Tom Cruise has made Scientology famous after his notorious couch-jumping Oprah episode and his critical comments directed toward Brooke Shields after she treated her post-partum depression with antidepressants.
Since I have been exploring religions on this site, I thought that the whole scientology trend is interesting enough for some commentary. There are two points that I wish to make concerning Scientology. First, I want to mention what Scientology says it is, according to its website, and my basic impressions and opinions of Scientology. (Again, my goal is not to offend, but I am clearly in opposition to some of Scientology’s basic premises, just to give fair warning.)
According to the website, Scientology is a religion invented by L. Ron Hubbard, who is a science fiction writer. “Scientology is about the individual man or woman. Its goal is to bring an individual to a sufficient understanding of himself and his life and free him to improve conditions in the way that he sees fit,” as the website states. There are two aspects of Scientology: Dianetics and the religious side of Scientology.
Dianetics, from my basic impression, although the website link to this concept would not open, is most likely related to the purging of mind and body from harmful things like chemicals, medicines, and other food materials that do not contribute to having a clear mind and body. It may also have something to do with psychological treatment. Not really sure. The link on the website had an error.
In any case, the website also says that “Scientology follows a long tradition of religious practice. Its roots lie in the deepest beliefs and aspirations of all great religions, thus encompassing a religious heritage as old and as varied as man himself.”
The thing is, here are my basic impressions and opinions. Again, after only having briefly read the website, so I’m no expert. A scientologist does not need to feel threatened by me, and people don’t need me to convert them or turn them away.
Scientology is not a religion really about God. It’s about the individual. In which case, it’s not about reliance on an outside source; it’s about reliance on yourself (and technology, which the website keep insisting it has…)
I wonder what the services would look like? Instead of the Apostle’s Creed and the Lord’s Prayer, would it be more like a reading of Walt Whitman’s Song of Myself or passages from Ralph Waldo Emerson? In my personal opinion, it’s rather silly to say that you align yourself from traditional practices of all religions. What the crap does that MEAN? Does one kind of cut and paste ideas into a scrapbook in order to accomplish that? (Imaginary dialogue in my head: “Well, I kind of like the arms of that Hindu chick, and I think it’s cool when Tibetan monks meditate, do martial arts and wear orange, so let’s have a little of that!”)
I just don’t get it. If you take pieces of traditional religions, then the religion ceases to be traditional. This is a religion invented in 1955, for heaven’s sake.
I like the emphasis in Scientology about getting involved in the issues of social justice, and I wish more churches were less self-involved in their theological issues and hangups and more involved in the world around them. If we can’t say that we’re caring and compassionate, then why do we even bother to exist? It shouldn’t just be about us getting to heaven and waiting for the riches to fall all around our heads when we get there, but about representing God’s kingdom on earth while we’re here.
I would have a really hard time relying on L. Ron Hubbard to tell me what to do in terms of my life and in terms of my religion. I have heard of cases in which Scientologists refused medical treatments, which deeply worries me. Are there abuses of medical treatments and pills as people try to drown out the physical signs of psychological and physical stress? Of course. Are too many kids given ADHD meds when their issues are more psychological and bad parenting? Most definitely. But it doesn’t mean that all ADHD medication is bad. I have worked with some students who would never get through their high school education without it.
From what I can see, Scientology looks like it could very easily be taken over and turned into a huge corporation dedicated to profiting off of the emotional basket cases in the world. It could very easily become a network of control and political string-pulling. Creepy.
Basically, it’s a mish-mash of a pick-and-choose your truth philosophy. If you want to believe it, go ahead. Just make sure that you use the technology and preserve your body and mind by eliminating unnatural medications and food products. No wonder so many celebrities in Hollywood are for this. This is a religion for the rich and famous–those who can afford to shop at organic grocery stores and pay for special psychoanalysts. In terms of practical health, I can’t see that it is really that reliable.
Website: If you feel the need to research deeper than my cursory glance at the site, here’s the link for your convenience. Try not to send me hate mail. If you are a Scientologist, you can avoid being offended by simply shaking your head at my abundant ignorance and tsk-tsking.