Friday, 2 November 2007

From Science Fiction to Religion: Scientology Inc.

SYMBOL OF THE CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY

In recent years, Scientology has become a "celebrity" cult of sorts: Thanks to Tom Cruise and John Travolta, two of the most outspoken Hollywood Scientology advocates, Scientology has made it into the front lines of many news reports, and like other mainstream religions, it thrives on publicity, both good and bad, to expound on some of its rather incredulous beliefs, and the likes of Hollywood hillbillies like Tom Cruise and Co. merely add to the trendy side of the Scientology fad.


TOM CRUISE: SCIENTOLOGY EXTRAORDINAIRE

Scientology is not a recent phenomenon, however; since its first official inception in 1954, it has been around for more than five decades, and is just as well-established, if not more so, than some of its evangelistic counterparts of the Christian religion.

In this article, I shall attempt to explain the intricacies of Scientology, and hopefully satisfy the morbid curiosity of the readers.

ORIGINS

The word "Scientology" has little to do with the actual workings of real authentic science, even if it does sound eerily like the real thing.

The original meaning of the word, however, was the brainchild of a philologist, Allen Upward. In a bid to coin a new meaning to pseudoscience, which basically deals with the supernatural phenomenon, he had attempted to hijack the field of science to provide a shroud of legitimacy to the realms of the supernatural.

L.RON HUBBARD

While Allen Upward was instrumental in the creation of Scientology and its weird ethos, he did not bring it upon himself to propagate his ideals to the whole world.

That role was usurped by a science fiction writer, L.Ron Hubbard.

L.Ron Hubbard: Founder of Church of Scientology

Using Allen's ideals, Hubbard managed to set up the Church of Scientology and build upon his beliefs, some of which are hilariously funny, that one would suspect that part of it seemed to be inspired by the purported UFO incident in Roswell.

THE XENU INCIDENT: PART COMEDY, ALL FRAUD

According to Hubbard:

1. Around 75 million years ago, Xenu, a galactic tyrant of sorts, first kidnapped certain individuals who were supposedly deemed surplus to requirements in their own planet, and exiled them to the planet of Teegeeack (Earth) via special inter-galactic spaceships.

2. These wretched individuals, known as Thetans, were already abused by Xenu through a series of wanton destruction and brainwashing (Could George Bush be a Thetan???)

3. Xenu was supposed to stack hundreds of billions of these abused victims around Earth's volcanoes before blowing them up with hydrogen bombs.

4.The souls of these dead Thetans managed to survive the holocaust, and subsequently clustered around human bodies, possessing them. These "body thetans", souls of dead thetans seeking bodily refuge in homo sapiens, can only be removed using advanced Scientology techniques.

5. Xenu, the archetypal intergalactic warlord, is allegedly imprisoned in a mountain by a force field powered by an eternal battery.

If you find these ideas fundamentally absurd, consider the sheer ludicrousness of the bible: Stories of global floods, talking snakes and parting waters are just as fictitious as this looney Scientology tale, and incredible as it may seem to be, the more fantastical the tale, the larger the congregation. This axiom is applicable to every other religion that has predated the existence of Scientology.

THE E-METER


THE E-METER: GUARANTEED TO BLOW YOUR MIND AWAY

Like other major religions, the church of scientology has its own set of weapons to deal with the "unclean, supernatural world".

While the Church Fathers exorcise demons with holy water and crosses, Scientologists prefer to harness the power of digital technology of putting things right, in line with what Scientologists consider as "legitimate science".

E-Meter (Electro-pyscho meter): A portable device that resembles a portable radio, with two wired dido-shaped rods attached to it. John Travolta and Tom Cruise both swear by it. So, how exactly do you use this apparatus, other than shoving it up into the place "where the sun doesn't shine"?

The process of using this rather erotic-looking device, referred to as auditing, requires the user to hold the rods in both hands. The E-meter will then measure the mental state or change of state of a person. The auditor and the parishioner will then assess the mental and spiritual state of the user through the readers and advises the user accordingly.

Besides the fact that there is absolutely no scientific proof to back up its mental-imaging properties, the instrument is built in such a ridiculously crude manner that one actually wonders whether the rods are actually crafted by and for porn stars!


OTHER BELIEFS


Other more centralized beliefs include:

1. A person is an immortal spiritual being (termed a thetan) who possesses a mind and a body.

2.The thetan has lived through many past lives and will continue to live beyond the death of the human body.

