Is Christian Science The Same As Scientology? Discover The Differences Here

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For many people, the terms Christian Science and Scientology might sound familiar and even interchangeable. However, both beliefs have substantial differences that set them apart from each other.

While Christian Science is rooted in Christianity and emphasizes spiritual healing through prayer, Scientology is a more modern religion founded by science-fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard that focuses on improving one’s spiritual wellbeing to attain its ultimate goal of “clear.”

The two belief systems also differ significantly about their understanding of life after death, the purpose of existence, and the role of God or a higher power in our lives. Moreover, the way they approach mental and physical health falls into distinct categories too.

“The Christian Science church believes that sickness has non-physical causes and should be treated spiritually rather than medically.”
“On the contrary, Scientology considers all illness as psychosomatic and treats the body using high doses of vitamins and meditation practices instead of conventional medicine.”

If you want to learn more about the differentiation between these two religious movements that usually end up getting lumped together, read along as we compare and contrast Christian Science and Scientology.

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Background of Christian Science and Scientology

The Origins of Christian Science and Scientology

Christian Science, founded in the late 19th century by Mary Baker Eddy, is a religious movement that emphasizes spiritual healing through prayer and a deep understanding of the Bible. Meanwhile, Scientology was established in the mid-20th century by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard as a self-help system that uses a combination of psychological counseling and spiritual teachings.

While both movements have their roots in the United States, they differ greatly in their beliefs, practices, and organizational structures.

Key Figures in the Development of Christian Science and Scientology

Mary Baker Eddy is considered as the founder of Christian Science which she conceptualized while recovering from a serious injury. She wrote extensively on Christian Science principles and also founded the Church of Christ, Scientist – the church that administers to its followers.

L. Ron Hubbard is credited with formulating the tenets of Scientology – an amalgamation of various traditions such as Eastern philosophy, occultism, and gnostic Christianity. He developed the doctrine and structure of the Church of Scientology before his death in 1986.

The Spread of Christian Science and Scientology Worldwide

Both Christian Science and Scientology spread throughout the world thanks to dedicated missionaries carrying out evangelistic missions. Christian Science gained popularity in the US during the turn of the century, with some branches reaching much farther abroad. Today, there are thousands of Christian Science churches around the globe, particularly in North America and Europe.

Similarly, Scientology enjoys increasing numbers of members worldwide, including several high-profile celebrities who endorse their doctrines. The Church of Scientology can be found in many countries across the globe serving their extensive membership base!

“Scientology is not a dogmatic religion in which one is asked to accept anything on faith, but rather one’s belief is only valid when it is the result of their own observation or experience.” -L. Ron Hubbard

Despite similar practices of forming churches and spreading spiritual thought worldwide, Christian Science and Scientology share little ideological overlap.

Beliefs and Practices of Christian Science

Christian Science is a religion that was founded in the late 19th century by Mary Baker Eddy. It focuses on spiritual healing through prayer and the understanding of God’s perfect nature as described in the Bible.

The central belief of Christian Science is that sickness, disease, and all other forms of physical or mental suffering are not real but instead are illusions created by faulty thinking. By understanding one’s true spiritual nature and relying on prayer to align oneself with God’s infinite power, one can heal any illness or ailment.

  • In Christian Science, sin and evil are also seen as illusions that can be overcome through spiritual understanding.
  • Christian Scientists do not believe in a personal devil or hell, but rather see these concepts as symbolic representations of negative thoughts and beliefs.
  • Christian Scientists also reject the idea of original sin, believing that each individual has the ability to choose good over evil and live a life free from sin.

The Power of Prayer in Christian Science

Prayer is considered to be an essential aspect of Christian Science practice. Through prayer, individuals seek to understand their connection with God and to recognize the perfection of God’s creation, which includes human beings.

According to Christian Science teaching, illness and suffering result from a disconnection from God. By praying and aligning oneself with God’s will, individuals can overcome this separation and experience physical and spiritual healing.

