Scientology launches series of TV ads
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--The Church of Scientology has launched a series of 60-second ads on major cable channels that tell little about its theology and, the ads' tagline notwithstanding, could even be mistaken for an ad for Christianity.
The three commercials have aired on such channels as CNN and can be viewed on YouTube, and have been labeled as well-done even by those outside of Scientology, which is listed as a cult by the Southern Baptist Convention's North American Mission Board.
"Are the ads effective? They're certainly professional," Seth Stevenson, who rates ads for the left-leaning website Slate.com, wrote. "You've got to be impressed with the cinematography and editing. The high-budget gloss alone will likely sway a few viewers to visit Scientology's content-rich Web site."
Founded in 1954 by L. Ron Hubbard, Scientology's views on sin, salvation and Christ are unbiblical. Yet none of that is clear in the ads, which instead focus on general themes about life.
"We're all looking for it. Some of us have been looking our whole lives," a male narrator says in one of the ads, while short snippets of a person gazing out a window, a college student sitting in a class, and a person walking down a library aisle, are shown. Everyone looks inquisitive. "Some think they can buy it. Some think they can wear it. Some travel the world in search of it. Most don't even know what they are looking for, but we all feel it. That aching desire ... that unexplainable emptiness that can only be filled by one thing ... The Truth."
The tagline is then shown: "Tagline: Scientology: Know yourself ... Know life."
That particular ad is labeled "The Search" on Scientology's YouTube channel. The other two ads are labeled "You" and "Life."
"Yes, Scientology has beautiful commercials and lofty promises," Tal Davis, interfaith evangelism coordinator for the North American Mission Board, wrote in a Baptist Press column. "But the truth is far from the paradise they portray," Davis wrote. "The real answers to life's questions are not in some faddish therapy, SciFi religion, or 'knowing yourself.' They are only found in the One who claimed to be 'The Way, the Truth, and the Life,' Jesus Christ."
In addition to being unbiblical, Scientology also can be financially costly, he said.
According to NAMB's 4Truth.net website, Scientology does not believe in a personal, omniscient, omnipresent God as do Christians.
"The Church of Scientology International has no clear definition of the nature or person of God," the website says. "References to a Supreme Being are rare in Scientology literature, calling it the 'eight dynamic' or 'infinity.' The Supreme Being is defined in vague, pantheistic terms as embracing the 'allness of all.'"
Compiled by Michael Foust, an assistant editor of Baptist Press. Read more about Scientology and how to witness to those within Scientology at NAMB's website, http://bit.ly/byaiXs.