Scientology and Gnosticism

"Scientology is the science of knowing how to know answers." (Hubbard)

A religion where you pay to learn secret knowledge that saves you!!!

This article will contain material which was written by early Church Fathers to refute the Gnostics; Scientology critics will recognize many of the expressions and methods used.

The following introductory quote is, however, from Wakefield's book "The Road to Xenu", chapter 10, electronic version. "Once again, I found myself studying the sage words of Hubbard: Scientology is the science of knowing how to know answers. It is an organized system of Axioms and Processes which resolve the problems of existence.

This science is formed in the tradition of ten thousand years of religious philosophy and considers itself a culmination of the searches which began with the Veda, the Tao, Buddhism, Christianity, and other religions. Scientology is a Gnostic faith in that it knows it knows." [ed note: end quote from Wakefield, "Road to Xenu"]

Definition: Gnostic: Of the Gnostics or Gnosticism.

Definition: "Gnosticism: A system of belief combining ideas derived from Greek philosophy, Oriental mysticism, and ultimately, Christianity, and stressing salvation through gnosis."

In his treatise "Against the Valentinians" (written c:a 207 a.D - Jeff Jacobsen's statement about "Valentinus writing c:a 300 a.D" is clearly a mistake) Tertullian, an early Christian apologist, describes the Valentinian heresy in terms which have relevance to the religion of Scientology. Short notes about relevant connections to a.r.s. are given.

Quote from Tertullian


"The Valentinians, who are no doubt a very large body of heretics - comprising as they do so many apostates from the truth, who have a propensity for fables, and no discipline to deter them (therefrom) care nothing so much as to obscure what they preach, if indeed they (can be said to) preach who obscure their doctrine. The officiousness with which they guard their doctrine is an officiousness which betrays their guilt. Their disgrace is proclaimed in the very earnestness with which they maintain their religious system.

Compare Scientology's strange Xenu stories and the policy of keeping the doctrine secret.

Now, in the case of those Eleusinian mysteries, which are the very heresy of Athenian superstition, it is their secrecy that is their disgrace. Accordingly, they previously beset all access to their body with tormenting conditions; and they require a long initiation before they enrol (their members), even instruction during five years for their perfect disciplines, in order that they may mould their opinions by this suspension of knowledge, and apparently raise the dignity of their mysteries in proportion to the craving for them which they have previously created.

Compare this to the 'purification rundown' etc. in Narconon/RPF/Ethics. Compare this to the long time of auditing etc. before completing Clear, OT-levels, etc. This has been said about the 'trade secrets' of Scientology as well.

Then follows the duty of silence. Carefully is that guarded, which is so long in finding. All the divinity, however, lies in their secret recesses: there are revealed at last all the aspirations of the fully initiated, the entire mystery of the sealed tongue, the symbol of virility. But this allegorical representation, under the pretext of nature's reverend name, obscures a real sacrilege by help on an arbitrary symbol, and by empty images obviates the reproach of the falsehood.

Compare this to the reports of Scientologists avoiding even mentioning the name 'Xenu'. Compare this to the pretext of 'Scientific Research' and 'Religious Freedom'.

In like manner, the heretics who are now the object of our remarks, the Valentinians, have formed Eleusian Dissipations of their own, consecrated by a profound silence, having nothing of the heavenly in them but for their mystery. By the help of sacred names and titles and arguments of true religion, they have fabricated the vainest and foulest figment for men's pliant liking, out of the affluent suggestions of Holy Scripture, since from its many springs even errors may well emanate.

In like manner, the Scientologists show many similarities to these early heresies and mystery religions from the first and second centuries. Compare the references to 'religious values' and 'Scientific research' and that you can be 'Christian and Scientologist at the same time'.

If you propose to them inquiries sincere and honest, they answer you with stern look and contracted brow, and say, 'The subject is profound'. If you try them with subtle questions, with the ambiguities of their double tongue, they affirm a community of faith (with yourself). If you intimate to them that you understand their opinions, they insist on knowing nothing themselves.

This must be a coincidence, but compare the 'stern look' to TR-0. Compare this to the Scientology policy of discussing religion only in general terms with the great public.

