This is the last in a two-part series on Scientology.
Some of Hollywood’s brightest stars are dedicated followers of the religion L. Ron Hubbard founded more than 60 years ago: Scientology.
What do Tom Cruise, John Travolta and other Scientologists believe? Below is a brief comparison of key biblical teachings and the beliefs of the Church of Scientology.
Note: The Baptist Faith and Message, available as a free download from sbc.net, features a fuller treatment of Christian doctrines and includes Scripture references.
What the Bible says about God:
There is one true and living God, who exists as three distinct, co-equal, co-eternal persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
What Scientology says about God:
Hubbard rejected the Christian understanding of God, particularly the Trinity. Scientology expresses the concept of God in vague terms such as the Eighth Dynamic or Supreme Being. According to Scientology.org, “Unlike religions with Judeo-Christian origins, the Church of Scientology has no set dogma concerning God that it imposes on its members,” meaning they are free to interpret God in whatever way they wish.
What the Bible says about Jesus:
Jesus is the eternal Son of God, co-equal and co-eternal with the Father and Holy Spirit. He was born of a virgin, adding to His deity sinless humanity. He died for our sins, rose physically from the dead, is seated today at the Father’s right hand as our Mediator and Intercessor, and is coming back physically and visibly in power and great glory to fulfill all things.
What Scientology says about Jesus:
Jesus was “a shade above clear,” meaning He met the standards for living above the influences of His previous lives. Scientology places no emphasis on His substitutionary death and resurrection. Rather, it views Jesus as a proponent of reincarnation and other Eastern mystical concepts.
What the Bible says about salvation:
Salvation is God’s work of restoring sinful and fallen people to a right relationship with Him. It was secured by Christ’s sinless life, sacrificial and substitutionary death on the cross, and physical resurrection from the dead, and it is received by faith alone in Jesus.
What Scientology says about salvation:
Salvation is the enlightenment of thetans (immortal souls) as to their true nature and abilities. The goal is to become an Operating Thetan – one who deals with his own immortality as a spiritual being.
What the Bible says about humans:
God created us in His image – with personality, mind, will, and capacity for relationship. A person’s life begins at conception and is everlasting. Since Adam’s fall, all people are born with a sin nature, and all people engage in rebellion against God, which separates us from Him.
What Scientology says about humans:
People are eternal spirit beings with divine powers.
What the Bible says about the Bible:
The Bible is the inerrant, infallible, inspired, and sufficient Word of God and is His sole written authority for all people.
What Scientology says about the Bible:
The Bible is largely irrelevant. More important are the revealed works of Scientology: Dianetics, The Factors, and The Axioms and Logics.
What the Bible says about sin:
Sin is violating God’s holy standards. All people are sinners and are under the curse of sin – spiritual and physical death. Only faith in Christ and His work on our behalf frees us from sin and its consequences.
What Scientology says about sin:
Sin is merely that which opposes Scientology. Man’s fall was not into spiritual and physical death, but into matter and ignorance. A video on the church’s website stresses the goodness of all people.
What the Bible says about death:
Physical death and spiritual death are consequences of sin. Spiritual death is overcome for believers when the Holy Spirit regenerates them, or causes them to be “born again.” The souls/spirits of all deceased people exist in an intermediate state either in the presence of Christ or in torment, awaiting resurrection and final judgment, resulting in an everlasting state of blessedness (for the saved) or torment (for those who die in their sins).
What Scientology says about death:
Death is an inconsequential dropping of the body, which all thetans have experienced trillions of times.
What the Bible says about heaven and hell:
Hell is a place of everlasting conscious existence, where unbelievers are separated from God. In contrast, Jesus promises His followers a home in heaven, where we go instantly upon physical death. After our resurrection, we return with Christ from heaven to a restored earth.
What Scientology says about heaven and hell:
Heaven and hell are Christian myths, or mental implants from previous lives.