Thursday, September 27, 2007

Way of the Master: Operating Thetans?


It always struck me how easily the boys over at Way of the Master ridicule other religious faiths. In most cases I won’t really argue with them. Other religions and their corresponding stories are quite silly…but so is Christianity.

In a special edition of their radio show, broadcasting from England, Todd braved London’s pub district and ended up witnessing to some young Brits who had been dancing with a group of Hare Krishnas. You could hear the distaste dripping from every word as Todd told these kids how wrong they were to dance with the Krishnas when they didn’t even know that they were committing idolatry!

But that’s not what I want to dwell on. Because after covering how his religion is the only correct one, Todd fell into the tried and true WOTM witnessing method. The Brits, it isn’t necessary to say, were non-hostile but unimpressed.

So I started to think. Todd has always maintained that Christianity (or at least his brand of it) is unique among all the world religions. Yet there was something strangely familiar about his witnessing. And then it hit me.

Could Todd Friel be a Scientologist!?!?

No, I’m not serious. But it does make a certain amount of sense, doesn’t it? If you’re still scratching your head then let me break it down for you.

What I’m hinting at is the similarity between the evangelizing methods of the Way of the Master and the Church of Scientology.

THE PITCH:

Ray, Todd or occasionally Kirk will approach people in public places and begin with one of two gambits. Either they will ask if you believe in god (not much of a gambit in America, where approximately 80% of the population says they are believers, the majority of those being some sort of Christian) or they will ask if you think you’re a good person. In either case the probability is that you will respond positively to their opening questions, and they’ve got you on their hook.

The Church of Scientology is slightly less public with their pitch, but they operate under the same general guideline. They ask a question that has the most probability of getting a positive answer. In their case, it’s “Would you like to take a personality test?” And of course, who wouldn’t? Everyone thinks they have a great personality (or at least close to the same percentage who think they’re a good person), so who wouldn’t want to take a test that proved it? But just like the WOTM guys, they’ve caught you!

THE TEST:

Here’s where the real similarities start becoming clear.

By now we’re all relatively familiar with the witnessing method that Ray Comfort created. He or Todd or Kirk runs you through the Decalogue, asking if you’ve ever broken them. Never mind the fact that you may not believe in god, he tells you, what’s important is that if god exists then these are his commandments, aren’t they?

So you go through them. And if you’ve ever lied, then you’re a liar. And if you’ve ever stolen anything, you’re a thief. Maybe you’re not a murderer or an adulterer. But don’t worry! They have that covered as well. Because of course the bible says if you’ve ever had hateful thoughts about someone or looked at a person with lust, you’re a murderer and an adulterer. Suddenly you’re not so happy about stopping to talk with Todd, are you?

The key difference in this step is that the Church of Scientology has the decency to tell you that you’re taking a test. Unfortunately a Scientologist stress test makes no more logical sense than the WOTM method.

They take you in a room with their own version of Ray or Todd, whom they call an auditor, and they hook you up to an e-meter. It supposedly detects responses in your body and mind to questions given by the auditor. It should be noted that these e-meters don’t do anything. But that’s beside the point. The needle on the readout wobbles back and forth, and your friend across the table records its “readings” as if they actually meant something. I should point out that no one who has had an e-meter reading has ever been told that they don’t need the services of the Church of Scientology. Sound familiar?

THE SOLUTION:

So now you’ve failed the test. Not only have you wasted a good ten minutes speaking with Todd “Freakishly Tall” Friel, but you’ve found out that you’re a dirty, filthy sinner. But there’s hope!

In actuality EVERYONE is a dirty, filthy sinner. Yes, even Todd, Kirk and Ray. And while we all certainly deserve to go to hell and burn for eternity, there is a way to avoid that. To gain forgiveness we must give ourselves to Jesus, admit that we’re horrible and unworthy, praise god’s name and become evangelical and spread his word.

Oh, and why not purchase some of the Way of the Master training videos to learn how? (Order now, only $99.95!)

Let’s go back to the Scientologist testing room. Surprisingly you’ve failed their exam as well. But it’s not because you’re a sinner. The reason you failed their test isn’t even your fault!

It turns out you failed because you’re full of “engrams”. These are, essentially, bad memories that cause everything bad in your life, from stress and anxiety to psychological disorders and medical problems. (Never mind that these engrams are caused by the souls of dead space aliens…they’re not going to tell you that right off the bat!) But there’s hope!

The only way to get rid of these evil vibes and become “clear” is by more auditing. With more training, you can become an “operating thetan”, which means you start to have the ability to affect the world with your thoughts. Only a few years of auditing sessions and you can become a superhero. (Just like Tom Cruise!)