If you come to a close engagement with them, they destroy your own fond hope of victory over them by a self-immolation. Not even their own disciples do they commit a secret before they have made sure of them.

Compare the PC-folders and psychological tactics used by Scientology.

They have the knack of persuading men before instructing them; although truth persuades by teaching, but does not teach by first persuading."

(Tertullian, Against the Valentinians, Chapter I, quoted in the Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol. III, Michigan 1957, pp. 503-504.)

This could be the official motto of FACTnet.

"For this reason we are branded by them as simple, and as being merely so, without being wise also; as if indeed wisdom were compelled to be wanting in simplicity, whereas the Lord unites them both: 'Be ye therefore wise as serpents, and simple as doves'. Now if we, on our parts, be accounted foolish because we are simple, does it then follow that they are not simple because they are wise?

Compare this to Hubbard's remarks about a (suppressive) person who has not had any training/auditing in Dianetics/Scientology. (wog/raw meat/criminal etc.)

Besides, the face of the Lord is patiently waited for by those who seek Him in simplicity of heart, as says the very Wisdom - not of Valentinus, but of Solomon. Then, again, infants have borne by their blood a testimony to Christ. (Would you say) that it was children who shouted 'Crucify Him' ? They were neither children nor infants; in other words, they were not simple. The apostle, too, bids us to 'become children again' towards God, 'to be children in malice' by our simplicity, yet as being also 'wise in our practical faculties'. (Op. cit, chapter II, pp. 504.)

All in all it seems very foreign to Scientology to have any 'simplicity' in the 'Advanced Tech'. Of course it's obvious that Jesus Christ did not teach any 'Advanced Tech' to his disciples, who were simple fishermen.

"Let then, the serpent hide himself as much as he is able, and let him wrest all his wisdom in the labyrinths of obscurities; let him dwell deep down in the ground; let him worm himself into secret holes; let him unroll his length through his sinuous joints; let him tortuously crawl, though not all at once, beast as he is that skulks the light. Of our dove, however, how simple is the very home! - always in the high and open places, and facing the light! As the symbol of the Holy Spirit, it loves the (radiant) East, that figure of Christ. Nothing causes truth a blush, except only being hidden, because no man will be ashamed to give ear thereto." (Op. cit, chapter III, p. 504.)


"Yet, to induce oneself to turn from this multitude of deities to another crowd, to remove from a familiar authority to an unknown one, to wrench oneself from what is manifest to what is hidden, is to offend faith on the very threshold.

This is what it's all about - changing from the Christian view to the Scientology religion is against the Christian faith.

Now, even suppose that you are initiated into the entire fable, will it not occur to you that you have heard something very like it from your fond nurse, when you were a baby, amongst the lullabies she sang to you about the towers of Lamia, and the horns of the sun. (Op. cit, Chapter III continued, pp. 503-504).

Comments to this end have also been made at a.r.s. several times.

Let, however, any man approach the subject from a knowledge of the faith which he has otherwise learned, as soon as he finds so many names of Aeons, so many marriages, so many offsprings, so many exits, so many issues, felicities and infelicities of a dispersed and mutilated Deity, will that man hesitate at once to pronounce that these are "the fables and endless genealogies" which the inspired apostle by anticipation condemned, whilst these seeds of heresy were even then shooting forth?

Compare the intricate cosmology of Hubbard with thetans, marcabs etc. The reference is to Paul, I Timothy I:4.

Deservedly, therefore, must they be regarded as wanting in simplicity, and as merely prudent, who produce such fables not without difficulty, and defend them only indirectly, who at the same time do not thoroughly instruct those whom they teach. This, of course, shows their astuteness, if their lessons are disgraceful; their unkindness, if they are honourable. As for us, however, who are simple folk, we know all about it. In short, this is the very first weapon with which we are armed for our encounter; it unmasks and brings to view the whole of their depraved system.

So, when have Milne et al answered questions directly?

And in this we have the first augury of our victory; because even merely to point out that which is concealed with so great an outlay of artifice, is to destroy it." (Op. cit, p. 504)

I think Dennis Erlich and most of the other critics of Scientology can agree with this statement.

