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Real Answers™
Copyright: © 2009 Tom Flannery
650 words


By: Tom Flannery

With the recent tragic death of 16-year-old Jett Travolta, son of actor John Travolta and wife Kelly Preston, the views of Scientology are once again coming under scrutiny.  Yet the questions surrounding the cause of the seizures that led to Jett's death, and how his parents (both devoted Scientologists) were treating that condition, have been raised for years.
Travolta and Preston have gone to great lengths to convince the public that Jett's history of seizures and developmental problems were directly related to a bout at age 2 with Kawasaki disease, a condition typically associated with inflammation of the arteries.  However, experts say that neither seizures nor developmental problems are associated with the disease, and that it is highly uncommon for a child over age 5 to suffer from it.  
Many observers believe Jett suffered from autism, noting that the boy rarely made eye contact with outsiders, was never heard speaking, had a habit of walking on his tiptoes, needed round-the-clock supervision wherever the family went, and experienced what were described as "frequent, severe" seizures -- symptoms commonly exhibited by autistic individuals. 
The problem is that Scientology does not recognize autism as a real condition.  The religion teaches that 70% of illnesses, including autism, are psychosomatic and can be cured by Scientology techniques such as running, taking vitamins and sitting in saunas.  So while Jett was treated with the antiseizure medication Depakote, until it lost its effectiveness, the Travoltas never acknowledged nor publicly discussed rumors that their son was autistic.
Scientology, it must be noted, is based on the fantastic (as in bizarre) teachings of its founder, sci-fi writer L. Ron Hubbard.  The idea that legitimate medical disorders and conditions can be cured by saunas and vitamins can only be described as dangerous, and it will lead to speculation (fairly or unfairly) that the religion's teachings in some way caused or at least contributed to this beautiful young boy's death.
Even more disturbing, though, is the space-alien, science-fiction theology promoted by the religion.  Like all false religions, it discards the fact that there is a heaven to gain and a hell to shun.  Scientologists believe that the soul, or what they call the "thetan," moves from one life to the next, from one human body to another, at death.  That runs completely counter to the Bible's teaching that "it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment" (Hebrews 9:27).
New Age guru Deepak Chopra said on a Larry King Live show about Jett's death that whatever brings comfort to the Travoltas in their time of grief should be supported.  Yet when an evangelical minister preached Christ and Him crucified on another program, Chopra became enraged and lashed out against the minister and the true gospel.  Apparently, not all sources of comfort are acceptable.
Yet it is only through faith in Christ alone, and His substitutional death for each one of us on the cross, that our sins can be forgiven and we can receive eternal life.  Jesus's bodily resurrection proved that He was the only One who could ever declare, in truth:  "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life" (John 5:24).  L. Ron Hubbard didn't die for anyone, and hasn't been seen since he perished.
Christ died and rose bodily from the grave to tell us, and to show us, that we can have comfort when facing death ourselves as believers or dealing with the death of a loved one who dies in Christ, and that this comfort can be grounded in eternal truth, based on the Person who embodies truth itself (John 14:6).  As Scripture promises us, "you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32).
And that is the greatest comfort of all.


"Real Answers™" furnished courtesy of The Amy Foundation Internet Syndicate. To contact the author or The Amy Foundation, write or E-mail to: P. O. Box 16091, Lansing, MI 48901-6091;

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