“The only way to be healed is through spiritual means…Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need.” -Mary Baker Eddy

Christian Scientists often turn to prayer before seeking medical treatment for themselves or others. This is because they believe that relying on doctors and medicine can reinforce the belief in the reality of illness, rather than acknowledging God’s healing power.

The Rejection of Medical Treatment in Christian Science

One aspect of Christian Science that has generated controversy is its rejection of medical treatment. Christian Scientists believe that relying on conventional medicine can be detrimental to spiritual understanding and hinder one’s ability to experience true healing.

While Christian Scientists do not advocate avoiding medical treatment altogether, they see it as a last resort only when prayer and spiritual means have been exhausted. This approach has led to criticism from some who argue that this stance puts children at risk if their parents refuse medical treatment for serious illnesses.

“Christian Scientists acknowledge…the duty to obey promptly the laws of the land.” -Mary Baker Eddy

Christian Science advocates stress that parents are responsible for the care and well-being of their children and that Christian Scientists often seek the guidance of healthcare professionals in making decisions about medical treatment.

The Importance of Mind and Spirit in Christian Science Healing

In Christian Science, physical healing is seen as a result of mental and spiritual transformation. Rather than treating symptoms, healers focus on identifying and correcting erroneous thoughts and beliefs that lead to illness or suffering.

This requires individuals to take responsibility for their own thoughts and attitudes, recognizing that negative thinking can impact physical wellness. In order to maintain health, Christian Scientists strive to cultivate positive, optimistic thought patterns that align with the perfection of God’s creation.

“God has already provided all that we need to be healthy, whole, and free…We need only recognize this fact through our prayers and prove what we know by living in harmony with divine law.” -Leigh Eric Schmidt, author and professor of religion

The Role of the Bible in Christian Science

The Bible is central to Christian Science, serving as a primary source of spiritual guidance and inspiration. However, Christian Scientists interpret the Bible differently from traditional Christian denominations.

For example, they do not view the miracles performed by Jesus Christ as supernatural events but rather as evidence of the spiritual laws that underlie physical reality.

Christian Science also places great emphasis on understanding the deeper meaning of biblical passages, seeking out symbolic interpretations that highlight spiritual truths.

“The Bible has been my guide for twenty-nine years…I have found nothing in its pages contrary to my experience.” -Mary Baker Eddy

Christian Science represents a unique approach to religion and healing that emphasizes the power of prayer and spiritual understanding to overcome illness and suffering.

While controversial due to its rejection of medical treatment, Christian Scientists stress that their beliefs emphasize personal responsibility and reliance on God’s healing power.

Beliefs and Practices of Scientology

Scientology is a religion founded by L. Ron Hubbard in the early 1950s. Its main teachings revolve around the concept of spiritual progress and personal growth, achieved through auditing, a form of counseling that aims to rid the individual of negative experiences and emotions.

In Scientology, humans are believed to have a soul called the “thetan,” which has lived before and will live again after death. The goal of the Scientologist is to reach a higher level of spiritual awareness by overcoming negative traumas from past lives and present ones.

“The process of auditing involves asking a person specific questions designed to locate painful or troubling past experiences and then talking through them until they no longer have an emotional charge.”

The Thetan and the Dynamics of Life in Scientology

In Scientology, the “thetan” is considered to be the true identity of a human being, rather than their physical body. Through auditing, Scientologists aim to erase traumatic incidents and unconscious beliefs stored within the reactive mind (a part of the mind thought to store engrams), freeing the thetan from its negative influences.

According to Scientology teachings, thetans progress through eight levels on their journey towards spiritual enlightenment, with each level requiring greater understanding and mental clarity. These levels are referred to as Operating Thetan or OT Levels.

Another central aspect of Scientology is the concept of the “dynamics of life,” categorized into eight divisions, including self, creativity, group survival, species survival, and universal survival. Each dynamic represents a different area of existence where individuals can experience pleasure, pain, or potential danger. In Scientology, people strive to achieve a balance between these dynamics for overall improvement of their well-being.

The Use of Auditing in Scientology

Auditing is a central practice in Scientology that involves one-on-one counseling sessions. The goal of auditing is to allow individuals to re-experience past traumatic events and clear them from their minds, which can unlock new levels of spiritual understanding and potential.

