Is Scientology a on the Rise Religion or Cult? The Church of Scientology is a well known and on the rise religion. A large number of people are expressing it as their religion of choice. Scientology is a religion that does not have an extended past, in spite of this it does bring up various questions from people who are unfamiliar with Scientology beliefs. Surprisingly, though, it has seldom been subjected to any extensive thorough study by historians of religions, the main reason is the tremendous amount of secrecy that has surrounded the church from its beginning.
A lot of uncertainties come about for the reason that Scientologists are very secretive in their practices, several which are not even made known to the church members until they have been involved with the religion for a number of years. Many people think of Scientology as an “out there” religion because it is not the traditional religion with a higher being but instead it is a spiritual religion. For the most part people think that Scientology is a religion meant for individuals who are weird or who may be uncaring because it is not the traditional religion.
A great deal of people perceive that Scientology is not an authentic religion but instead a cult. In this essay, I hope to clarify how Scientology started, show the major beliefs that Scientologists embrace and discuss various customs and procedures that they follow. Scientology is a religion more than a cult because much of its leadership, teachings, belief structure, charitable missions and community involvement are similar to other traditional religions.
Scientology’s foundation can be followed back to Dianetics; however, the accounts of its beginning are mostly secretive. L. Ronald Hubbard, whom is the founder of Dianetics, used scientific methodology to the struggles of human existence; the result was Dianetics. The beliefs of Dianetics soon after progressed into The Church of Scientology. The Church of Scientology was first incorporated in 1953. In 1954, Hubbard formally launched the first Church Of Scientology in Washington, D. C.
The classification of Scientology as a religion in the U. S. was long and drawn out and still is controversial. The church had a lengthy struggle with the Internal Revenue Service to become classified as a religion. In 1993, the IRS ultimately gave The Church of Scientology the status of being a religion, but the grant is not without conflict. “Scientology has always had a rather stormy history, having to deal with critics, ex-members turned enemies, deprogrammers, and the United States Government” (“The Church of Scientology”).
Scientology is a group or institution that is on the edge of being psychology or a religion, it is very controversial, some describe it as a cult but others believe it is a business enterprise. The innovations of Scientology are beliefs that clarify the basic laws of life. It clarifies why individuals act the way they do, the hurdles to survival and how to deal with them. “The basis of their belief is that man is far more than a product of his environment, or his genes, and is in fact an immortal spiritual being whose experience extends well beyond a single lifetime” (Emery).
Scientology has to do with the spirit of the human being, together with how it connects to the universe and the creator. Scientologists disagree with the belief of everlasting life in heaven and hell. They have faith in reincarnation where an individual passes through numerous lifetimes. It is hard to compare this application of science and technology with religions such as Islam, Judaism, Christianity and Hinduism. Islam teaches that an individual is only capable of finding peace in their life by submitting to Almighty God, Allah, in heart, soul and deed (Huda).
Judaism is a monotheistic faith, referring that Jews believe there is just one God (Pelaia). Christianity is a major religion, coming from the life, teachings and death of Jesus (Stefon). Hinduism is set apart by the belief in reincarnation, one absolute that appears in several forms, the law of cause and effect, following the path of righteousness, and the goal being released from the sequence of births and deaths (Das). Hinduism cannot be effectively placed into one individual belief system.
Different from other religions, Hinduism is a lifestyle, a Dharma, to be precise, the law that governs all action. It has its own unique beliefs, way of life, enhanced moral principles, meaningful traditions, ideas and spirituality. The focal point of Scientology, though, is not completely unlike how Buddha, Confucius, Christ or Muhammad would teach their followers where the main belief is living in the boundaries of a certain way of life with the acceptance and awareness of important beliefs other than the worship of a supreme being.
Buddhism is a spiritual belief that concentrates on individual spiritual growth and the realization of a profound insight into the real nature of life. There is no belief in a specific god. They believe that life is eternal because people are reincarnated time and again and are subjected to pain throughout several lives (Buddhism at a Glance). Confucianism religious observance is focused on offerings to the deceased. The view of responsibility is broadened past the limits of ethics and takes on the reality of existence (Shinn).
Faith goes beyond a hypothetical faith in Christ; it is a system of action. Believers will want to ask for forgiveness for their sins, in other words, they will be eager to alter their ideas and actions that are not in harmony with the beliefs of Jesus Christ (How does faith in Jesus Christ affect my life? ). Islam is guided by Prophet Muhammad. “Muhammad instilled into his followers sincerity and commitment to the good of all; to have a passion for service and sacrifice aimed at the welfare of all” (Salam).
Prophet Muhammad’s teachings is called Islam that stands for peace — the peace an individual reaches currently in this world, in addition to the everlasting peace an individual can reach in the other world by living a life of compliance to Allah Almighty. Critics believe that The Church of Scientology is clearly, structured more similar to a cult than a religious organization. “The church does raise funds in unorthodox fashions.
Rather than passing an offering plate, recommending a tithe or expecting adherents to perform services for the church, it has a pay-as-you-go system” (Standish), in which scientologists pay for auditing sessions, which are similar to mental therapy, at the time they receive them. However, just as, in the majority of traditional religions, they have collection boxes, correct? Believers make donations to traditional churches, correct? In addition, if believers are devoted church goers and followers, it is assumed that they will donate a reasonable amount, or they will be viewed as being selfish.
