Sunday, November 27, 2011

Overview of Scientology



Scientology, a religion that we clearly know is not a Christian one.  It is not fast growing religion, but it is a popular one, especially amongst the VIPs of Hollywood.  The reality of Scientology is that it is really just a 20th century remake of the pagans of India in days gone by.

They boast around 15 million members and their meeting places are opulent.  So where did it come from?

A.) History/ Origin

It was founded by a man named L. Ron Hubbard.  Hubbard had been a leader of several anthropological expeditions among primitive people groups.  He was in the US Navy during WWII and was an imaginative science fiction novelist.

During his travels and studies he began exploring a theory that he called Dianetics.  Dianetics means “discursive reasoning” or in other words, “pertaining to reason”.  It is a type of reasoning that is built on the reason of man to fix his own past and man’s reasoning to determine his own future.

He wrote expounded on his theory and put it together in his book “Dianetics, the Modern Science of Mental Health” in 1948.  This book was and is used as a founding source in the Church of Scientology.  Dianetics is the method of pulling out engrams from the Reactive Mind. 

Hubbard was born in 1911 in Manhattan.  Primarily raised by his mother and grandfather, he also had friendships with the Blackfoot medicine men and was eventually accepted into their tribe as a blood brother.

In 1920, he traveled to China to begin investigating the meaning of life and purpose.  Very adventurous and very involved in high risk expeditions as he visited these various cultures he would adapt some their beliefs into his own claiming that no one group could hold the only possible true answers.

He believed in reincarnation and so as we will see, much of his views in Scientology centered around that.  The first Church of Scientology was opened in June of 1955 in Washington D.C of all places.  Prior to that the practice was simply known as Dianetics and its adherents were not organized into an actual religion.  Originally, those who followed Dianetics were not part of a religion, but as money was given and donate, the eyes of the IRS were raised… so it becomes the Church of Scientology and uses religious language so as to escape taxation from the government.

It brings in around $70million per year!  And these are not gifts primarily, they are fees.  We’ll look at those in a bit.

B.) What does Scientology teach?

Well, the goal of Scientology is for its adherents to uncover and eradicate prenatal problems, compulsions, and inhibitions that have accumulated in the soul during past lives.  Hubbard’s theory was that all humans have ‘engrams’ received by the embryo in the womb.

An ‘engram’ is a lasting trace left in an organism by psychic experience.  In other words, you are born with the psychic experiences that are left over from your past lives.  Remember I told you that Hubbard’s belief in reincarnation was going to be an important part of this.

You see, Scientology teaches that “man is basically good” and that “his spiritual salvation depends on himself, his fellows, and his attainment of brotherhood with the universe”.  (scientology.org)

In it not a “dogmatic religion” where you “believe by faith”.  It is a religion in which “one discovers for oneself that the principles of Scientology are true by applying its principles and observing or experiencing the results.” (scientology.org)

“The ultimate goal of the Scientologist is to attain true spiritual enlightenment and freedom for all.” (scientology.org)


The reason that the goal is to eradicate the “engrams” you are born with is because they believe those engrams to be self-defeating behaviors that are inappropriate.  In other words, the sins (although they wouldn’t call it sin) in your life is not because you are a wretched vile sinner who needs saving by a perfect Savior, no you are basically good, according to Scientology, and your “self-defeating, inappropriate behaviors” are just leftover traces of a former life.

So it isn’t YOUR fault, it’s your ‘you’ in a past life’s fault.  Further, you don’t need a Savior to atone for your sins in Scientology, you just need to search out the ‘engrams’ you have and on your own, figure out how to get rid of them so that with each engrams removal you become closer and closer to perfection.

In the end, hopefully, you will release the essential, spiritual self or soul called the ‘thetan’.  The ‘thetan’ comes from the Greek word “theta”.  The thetan is the immortal spirit, which can have existed for up to 74 million years.  It combines the Gnostic idea of aeons (eternal beings) and the Hindu doctrine of reincarnation. 

The difference in the teachings of Hindu teachings of karma verses Scientology is that karma and reincarnation teach that you progressively seek to be better in each life so that eventually you reach perfection.  Scientology, on the other hand, teaches that you can go back and get the “engrams” of past lives so that you reach perfection, potentially, in this life.

This is Hinduism modified and re-packaged for the American, consumer driven culture.  By dealing with the left over wrongs the soul becomes “clear”, free to go on to better things, with no harmful restraints.

Scientology is very tightly organized.  It has “ministers” who perform rites and administer sacraments, but their main function is counseling.

There is a tight-knit inner circle and many highly committed adherents.  Some celebrity names that you might recognize who are Scientologists.

- Tom Cruise
- John Travolta
- Katie Holmes
- Kirstie Alley
- Jason Lee
- Greta Van Sustern
- Sonny Bono

So you say, ‘Where does God come into play?’.  Well, you remember I said that the goal was to release the “essential spiritual self” called the thetan?  Well, Scientology considers the belief in a God or gods as something personal and therefore is subject to each individual’s belief.

The nature of the “Supreme Being”, as they call it, is “revealed personally through each individual as he/she becomes more conscious and spiritually aware.  The life force of the theta exists in us all and beyond us all.”

