Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Is Scientology compatible with the Bible?

What is scientology?
Is Scientology religion? Can someone be a Christian and a Scientologist? Is Dianetics psychoanalysis or a philosophical system? This article provides a brief explanation of the beliefs of Scientology and how they differ from Biblical Christianity.

Scientology was founded by Lafayette Ron Hubbard, who wrote the very popular book Dianetics, from which the principles of Scientology originated. During his formative years, L. Ron Hubbard (1911-1986) studied Freudian psychoanalysis. He was a prolific writer, with more than 300 books and short stories published. Scientology is a religion and a psychoanalytic, human potential belief system. Many of the concepts found in Dianetics resemble those of psychoanalysts such as Sigmund Freud. This system borrows from other religions, particularly a form of reincarnation from Hinduism. Some well known adherents of Scientology are:  John Travolta, Kelly Preston, Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes, Kirstie Alley, Mimi Rogers, Priscilla Presley, Isaac Hayes, and others.

What are the beliefs of Scientology?
 “Scientology is a religion that contains tools and methods to assist you in finding your own answers to life’s questions.”[1]
One of the primary tenets is belief in some Ultimate Reality and eternal truth, while helping humans to become more aware of God and achieve spiritual improvement. There are churches and a concept of life after death. From the website we see the religious nature of Scientology:
“To serve the spiritual needs of congregations and to ensure all religious services are ministered in strict accordance with Scientology scripture ...”[2]
Human existence will transcend this lifetime:
            “Man is an immortal spiritual being.” (website, FAQs)
Scientology teaches that humans are inherently good:
“Scientology further holds man to be basically good, and that his spiritual salvation depends upon himself and his fellows and his attainment of brotherhood with the universe.” (FAQs)

God and Jesus Christ are mentioned infrequently in Scientology. Purportedly, “Scientology helps man become more aware of God”, but also teaches “beliefs in an Ultimate Reality that transcends the material world”.[3] God may be “a big Thetan” or there may be many gods, as Hubbard stated:  “There are gods above other gods, and gods beyond the gods of the universes.”[4] However, the God of the Bible is under the impression He is the only God (Isaiah 45:21, 1 Timothy 2:5, and others). The scriptures of Scientology are the writings and recorded lectures of L. Ron Hubbard. However, the only divinely inspired scriptures are found in the Old (Luke 24:27) and New Testaments (2 Peter 3:16). According to Hubbard, Jesus was a fine teacher with good information, but did not effectively explain his source for the information and may have believed in reincarnation. Jesus is referred to on the same level as Buddha, both of whom were “just a shade above clear”[5] (described below), which is not bad for mere humans. However, Hubbard certainly does not place Jesus in the same categories as does the Bible:  equal with God (John 10:30, Isaiah 9:6, John 8:58, Colossians 1:15-19); sinless (Hebrews 4:15, 2 Corinthians 5:21); and able to perform miracles (Matthew 11:5, Luke 7:22, John 11:44).

The book Dianetics, written by L. Ron Hubbard in 1950, introduced a human potential psychological system which was described as “The Modern Science of Mental Health”, leading to the beginning of Scientology in 1953. Allegedly, “Dianetics means ‘through the soul’ (from Greek dia, through, and noos, soul). Dianetics is further defined as ‘what the soul is doing to the body.’ It is a way of handling the energy of which life is made in such a way as to bring about a greater efficiency in the organism and in the spiritual life of the individual.” (p. 566)

The basic source of human’s problems in life are “engrams”, which are formed during painful moments in our lives. These repressed memories can be formed prenatally and even during previous lives:
·         “These engrams are a complete recording, down to the last accurate detail, of every perception present in a moment of partial or full ‘consciousness’”.[6]
·         “no engram has any constructive value.” (p. 85)
·         “The engram is the single and sole source of aberration and psychosomatic illness.” (p. 94)
·         Intelligence is inhibited by engrams” (p. 55)
·         Aberrations, under which is included all deranged or irrational behavior, are caused by engrams. They are stimulus-response, pro- and contrasurvival.”(p. 56)

Therapy in Dianetics involves an “auditor” assisting the client in ridding his or her life of engrams. After a sufficient number of auditing sessions, the client may eventually obtain “release” and become a “clear”:
·         “Dianetically, the optimum individual is called the clear.” (p. 14) 
·         “The clear … is an unrepressed person” (p. 26) without aberrations.
·         “The clear has full color-visio, tone-sonic, tactile, olfactory, rhythmic, kinesthetic, thermal and organic imagination in kind.” (p. 23)
·         “the clear is an unaberrated person … The clear has no engrams … Clear is the goal in Dianetics therapy ...” (p. 565)

