Since Tom Cruise has made it famous, scientology has become more well known over the past few years. However, the question still remains: is Scientology a cult, or a legitimate way of life? In this post, I will attempt to address this issue.
First things first, we must define “cult”. According to dictionary.com, the dominant definition for Cult is as follows:
“a particular system of religious worship, esp. with reference to its rites and ceremonies.”
I am willing to admit that any group religious has the attributes listed in the definition above, and therefore is in some degree a cult. However, there are some things about scientology that make me question its true intentions. First, the founder of scientology, Ron Hubbard, was not a very “Jesus” like figure. In fact, Hubbard was in jail for four years for fraud. Now I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want to be part of a “religion” that was invented by a man who was charged for fraud (of all things).
So who is Ron Hubbard. Well, besides a jailbird, he is a science fiction writer. In fact, many of the tenets from his religion are the product from his writings. Interestingly, Hubbard wrote “All men are your slaves” in a journal entry which was dug up during a 1984 lawsuit. That’s the tip of the iceburg; it’s a pretty bumpy past for this man.
I went to the scientology website. The first thing I noticed was the how the word was spelled. The “i” in the beginning of the word is very obviously shaped as the Christian cross (picture to the right). In fact, this image is present on many of this “religion’s” clothing and merchandise. Why would any respectable religion use a symbol from another? And believe me, it is CLEARLY the cross which elecits thoughts of Christianity. Now I am an understanding person – but sorry, that is a crock. It is apparent that scientology is attempting to pull on the “heart strings” and relate to people of the dominant world religion; a great way to spark interest.
So what about the secrets of scientology? Well, to put it simply, the more money you give, the more you get to know (the higher stages you get to obtain). Ever wonder why so many hollywood stars are attracted? Well, Hubbard kept adding steps, each more costly, for his followers to climb. In the 1960s the guru decreed that humans are made of clusters of spirits (or “thetans”) who were banished to earth some 75 million years ago by a cruel galactic ruler named Xenu. Sounding like a sci-fi book yet? I think so.
From my perspective, scientology appears to be a cult. The rites of passage from this cult accompany a hefty investment. If scientology is not a cult, it surely seems like one of those money scams. Although, that is not surprising considering the founder was a fraud-artist.