The Church of Scientology, founded by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard in 1952, ran a bold branding television ad during Super Bowl XLVIII in several major regional markets, such as New York, Washington, DC and Los Angeles. This glitzy and costly mass media message promotes a religion which the United States recognized in 1993, but which the American Religious Identification Survey in 2008 indicated that Scientology only has 25,000 adherents in the US, albeit with prominent members such as Tom Cruise, John Travolta and Greta Van Susteren.
The "Spiritual Technology" ad is a follow up to last year's Super Bowl ad "Knowledge". But this year's Super Bowl ad more prominently featured Scientologist symbols, the FLAG Super Power Building in Clearwater Florida (which Scientologists bill as a 21st Century Cathedral) and the electropsychometer (a.k.a. the e-meter) which Scientologists use in Dianetics inspired auditing.
The commercial seems like a calculated attempt to tap into a societal veneration of technology. The text of the spot has a narrator intoning: Imagine science and religion connecting. Imagine technology and spirituality combining. And now imagine that everything that you've imagined is possible. Scientology--there are higher states of existence."
On social media sites, some have been creeped out by the slickly packaged commercial. But the commercial can also be an intriguing exercise in hermaneutics and eschatology.
The Scientology Cross is described as: "The horizontal bar represents the material universe, and the vertical bar represents the spirit. Thus, the spirit is seen to be rising triumphantly, ultimately transcending the turmoil of the physical universe to achieve salvation." Combine that with the inwardly focused can do through technology approach, it gives a techno-futuristic sense of eschatology.
In contrast, the Cross of Christ marks man's salvation history. Sin impaired man from having an eternal relationships with the Lord. So He sent His only begotten Son to be born as man and be the perfect sacrifice to free man from the eternal bonds of slavery of sin and death. But this salvific victory is represented via violent symbol of punishment of a just man which brings about our redemption. The Christian cross reinforces the scriptural wisdom that God's ways are not man's ways.
For those who would wish to learn more about Spiritual Technology, surely they can pay to take some courses about Scientology to learn more. If one is otherwise disposed, one can pray Joshua 24:15.