Church of Scientology
The Church of Scientology
This page: Introduction
The Church of Scientology is a commercial enterprise that masquerades as a religion, and that increasingly acts like a hate group. Scientology has a long history of hate and harassment activities, which - along with lying and deception - are condoned and encouraged in the cult's own ''scriptures.'' (See, for example, its ''dead agenting'' and ''fair game'' policies). This is why Apologetics Index classifies the organization as a hate group.
The Church of Scientology is a controversial new religion developed by L. Ron Hubbard as an extension of his earlier psychological theories of Dianetics. Drawing on ideas from Buddhist and Hindu religious philosophy, science fiction, and Western concepts in psychology and science, L. Ron Hubbard produced a religion that sees all human beings as immortal spirits (thetans) who have forgotten their identity and become deceived by the very universe they mentally emanated in order to amuse themselves. Scientology claims it can free the thetan to realize his or her true nature and powers through certain controversial procedures that allegedly heal the mind and free the spirit.
Summary from ''Is Scientology Compatible With Christianity?'' By John Weldon
The German government considers the Scientology organization a commercial enterprise with a history of taking advantage of vulnerable individuals and an extreme dislike of any criticism. The government is also concerned that the organization's totalitarian structure and methods may pose a risk to Germany's democratic society. Several kinds of evidence have influenced this view of Scientology, including the organization's activities in the United States.
Scientology and Germany, Germany Online
It it said that Scientology may well be the first cult to be done in by the Internet. That remains to be seen. But as the information referred to in this Apologetics Index entry will demonstrate, this commercial business - masquerading as a religion - rightly has come under intense scrutiny from individuals, organizations, Christian ministries, and governments.
The Church of Scientology responds to its critics with attacks, harrassment, false complaints of "religious persecution," and etcetera - thus belying its claim that is promotes high, ethical standards.
Scientology's Philosophy - a bird's-eye view
The basic tenets of Scientology result from an eclectic mixture of Eastern philosophy and the personal research of Hubbard into a variety of disciplines, as well as the ''data'' uncovered from ''auditing.'' Auditing is Scientology's ''counseling'' or extensive examination of the present life and ''past lives'' of the ''preclear,'' or initiate. In one of its many definitions, Hubbard has described Scientology as ''the Western Anglicized continuance of many earlier forms of wisdom.'' These include the Vedas, Taoism, Buddhism, Judaism, Gnosticism and early Greek civilization; and the teachings of Jesus, Nietzsche, and Freud. According to Hubbard, ''Scientology has accomplished the goal of religion expressed in all Man's written history, the freeing of the soul by wisdom.''
Scientology divides the mind into two components -- the analytic and the reactive, roughly parallel to the conscious or rational mind and unconscious or irrational mind. Experiences of extreme shock, pain, or unconsciousness cause ''engrams,'' or sensory impressions, to be recorded in the reactive mind. These mental pictures are, in turn, the cause of our emotional and even many physical problems today. They can be dislodged only through Scientology.
While these memory pictures are perfectly recorded, they lay dormant in the brain until restimulated by a similar incident. When restimulated, they cause conditioned, stimulus-response behavior which is counterproductive to one's well-being. Thus, when the brain sees a similar situation to a past threatening experience -- even though it is not now a threat to survival, it responds as if it were, producing a form of inappropriate and self-defeating behavior. For example, a boy falls out of a tree just as a red car passes by and is knocked unconscious. Later, even as a man, red cars (even red things) may restimulate the episode in various ways and cause irrational reactions. This man may thus refuse to ride in a red car and may even get ill or dizzy when confronted with the possibility.
In this sense, we are all more or less conditioned beings -- ''machines'' that simply respond to their operator (i.e., the reactive mind). Scientology believes this restimulation is fairly automatic. In other words, we are not free beings: we are slaves of an ''aberrated'' (reactive) mind. Scientology maintains that through Dianetic and/or Scientology therapy, we can be directly exposed to our engrams, ''erase'' them, and become ''clear,'' or in control of our behavior (''at cause'') rather than at the mercy of a damaged reactive mind (''at effect'').
Unfortunately, Scientology informs us, through reincarnation we have all been accumulating engrams for trillions of years. Thus, to resolve hidden engrams, not only must the initiate be mentally whisked back to reexperience the damaging events of this life, but of many past lives as well.
