happy. To them, there is no absolute truth; they deny the existence of God, and all men are basically good. As far as creation, ‘MEST’ (matter energy, space, and time) was created by ‘thetans’ millions and millions of years ago, and L.Ron Hubbard’s words and writings are considered ‘scriptural’ truth.
WHAT IS SCIENTOLOGY AND HOW DOES IT COMPARE WITH CHRISTIANITY?
First, the conclusion from GotQuestions on Scientology:
Comparing the teachings of Scientology with the Bible, we see that the two have very little, if anything, in common. Scientology only leads away from God and eternal life. Scientology, while sometimes disguising its beliefs in Christian-sounding language, in fact diametrically opposes Christianity on every core belief. Scientology is clearly, and most definitely, not Christian.
Scientology is a difficult religion to summarize. Scientology was founded in 1953 by science fiction author L. Ron Hubbard and has gained popularity due to some Hollywood celebrities who have embraced it. Hubbard became a multi-millionaire as a result of creating Scientology. In fact, one of the most common criticisms of Scientology is that it is nothing more than a complex money-making scheme. The LA Times reported that the financial policy of Hubbard’s organization was, in Hubbard’s own words, “MAKE MONEY, MAKE MORE MONEY, MAKE OTHERS PRODUCE SO AS TO MAKE MONEY” (Joel Sappell and Robert W. Welkos. “The Scientology Story, Part 2: The Selling of a Church.” latimes. Monday, 6/25/1990, page A1:1. Los Angeles Times. WEB. 11/23/2015).
From James Walker’s site, Watchman.org,
Church of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard: Humans are immortal spiritual beings whose experience extends beyond a single lifetime (reincarnation), and whose capabilities are unlimited, though presently imprisoned by matter, energy, space, and time (MEST). Salvation is the recovery of spiritual freedom, ability, independence and serenity, including freedom from the endless cycle of birth and death (reincarnation), and full awareness and ability independent of the body, i.e., being “able to control matter, energy, space, and time.” These god-like powers are achieved through auditing, a process whereby “engrams,” (the mental recordings of past moments of pain and unconsciousness), and other barriers to such states are removed, abilities are regained, and greater awareness achieved. Auditing can last for years and may cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Teachings are also advanced through affiliated business management companies such as Sterling Management Systems, the drug prevention program Narcanon, and in public schools though Way to Happiness. The writings and recorded spoken words of L.Ron Hubbard (contained in over 500,000 pages of writings and over 2,000 tape-recorded public lectures) constitute the scripture of the religion, his book Dianetics, the Modern Science of Mental Health being foundational. Scientology publishes several magazines including Advance, High Winds, and Source; also several newspapers and newsletters including The Auditor, Tech News, KSW News and the FSM Newsletter. Scientology has a history of alleged abuse and illegal activities, and is fighting legal battles in countries all over the world. Profile available.
Scientology is a controversial modern religion developed by L. Ron Hubbard as an extension of his earlier psychological theories of Dianetics. Drawing on ideas from Buddhist and Hindu religious philosophy, science fiction, and Western concepts in psychology and science, Hubbard produced an organization that denies a Creator and sees all human beings as immortal spirits, and whose basic nature is good and even divine. Though we can only scratch the surface here, Scientology is no small business.
I agree with researchers, journalists, and former church members who have chronicled the origin, development, beliefs and practices of Scientology, view it more as an abusive, totalitarian, business cult, wrapping itself in the cloak of religion for reasons of opportunism and expediency. Its teachings are dangerous, and whenever we have a chance to warn others and save them from the fire, we should do so.