Reincarnation or past lives
Scientology contains teachings involving past lives, while claiming to not ascribe to belief in reincarnation. For example:
“Reincarnation is a definite system and is not part of Scientology” and “Past lives is not a dogma in Scientology …”, but then goes on to state:
“… generally Scientologists, during their auditing, experience a past life and then know for themselves that they have lived before” and “In Scientology, you are given the tools to handle upsets and aberrations from past lives that adversely affect you in present time.”[7]
If we are not reincarnated, how do these past lives affect us today? Scientology teachings agree with the Bible that humans are spiritual and will live forever. On the official Scientology website, the following description of humans is given:
“Man is an immortal, spiritual being. His experience extends well beyond a single lifetime. His capabilities are unlimited … He is able to achieve … new, higher states of awareness and ability.”[8]
However, the beliefs of Scientology and Christianity quickly diverge. The analogy to the Biblical concept of salvation and eternal life in heaven with God in Scientology is the effort to remove engrams from our lives, thereby enabling humans to achieve optimum existence. The difference is described as:
“Some religions offer salvation in the hereafter, while Scientology offers certainty of eternal salvation now.”[9]
It may be noted that the Bible asserts eternal life begins when someone believes in Jesus Christ (John 6:47).

Biblical Christianity clearly does not teach the doctrine of reincarnation or the influence of past lives: “… it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). Jesus said to the thief crucified next to him, “Today (not ‘in some later life’) you shall be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43) The Apostle Paul stated that believers are either in this body or with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:6), not in another body in another life. And, whereas Scientology teaches that humans can achieve godlike status, the true God is not taken into account and the means of salvation does not include repentance from sins (Acts 3:19), belief in Jesus Christ (John 1:12), or God’s mercy (Ephesians 2:8).

Nature of man
Hubbard clearly stated his disagreement with the Biblical teaching on sin and repentance:
“It is despicable and utterly beneath contempt to tell a man he must repent, that he is evil.”[10]
Hubbard also taught, “Man is good. Take away his basic aberrations and with them go the evil of which the scholastic and the moralist were so fond.” (Dianetics, p. 26) The concept of human sin, according to Scientology, does not deem man to be responsible for his own sinfulness:
“A fundamental tenet of Scientology is that man is basically good but has become “aberrated” (capable of erring or departing from rational thought or behavior) through spending many lifetimes in the physical universe and therefore commits harmful acts or sins.”[11]
The Bible disagrees with Hubbard, asserting:  No one is good (Romans 3:12); we were born with a sinful nature (Psalm 51:5); “All have sinned” (Romans 3:23); and salvation is found through belief in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12 and Acts16:31).

The beliefs and practices of Scientology are not compatible with Biblical Christianity. There is no evidence for the effects of engrams as described in L. Ron Hubbard’s belief system. The basic nature of man is described in Scientology as good and in the Bible as sinful. The Christian concepts of sin, forgiveness, and salvation are not a part of Scientology. Interactions by Christians with those who are currently or have been involved with Dianetics or Scientology should never be disparaging, but rather demonstrating kindness (2 Peter 1:7) and bringing the truth (Ephesians 4:15 and Jude 23) in love (John 13:34).

[Biblical references are from the NASB version.]

[1]Scientology website:  <http://www.scientology.org/#/scn6a_partsofman>, accessed 26 Feb 2009.
[2]Scientology website, “Churches, missions and groups”
[3]Scientology website, “Why is Scientology called a religion?”
[4]L. Ron Hubbard, Scientology, 8-8008 (Los Angeles:  ASHO, 1967), 73, cited by Kurt Van Gorden in The Kingdom of the Cults (Bloomington, MN:  Bethany House Publishers, 2003), 363.
[5]Kurt Van Gorden in The Kingdom of the Cults, 365.
[6]L. Ron Hubbard, DIanetics (Los Angeles, CA:  Bridge Publications, 1950), 82-82.
[7]Ibid., “Does Scientology believe in reincarnation or past lives?” <http://www.whatisscientology.org/To/Part12/Chp36/pg0643-e.html>, accessed 8 Mar 2009.
[8]Scientology website, “Introduction to Scientology” <http://www.scientology.org/religion/presentation/pg006.html>, accessed 4 Mar 2009.
[9]Scientology website, “In what way does Scientology differ from other religions?”
[10]Hubbard, Auditor’s Bulletin, 31, cited by Kurt Van Gorden in The Kingdom of the Cults (Bloomington, MN:  Bethany House Publishers, 2003), 367.
[11]Scientology website, Catechism FAQ, “Does Scientology believe man is sinful?”

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