Scientologists believe that the process of auditing allows for self-improvement, increased awareness, and ultimately, greater happiness. By releasing negative thoughts and emotions, people can become more present in the moment and better equipped to deal with challenges in life.

“Auditing… provides the individual the means to rid himself of unwanted barriers which inhibit his natural abilities.” -L. Ron Hubbard

The Role of Scientology in Society

Scientology has faced controversy over the years due to accusations of unethical behavior and cult-like practices. Despite these issues, many Scientologists are active members of society who aim to promote positive change through community outreach programs and humanitarian efforts

One such program is called Narconon, an organization aimed at providing drug rehabilitation services to communities around the world. Narconon operates with the belief that drugs interfere with spiritual progress and seeks to help addicts overcome their dependencies and rebuild their lives.

Similarly, the Church of Scientology’s Volunteer Ministers program aims to provide disaster relief and other aid to those in need. Members of this program have assisted with emergency response efforts during hurricanes, earthquakes, and other disasters around the world.

“A volunteer minister is a person who helps his fellow man on a volunteer basis by restoring purpose, truth and spiritual values to the lives of others” -Church of Scientology website

While Scientology may hold controversial beliefs and practices, its focus on personal growth and human betterment should not be discounted outright. By examining the teachings of Scientology with an open mind, it is possible to find value in its message and mission.

Comparison of Christian Science and Scientology

Differences in Beliefs about the Nature of God and the Universe

Christian Science and Scientology are two very different religions with distinct beliefs about God and the universe. According to Christian Science, God is a spiritual force that pervades everything in the universe, including humans. They believe that material reality is an illusion and that the true nature of things can only be known through the spirit.

Scientology, on the other hand, believes in a monotheistic God who created the universe. However, they also believe that each individual has their own personal god-like power called “thetan” which can be awakened through a series of courses and practices within the church.

“According to Christian Science, man is already perfect because he reflects the perfection of God’s creation. In Scientology, becoming perfect requires reaching higher levels of knowledge and spiritual awareness.”

Differences in Views on Medicine and Healing

The most significant difference between Christian Science and Scientology is their views on medicine and healing. Christian Scientists do not believe in traditional medical treatments but instead rely solely on prayer and spiritual healing. They view illness as a mental illusion caused by mistaken beliefs rather than physical causes. This belief often results in criticism and legal battles with healthcare providers and parents denying their children effective medical treatment.

On the other hand, Scientologists accept modern medicine but advocate for their members to receive treatments tailored specifically to their beliefs. They reject psychiatry and psychology, however, as invalid sciences and substitute them with what they call “auditing,” a process with alleged benefits such as improving IQ, creativity, and curing illnesses ranging from migraines to cancer.

“In Christian Science, sin is viewed as the fundamental cause of all human suffering, including sickness. On the contrary, Scientology considers genes as the root cause of human suffering.”

It’s important to note that both religions have faced scrutiny and controversy over their views on medical treatment. Christian Science has been accused of child neglect and manslaughter in cases where children were denied proper medical care; while Scientology has been criticized for allegedly discouraging members from seeking necessary medical attention and exploiting vulnerable individuals through auditing practices.

Final Thoughts

Despite their striking differences, Christian Science and Scientology share some similarities such as an emphasis on personal progression, rejection of traditional medicine (to differing extents), and a belief in spiritual powers beyond humans.

It is clear that these two religions are vastly different regarding core aspects of their faith, including beliefs about God, the nature of existence, and approaches to healing. While both face ongoing challenges and controversies, they continue to attract followers who seek varying paths towards the same ultimate goal – discovering universal truths and achieving enlightenment.

Controversies Surrounding Christian Science and Scientology

Christian Science and Scientology are two religious movements that have been surrounded by controversies. Although there are some similarities between these two groups, they differ in beliefs, practices, and organizational structures.

