Now, Religion in the News, a report and comment on religious trends and events being covered by the media. This week’s item is from the St. Petersburg Times, October 30, 2005, with the headline “Church Embracing Teaching Techniques Devised by Scientology. It’s Monday night, and 13 teenagers gather at the Glorious Church of God in Christ, a predominately African-American church in a working class neighborhood of East Tampa. The teens bow their heads and pray Jesus will make this a productive evening. Then one hands out pamphlets titled ‘The Way To Happiness.’
‘Be worthy of trust,’ is the passage the kids read before launching into a discussion of moral issues touching on race, sex, and honesty. The concepts aren’t unusual for a Christian teen group, but the author is. ‘The Way To Happiness’ is a moral code written by L. Ron Hubbard, founder of Scientology. About 20 Glorious Church members have been schooled on Hubbard’s study technology at Scientology’s Tampa facility. Soon, Glorious Church parishioners plan to teach Hubbard’s so-called ‘study tech’ to children in their neighborhood, where one in five live in poverty.
The Glorious Church also hopes to host [Narconon] and Criminon programs based on the teachings of Hubbard, and aimed at drug treatment and criminal rehabilitation. Both programs have been labeled ineffectual and thinly disguised recruiting tools by Scientology detractors. But the Rev. Charles Kennedy, the pastor at Glorious Church of God in Christ, is convinced they could help his community overcome illiteracy, drug addiction, and crime. ‘I need what they are doing to fulfill what I’ve been praying about,’ the pastor said. ‘Scientology is a unique religion,’ University of South Florida Religious Studies professor, Del Dishonte said. ‘It’s members claim you can continue to practice another faith and still be a faithful Scientologist.’ Pastor Kennedy is comfortable with it. He said he can find a biblical source for all of the morals in the Scientology booklet.”
Tom: Dave, this is just bizarre. L. Ron Hubbard, he develops his own science fiction theology, and literally it wins some of the biggest stars in Hollywood: John Travolta, Tom Cruise, others. He’s on the cover of—Travolta with his wife, they’re on the cover of Ladies Home Journal promoting Scientology. Yet this individual, this pastor, claims to be a Christian. He comfortable with it. He doesn’t see a problem. “He can find a biblical source for all the morals in the Scientology booklet.”
Dave: Well, Tom, as you very well know, this is really related to science fiction. I mean, this guy dreamed this thing up. We are all supposedly uncreated, omnipotent, infinite beings called “fatans”. Somebody said, “That’s Satan with a lisp,” and I wouldn’t doubt it. And way, way back, we created this MEST (matter, energy, space, time continuum) in which we live.
Tom: It’s a MEST—it is a mess.
Dave: Right. this universe, and then we created little creatures, and we became so intrigued with these critters that we incarnated into them. Well, then when they died, we reincarnated into other creatures, and eventually through an evolutionary process, we became humans. And by the time we became humans, we were so far removed from our origin as fatans that we forgot who we were. So now we have to go back and we’ve got to go through this—this is what scientology is all about—it takes you through this psychotherapeutic process where you are regressed into the past, and you go back and you discover these engrams, these traumas, that you picked up, you know; and finally you get rid of all of them and you break through to what is called “clear,” and you become an operating fatan, a god, once again. See, fatans are strange kind of gods—they’re gods, but they forgot that they were gods. So now they have to be reminded that they are gods.
Now, I don’t know, it would seem to me that they could in the future forget that they’re gods again and have to go back through this whole process. Tom, it is—number one—ridiculous, but it is certainly not biblical, and who needs Jesus Christ? Nothing about sin, nothing about dying for our sins, you can take care of whatever sins there are in your past by going through this psychotherapeutic process.
Tom: Dave, what’s interesting about this, and like so many things today, they contradict themselves over and over and over again. For example, one of the major thrusts of Scientology today is anti-psychiatry, anti-psychology.
Dave: Yes, and they do a good job of it, Tom.
Tom: They do, but that’s what they’re into with, you know, a little science fiction, a little different, bizarre kind of theology thrown in. And look at the program here: it’s a program to overcome illiteracy, drug addiction, crime, and so on. So it’s another 12 Steps without the Steps; now it’s just L. Ron Hubbard’s methodology here that we’re implementing.And, Dave, there’s another side to this: these are excerpts from this article from the St. Petersburg Times—there’s a money trail here. The federal government will contribute $1,800 to each child that participates in this program once you get over a certain number. So I don’t want to judge Pastor Kennedy’s heart, but first of all and foremost, he’s not being biblical about this, and I don’t know if he cares. But he’s concerned about his program in his church, and growing his church, and adding a community center and so on, and the federal government has money if that’s the way he is willing to go for it.
Dave: But, Tom, why do we even mention such things on this program? Because this is typical of what is happening out there. It’s typical of the delusion that is plaguing the church. This church claims to be a Christian church, the pastor claims to be a Christian, but it is anything but. And it seems that most people are willing to believe anything but the truth, and this is what Jesus said in John:8:45, to the Jews. He said: “And because I tell you the truth ye believe me not.” Well, Tom, we’re interested in the truth—God’s Word is truth, and this is why we challenge people: search the Scriptures daily.