International Viewpoints (IVy), Issue 35 - January 1998
Forgiveness & Love in Christianity & Scientology
by Britta Burtles, England
ALL GREAT RELIGIONS, including Christianity, are forerunners of Scientology. Let us first look at forgiveness in Christianity. Jesus said, "Turn the other cheek" and "Let whoever is without sin, throw the first stone". He also told us to "Love your neighbour like yourself" and to "Love your enemy".
We know Christ was all for forgiveness and against punishment and revenge. And yet, -- however much I respect and admire Jesus and his enormous positive impact upon the world, and the great help he has given and is still giving to many millions, he was not able to tell us how to get rid of hate, hurt, anger and resentment. He could only advise us to suppress such feelings and to pretend they were not there. In other words, to not-is and not to confront them. Christ could not give us a technology which would enable us to eradicate negative, potentially destructive feelings.
Some time later L. Ron Hubbard appeared and taught us that "the way out is the way through". One of his key words was confront. He also told us about the Overt/Motivator Sequence, responsibility, cognitions, and about as-is-ing the charge linked to incidents.
Forgiveness has two parts:
1. The self-determined decision to forgive. Meaning: not to blame any more and not to seek justice, let alone revenge. This in turn means accepting and taking responsibility for what happened. I think that is also what Jesus meant with "Turn the other cheek". He could have said: "Tolerate, bear and understand what has happened. Don't give in to the physical universe's demand to obey the law of Cause and Effect. This law of force invites retaliation, and asks for a tooth for a tooth in a never ending circle and escalation of violence and strife."
Hubbard talked and wrote a great deal about the overt/motivator sequence. Even though he did not use the precise word "forgiveness", I consider, taking full responsibility for both sides of the overt/motivator sequence is synonymous with forgiving.
2. Eradicating the hurt, resentment and other misemotions connected with both sides of the overt/motivator sequence. This means removing, as-is-ing all the charge linked to an event. After this, the person will probably have a cognition. He will also realize that he no longer has any mental mass in that area, but instead, much more space in which to operate. He will also have more free attention units to create his present and to set up his future. Moreover, he will discover with relief, that he has fully forgiven, and realize with joy, that he now feels more affinity -- maybe even love -- for the people involved.
In his technology and other writing, LRH has dealt extensively with all these aspects of forgiveness.
The above applies to self-forgiveness too. However, if I have harmed a person in some way, it is really not
up to me to forgive myself. I have to tell the person what I have done, thus taking responsibility for my action,
and ask him to forgive me. Then I follow it up by repairing the damage I have caused. We can call this "putting
in the missing flow" or "completing the exchange". When I have done that, and the person I harmed
has forgiven me, I will most probably be able to forgive myself too. But if not, then I have either not yet confronted
some part of the situation or the terminals involved, or there are earlier similar incidents which need handling.
The sole purpose and aim of forgiving is to end a cycle of action, both for the person I have harmed and for myself.
Hubbard looked at forgiveness from another angle as well. In his article "What is Greatness?"' he
says: "Forgiveness is a lower level action and is rather censorious". I understand what he means: LRH
is here looking at forgiveness from the standpoint of love and recommends one should "...continue to love
one's fellows despite all reasons he should not". -- Looking from that high vantage point, forgiveness is
not only censorious, but even condescending, and thus "a lower level of action". It is as if Ron was
saying: "Don't lower your level of love by allowing resentment to pollute it". And if I have permitted
resentment to get hold of me and reduce my love, I need some form of release from it, which is achieved with the
relevant parts of Hubbard's auditing technology.
Nothing to forgive
Hubbard says: "Justice, mercy, forgiveness, all are unimportant beside the ability not to change [one's
love] because of provocation or demands to do so". This is the high moral ground Christ, too, occupied and
talked from; hence his edict: "Love your enemy" rather than: "Forgive your enemy". So, love
rather than forgiveness: To high an ideal for most of us lesser mortals, but certainly one worth striving for.
When 1. all the charge has been removed, 2. through studying Ron's tech one understands what and why something happened, and 3. one can accept full responsibility for an incident, then the forgiving occurs automatically and restores the love, which was never destroyed, but can apparently vanish when it is covered and hidden by charge, MUs and non-confront.
Thus, forgiving is not really something one does, but something that happens after properly carrying out the above three steps. One feels and realizes it with relief and delight. If not, then one or all of the above three steps are incomplete.
Ron talks of the love that does not need to forgive, as it did not sink down into resentment. I believe Jesus would agree with this attitude, and say similar things, if he lived among us today. He did not concern himself with forgiveness as much as with love. -- With love intact, there is nothing to forgive. Christ talked of love and practiced love. We can say, he embodied love.
LRH was a practical man, and so he said: "One must act, one must preserve order and decency, but one need
not hate or seek vengeance", and "Man is basically good but can act badly", as well as "Happiness
and strength endure only in the absence of hate".
In his article "Forgiveness" in IVy 7, Mark Jones says: "He [LRH] must have had a confusion in this area,..." I do not believe that Ron had a confusion there. Maybe he considered, rightly or wrongly, he had to act to "preserve order and decency". This does not necessarily mean, however, that he hated or even resented. But if he did, then it just proves, that, despite being a genius and visionary, he was still human and imperfect. I know from experience that, although aware of a good theory, one is not necessarily able to put it into practice all the time.
In time, Ron's shortcomings will be forgotten by society and forgiven by those who were not able to stay at the high level of love. Eventually these will get their charge in that area properly handled. Then they will find the strength to take full responsibility for what happened to reduce their love. As a result they will not only understand Ron, but also fully appreciate who he was and what he did for Mankind.
There are probably many instances where people think LRH had a confusion. Like with other great thinkers, his views and visions reached ahead of his time, and were misunderstood by many. The above is just one example of that phenomenon.
I also think, Hubbard being misduplicated, misinterpreted and misunderstood, is part of the reason why the CofS developed the way it did, and why some Independents levelled harsh criticism at Ron. Many of their views are based on M/Us and kept in place by unhandled resentment.
During our existence in this physical universe, we have manoeuvered ourselves, through ignorance, into a pretty
low state. That is why we cannot always respond to a request to forgive with a simple "Yes, of course!"
and just do it, however much we might want to, and however plausible and good the reasons are why we should.
At present, we can neither postulate ourselves out of that state, nor "jump over our own shadow" into higher ones. But we can, step by step, with the tools Ron left us, and with a lot of practice, gradually regain many of the abilities that are in us already. One of them is the skill to forgive and, further up the scale, the art to keep our love in the first place, as Christ and Hubbard suggested.