Guest / Limited Access /

Craig Branch, director of the Apologetics Resource Center in Birmingham, Alabama, has been examining the teaching and practice of Scientology from a Christian perspective since 1989 and has studied new religious movements for more than 15 years. He has also worked with Watchman Fellowship, a ministry focusing on outreach to non-Christian religions. Branch says evangelical scholars criticize Scientology for these reasons:

Scientology's moral code is based on self-preservation.

"Scientology subscribes to the idea that the end justifies the means," says Branch. "And their end is to overcome the world with Scientology."

Branch believes this contributes to a warped view of ethics in which anything that advances the goals of Scientology is permissible.

Scientology attacks opponents and former members.

One Scientology policy, Fair Game, says a "suppressive" person who is an enemy of the church "may be deprived of property or injured by any means by any Scientologist without any discipline of the Scientologist. [A suppressive] may be tricked, sued or lied to or destroyed" (High Command Office Policy Letter, Oct. 18, 1967). Although Scientologists deny that they still openly follow some of Hubbard's more punitive policies, such as Fair Game, many court cases have found that Scientologists still operate under Hubbard's principles of aggression, Branch says.

According to The Daily Appellate Reporter, the California Supreme Court found Scientology guilty of intentional and negligent infliction of severe emotional harm in the case of Larry Wollersheim (1989). The court wrote that Scientology's "policy of Fair Game by its nature was intended to punish the person who dared to leave the Church."

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Support Christian thought journalism. Donate to our nonprofit ministry today.
From Issue:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Also in this Issue
Subscriber Access Only
Living with Furious Opposites
Grace blossoms in affliction, triumph arises out of failure, hope abounds amidst struggle—and on it goes.
Current IssueReading the Reformation in 2017
Reading the Reformation in 2017
Historians are still finding new things to say about Martin Luther and his movement.
Recommended
Subscriber Access Only
From Clear to Christ
A former Scientologist shines light on his past beliefs
TrendingThe Story Behind Trump’s Controversial Prayer Partner
The Story Behind Trump’s Controversial Prayer Partner
What Paula White’s Washington moment implies for the prosperity gospel’s future.
Editor's PickThe Church’s Integrity in the Trump Years
The Church’s Integrity in the Trump Years
It begins by recognizing the name above every name.
Christianity Today
Why Christians Object to Scientology
hide thisSeptember 4 September 4

In the Magazine

September 4, 2000

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.