Another Path to Death

We’ve been looking at the movement called The Way To Happiness in these past few weeks. We’ll conclude today with a quick look at the parent organization.

The Way To Happiness is an arm of the ”Church” of Scientology, a cult created by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard. Scientology is definitely a creation of Hollywood. In fact many stars claim allegiance to the group, including such actorsth-3 as Tom Cruise, Kirstie Alley, and John Travolta, It is claimed that all the top-level scientologists have paid enormous sums of money to get to their exalted positions.

Some Scientologists refute the claim that the two are connected, but the relationship is pretty clear. For instance, at the website Scientologyreligion.org we can read this.

Scientology: The Way to Happiness

Just as all past cultures relied on a strong moral basis for their assured survival and happiness, so too does our own culture today desperately call out for such a basic code, one by which we may live with decency and honour.

  1. Ron Hubbard was keenly aware of this in 1980 when he observed that our world lacked any modern moral guide and that, as a result, man was far more prone to a joyless existence. Best known as the founder of the Scientology religion, Mr. Hubbard brought a number of solutions to the world from a purely humanitarian perspective. And in this instance — quite apart from his religious works — he saw the need for a code of conduct not tied to any particular religion, whether in content or use.

Thus he wrote The Way to Happiness, a common-sense guide to happier living. It carries no other appeal than the good sense it makes to the individual who reads it.

So what does Scientology believe and profess? There are many tenets of this religion. Here are just a smattering. According to BeliefNet.com,

Basic Beliefs

The basic belief of Scientology is that experience, in this or in previous lives, is recorded in the brain as a series of “engrams.” These engrams are revived and reinforced by recurring similar situations and always cause inappropriate and self-defeating behavior. One’s goal of Scientology is to “process” or clear these engrams and become more self-determining. By erasing these accretions from one’s present and past lives, one releases the essential, spiritual self or soul called the “thetan.”  Read more.

So man,  According to Scientology, is good. He has the power within himself to release himself from all the evils of the world and his own personality. Man is a personal god.

Then there is this little tidbit:

Xenu – according to Hubbard, the dictator of a Galactic Confederacy who brought billions of people to Earth and massacred them with hydrogen bombs 75 trillion years ago. The slaughter, known as “Incident II,” sets up a major conflict in Scientology, as the thetans of the victims devolved into “body thetans” that torment modern humans. Releasing their grip is part of the goal of Scientology. The story of Xenu, which the church tried to keep secret until it leaked via an Internet newsgroup in 1994, is revealed in Operating Thetan level three, or OT III.

Oh, there is much more, but the essence of Scientology is clear: we have the power to heal ourselves. We do not need a god, for all power lies within our own beings. We can save ourselves (whatever that means to you, the individual) through our adherence to the rules of moral conduct – as set forth by L. Ron Hubbard.

But, this conflicts widely with Biblical belief. God’s Word teaches that God is God and man is man. God is the Creator and man is the creature. God is love.

Just a few Scripture verses to illustrate the great gulf between Scientology and Biblical Truth:

First, God sets the rules, not man, and God’s rules are perfect and just. (For an interesting article on Morality apart from the Law, click here.

– The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple;

Matthew 5:17-18 – “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.

Second, no man can completely keep the law.

Galatians 3:19-21 – Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the offspring should come to whom the promise had been made, and it was put in place through angels by an intermediary. Now an intermediary implies more than one, but God is one. Is the law then contrary to the promises of God? Certainly not! For if a law had been given that could give life, then righteousness would indeed be by the law. But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.

Romans 3:23 – …for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

Romans 3:20 – For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.

Third, God is to be worshipped, not man.

John 4:24 – God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.

Romans 1:18-23 – For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.  For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

This is but a brief look into some relevant scriptures. I encourage you to do further research

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Real Joy

The Westminster Shorter Catechism teaches us that “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to englorify-god-and-enjoy-him-foreverjoy Him forever.” It’s no mistake that the Westminster Divines, authors of this document, put this question and answer first in their catechism. They knew that it is of the utmost importance that we first glorify God. All that is good; all that is right; all that is eternally important flows from the recognition of God as God. We must notice that proper joy comes from glorifying God. There is eternal happiness wrapped up in that statement.

Another recognition missing from the formula of TWTH, is the fact of sin. That man is a sinner is a foundational fact of life. Because we sin we are incapable of keeping God’s law. In order to achieve the happier life promised by TWTH, every person on earth would need to keep each of its commandments. Though it can be in no way equated with God’s Moral Law, the formula of TWTH is still too hard. Sin bars the way. Only one way remains. Jesus is the way and the truth and the life. Without accessing the power of Christ’s atoning work on the cross of Calvary, one cannot achieve eternal happiness.

The Way To Happiness is simply another attempt to takeover; to hijack the truth of God’s Word. There have been many such attempts. They’ve been know by various names: theological liberalism, cultural liberalism, “New Age” religion, rationalism, pop psychology, psychiatry, “modern” science, the new hedonism (you know, the sexual revolution). Each of these is an attempt to make us feel better; to bolster our self-esteem; to reach our full potential – to find the way to happiness. This is Satan’s way to accomplish just the opposite. God’s Word teaches that without Jesus we can all feel better all the way to Hell.

