I encountered an exchange between an intelligent Scientology law student and critical commenters on Georgetown University's Hoya article, Anti-Scientology Protests Continue in Dupont. I was impressed that he wasn't simply spouting the latest PR line, nor was he engaging in bullying his interlocuters by bull baiting them, an aggressive technique designed to humiliate and crush an opponent. It is taught, along with how to lie, as a tax-exempt religious service of the Church in the spiritual formation of its adherents.
One thing that snagged my attention was his reference to Scientology's "theology". I have been mulling over this assertion. Theology takes one to the core of a religious community's ideology and belief system where the fundamental reality is God, known under many names, and loved in many forms.
By contrast, there is no God at the core of Scientology. God is not found anywhere in Scientology's ideology except as a vague "infinity". God simply is not a part of Scientology's belief system. At the level of practice, there is no worship of God, devotion, prayers, or hymns to God. I have yet to hear of any Scientologist who has left the Church say anything other than "Scientologists do not believe in God."
What, then, is at the core of Scientology's belief system? At its core is the thetan, the soul, eternal and uncreated. The thetan has always existed with no creative agency on the part of God, and will continue to exist forever without any reference to God. Scientology's foundation myth of how evil came into the world is a science fiction account of thetans being indoctrinated with every false belief system we know as the great religious traditions and then entering into human beings with the falsity of religious belief.
The core of Scientology's beliefs is getting rid of the bad thetans that enslave an individual's own thetan. The end point is the exorcism of all evil thetans so the individual human thetan can reach its full powers. For Scientology these are the same old psychic powers known from the beginning of recorded history. The goal of Scientology's practice is to escape the human condition by liberating the ego's psychic powers like telekinesis, bilocation, and the ability to influence reality by acting outside the body. These are the OT (Operating Thetan) powers obtained by completing Scientology's highest-level course. The journey to this exalted state costs around $350,000.
None of this has anything to do with God whatsoever.
As fascinating as psychic powers are, the profound mystic traditions consider them unimportant - merely a novel allure to be gotten over and gotten free of in the journey to spiritual freedom. What is primary in authentic spiritual practice is awareness, the dropping of attachments, and handling everything in life with care and compassion even in situations involving the most horrendous evils the self-centered mind can create. The freedom of enlightenment is the ability to be whatever life asks one to be, free of thousands of attachments to ideas, people, things, power, control, and wealth.
Scientology has no adequate theoretical understanding of human functioning let alone the dynamics of spiritual development. Scientology cut itself off from the genuine insights that psychology has given us through experimental and clinical psychology. By designating psychology is the enemy of the human race, Scientology's anthropology has returned man to the age of primitive superstition. Everything is under the influence of evil spirits within a human being; and at work in the world through "psychs" and others in opposition, not to God, but to Scientology. Not only is there no God here, Scientology itself is the God of Scientology. There is no God but Scientology, and L. Ron Hubbard is its prophet.
Scientologist revere LRH as the Source. The source of salvific knowledge whose junk psychology plus exorcism are the only salvation of the human race. God has traditionally had the function of enlightening and saving the human race. So now we get Ron as God. That is the promise and allure of Scientology, "You shall become like gods." In a world of superhuman thetans there is no need for God. Indeed, God is an enemy and threat to that world.
In the realm of ethics and morality, all evil is attributed to evil spirits inhabiting our bodies. You are not responsible, the body thetans made you do it. The prime ethical imperative is abject submission to the ideology, practice, and organization of Scientology, not God.
No God, no theology. Thetanology is all about thetans, body thetans, exorcism of bad thetans, and liberation of the psychic-powers-on-steroids thetan. No theology, only a thetanology of the inflated ego.
Scientology makes a fundamental category error. It mistakes the ego for the spirit. Jung understood the distinction between the self and the Self, and Buddhists distinguish small mind and big mind. The ego is where all the drama of the human condition rages with our wants, desires, stress, fear, and rage occur as the result of delusional and dysfunctional thinking. he The Buddha said, "Life is suffering." Not just some of the time, but all the time. Why? We don't have what we want so we suffer. Even if we get what we want, we know that we can lose it. That is the human condition.
In authentic religions, the way to enlightenment and liberation from the tyranny of the ego is dying to the ego . It is the work of a lifetime. It cannot be accomplished by the ego for small mind cannot heal small mind. Only big mind, the higher power that people in 12 Step programs well know, can bring about death to ego for freedom for life.
There is no big mind in Scientology, just a human thetan encumbered by thousands upon thousands of bad, or body thetans, as Scientology calls them. What is left when they are gotten rid of? The naked thetan-ego with its greed for power over others and ultimately over all human beings. Scienology's grand plan is to clear the planet, destroy its enemies and install its psychotechnology in every realm of human life.
This is grandiosity of the inflated ego at its most grandiose. It is the thetan as God, and thetanology as theology.
Really, we moved. - I do apologize to anyone who has posted a comment in the last year or so. We really did move and I also haven't been very active on this blog. I just went...
5 months ago