It always struck me how easily the boys over at Way of the Master ridicule other religious faiths. In most cases I wonâ€™t really argue with them. Other religions and their corresponding stories are quite sillyâ€¦but so is Christianity.
In a special edition of their radio show, broadcasting from England, Todd braved Londonâ€™s pub district and ended up witnessing to some young Brits who had been dancing with a group of Hare Krishnas. You could hear the distaste dripping from every word as Todd told these kids how wrong they were to dance with the Krishnas when they didnâ€™t even know that they were committing idolatry!
But thatâ€™s not what I want to dwell on. Because after covering how his religion is the only correct one, Todd fell into the tried and true WOTM witnessing method. The Brits, it isnâ€™t necessary to say, were non-hostile but unimpressed.
So I started to think. Todd has always maintained that Christianity (or at least his brand of it) is unique among all the world religions. Yet there was something strangely familiar about his witnessing. And then it hit me.
Could Todd Friel be a Scientologist!?!?
No, Iâ€™m not serious. But it does make a certain amount of sense, doesnâ€™t it? If youâ€™re still scratching your head then let me break it down for you.
What Iâ€™m hinting at is the similarity between the evangelizing methods of the Way of the Master and the Church of Scientology.
Ray, Todd or occasionally Kirk will approach people in public places and begin with one of two gambits. Either they will ask if you believe in god (not much of a gambit in America, where approximately 80% of the population says they are believers, the majority of those being some sort of Christian) or they will ask if you think youâ€™re a good person. In either case the probability is that you will respond positively to their opening questions, and theyâ€™ve got you on their hook.
The Church of Scientology is slightly less public with their pitch, but they operate under the same general guideline. They ask a question that has the most probability of getting a positive answer. In their case, itâ€™s â€œWould you like to take a personality test?â€ And of course, who wouldnâ€™t? Everyone thinks they have a great personality (or at least close to the same percentage who think theyâ€™re a good person), so who wouldnâ€™t want to take a test that proved it? But just like the WOTM guys, theyâ€™ve caught you!
Hereâ€™s where the real similarities start becoming clear.
By now weâ€™re all relatively familiar with the witnessing method that Ray Comfort created. He or Todd or Kirk runs you through the Decalogue, asking if youâ€™ve ever broken them. Never mind the fact that you may not believe in god, he tells you, whatâ€™s important is that if god exists then these are his commandments, arenâ€™t they?
So you go through them. And if youâ€™ve ever lied, then youâ€™re a liar. And if youâ€™ve ever stolen anything, youâ€™re a thief. Maybe youâ€™re not a murderer or an adulterer. But donâ€™t worry! They have that covered as well. Because of course the bible says if youâ€™ve ever had hateful thoughts about someone or looked at a person with lust, youâ€™re a murderer and an adulterer. Suddenly youâ€™re not so happy about stopping to talk with Todd, are you?
The key difference in this step is that the Church of Scientology has the decency to tell you that youâ€™re taking a test. Unfortunately a Scientologist stress test makes no more logical sense than the WOTM method.
They take you in a room with their own version of Ray or Todd, whom they call an auditor, and they hook you up to an e-meter. It supposedly detects responses in your body and mind to questions given by the auditor. It should be noted that these e-meters donâ€™t do anything. But thatâ€™s beside the point. The needle on the readout wobbles back and forth, and your friend across the table records its â€œreadingsâ€ as if they actually meant something. I should point out that no one who has had an e-meter reading has ever been told that they donâ€™t need the services of the Church of Scientology. Sound familiar?
So now youâ€™ve failed the test. Not only have you wasted a good ten minutes speaking with Todd â€œFreakishly Tallâ€ Friel, but youâ€™ve found out that youâ€™re a dirty, filthy sinner. But thereâ€™s hope!
In actuality EVERYONE is a dirty, filthy sinner. Yes, even Todd, Kirk and Ray. And while we all certainly deserve to go to hell and burn for eternity, there is a way to avoid that. To gain forgiveness we must give ourselves to Jesus, admit that weâ€™re horrible and unworthy, praise godâ€™s name and become evangelical and spread his word.
Oh, and why not purchase some of the Way of the Master training videos to learn how? (Order now, only $99.95!)
Letâ€™s go back to the Scientologist testing room. Surprisingly youâ€™ve failed their exam as well. But itâ€™s not because youâ€™re a sinner. The reason you failed their test isnâ€™t even your fault!
It turns out you failed because youâ€™re full of â€œengramsâ€. These are, essentially, bad memories that cause everything bad in your life, from stress and anxiety to psychological disorders and medical problems. (Never mind that these engrams are caused by the souls of dead space aliensâ€¦theyâ€™re not going to tell you that right off the bat!) But thereâ€™s hope!
The only way to get rid of these evil vibes and become â€œclearâ€ is by more auditing. With more training, you can become an â€œoperating thetanâ€, which means you start to have the ability to affect the world with your thoughts. Only a few years of auditing sessions and you can become a superhero. (Just like Tom Cruise!)
Unlike the first test, further sessions begin to cost money. Not to worry. If you canâ€™t afford the price it costs to become clear, you can work it off by becoming an employee in one of Scientologyâ€™s many centers.
Looking at just the surface, no one would ever guess that the Way of the Master brand of Christianity and the Church of Scientology have anything in common. I like to think Iâ€™ve disabused you of that opinion.
Both approach you with seemingly positive motives.
Both administer a test that you not only fail, but which is designed specifically so that no one can pass it.
Both tell you the way to salvation, which conveniently can only be found through their organization.
They are creating a problem where no problem exists and then claiming that only they can solve it. This has been the method of every religion that seeks converts, and I doubt it will change any time soon.
Does this mean that Christianity is wrong? No. Does this mean that Scientology is wrong? No. All it means is that the methods of the salesmen, no matter what their product, is exactly the same. And that's the point. How can you choose between two ideologies that have the same message ("Our way or the highway!") and employ the same tactics?
(Hint: Choose neither.)
So the next time you laugh because Scientology is so ridiculous, remember one thing: The difference between the WOTM and the CoS is just the difference between how much they take from your bank account.