What is Scientology (Dianetics)?

Question
What is Scientology? Is it related to Dianetics?
Answer

Scientology is a cult. Science fiction writer, Ron L. Hubbard founded Scientology in 1953. According to Scientology, Xemu, was the dictator of the "Galactic Confederacy." Seventy-five million years ago Xemu brought billions of his people to Earth in DC-8-like spacecraft. He stacked them around volcanoes, and killed them with hydrogen bombs.

Scientology teaches that human beings are actually Thetans; immortal beings not originally from the earth. According to Scientology, mankind is trapped by MEST (matter, energy, space, and time). Salvation is gained through a process Scientology calls "auditing." During "auditing" memories of past pain (referred to as "engrams") are removed. "Auditing" is a long and expensive process. Once all the "engrams" are removed the Thetan can once again control the MEST, instead of him being controlled by it. Until salvation is reached, each Thetan is continuously reincarnated. Dianetics includes the set of pseudoscience ideas and practices briefly described above.

Some well-known people have been involved with Scientology: Tom Cruise, John Travolta, Juliet Lewis, Kristy Alley, Issac Hayes, Catherine Bell, Greta Van Susteren, Sonny Bono, Will Smith, etc.

The table below compares and contrasts some of the beliefs of Scientology with Christianity.

Christianity Scripture Scientology
There is one true and living God, who exists as three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Deut. 6:4; John 1:1-3 God is left undefined. Often God is variously referred to as Nature, Infinity, the Eighth Dynamic, or all Theta (life).
Jesus is God. John 1:1-2; 20:28; 1 Tim 2:5 Jesus was an unenlightened man. Some refer to him as an Operating Thetan.
Christ secured the salvation of his people at Calvary. 1 Cor 15:3-4; 2 Cor 5:13-15 Salvation is the enlightenment of the Thetan as to his true nature, reality, and abilities.
God created man in his own image. Gen 1:26-27; Acts 17:26; 1 Cor 11:7; Col 3:10 Man is a Thetan, an eternal spirit being with divine powers.
Bible is the inerrant, infallible, inspired Word of God. 2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21 Bible is a religious book, but its practices are largely irrelevant.
Sin is any want of conformity unto, or transgression of, the law of God. WSC 14 Rom 3:23 Sin is merely falsehood or ignorance, and especially that which opposes Scientology. Man's fall was into matter and ignorance.
The wages of sin is death. Rom 3:23; Heb 9:27 Death is an inconsequential dropping off of the body. All Thetans have experienced death trillions of times.
God is the sovereign judge and sends some to shell and others to Heaven. Matt. 25:46; Luke 16:19-31; Rev. 14:9-11, 20:10 Heaven and hell are Christian myths. At times they exist as mental implants from previous lives.

Those in Scientology need Christ. See "Is Jesus the ONLY WAY to Heaven?" below.

References

[1] L. Ron Hubbard, Dianetics: The Modern Science Of Mental Health, (Bridge Publications, Inc, 2007).
[2] L. Ron Hubbard, What Is Scientology? (Bridge Publications, Inc, 1993).
[3] Lawrence Wright, Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief, (Vintage, 2013).
[4] Janet Reitman, Inside Scientology: The Story of America's Most Secretive Religion, (Mariner Books, 2013).
[5] Leah Remini, Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology Audible, (Random House Audio, 2015).

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Answer by Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr.

Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr., D.D., M.Div. is the Theological Editor at Third Millennium Ministries (IIIM).