Life, existence, is a manifestation of the universal spirit of “theta” which exists in us all.  So who becomes god?  You do.  You are your own god.

Scientology operates on 3 basic tenets.

- Man is an immortal being.
- His experience extends well beyond a single lifetime
- His capabilities are unlimited, even if not presently realized.

The goal of Scientology is to maximize man’s estimation of himself.

C.) Practicing Scientology

Let’s see then how their beliefs flesh out in practice.  It is ironic to me that the overall goal of Scientology is self-realization and determining truth on your own so that you release the eternal spirit in you… however, in order to realize this “thetan” spirit yourself you have to be counseled by an ordained counselor from the Church of Scientology.

If I do it on my own, why the counselors?  You’ll see that this was a BRILLIANT money making scheme on the part of L. Ron Hubbard.

How do I get into Scientology?  Well, there are 8 dynamics (stages) of Dianetics and you, as a “seeker” must work your way up on your journey to find freedom.

Those stages are:

1.) Self-dynamic
2.) Sexual
3.) Group
4.) Mankind
5.) Animal
6.) Universe
7.) Spiritual
8.) Infinity (god)

If you were to begin venturing into Scientology you would be considered a “seeker” and you would start your counseling sessions as what is known as a “Pre-Clear”.

The Pre-Clear is a beginning Scientologist.  According to their procedures, the Pre-Clear meets with an approved Auditor from the Church in a private session.

They sit with a device called an E-Meter between them. The E-Meter is used to determine how many engrams that person has and a reading is taken each session to get an idea of how the person is progressing on their journey.

They call it a “religious artifact” and say that it helps measure readouts of the “spirit and soul”.  The Pre-Clear holds the two can-like cylinders while the Auditor asks personal and probing questions and the Auditor will make notes on the readings and adjust as needed.

An example question: Have you ever done anything your mother would be ashamed of?  The reality is that the E-Meter is really just a crude lie detector.  But what they say is that through these questions they are really probing back through your past lives to determine the greatest areas of need so that you can remove these engrams yourself.

It may take as much as 20 hours for the Pre-Clear to begin moving upward through the 8 stages hoping to reach the status of Clear.  A “Clear” is one who has cleared themselves of problems, difficulties, and engrams.

When, in the counseling sessions, the engrams are revealed by the E-Meter, and they are confessed, they are automatically erased.  They no longer harass your inner thetan.

Only 1/50th of 1% who have attempted this process have ever made it through all 8 stages to level “Clear”.  The cost of all this is very expensive.  Your counseling sessions begin at $15 and can be up to $35 with total fees for all 8 stages of progression costing between $7,000-$20,000.

Where did L. Ron Hubbard spend most of his time after reaching “Clear” status?  Well, because he received 10% of all fees collected by the Scientology centers, he spent most of his time in international waters, sailing in his 3,000 ton, 320’ yacht complete with blue-uniformed crew of 200 sailors and students.

Scientology teaches in their “Code of Honor”, that you should

- Never fear to hurt anyone in a just cause
- Punish to the fullest extent of (your) power anyone misusing or degrading Scientology to harmful ends.
- Set your own values and counsel your own decisions.

Hubbard said “Man is caught in a high and complex Labyrinth.  To get out of it requires that he follow the closely taped path of Scientology.”

That is of course if you can afford it!

D.) How do we witness to a Scientologist?

Folks, man is not caught in a “labyrinth”.  They are dead in sin and trespasses.  Scientology teaches that man is not sinful and that man has no need for God… in fact they teach that man is god of himself.

Your sins aren’t your fault, they are someone else’s… a you from a past life and you, on your own effort, can eliminate those until you perfect youself.

How we approach them with the Gospel is that they must be shown that Scripture is clear.  God is the only God, man is not God (Isaiah 45:5; Genesis 1:1) and He has been God from all eternity (Psalm 90:2).  He knit them together in their mother’s womb! (Psalm 139:13-14). 

But they have sinned against the very God who gave them life. (Romans 5:12-14; Ephesians 2:1-3; Exodus 20:1-17; James 2:10)  They must see that because of their sin they have a grave need for forgiveness.  A forgiveness that they cannot obtain on their own (Ephesians 2:8-9). 

There sin is their own fault, and not a trace of a past life.  God has appointed a day in which He will end their physical life and He will judge their sin (Hebrews 9:27).  But God, being rich in mercy and great in love, sent His Son Jesus Christ to die in their place.  To take God’s wrath in their place.  So that they can be forgiven! (Ephesians 2:4-7; Romans 3:25; 1 John 4:10)  God punished Christ, and Christ willingly took it, for their sin! (2 Corinthians 5:21)

If they refuse to repent they will perish and suffer God’s wrath for their sin for all eternity. (Romans 6:23; John 3:36).  Jesus who is God in the flesh (John 1:1; 14) is the only Savior and only hope for salvation for any one (John 14:6).  If they will turn from their works and “self absolution” and look to Christ (Isaiah 45:22), He will forgive them and grant them eternal life. (John 3:16)

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