Scientology and Gnostic Mysticismby Rit Nosotro
How Do Scientology and Gnostic Mysticism Compare?
Over the years, man has become a very self-sufficient being. However, one often does not realize the danger of such a great "accomplishment." Often, one forgets that, though they can support themselves physically, only God can support them spiritually. Two modern "religions," Scientology and Gnostic Mysticism, have turned from this fact, and teach others that man must rely on himself for full salvation. This belief directly defies the Word of God, and can only lead to trouble and a life of eternal damnation for those who choose to ignore the life saving love and power that comes only through Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
As a "study of truth," L. Ron Hubbard founded Scientology in 1952. The official website of Scientology states that, "Scientology is the study and handling of the spirit in relationship to itself, others, and all of life. The religion comprises a body of knowledge extending from certain fundamental truths. Prime among them being:
- "Man is an immortal, spiritual being. His experience extends well beyond a single lifetime. His capabilities are unlimited, even if not presently realized -- and those capabilities can be realized. He is able not only to solve his own problems, accomplish his goals, and gain lasting happiness, but also achieve new, higher states of awareness and ability.
- "In Scientology, no one is asked to accept anything as belief or on faith. That which is true for you is what you have observed to be true. An individual discovers for himself that Scientology works by personally applying its principles and observing or experiencing results.
- Scientologists believe that man consists of three parts. The first part is the thetan, or spirit, which is the person himself. The second part is the mind, which the thetan uses as a control system between his environment and himself. The third part is the body, which is not the person." 1
Hubbard founded his "religion" of Scientology to oppose the medical branch of psychiatry. He believed that psychiatric help did nothing but harm the human body, and undermine its role as a human being. Denying that "mental illness" existed, Hubbard believed that man could, on his own, delve deeper into his own mind to find the basic good, which could cure him of his ailments, as well as save his soul. Such may be seen in this news excerpt,
"After the sermon comes the heart of the Sunday service - 'group processing' -- which on a recent morning included the following exercise, also written by Hubbard. Minister Judy Steed, a cheerful, intense woman, instructed us to find the floor, to locate the chair we are sitting in, to observe the front wall, the side walls and the wall behind us. We did this again and again, finding the floor, the chair, the walls, the ceiling, observing the distance between ourselves and the ceiling and walls.
'Now,' the Rev. Steed said, 'find the distance between yourself and your eyeballs.'
The Rev. Steed never drew any conclusions for us, but the implication was that if we can separate ourselves from our eyeballs, in the same way we can separate ourselves from the material world around us, we can realize that we are not our bodies but something else. If this sounds a lot like the mind-body dualism philosopher Rene Descartes postulated 350 years ago, Hubbard was quick to point out that Scientology is the one religion to have figured out the real truth: man's real self is neither body nor mind but spirit. And if that sounds a lot like what other religions might call a soul, Hubbard explained his difference: a thetan -- the Scientology term for the spiritual essence that is each person -- survives not in some nebulous Afterlife but again and again on Earth, not reincarnated as another person or another life-form but coming back as itself in a different body. Scientology is the first religion to understand death, Hubbard said." 2
Scientologists deny the belief of original sin, and uphold the idea that all men are basically good. They believe that "fundamental laws of life, when applied, help people achieve a happier and more fulfilling existence as surely as an apple falls to the ground when dropped." 3
Ancient Gnostic mysticism "scriptures," found by Nag Hammadi in the Egyptian desert in 1945, sparked quiet a change in world views, particularly Christian views. Books such as Dan Brown's The DaVinci Code used mysticism as a basis for their information. Gnostics believe in a God of lesser power, and in his son, Jesus Christ, who acts only as a messenger for this God. They believe that one may obtain salvation through "a divine knowledge of the cosmic order and one's true identity." 4 This religion uses the Serpent's temptation of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden to uphold this belief. Gnostics do not believe in original sin, and believe that the only way to reach God and salvation is through one's heart. Traditionally, Gnostics belong to a church of a certain faith, such as a Christian or Kabbalistic church. However they will always interpret that religion in their own "individual way." 5
Both of the religions share a common thread. Each denies the saving power of the One True God through Jesus Christ. They believe that all men contain an inherent good, and that by finding and "freeing" that good, they may obtain eternal salvation. As they become more and more popular, these religions hinder the spread of the true Gospel by replacing it with false teachings. Jesus declares, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." 6 Because "all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God," 7 no one can achieve salvation or enter the kingdom of heaven on his own. Jesus further explains that man cannot be "inherently good" as ".No one is good, except God alone." 8 The only true means of salvation is through Jesus Christ, not through the examination of one's "good nature."
Quick Quiz:1"What is Scientology." All About Religion. 2002. http://www.allaboutreligion.org/what-is-scientology-faq.htm> (October, 4, 2006)
2"No Doubt We're In The Last Days" Deseret Morning News. 18 Sept. 2004.
3 B.A. Robinson and Al Buttnor. "About Scientology: Its Symbols, History, Beliefs, and Practices." Religious Tolerance.Org. 26 Aug. 2006. <http://www.religioustolerance.org/scientol1.htm> (October 5, 2006)
4 Jay Kinney. "Gnosticism: Ancient and Modern." New Dawn Magazine. Jul. 2004. <http://www.newdawnmagazine.com/Article/Gnosticism_Ancient_and_Modern.html> (October 5, 2006)
5 M. Alan Kazlev. "Gnosticism." Kheper. 26 Dec. 2003. <http://www.kheper.net/topics/Gnosticism/intro.htm> (October 5, 2006)
6"John 14:6." New International Version. 1984. <www.fsmhttp://www.bible.com/bibleresources/passagesearchresults.php?passage1=John+14%3A6&version1=31 itha.com/h1/ch01.htm> (October 7, 2006)
7"Romans 3:23." New International Version. 1984. <http://www.bible.com/bibleresources/passagesearchresults.php?passage1=Romans+3%3A23&version1=31 > (October 7, 2006)
8 "Luke 18:19." New International Version. 1984 <http://www.bible.com/bibleresources/passagesearchresults.php?passage1=Luke+18%3A19&version1=31 > (October 7, 2006)
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