At our library-ette Saturday morning, I happened to see a DVD about Scientology, the religious philosophy masterminded by L. Ron Hubbard. Since our hamlet is tiny and is not particularly religiously cutting-edge, I assumed that this DVD would be either a quasi-neutral documentary or an exposé, written from a more mainstream vantage point. I think the subtitle used the word “overview” rather than “expose” or “examination,” so I guess I should have been more discriminating, but I hadn’t noticed that at a glance, and there aren’t just oodles of choices at our library . . . so off I went with this, two G/PG-rateds, and a couple of kids books chosen by Jedd.
The video proved to be a pro-Scientology series of explanations and ads. I am not impressed by propaganda. In the 30 minutes I spent with this, I came to an estimate that L. Ron Hubbard was probably frequently more sane than Mary Baker Eddy of the Christian Science religion, and of course much more sane than Joseph Smith, the Mormon founder. However, the Scientology religion seems to be a syncretistic concoction of one human — albeit a rather unusually high-functioning one — and, as such, it will come to nothing.
As a spiritual inquisiteur, the next question I might ask would concern the distinction, if there be any, between Hubbard and Jesus. Having quickly formulated an assessment of the former, I find much to distinguish the two figures. For what it’s worth: Hubbard thought too highly of himself and created stuff and structures out of nothing, whereas Jesus thought appropriately of himself and created nothing; rather, He simply did His Father’s bidding.
So much of Scientology seems to be me-oriented. Self-help philosophy and pragmatic religionism abound. In the DVD, almost all of the clipped testimonials from adherents speak in some way to what Scientology “does for me,” and even the notable charitable activities associated with this religion seem to be myopic. Scrolling words on the screen encapsulate the purpose of Dianetics, the 1950 book that touched off the Scientology firestorm in earnest: ” … used by millions everyday to help them lead more stable, happier lives.” Of course, there is much of consumer-driven Christianity that plays this game, as well, but pure Christianity is different.
Today, newly, I’m thankful for Jesus — His own emphases, and the mission emphases of His progeny — e.g., Philip of Acts 8, Barnabas of Acts 4 and beyond, Saul-Paul of Acts 9 and beyond, and others. While one might pick up a helpful tidbit or two from reading something like Hubbard’s seminal Dianetics or from taking a course offered by the Scientologists, the words and works of Jesus’ Way are in a different league. He was, and is, God–His own claims, teachings, and actions are corroborated unequivocally by the writings of the early Christians.
Jesus, I honor You as the unique Word of God to the world. And I ask You to strengthen my trust in You.