He's not saying he wants to get a degree in Theology. He's asking why does it cost you money to be IN the church. Christianity does not REQUIRE you to donate money to be in it or make you take classes so you can be saved ...
What he and I are curious about is why do you have to pay for classes to learn more about your religion? I've been in christianity for 13 years, and other then an occasional new bible when mine wears out, I've never been again REQUIRED to pay a cent to learn more about my religion or to get help. Why is it that Scientology does? I don't understand that. I'm not trying to be rude, but that seems a little ridiculous to me. If you could explain that, maybe I could understand a little better where you're coming from.
Thanks for your questions. I'll do my best to answer them.
The Church of Scientology does NOT REQUIRE you to pay anything to be a Scientologist.
Let's compare what a person (Mr. C) might do if he wants to be a Christian but doesn't want to spend any money and what a person (Mr. S) might do under the same circumstances if he wanted to be a Scientologist.
Mr. C can go to his local public library and get out a Bible.
Mr. S can go to his local public library and get out a Scientology book.
Mr. C can go to his local Christian church to attend a Sunday Service at no charge.
Mr. S can go to his local Scientology church to attend a Sunday Service at no charge.
Mr. C can go to his local Christian church to attend other free services.
Mr. S can go to his local Scientology church to attend other free services.
So far there is no difference and no requirement to pay anything.
The big difference comes when we start talking about the spiritual technology of Scientology, what we in Scientology call "Auditing". There really is no equivalent that I know of in other religions. It is very difficult to describe what I'm talking about without going into tremendous detail, but I'll try to give you the "Reader's Digest" version.
Through Scientology Auditing you can achieve the following abilities:
- Willing to communicate freely with anyone on any subject. Free from or no longer bothered by communication difficulties. No longer withdrawn or reticent.
- Able to recognize the source of problems and make them vanish. No longer worried about problems he has with others, problems they have with him, problems others have with others or problems he has with himself. Can recognize the source of problems.
- Freedom from the hostilities and sufferings of life.
- Freedom from upsets of the past. Ability to face the future. Ability to experience sudden change without becoming upset.
- Ability to move out of fixed conditions and able to do new things. Able to face life without the need to justify his own actions or defend himself from others.
(These are just a few from the full list.)
When you gain these abilities you know it for yourself, no one tells you that you have them. You tell the Auditor (counselor) when you are satisfied you've reached the ability.
To give a person these abilities requires an exactly applied technology. It takes a great deal of work to teach a person how to give these abilities to another. It is not something you can do by simply reading some books. It's sort of like kidney surgery, you can read all the books you like on it but nobody in their right mind is going to let you operate on them. While not quite so life threatening, the technology of Scientology has to be applied exactly and with an accompanying discipline for it to work.
Thus it takes time and resources to do it. It takes Scientology Training. So if a person wants to be certified as a professional Scientology Auditor he will need to go to a properly certified Church which has highly trained professional staff who will make sure he comes out of that training as a professional. Naturally this sort of training costs money.
On the other side is receiving the Auditing so you can achieve the abilities such as those listed above. Delivery of this technology takes a highly trained professional team to do it. It takes time, resources and highly personalized attention. Again this costs money.
I hope that answers your questions about money.
One other thing. There is a word "Thetan" that we use in Scientology. it is a much mis-defined term. The word means "soul", but soul has so many other meanings that we use the term thetan instead, from the Greek letter "theta", the traditional symbol for thought or life. One does not have a thetan, something one keeps somewhere apart from oneself; one is a thetan. The thetan is the person himself, not his body or his name or the physical universe, his mind or anything else. It is that which is aware of being aware; the identity which IS the individual.
What Scientology Auditing (spiritual technology) addresses is you, the thetan and not anything else.
A Description of Auditing
A Description Of Scientology Training
What is auditing?
What is a thetan?
What is training?
Does it cost a lot to be a member of the Church and take services?
Chaplain And Ministerial Services
Dianetics, Scientology & Beyond By L. Ron Hubbard
Auditing to Higher States of Existence