Scientologist Hans Eisenman on the belief that one lives again–the immortality of the spirit–and how the choices one makes today affects one’s survival and happiness in the future. Published on the STAND (Scientologists Taking Action Against Discrimination) website.
One Thing You (Few) Haters Don’t Know About Us
I know you tend to think you’re pretty sharp. That you know everything we’ll say and do before we say and do it. But I bet you can’t guess what my favorite thing is about Scientologists.
You should know this one thing before you spew whatever it is you’ve got all lined up in your cabeza.
Ready? Here it is.
What I love about Scientologists is our ability to take the super long view on just about everything. And when I say “long view” I mean from here on out to the end of foreseeable time.
“How do we have that ability?” you might ask.
Scientologists possess a certainty that we are spiritual beings who live again and again and again. And again.
You yourself don’t have to hold that to be true or agree with it in any way. In fact, I don’t expect you to. Go right ahead with the belief that you are that bag of bones and skin you’re living in. Totally cool and I’m not here to pry that away from your cold, dead hands when the end of your life comes.
Just know that this is one of the best things about us Scientologists.
You could say we are the opposite of the YOLO crowd.
On the one hand, the “You Only Live Once” idea serves in a certain context—like when someone’s about to take a colossal risk—to jump out of a plane with a parachute, let’s say. Great! Scream “YOLO!” all the way down. (Just don’t forget to pull that ripcord.)
Then you have the other use of “YOLO”: when someone has arrived at a crossroads. They have a choice to do what’s right or not care about consequences because they believe they are going to be dead and gone before those consequences come to pass. Often the choice seems to have far-reaching, grave ramifications: like whether or not to use radioactive materials in ammunition (“depleted” uranium—still radioactive—is used in certain ammo because it is harder than lead) or whether to dump left-over pesticide up-river from that village.
Here’s another thing I bet you didn’t know.
He came up with this brilliant idea and it’s since been called Pascal’s Wager.
The wager was that every day, people bet with their lives that God either exists or does not exist.
Every day we are making a bet, through our actions, that it’s one way or the other.
So the military weapons designer would be facing two choices:
1. Poison Earth, receive a promotion and no consequences in the end (no God)
2. Don’t do #1 (because God exists) and lose out on some praise from his superiors
S/he is making a bet with his/her life (according to the Wager) that God doesn’t exist, so there won’t be any bad consequences.
On the other hand, if s/he loses the bet that God is going to be standing in judgment at the end of the line, then it could be an eternity in Hell. (Ouch!)
If s/he lives a basically virtuous life, though, then there’s very little to lose.
So that’s the wager.
And, according to Pascal, we make that wager every day. Our own lives are the chips we put on the table.
I took you on that quick trip down memory lane to let you in on something.
Scientologists have their own wager. You could call it Pascal’s Wager 2.0 or maybe Hubbard’s Wager. The only thing is, this is a wager of not just one man, but many, many Scientologists who consciously make it daily as they go through their lives.
The wager this time is: when we act, we are betting with our future lives, not just this one.
We are betting that we do in fact live again and again and again. And again.
Most of us in this group have a personal certainty that how we act today (or don’t act) will determine the kind of lives we get to live in the future.
You could think of it as the most direct form of karma, I suppose. The way we see it, we are literally making our own future—not just waiting to see what happens.
Some are more in tune with this than others, of course. I’m not saying that every Scientologist is a picture-perfect representation of the subject or this principle; no group I know of could claim such a standard.
But what I’m letting you in on here is that we are certain we are coming back after this body has become old and grey as dust.
And even if you yourself can’t see this as a possibility, you should be absolutely thankful that we do.
Because it’s this certainty that drives so many of us to volunteer, to help during disasters around the globe, teach the disadvantaged to read, get addicts off drugs, rehabilitate “criminals,” and on and on. We are striving to make a better world any way we can, because we know we are coming back—back to whatever it is we built in the here and now.
So, dear hater, that’s the kind of person you’re attacking.
Is it really worth the bet?