Last February, I did two podcasts that generated no interest whatsoever. I thought I’d take the time to repost them, now that they are downloadable from the Web, to see if they generate any interest this time.
Show #1 was on the Tom Cruise Scientology speech that scared a lot of people. I gave a Christian reaction and contrasted Scientology with Christianity. Download here. Download here.
Show #2 was on women in the Bible, and how the Bible uplifts rather than denigrates women. I thought this one would generate much interest, but so far nothing. Download here. Download here.
If you like the shows, let me know either in a comment below or fire off an e-mail to email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org. If I get enough interest generated, I might start podcasting again. I had fun with it, but there was no sense in doing it for an audience of none.
Recently, reports have circulated that actor Jason Beghe, a former Scientologist, has denounced his religion. Beghe is reported as saying that “Scientology is destructive and a rip off.” He goes on to say “[Scientology is] very, very dangerous for your spiritual, psychological, mental, emotional health and evolution. I think it stunts your evolution. If Scientology is real, then something’s f——ed up.”
The video in which Beghe criticizes Scientology has been removed from YouTube, along with two other prominent anti-Scientology accounts owned by Tory Christman and Mark Bunker. YouTube issued the following statement to Times Online regarding the account suspensions:
YouTube takes these issues very seriously but we don’t comment on individual videos. Our general approach is simple: we have clear content policies about what videos are allowed on the site. For example we prohibit clips that infringe copyright or show extreme violence. Videos that breach these rules are removed and we disable all accounts belonging to repeat offenders.
I scarcely have to point out that this is a non-answer. It says a lot about why accounts in general are suspended, but nothing about why the individual accounts were suspended. Neither Christman nor Bunker received any information from YouTube as to why their accounts were suspended, though Christman’s account is back up. No word yet on when or if Bunker’s will be reactivated.
At the risk of sounding paranoid, I think that the church of Scientology has everything to do with this. It is the policy of their church to target critics, whom they call Suppressives (or SPs). The critics are considered “fair game” to do whatever it takes to destroy their character and stop them from criticizing Scientology. This policy of dead agenting is one component of Scientology’s long standing policy of hate to its critics.
In a world that hates the truth, in a world that love its sin, I can see the need for a firm defense of the truth. But truth doesn’t require bullying, fear-mongering, and hatred. Morally, we can all see these things for evil. If Scientology is true, then it has nothing to fear from critics. However, if it isn’t true, and its upper ranks know that it isn’t true, then the need for “fair game” and “dead agenting” becomes very clear.
If it wasn’t for the fact that Scientology flies directly in the face of everything I believe as a Christian, I might endorse Tom’s overall message. He’s touching on a lot of the issues that I’ve been covering–atheist misconceptions about how Christians think that the world works. Look at Ephesians 2:8-10:
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (emphasis added)
We are saved, and truly in Christ, only by God’s grace. That grace is a free gift, and not based on works. If it were based on works, then grace is no longer free. Instead, we are saved by His grace through our faith in Christ (see Rom 10:9) plus nothing.
What about the works that I’ve highlighted? Simple: look at 1 John 5:1-3:
Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.
We obey out of love, not out of necessity. Obeying out of necessity is a curse to us–“Cursed be anyone who does not confirm the words of this law by doing them” (Deut 27:26). Studying all 613 (or so) laws of the Old Testament, I think that we can agree that it is impossible to do all of them. We’re going to mess up somewhere. And guess what happens if you mess up only once:
For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. (Jms 2:10-11)
But the point is we need to obey God. The idea is to do this out of love, not out of some perceived need to become saved. The Bible is quite clear that it is impossible to follow all of these 613 laws and live (see Jn 6 with the idea that bread = law).
Cruise has done a great job underscoring the necessity to help our fellow man for his Scientologist followers. Perhaps Christians should heed his words also: let’s do more to help our fellow man. Let’s do that, however, out of love and not out of the insane notion that it will get us in God’s good graces. We who are Christians are already in His good graces by His gift to us; our works cannot add anything to that salvation. But they can make the world a better place and that is the real point of doing them. We’re going to be here for a long time, and our children are going to live here after us. Let’s turn a better world over to them than what we started with.