Some Christian pastors—particularly in lower income, urban areas—are coupling Dianetics with the Bible.
Scientologists do not worship God, much less Jesus Christ. The church has seen plenty of controversy and critics consider it a cult. So why are observant Christians embracing some of its teachings?
Two pastors who spoke recently with CNN explained that when it comes to religion, they still preach the core beliefs of Christianity. But when it comes to practicing what they preach in a modern world, borrowing from Scientology helps.
Here’s what is wrong with that equation: Scientology, which clearly fits the sociological definition of a religion, is proscribed by its officials as a complimentary belief system to any religious worldview. I watched a promotional video from Scientology’s international headquarters in Hollywood in which the narrator talked about how good Christians and Muslims were using Scientology to improve their lives. (The narrator proceeded to say, and I paraphrase the gist, “Do you have to believe in Scientology? No. But you’d be an idiot not to.)
If the narrator was being sincere—and if you believe everything you see on “South Park” then you know none of the leaders of Scientology actually are—that would mean that these pastors that CNN interviewed are preaching something that looks a lot like L. Ron Hubbard’s creation.
They say they are not scared off by programs with ties to a church that critics say has aggressive recruiting, secretive ways and rigid theology. As men of God rooted in Christian values, they do not see Scientology as a threat to their faith, but rather as a tool to augment it.
Scientology was founded in the 1950s by L. Ron Hubbard, a science fiction writer. Followers are taught that they are immortal spiritual beings called thetans. Although the church says there is a supreme being, its practices do not include worshipping God.
“I’m looking for solutions, and the people that I help, they don’t ask me who L. Ron Hubbard is,” said McLaughlin, who works with addicts. “You know what they say? ‘Thank God.’ “
Rick Ross, who runs a Web site that tracks cults and controversial religious figures, goes on to say that this the kind of mainstream acceptance Scientology’s leaders desire. For more, read this excellent piece from Rolling Stone.