Be Good to Yourself

We continue, this week, to look at The Way to Happiness, a booklet and now a movie, which points us to the ultimate goal of personal peace and affluence.

At first glance, this mission certainly seems commendable. There’s something missing however – God. While the publishers claim that this booklet contains “the formula for happier living for the individual – and for all mankind,” the formula intentionally excludes God. “The Way to Happiness was specifically written as a non-religious work,” states the website. They don’t want to offend people, it seems. Nor will they with this booklet, full of what its authors call “practical wisdom.” Just a look at the chapter titles confirms the non-controversial and non-confrontational nature of the “formula.”

  1. Take care of yourself.th
  2. Be temperate.
  3. Don’t be promiscuous.
  4. Love and help children.
  5. Honor and help your parents.
  6. Set a good example.
  7. Seek to live.
  8. Do not murder.
  9. Don’t do anything illegal.
  10. Support a government designed and run for all the people.
  11. Do not harm a person of goodwill.
  12. Safeguard and improve your environment.
  13. Do not steal.
  14. Be worthy of trust.
  15. Fulfill your obligations.
  16. Be in industrious.
  17. Be competent.
  18. Respect the religious beliefs of others.
  19. Try Not to Do Things to Others That You Would Not Like Them to Do to You.
  20. Try not to do things to others that you would not like them to do to you.
  21. Try to treat others as you would want them to treat you.
  22. Flourish and prosper.

I can’t help but notice that #1 starts out with #1. Take care of #1, yourself; look out for #1.

Most of that sounds pretty good, though, and nice. Some of it, it can be argued, is even Biblical. The problem is that it’s wrong. While following this formula may lead to better relations with other individuals and maybe even between nations, it cannot lead to eternal happiness. There is, however, a document which proclaims, authoritatively, how to end up happy. It’s called the Covenant of Grace. Long ago, God promised that He would be our God and we would be His people. This promise was to be “eternal.” It has never been abrogated.

For more information on the Biblical principle, see Genesis 17:1-8 and Hebrews 9:15.

What do you think about TWTH and the Bible? Are they compatible? Do they lead to the same place? Do all roads lead to heaven?

Be Happy!

The Internet is a wonderful thing. It affords common folk access to information which may formerly have been difficult, if not impossible, to obtain. It also allows us to exchange messages, sometimes instantly, with people across the street or across the globe. The Internet keeps changing and evolving. It’s not possible to know what marvels it will bring into our lives in the next five, 10 or 15 years.

This technolothgical revolution, of course, brings with it an attendant set of problems. These are well documented. Pornography, bogus information, and viruses which can destroy our computers are but a few issues which have been keeping ethical, technical and legal minds whirring.

Those of us who use email regularly often suffer from the blight known as spam – email junk mail. Downloading one’s mail can be exciting, enlightening, frustrating, or downright infuriating. We employ filter programs and “spam blockers,” but they only keep a small percentage of the unwanted mail from reaching our computers. Spammers constantly find new ways to skirt the parameters of the filters. On any given day, an email user might receive offers to buy real estate, get a better mortgage rate, gamble, or see pictures of naked people.

Much of the spam comes in the form of opportunities to better ourselves. Pills are offered which will increase the size of various body parts, or help us lose inches from the waistline. We can reduce our debt and get a free digital camera with one easy click of our mouse. Many of us receive two or three offers each week to help some poor Nigerian reclaim millions of dollars from banks in Africa – and receive a handsome percentage ourselves.

One of the regular themes in spam is “happiness.” Who can resist the possibility of getting happy? This is a major cultural theme in the U.S. and the West, in general. Witness the great popularity of the song “Happy,” by Pharrell Williams or the earlier hit, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy,” by Bobby McFerrin.

Somewhat regularly an innocuous-looking email is recirculated offering a booklet – and a form of salvation. Sent by “TWTH,” the email offers to show us “The Way To Happiness.” With a minimal amount of effort one can find out more about this booklet and the foundation that publishes it. By its own definition, TWTH Foundation is out to save the world. Here’s the foundation’s self-description from its website:

The first moral code based wholly on common sense, originally published in 1981, its purpose is to help arrest the current moral decline in society and restore integrity and trust to humankind. The Way to Happiness further holds a Guinness Record as the world’s single most translated non-religious book in the world.

Written by L. Ron Hubbard, it fills the moral vacuum in an increasingly materialistic society, containing 21 basic principles that guide one to a better quality of life.

This code of conduct can be followed by anyone, of any race, color or creed and works to restore the bonds that unite humankind.          (from http://www.thewaytohappiness.org/)

Over the next few weeks, I will take a look at this booklet, the foundation that sponsors it, its author and its claims. I won’t wait a week, however, to declare that any attempt to achieve eternal happiness while excluding God, is doomed to failure. This scheme is one such attempt and, ultimately intends to take our eyes off Jesus.