According to Scientology, each person is really a thetan, an immortal spirit who has been so damaged by engrams that he has forgotten he is immortal and even forgotten he is a thetan. Thetans have absolute control over their bodies, but, sadly, they think they are bodies (a terrible fate) and hence are bound by the MEST (matter, energy, space, time) universe. Each time a body dies, the thetan must enter another body, but this brings with it all its trillions of years' accumulation of engrams. Thetans thus are no longer free, but are in bondage to the material universe. Scientology claims it can free the thetan.
''Is Scientology Compatible With Christianity?'' (for references, see full article) By John Weldon
Where To Start
The process of freeing the thetan is a lengthy one. Costly, too. Scientologists pay fixed-price ''donations'' to work their way up to being completely ''clear'' (for information about Scientology's terminology, see these glossaries).
This is one reason why the Scientology organization closely guards its scriptures. After all, if people could see what Scientology's courses lead to, they'd likely not spend any money them.
Thus the Scientology organization uses censorship, spamming, and harassment tactics in its fight for control over, or access to, online information about its teachings and practices.
Nevertheless, a growing amount record of critical information regarding Scientology is available online.
For anything from a basic introduction to indepth information - from a secular perspective - visit Operation Clambake - easily the most extensive and best organized presentation of critical information. Additional sites are listed here. The Boston Herald's special report, ''Scientology Unmasked,'' also provides a good overview.
For information from a Christian perspective, addressing Scientology's theology - as well as its erroneous claims of being compatible with Christianity and other religions - see this overview by Dr. John Weldon, as well as the Scientology Comparative Religion Page.
Additional information from a Christian perspective includes this collection of articles published by Watchman Fellowship, and Margery Wakefield's What Christians Need to Know About Scientology.
It It A Religion?
A good number of religion academics - among whom some cult apologists - have, upon examining Scientology's religious trappings, declared the movement to be a ''religion.''
Merriam=Webster defines religion as:
1 a : the state of a religious <a nun in her 20th year of religion> b (1) : the service and worship of God or the supernatural (2) : commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance
2 : a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices
3 archaic : scrupulous conformity : CONSCIENTIOUSNESS
4 : a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith
Some governments, notably that of the United States of America, for whatever reason agree that Scientology is a religion. Advantages for Scientology include tax exemption and the ability to conduct certain practices without government oversight or interference.
Other academics and governments see the movement in a different light - a business (fraudulent or not) cloaked in religious garb, a danger to society, an anti-constitutional movement, or simply a danger to consumers.
On the so-called ''religious nature'' of Scientology, former top Scientologist Robert Vaughn Young provides this insight:
To those who don't know me, I was in Scientology for about 21 years. Until Jesse Prince stepped forward, I was the highest-ranking Scientology executive to speak about the organization without its approval. I served in and saw virtually every echelon of the organization, from a franchise where I started in 1969 to working directly with David Miscavige. About 18 of those years was spent in or senior to Dept. 20 (now called the Office the Special Affairs or OSA), the section that deals with the ''enemies'' of the organization, which comes to mean anyone who disagrees with or criticizes any aspect of Scientology, Hubbard or ''management.'' Thus it is Dept. 20 (and now also RTC) that deals with the media, the courts, government agencies, critics and ARS itself.
... on the religiosity of Scientology, I testified about my own role in creating the ''religious image'' that ranged from the programs that Dept. 20 had back in the early 70s (during the FDA trial) to do everything possible to make Scientology appear to be a religion, e.g., get crosses up, find a room and create a chapel, start ''Sunday Services,'' get the org listed in the phone book under ''churches'' etc.
I also testified how I had obtained ''religious recognition'' for Scientology from the Labor and State Departments. (More on this in a moment.)
When it came to offering my opinion, I said that I don't consider Scientology to be a ''religion'' because it wasn't being conducted as such in good faith. [...more...]
The publisher of Apologetics Index considers Scientology to be a dangerous, destructive philosophy, promoted by a commercial business that masquerades as a religion. In addition, given the organization's documented harassment tactics and other hate practices, he considers it to be a hate group.
Examining The Church of Scientology
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