Lewis, James R. Scientology. Oxford University Press, 2009.
Scientology was often confused with Christian Science in public thought, especially around the first decade of the current century. Although that confusion has dissipated to a degree, comparisons between the two often crop up in scholarly work. This book, an academic compilation of chapters about Scientology most notably written by scholars of New Religious Movements, includes a few of those comparisons. In chapter 6, Lewis evaluates Stark’s well-known model of religious ‘success’ and concludes that Stark’s findings are flawed. In particular, Stark’s prediction of an imminent disappearance of Christian Science is based on weak data. Lewis also cites Singelenberg’s argument that a drop in Christian Science membership during the early 1990s may have been due to an internal scandal rather than the factors discussed by Stark. In fact, the rise in Christian Science membership indicated by Australian data might even reflect a movement recovering from this trauma. In another chapter, Dericquebourg compares the Christian Science use of sacred texts with Scientology. Christian Scientists read excerpts of Science and Health in public, he notes, allowing for the Scriptures to be interpreted by any listeners, and for the curative nature of praying to be understood, whereas in Scientology, Hubbard holds the exclusive and “privileged tool used on [his] spiritual path” (176).
ISBN-13 (Hardcover): 978-0195331493