When scapegoating is sold as a conflict management tool.
The Church of Scientology offers a few free so-called personal development courses on a variety of topics.
Among them, “How To Resolve Conflicts” is promoted via their official YouTube Channel, in a video called “Scientology Explains How To Resolve Conflicts”.
The Church claims to be able to teach anyone how to handle ALL CONFLICT — anything from friendly quarrels to marital issues, to world wars.
“What a wonderful tool this must be”, some viewers may think.
Well, like most things Church of Scientology (COS)— related, things seem better than they are.
Upon closer consideration, one can quickly notice that some of the claims and promises made by the incredibly controversial org are questionable, to say the least.
Here are a few examples:
- “[..] it’s not natural for friends or colleagues to quarrel or deteriorate into open hostility.” — They start from the false premise that conflict itself is an unnatural occurrence, when in fact, conflict and the related emotions, such as anger, frustration, and sadness, are all part of a human being’s so-called normal life.
- When they present a couple fighting — in an inept sketch where after dinner, he says he has to leave because “he has a thing”, she immediately starts accusing him of cheating, and he calls her “crazy” — the video introduces the idea that whenever two parties engage in conflict, it is not them who caused the fight. “As no one else is around, the obvious thing to assume is that they caused the fight” — “You see, neither of them actually caused the fight”.
And then they go on to reveal their amazing discovery:
“In Scientology, it was discovered that there was a fundamental and natural law of human relations, which explains the real underlying cause of all human conflicts.”
Several problems with that:
- The overgeneralization — they claim their finding applies to all conflicts.
- The idea that it is a law — meaning it’s universal, it affects everyone and everything in the same way.
- They don’t mention the source of the amazing discovery. At least not in this video. On their website, the COS mentions that the conflict resolution tool was discovered by none other than the inventor of Scientology, prolific sci-fi writer L. Ron Hubbard.
“The previously unknown law would seem to be this: a third-party must be present and unknown in every quarrel for a conflict to exist.”
This is the all-conflict solving tool. It’s a statement that is known to Scientologists as “The Third-Party Law”.
This is the method they want to teach to those who decide to enroll in their course.
Call it whatever you like, but it’s just scapegoating.
Let me explain why it’s complete BS, and even more, a dangerous perspective and method to use in shaping one’s social connections.
- The Third-Party Law strips the two conflicting parties of all responsibility regarding their connection, and their disagreements.
- It’s based on the idea that whenever there’s a conflict, there’s also an interested party that instigated it. This will make a person following the Third-Party Law distrust many contacts, always look for the one who ruined their perfect life by seeding conflict, and continuously avoid direct involvement in solving one’s issues with others.
- The Third-Party Law is creating a false sense of perfection in anyone following the Church of Scientology and its methods. If anytime you argue with someone, you think that you are perfect and therefore, could have never caused the issue, then that’s a neverending source to boost one’s narcissism and unfounded self-esteem.
How would one apply the amazing conflict resolution tool called The Third-Party Law, you ask?
It’s easy, the COS says.
Simply find the instigator, confront them about their involvement in your conflicts with others, and boom, it’s all gone.
However, the COS fails to say how on Earth is one going to solve the new conflict — the person you’ve just blamed for your crappy life vs. you.
But that’s not something that the Church of Scientology would concern itself with.
Because the whole thing is only meant to serve the Church of Scientology itself.
The Third-Party Law is not a guide on how to manage your everyday connections, no.
It’s a tool that indirectly teaches a person how to manage the doubt linked to their participation as a member of the Church of Scientology.
It’s brilliantly simple, you see.
If one’s a Scientologist and somehow comes across someone else’s criticism of the church, on top of calling that person an SP — or Suppressive Person, they get to blame this individual if the relationship with the COS goes sour.
If you bring the issue to the COS, and conflict arises, you would be told to look for whoever created that conflict — based on the Third-Party Law, you know the cause it’s not you, and it’s not the COS.
So, it must be the SP, the critic.
And thus, the squeaky wheels of Scientology keep turning.
Hopefully, if more of their abusive and deceptive methods are exposed, they’ll stop turning soon enough.
This is a summary of the main article posted on my website, Psychology Corner. You can read it entirely, here:
Alternatively, you can listen to the audio version, on YouTube.
Thank you for reading.