New Religions and the Theological Imagination in America
Bednarowski, Mary Farrell. New Religions and the Theological Imagination in America. Religion in North America. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1989.
Bednarowski creates comparative ‘theological conversations’ between six unorthodox religions which emerged new out of 19th– and 20th-century America: Mormonism, Christian Science, theosophy, the Unification Church, Scientology and the New Age movement. Taking their alternative theological views and intellectual integrity seriously, these conversations are framed around the tensions between God / world, divine / human, good / evil, spirit / matter, body / soul, life / death, sin / salvation, determinism / freedom, individual / community, faith / reason, head / heart, immanence / transcendence, and science / religion. Although scholars have researched the differences between Christian Science and New Thought, what is valuable here is Bednarowski’s specific sections of systematic, juxtaposed comparisons between Christian Science and Scientology, two religions often confused in the public mind. For example, both Christian Science and Scientology radically seek an understanding of God and reality which the physical world obscures. Mary Baker Eddy’s Christian Science emerged from Christ-centered revelation and a deep study of the healing message of the Bible—turning directly to God for help. L. Ron Hubbard’s Scientology and terminology is more psychological, taking the form of self-help meant to understand the human mind and achieve mental health. Therefore sin, in Christian Science, calls for repentance—a form of biblical healing. Sin in Scientology, calls for “the eradication of error… through the technology, the auditing process” (61), referred to as dianetics or ‘The Hubbard Electrometer (E-Meter)”.
ISBN-13 (Softcover): 978-0253209528
ISBN-13 (Hardcover): 978-0253311375