Sunday, July 8, 2012

All Religions are Cults

Recent criticism that Scientology is more cult than religion have resurfaced due to the split between the golden boy of Scientology, Tom Cruise, and his wife Katy Holmes.

I refer to Scientology as a religion as it conforms with my source definition and understanding of a religion:

religion |riˈlijən|
nounbelief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, esp. a personal God or gods• details of belief as taught or discussed• a particular system of faith and worship
• pursuit or interest to which someone ascribes supreme importance

The definition references origins of the word which cite meanings of "obligation" "bond" "reverence" and in addition from the Latin "religare" to bind.
Mac OS X Dictionary widget*

An Australian TV program today presented a segment asking "is Scientology an evil cult?" (channel 7 morning show). It was segueing from the "TomKat" split to questions of the religion. The "evil cult" question and any answers proffered (I didn't hang around watching to find out what the invited guests thought or discussed) though are pretty irrelevant. Why pick on Scientology at all for critical examination when other religions expect equal forms of irrational devotion. And, what measures are critics using to warrant asking is Scientology an "evil cult"?

The popular myth that Scientology's beliefs and behaviours are "evil" and "cult" like, as apposed to conventional religion/s, perpetuates because it relies upon fear and ignorance (easy to exploit). Those asking these questions miss the biggest implication of all by what they ask which is of course the corollary question that are all religions cult like and dangerous (evil is valid, in its true meaning, but as most imbue this word with mystical religious overtone, which I do not intend, I'll stick with dangerous). Inspirational places of worship be they churches, halls of assembly, mosques, synagogues, etc., are religions' theatres for reinforcing their particular/peculiar form of ignorance. Faith, hope, salvation, specialness, company, community, meaning of existence, understanding, support, love, acceptance, material value, are all exploited by religions as we all desire a balance or wealth of such things, because it is human to do so.  

Without going into a full blown argument which requires a degree in comparative religion lets look at some simple facts and compare in order to contrast Scientology against three of the major acceptable religions of our day.

Scientologists believe humans are vessels for a spiritual thinking-life force from the universe, an alien soul in fact (which suffered horribly in the past and need help and authoritative nurturing to safely remember this). That the human form in any time frame could be one of hundreds or thousands of  physical containers of this alien life-force, but the humans are of course unaware of their alien soul and that they the Thetan containers have a significant role and purpose. The aim is to reveal this (at a price) and gain awareness of the past lives already lived by this immortal(?) "spirit/thetan". As you do learn and become aware, you move up in the order as well. There are a set of rules and lessons to be learnt which allows the faithful (who can pay) to rise. The order or levels determine the awareness of the human/Thetan of his/her divinity (perhaps not the best word but it would seem the spirit of the aim). There is a code of conduct concerning ethical behaviour and that the highest of ethical levels to attain is that of the preservation of the Scientology way and any elements of secrecy which outsiders and/or lesser equipped followers must not know for their own protection. The information could kill you without the appropriate preparations. Scientology on the face of it proffers similar end game consequences for doing good or bad works. It recommends being ethical and moral in your life. It has a prophet and various seers to interpret the messages of the prophet and his interconnection with the universal spirit/controller. It appears to be no less or more sincere, no less or more outlandish in its claims than other religions. Scientology is very secretive (protective of its truths) and publishes very little outside of the fold, my sources are included below and I have to defer to them. 
South Park, Alien souls being frozen for transport, still from "What Scientologist actually believe", clip - link below
Christians believe humanity and everything else was created by God in 7 days. That we are all born with "original sin" (Adam and Eve's unseemly expulsion from the heavenly Eden) which by virtue of being baptised protects us from an instant pathway to Hell upon our sudden infant death should that occur.

About Leeanneart

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Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
We are first and foremost human with a responsibility to the humanity within us and not to any faith, political, apolitical, social or societal group, union or faction. We are responsible for our own reputation, and for what deeds we do and what achievements or otherwise in life we enjoy. The rest is nonsense.