I think that this relative actually believes the things he says, even though they conflict with the reality around him; I do not suspect him of being deceitful; these are things he has learned from sources that may not be as benign; As for the authors of these errors I would not want to even consider their motives. For example, it is documented, as I understand it, that L. Ron Hubbard created Scientology on a bet, or was it a dare? Either way, this whole cloth fabrication is embraced by many who have the God given intellectual capacity to discover that what they believe is a fabrication, a fabrication which they should renounce, but they remain attached to it. One has to wonder about such a decision. Does one say, I know that this is false, but I like it, so I will cling to it? This would not seem likely, for St. Thomas, as I understand it, says that made in God's image we are drawn to truth. Does one who adheres to Scientology believe that even though Hubbard "made it up," it is so good, that the origins don't matter, that fiction mixed with a perceived good is as good as it gets? Or, do they simply reject the history, reacting to the statement "Hubbard made up your religion" the same way a person of faith reacts to the similar charges made against the faith of Jesus Christ, that it is the charge which is false?
It would certainly seem that one could determine the veracity of the charge that Scientology is the fictional creation of a fiction writer, and that there would be some degree of obligation to do so in conscience, and, if true, to abjure the fiction in the pursuit of truth.
In a similar vein, it has been my observation that such charges made against the Christian religion are made in the complete absense of evidence, being based rather on the response of incredulity to claims that one would normally not accept. Then, rather than examine the evidence on which credulity would be either established or rejected, the one making the charge turns and posits an alternate explanation, in the complete absense of evidence, and expects the unwarry to accept it simply because it fails to strain the credulity; which they often do. Thus, in not examining the evidence, a whole-cloth fabrication without evidence, is substituted for truth which is established by evidence.
Now it may well be so that Scientology contains a truth here and there, perhaps a whole grocery bag full of them, and I suspect that it's adherents are simply ambivalent about truth, as I once was, and are more interested in "what does it do for me." But now, as a Catholic, having made the public affirmation that I have submitted my intellect and understanding to my Lord Jesus Christ, the God Who is Truth, and all that He has taught through His Holy Catholic Church, I have a hard time understanding why anyone would be content with any mix of error and truth.
During RCIA, Father gave one discussion in which he used as an example a bottle of very fine wine, the finest and most expensive that can be obtained. Yet, add a drop of cyanide, and a glass of the best wine, now will kill you. Do you continue to extol the virtues of this fine wine, or do you warn others not to drink of it? tell me, which is charity? To say, this is a fine wine you have! or Don't drink that, it will kill you!! In point of fact, Father was saying the exact same thing that the Pope said when condemning the errors of Martin Luther:
Condemning The Errors Of Martin Luther
Pope Leo X
Bull issued June 15, 1520
Some, putting aside her true interpretation of Sacred Scripture, are blinded in mind by the father of lies. Wise in their own eyes, according to the ancient practice of heretics, they interpret these same Scriptures otherwise than the Holy Spirit demands, inspired only by their own sense of ambition, and for the sake of popular acclaim, as the Apostle declares. In fact, they twist and adulterate the Scriptures. As a result, according to Jerome, "It is no longer the Gospel of Christ, but a man's, or what is worse, the devil's."
This is charity, to warn in order to save, to identify error, that it may be avoided.
I have heard some say, in reference to questionable sources, but I like this work! It has good things in it! Yes, but do you know where the bad things are hidden, and what they are? Who can know enough to protect themselves from unsuspectingly imbibing fatal error? I have to wonder if the attitude displays a preference for ones own will and discernment, above a respect for the truth? Do I put down the poisoned bottle of fine wine, or be mesmerized by the aroma, the high price, the exclusivity, or whatever? Who has the ability to discern with certainty, when an item is a known mixture of truth and error? Too often, it seems the "good stuff" which the unwarry who have rushed in cling to, ends up being just the poison that they were so sure that they would know to avoid.
Going back to Scientology, I am not sure that it would be correct to call L. Ron Hubbard a "fraud" for perpetrating Scientology on the world. It might fit, but I don't know the circumstances well enough. My degree is in Geology, and there is one fraud I am familiar with, a fraud of large proportion, and one which it's perpetrator forever lost any reasonable claim to be a source for truth. That fraud perpetrated on the world was "Piltdown Man." Piltdown man was a fossil discovery which was supposed to be the "missing link" between modern man and apes; it turned out to be a human skull, an orangatang jaw, and filed teeth; ie: a fraud that took many years to uncover, in spite of it's being rather obvious to many who examined it.
It wasn't until I became a Catholic that I discovered that this fraud was perpetrated by the same individual, and individual who passed himself off as a "Scientist," but had instead an agenda; to "prove" evolution he believed would "disprove" original sin, and therefore the entire Christian revelation would be overturned and he could replace it with something else. Imagine my surprise to discover that this man who committed such a profound documented fraud, was accepted as a visionary, and his theories accepted uncritically by many Catholics! And as theories go, he puts L. Ron Hubbard to shame, although I think they were working from the same spirit (and not a holy one). This individual, Tielhard de Chardin, certainly pulled the wool over many who accepted his theories with too much cerdulity, including Karl Rahner, who in spite of evidence to the contrary went ahead and following his teacher de Chardin, accepted polygenism and rejected original sin, and then went on to help lead a generation astray.
It baffles me, that Christ brings us the good news that although fallen, He can raise us; but for some strange reason there are those who say, no, you are not fallen, and many fall in line! Is it the appeal to pride, or the desire to be autonamous? I don't know, but that's my thoughts for the moment.
Note: In reviewing some of the literature, I see that there are those who would hold de Chardin blameless for Piltdown man, considering him too young and gullible at the time to have been a consipirator. His early involvement with Peking Man, "evidence" of the racial superiority of the white European "type" is disturbing.