I’m in my hotel room in Los Angeles checking the news using the Flipboard app (which I recommend as it includes feeds from international news agencies and not just the oft-biased American ones). Apparently the app uses your geographic location to determine the stories you see, hence a lot of LA Times material.
Included are a sampling of the “letters to the editor” section; today’s edition include responses to a recent op-ed by Alex Gibney, the filmmaker behind the HBO film Going Clear which casts new light on the cult of Scientology. The letter, from a gentleman in Palmdale, stated that:
Scientology is as authentic a religion as the rest of them. What is useful about modern religions like Scientology and Mormonism is that they have their roots documented (emphasis mine), which makes investigating their origins a bit simpler.
If you’re even casually versed in Christian Apologetics as I am, you’ll see at least a couple of troubling things in this man’s statement. One at a time:
- “Scientology is as authentic a religion as the rest of them.” Besides telling us that the rest of his statement is going to be completely biased, it’s clear that the gentleman from Palmdale has not made any attempt to look into the Bible, its history, and analysis from both Christians and non-believers alike. He’s correct, at least, in that Scientology is not authentic. It’s founder, science-fiction author L. Ron Hubbard, made the statement “I’d like to start a religion. That’s where the money is.” Four years later, Scientology was born. (For more background on Scientology, visit its Wikipedia page as well as the Christian viewpoint on the Got Questions website). But for the writer to lump Christianity into the same shlock has Scientology shows he has no knowledge of the Bible, that that the gospels are indeed eyewitness accounts of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Unlike the late Mr. Hubbard, Jesus did not pursue wealth; he lived by humble means.
- “What is useful about modern religions like Scientology and Mormonism is that they have their roots documented, which makes investigating their origins a bit simpler.” The first thing to comes to mind is that that to pass muster, a religion’s origins need to presented “simply”? That’s not going to happen with Christianity, because in order to understand the Bible, one must have an understanding of it holistically, that is, not in 21st century-friendly soundbites and tidbits. However, even though 2,000 years have passed since Jesus’ time, the books of the Bible have stood the test of time in relation to other documents of antiquity. To throw out the Bible because of its age would mean you would have to throw out the works of Plato, Aristotle, and so on…documents that were not copied and transcribed with as much care as the Bible over time. For an excellent investigation into the documentary evidence of the Bible, please read Lee Strobel’s The Case for Christ.
To say that Christianity’s roots are not well documented is folly and shows either a lack of understanding and/or blind contempt.