3. A person is basically good, but becomes "aberrated" by moments of pain and unconsciousness in his life.

4. What is true for you is what you have observed yourself. No beliefs should be forced as "true" on anyone. Thus, the tenets of Scientology are expected to be tested and seen to either be true, or not, by Scientology practitioners.

Immortality, oppressed Thetans, evil galactic warlords: What more can you ask for?

If anything, Ron Hubbard has proven one thing: If you peddle bullshit by packaging it with a religious tone, people are going to buy it; crap, packaging and all. And remember to slap a few Hollywood faces: Branding is just as crucial to the commercial world as the religious one.

CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY: EDUCATING THE MASSES WITH UNADULTERATED CRAP

Just like its Christian counterparts, the Church of Scientology is firmly entrenched at grassroots level, with many programs set up to propagate Scientology crap.

Ever since the Church of Scientology was first incorporated in Camden, New Jersey as a non-profit organization in 1953, numerous Scientology-funded programs have sprung up all over America.

This includes:

1.Drug treatment centers (Narconon);

2.Criminal rehab programs (Criminon);

3. Activities to reform the field of mental health (Citizens Commission on Human Rights);

4. Projects to implement Hubbard's educational methods in schools (Applied Scholastics);

5.A "moral values" campaign (The Way to Happiness);

6. World Institute of Scientology Enterprises, or WISE, which licenses Hubbard's management techniques for use in businesses;

7. A consulting firm based on Hubbard's management techniques (Sterling Management Systems);

8. A publishing company, e-Republic, which publishes Government Technology and Converge magazines and coordinates the Center for Digital Government;

9. A campaign directed to world leaders, as well as the general public, to implement the 1948 United Nations document "The Universal Declaration of Human Rights" (with particular emphasis on the religious freedom elements).

10. An organization dedicated to bettering plant and animal life on Earth that applies Scientology tools, such as "The Dynamics" (Earth Organization)

Clearly, the Church of Scientology is very well-organized, and are certainly a force to be reckoned with.

CULTS OF THE FUTURE?

The success of the Scientology Church may perhaps be an indication of what is in store: More cults springing up in religion-mad America, attempting to share a slice of the profitable, religious cake.

While religious groups remain dominated by evangelistic, megachurches, it would be interesting to see Scientology-wannabes taking up the challenge of unhorsing the monopoly of Christian evangelism over the religious throngs, although from an atheistic point of view, it can be depressing to see people falling for such unspeakable nonsense.



"I condemn false prophets, I condemn the effort to take away the power of rational decision, to drain people of their free will - and a hell of a lot of money in the bargain. Religions vary in their degree of idiocy, but I reject them all.

For most people, religion is nothing more than a substitute for a malfunctioning brain."


- Gene Roddenberry, American Screen Writer and Producer, best known for his work, "Star Trek"



8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well, I learned something today. I never knew what Scientology stood for, the history and all that.Sounded pretty weird, but so does the bible. But Scientology struck me as really absurd, I think only because I'm used to hearing about the bible more.
What next are people going to come up with???
I love the quote from Roddenberry.

Anonymous said...

The first comment was me, Tina,I'll try later to sign in again...have to go for now.

Larro said...

Yep, no different that any other religion.

Gene is the man! Along with Douglas Adams.

tina said...

hey again, checking my comment ability...

handmaiden said...

Scientology, what a load of crap! Religion with a twist... but, as you point out, it's just as plausible as Christianity. It seems that People are capable of believing anything.

Is it because we that that old maxim to heart that says "anything is possible?"

A. said...

When you really think about it, we should all be frightened that adults all over the world actually believe this crap.

Your post reminded me of something Bill Maher said: that Mormonism is "Scientology without the celebrities."

Carry on, Larro!

Pyramidhead said...

So I'm to take a cult started by a bad science fiction writer for real. Sounds like bullshit. He was just like any other con/holy man. someone will always buy into the bullshit.

Anonymous said...

You Americans are really funny. All these new weird religions come from America. Although I am an atheist (humanist) I believe that some good has come from the three mono religions. As far as I know, none of them are 'cults'. Only Islam has a deterrent to leaving it's religion. Atheist may hoo and haa, but many, many people have been killed not only in the name of religion, but by atheists- you all know who these dictators are and you continuously chose to rationalize their behavior through pseudo science of your own. As human beings we are all illogical, acting on feelings, compulsions, and other non scientific/rational impulses. Before you denigrate other peoples beliefs, look at yourself IN TOTAL, all your actions and reactions, guaranteed none of you are pure rational beings. Morons.