Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard described Scientology as "the Western Anglicized continuance of many earlier forms of wisdom", and cites the teachings of Jesus among belief systems of those "earlier forms". Jesus is recognized in Scientology as part of its "religious heritage," and "is seen as only one of many good teachers."
Contradicting the Christian concept of Jesus' "atonement of mankind's sins" through his death on the cross, Hubbard states in the Volunteer Ministers Handbook that "Man is basically good, but he could not attain expression of this until now. Nobody but the individual could die for his own sins - to arrange things otherwise was to keep man in chains."
In Scientology, Jesus is classified as below the level of Operating Thetan, and described by L. Ron Hubbard as being a "shade above" the condition of "Clear," similar to the group's view of the Buddha.
In the 2008 book Vintage Jesus: Timeless Answers to Timely Questions, authors Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breshears write: "According to Scientology, Jesus is an 'implant' forced upon a thetan about a million years ago". In A Piece of Blue Sky, Jon Atack writes "In confidential issues, Hubbard dismissed Christian teaching as an 'implant.' ... In confidential materials Hubbard attacked Christianity as an 'implant,' and said that Christ was a fiction."
Hubbard is quoted as stating that Christianity evolved from the "R6 Implant": "The man on the cross. There was no Christ! The Roman Catholic Church, through watching the dramatizations of people picked up some little fragments of R6."
Hubbard described the belief that the Christian heaven is "the product of two implants dating back more than 43 trillion years." He said further that heaven is a "false dream" that leads thetans to a goal that does not exist, and persuades them of the singularity of this life.
In OT VIII, dated 1980, Hubbard explains the document is intended for circulation only after his death. Its purpose is to explain the untold story of Hubbard's life's work. Hubbard explains that the reader has "undoubtedly heard pieces of data over the years that hinted at the greater untold reality of my mission here on Earth" but "the story was never written, nor spoken... It is only now that I feel it safe to release the information".
In the document, Hubbard teaches that "the historic Jesus was not nearly the sainted figure [he] has been made out to be. In addition to being a lover of young boys and men, he was given to uncontrollable bursts of temper and hatred". Hubbard mentions the Book of Revelation and its prophecy of a time when "an arch-enemy of Christ, referred to as the anti-Christ, will reign". According to Hubbard, the "anti-Christ represents the forces of Lucifer". Hubbard writes "My mission could be said to fulfill the Biblical promise represented by this brief anti-Christ period."
In the book New Religions and the Theological Imagination in America (1995) by Mary Farrell Bednarowski, the author comments that "In the game of life as Scientology understands it, sin does not call for repentance as much as it does the eradication of error, and that must come through the technology, the auditing process, sometimes referred to as pastoral counseling. In fact, in regard to getting rid of sin, Scientology sees parallels between the goals of its technology and Jesus's saving action." Bednarowski quotes from the Scientology publication The Scientology Catechism in noting these parallels between the stated mission of Scientologists and the teachings imparted by Christ to his disciples. She notes that Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard is not regarded in Scientology as a "divine savior", but rather a "loved friend and teacher". Writing in Signs of the Times: The New Religious Movements in Theological Perspective (1996), John A. Saliba cites Mary Bednarowski, and goes on to note "Helle Medgaard asserts that Scientology also misunderstands Jesus and repudiates the key Christian doctrine of the forgiveness of sins." In his book The Sociology of Religious Movements (1996), William Sims Bainbridge cites the research of Roy Wallis, in noting "Scientology ... has no discernible connection to Christianity".
In 1997, Scientology administrator Peggy Crawford said in a statement to The Commercial Appeal: "We definitely believe in God and we believe in individuals as spiritual beings." Professor Paul Blankenship of the Memphis Theological Seminary studied Scientology and commented on this view, saying "They do not do a lot of talking about God or Jesus. It's more getting your mind cleared, and I could see how they could say that that could be compatible. Scientology has not really developed into a complete religious tradition. They may very well develop."
The Church of Scientology claims that their belief system is different from Christianity because it is based "solely on reason" and that its members "possess a practical system of ethics and justice." The church likewise claims that "anything religious teachers said or Buddha promised, even the visions of Christianity, are attained in Scientology as a result." Muck, Netland and McDermott emphasize that this clearly shows that Scientology is incompatible with Christianity.