Bergedrrfer-zeitung.de is the website of a local daily newspaper established in Hamburg, Germany, in 1874. On July 25, 2013, the newspaper published an article in which two religious scholars from EZW (Protestant Association for Religious and Ideological Issues) exposed the nature of Falun Gong as pseudo-science and a political movement.
Senior Researcher Friedmann Eissler
Dr. Michael Utsch
Friedmann Eissler, a religious scholar from EZW, said that Falun Gong is a political movement more than a spiritual meditation. He said, “Falun Gong concealed its real purpose by organizing some events in China or Europe. They also launched advertisement campaigns to protest, falsely claiming that their human rights were violated in China. ” Friedmann said Falun Gong confused political movement with spiritual meditation. This is a key issue raised by Friedmann. His colleague Dr. Micheal Utsch added, “The movement has some elements that have been manipulated by people with motives (these people are trying to achieve their political purpose by this movement).” “It sounds amazing that a master can teach fantastic abilities such as having one-thousand miles eye or piercing through walls. But it is rather hard to help people understand it literally. So people, at most, get symbolic understanding of such a sentence. It is no more than a trick used to recruit followers.”
In an article released on ezw-berlin.de, Friedmann offered his opinion that Falun Gong was an exclusive movement though it included redemption in its teachings. According to this religious scholar, Falun Gong followers showcased that they are trying to get redemption under the leadership of Li Hongzhi and trying to confuse Chinese religions, theory of universe and Buddhist concepts with animism and modern scientific elements.
Dr. Friedmann is a senior researcher working for EZW. In 1986, he studied linguistics, theology and Islamic studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and completed his graduate coursework there. From 1999 to 2001, he served as a priest in a Lutheran Church in Wurttemberg. In 2001, he obtained his doctoral degree in theology, and won the Dr. Leopold Lucas Prize for Young Scientists from the University of Tubingen; from 2002 to 2007, he studied the science of religions as an assistant researcher in the University of Tubingen. Since 2008, he has been a senior researcher in EZW.
Dr. Michael is a German theologian, psychological therapist, and a religious psychologist. He studied Christian theology and psychology at theg University of Bonn. He is also a licensed doctor. From 1990 to 1996, he participated in clinical activities concerning the physical and mental rehabilitation of drug users. In 1995, he obtained his doctoral degree in psychology with his dissertation The Basic Features of Religious Psychology. Since 1997, he has worked as a senior researcher in EZW, and as a lecturer in the Department of Theology in Berlin. Since 2013, he has been an Honorary Professor at Evangel Tabor Academy in Marburg.