Criticism from the Medical Community and Other Religions

One of the main criticisms against Christian Science is its rejection of conventional medicine. Christian Scientists believe that illnesses can be cured through prayer and spiritual healing alone, without any medical interventions. This belief has led to several cases in which Christian Science practitioners refused to seek or provide medical treatments for their adherents, resulting in serious health consequences and, sometimes, fatalities.

The American Medical Association (AMA) has publicly criticized Christian Science for its handling of health-related issues. The AMA states that “the use of prayer as a sole method of treating illness would be inadequate therapy.” Furthermore, other religions have disputed Christian Science’s claim to be a Christian denomination, given its departures from mainstream Christianity and unorthodox theological views.

Abuse Allegations and Legal Troubles in Scientology

Scientology attracts significant controversy globally, with allegations ranging from fraud and abuse to harmful brainwashing techniques. Critics accuse the Church of using violence, threats, harassment and intimidation to silence defectors and suppress opposition. Many former members have come forward with stories of physical, psychological, and sexual abuse at the hands of church leaders.

Moreover, lawsuits against Scientology abound. For instance, in 1984, ex-member Lawrence Wollersheim filed a lawsuit stating he was forced to undergo “brainwashing” and asking $25 million in compensation. After years of legal battles, the court awarded him approximately $8.7 million. More recently, Queenee Lee won a $8.6million verdict against the Church in 2002, claiming she was forced to work for many years without pay ($45 a week) and suffered mental torment. Although Scientology maintains that these allegations are unfounded, they have damaged its reputation.

Deaths Resulting from Refusal of Medical Treatment in Christian Science

Christian Scientists believe illnesses result from spiritual discord or sinning, rather than infection by bacteria, viruses or parasites. Consequently, individuals often refuse medical treatment for serious afflictions such as cancer, diabetes, and heart diseases, leading to numerous preventable deaths over the years. In some cases, courts step in and rule that receipt of medical care is mandatory before fatalities occur.

“The faith healing practices of both Christian Science and Scientology are among their most controversial elements.” -Alexandra Stein

While Christian Science and Scientology share some overlapping features, notable differences between them exist. Christian Science’s rejection of conventional medicine has led to unnecessary loss of life and been criticized by mainstream religions and the AMA. On the other hand, Scientology’s alleged abuse and exploitation of members have resulted in years of litigation and bad press. Both denominations have faced profound controversy, but those associated with Christian Science stem almost entirely from a religious refusal to accept modern medicine, whereas claims of abuse and crime largely surround the practices of Scientology.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Christian Science and Scientology the same religion?

No, Christian Science and Scientology are not the same religion. Christian Science was founded by Mary Baker Eddy in the late 19th century, while Scientology was founded by L. Ron Hubbard in the mid-20th century. The two religions have different beliefs, practices, and histories.

What are the main differences between Christian Science and Scientology?

The main differences between Christian Science and Scientology are their origins, beliefs, and practices. Christian Science is a Christian denomination that emphasizes spiritual healing and the power of prayer, while Scientology is a new religious movement that focuses on personal development and the attainment of spiritual freedom through auditing and other practices.

Do Christian Scientists believe in the same God as Scientologists?

No, Christian Scientists and Scientologists have different beliefs about God. Christian Scientists believe in a God who is loving, all-powerful, and ever-present, while Scientologists believe in a Supreme Being who is the source of all life and intelligence.

What are the similarities between Christian Science and Scientology?

Both Christian Science and Scientology place a strong emphasis on spiritual development and the power of the mind. Both religions also reject the idea of sin and emphasize the importance of personal responsibility and self-improvement.

Are there any common practices between Christian Science and Scientology?

While there are some similarities in their beliefs, Christian Science and Scientology have different practices. Christian Scientists rely on prayer and spiritual healing to overcome illness and other challenges, while Scientologists use auditing, training, and other practices to achieve spiritual growth and freedom.

What are the core beliefs of Christian Science and Scientology?

The core beliefs of Christian Science include the idea that God is the only reality and that sickness and sin are illusions that can be overcome through prayer and spiritual understanding. The core beliefs of Scientology include the idea that humans are spiritual beings who have lived through many past lives and that spiritual enlightenment and freedom can be achieved through auditing and other practices.

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