After the first introductory chapters follows a more detailed account of the Valentinian system of thought. Those interested in 'Gnostic' systems may look up the treatise (see reference above) and those who know Scientology may compare these systems.

Another early Christian writer, Irenaeus, described several Gnostic systems of thought in detail in his work "Against heresies" ('AH'), written in 180 A.D.

Only some quotations of his opinions regarding the heresy of Valentinus in general will be given here. The reference is to The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. I, Michigan 1951. The same format as above will be used for quoting and commentary.

Quote from Irenaeus:


"... to unfold to thee, my friend, these portentous and profound mysteries, which do not fall within the range of every intellect, because all have not sufficiently purged brains." (AH I, pref:2, p. 315)

Some have alleged that you can't really believe in the upper levels of Scientology unless you are thoroughly brainwashed.

"They have good reason, as seems to me, why they should not feel inclined to teach these things to all in public, but only to such as are able to pay a high price for an acquaintance with such profound mysteries. For those doctrines are not at all similar to those of which our Lord said: 'Freely ye have received, freely give'. They are, on the contrary, abstruse, and portentous, and profound mysteries, to be got at only with great labour by such as are in love with falsehood.

As you can tell, this is not a new practice. The reference is to Matthew 10:8 - I doubt you can find it in Hubbard's extant works.

For who would not expend all that he possessed, if only he might learn in return, that from the tears of the enthymesis of the Aeon involved in passion, seas, and fountains, and rivers, and every liquid substance derived its origin; that light burst forth from her smile; and that from her perplexity and consternation the corporeal elements of the world had their formation?" (AH I,4:3, p. 321)

The sarcasm reminds me of certain statements at a.r.s.; the system described here is different than the cosmology of Scientology, but the criticism is on the same lines.

" is most manifest that he confesses the things which have been said to be his own invention, and that he himself has given names to his scheme of things, which had never been previously suggested by any other. It is manifest also, that he himself is the one who has had sufficient audacity to coin these names; so that, unless he had appeared in the world, the truth would still have been destitute of a name." (AH I,11:4, p. 332)

Compare Hubbard's statements about Dianetics and Xenu. (Dianetics was totally unprecedented, Hubbard was the only one in years to solve the problem of Xenu, etc.)

"Those things which are everywhere acted in the theatres by comedians with the clearest voices they transfer to their own system, teaching them undoubtedly through means of the same arguments, and merely changing the names. (AH II,14:1, p. 376)

This reminds me of a certain Science Fiction writer who started his own religion and copied some of his teaching from psychology and other sources.

And not only are they convicted of bringing forward as their own [original ideas], those things which are to be found among the comic poets, but they also bring together the things which have been said by all those who were ignorant of God, and who are termed philosophers; and sewing together, as it were, a motley garment out of a heap of miserable rags, they have, by their subtle manner of expression, furnished themselves with a cloak which is really not their own. They do, it is true, introduce a new kind of doctrine, inasmuch as by a new sort of art it has been substituted [for the old].

Readers of a.r.s. could think of Hubbard's alleged connections to strange Occult groups and persons.

Yet it is in reality both old and useless, since these very opinions have been sweed together out of ancient dogmas redolent of ignorance and irreligion." (AH II,14:2, p. 376)

Many critics of Scientology could agree with this statement applied to Scientology.

"But I will merely say, in opposition to these men - Did all those who have been proved to coincide in expression, know, or not know, the truth? If they knew it, then the descent of the Saviour into this world was superfluous. For why [in that case] did He descend? Was it that He might bring that truth which was [already] known to the knowledge of those who knew it? If, on the other hand, these men did not know it, then how is it that, while you express yourselves in the same terms as do those who knew not the truth, ye boast that yourselves alone possess that knowledge which is above all things, although they who are ignorant of God [likewise] possess it?" (AH II,14:7, p. 378)

Well, it's obvious that you don't need Jesus, when you have the 'Tech' of Hubbard. Jesus didn't even seem to know about Xenu etc. Still, it's strange that Hubbard's "new" system was copied from older ones.

As you can see from the above quotes from the second century, Christianity has passed judgement on Scientology 1700 years before Hubbard was born. These two religions are not compatible.

By Peik Stromsholm

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