Unlike the first test, further sessions begin to cost money. Not to worry. If you can’t afford the price it costs to become clear, you can work it off by becoming an employee in one of Scientology’s many centers.


THE BREAKDOWN:

Looking at just the surface, no one would ever guess that the Way of the Master brand of Christianity and the Church of Scientology have anything in common. I like to think I’ve disabused you of that opinion.

Both approach you with seemingly positive motives.

Both administer a test that you not only fail, but which is designed specifically so that no one can pass it.

Both tell you the way to salvation, which conveniently can only be found through their organization.

They are creating a problem where no problem exists and then claiming that only they can solve it. This has been the method of every religion that seeks converts, and I doubt it will change any time soon.

Does this mean that Christianity is wrong? No. Does this mean that Scientology is wrong? No. All it means is that the methods of the salesmen, no matter what their product, is exactly the same. And that's the point. How can you choose between two ideologies that have the same message ("Our way or the highway!") and employ the same tactics?

(Hint: Choose neither.)

So the next time you laugh because Scientology is so ridiculous, remember one thing: The difference between the WOTM and the CoS is just the difference between how much they take from your bank account.

4 comments:

Betty said...

Read Romans 1:18-32

So the Scientologists are deliberately deceiving you, thus breaking the 9th commandment, and also creating a god in their own mind, breaking the 2nd (and 1st) commandment. The other religions do the same (idolatry) and thus try to make their own way to heaven or oblivion or reincarnation. To follow Christ, one must die to one's old sinful self, be regenerated (bornagain by God's Spirit) because one's spirit is dead and their body will follow (you will die too). You forgot to mention that our God-given conscience is our "lie detector" to tell us when we break God's moral Law, that we are created in God's image as MORAL beings, that evil comes from the heart. (what other animal makes moral judgments, hold moral court, renders verdicts). (open up today's paper and look at all the evil in the world. Don't forget to check the obitiuatries too.) What other animal does evil in God's creation? Should evil be punished? (again, why do we even hold court) God's Law shows us His Holiness, that we fall short of His standard, and BECAUSE our moral Creator is just and can't be corrupted or bribed, and won't bend His Law, won't show partiality, He will judge each fairly and accordingly--unless one trusts in the One who stepped into the courtroom to pay your fine for you. Christ satisfied the demands of the Law, lived a sinless life, and redeemed us from the curse of the Law, becoming our substitute. You must repent (turn to God-confess and forsake your Lawbreaking, love what God loves, hate what He hates) and believe in the sacrificial love and blood of Christ to be justified, and His risen life to save you from the power of sin and death and grant you everlasting life. Thank God HE tells us the truth!! It's not important what you believe, but is what you believe the truth? Absolutely--true!!

CSLReepicheep said...

Hmmm WOTM "Taking from your bank account." I seriously doubt that when I saw Ray riding his bike to work. Unlike ritzy/chinzy pentacostal televangelists I have seen Rays generosity by give away money to the poor. Either by buying them lunch or dinner. Buying shoes or clothes the homeless. Making sandwiches for the homeless right down in MacArthur park, running a drug rehab center, giving $100 to help a homeless man who lives in his car, giving thousands of dollars to a couple who couldn't affor to adopt a child because they couldn't have children of their own. I, personally have never seen a person who practiced what he preached like this. So I would advise that you do some investigation instead of just pounding the heads of these people just because you really hate what they say. This is America, people have a right to believe and say what they think, but it's wise not to act like a fool and try to persuade people to get rid of their religion as so many militant atheists like to do.

Morse said...

I think my piece was rather fair to WOTM. Scientology requires that you pay them, at least WOTM doesn't charge for witnessing...they just charge to train you to witness, which they say is required to be properly 'saved'.

If you think the WOTM guys are all giving and caring, listen to a recent episode where Todd says he wouldn't get rid of his fancy watch because he got it before he was saved and he "couldn't even get $10 for it."

JC said...

Thanks for sharing the gospel in your website.

The only brand I know is Jesus in the cross. Religions are an attempt for men to reach God, but God already reached down towards us by sending his son. If you are an atheist why are you so concerned to the point of creating a website against God and the rest of us "dumb" believers. Why not create a website against dumb rap lyrics or dumb movies or dumb and corrupt governments that oppress people all over the world? or maybe a website about so many other things that hinder people from being "free" thinkers as you are? How about a website against islamic radicals? or are you afraid they might come and bomb you? It's so easy to pick on the Christians right. It's about Jesus man, we as his followers get it wrong many times, but He did die on that cross for me and for you...
Hey, by the way I have decided to stop believing in the sun, so it would not come out tomorrow, because I will believe so, and rationalize it that way. Additionally, I will stop believing in the air I breathe, after all I have never seen it.

Thanks for reading.

Take care.

Julio Rivera