For their donation, they are taught from the Bible, and they learn various beliefs pertaining to how to live their life. One might question why this is not the same with the Church of Scientology, where believers make a donations to get auditing sessions, and they get spiritual freedom in return. Scientology can be judged as one of the most suspicious religions in America, because its supporters trust that they have a duty to save themselves and at times, the world.
In addition, its critics can essentially counteract a Scientologists claim by labeling it a cult. The Church of Scientology has given rise to criticism several times, from the time the church was established in 1953. Several people and groups from traditional religions consider Scientology a cult. The most debatable of all Scientology’s customs is the idea of paying for religious materials, assistance, therapy and progression in the church.
Critics suggest that religion and faith ought to be without charge, not something that has to be paid for time and again. These critics think that by taking the donations of devoted followers, that the Church of Scientology is prohibiting the expression of free will to its followers, as a result causing it to be more of a selfish cult than a religion. Critics think that because the church has its followers pay for auditing sessions, they are manipulating thieves, who would go to the extent of abusing its own followers into handing over everything. Scientology’s critics view the religious beliefs of the organization as mere trappings on an ingenious business scheme from which its founder and organization accumulated immense wealth” (Standish). The allegation of moneymaking is not lacking proof, but every single religion present nowadays and all through history asked for donations money from its followers. It would be hard to assume that Scientology is something other than a religion. The Scientology belief structure goes well past that of a usual sophisticated business establishment or theoretical organization.
Scientology gives not just a system by which to live life, but furthermore gives clarifications for the common who are we, why are we here, and where are we going questions. This belief structure consists of the principles of reincarnation and teachings on the beginning of the human race and the earth’s function in the greater universe. Despite the fact that “Scientology does not have a traditional view of God, it does teach the existence of a sort of pantheistic higher power, which its adherents refer to as God” (Standish).
As well, Scientologists are engaged with numerous charitable activities that are characteristic of religious organizations, together with a drug-free society strategy for which they have gotten a great deal of credit and respect. Since the Church of Scientology has a way of life that is at odds with the majority of traditional religions, there are many critics that are dead set against them, and they have many suspicions on if they are an authentic religion. The Church of Scientology traditions include globally creating missions that provide assistance to the most deprived people in the world so they can have peace. Scientologists are actively engaged in helping those around them in many ways, from drug prevention programs to blood drives, from emergency relief services with the Red Cross to walk-a-thons sponsored by the March of Dimes” (“What Does Scientology Do For Society? “). Critics believe that although Scientology insists that it is a religion that assists individuals with enhancing themselves and their lives, Scientology, its huge gains and contributions from famous members unquestionably structures a cultish business.
The church puts great importance on supporting charitable and community improvement groups. Thus, its image is improved and its technique of “clearing the planet” is made easier. Scientologists live drug-free lives and work all through the year to put a stop to drug abuse and addiction. While evaluating the negative outcomes of drug use, Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard wrote, “The planet has hit a barrier which prevents any widespread social progress—drugs and other biochemical substances.
These can put people into a condition which not only prohibits and destroys physical health but which can prevent any stable advancement in mental or spiritual well-being. ” The Church of Scientology leads a worldwide crusade against drugs, joining concerned community organizations and presenting community awareness meetings, drug prevention conventions and educational seminars. The Church of Scientology supports the world’s biggest non-political drug education and prevention movement.
Scientologists try to move themselves back to their original, early spirits, they try to attain this by living an extremely strict lifestyle, in addition to intense soul searching, that is called auditing. The auditing practice in Scientology is similar to mental therapy but is completed within the restrictions of the religion. “Scientology auditing is a unique form of personal spiritual counseling which helps people look at their own existence and improves their ability to confront what they are and where they are” (“Scientology Auditing: Spiritual Counseling for a Better Life”).
All auditing sessions have a charge, which is paid at the time that services are provided. The church though, does offer auditing to those in need at a reduced cost, depending on the exact circumstances or difficulty. The Church of Scientology rejects the advantages of mental treatment or examination beyond the church because its beliefs on the nature of human being disagree considerably from that of the scientific organizations. The reason for auditing and training is to move persons to an advanced state of spiritual existence or to cross the bridge to total freedom.
Former member Jason Beghe states: “Scientology delivers what it promises under the guise of tearing away falsity, neuroses, psychoses. It creates a brainwashed, robotic version of you. It’s a ‘Matrix’ of you, so you’re communicating with people all the time using Scientology. So we’re seeing you ‘via’ Scientology. And it creates an addiction, so you come back for more. ” The philosophical and social restrains used by the Church of Scientology cause many Scientologists to be wary of non-Church members, particularly medical doctors.
After reading this essay, readers should have a better idea of what Scientology is, and how it is organized. By looking at the structure, leadership, teachings as well as the similarities to other more traditional religions readers can make their own decision on if Scientology is indeed a religion. The question of is Scientology a religion or not varies according to individual opinions of the information. An individual might think that L. Ron Hubbard was a selfish person that transformed his self-help business into a religion to build tax-free wealth and that his beneficiaries have kept it unchanged today.
Then again, an individual might think that Scientology plainly teaches religious beliefs and brings together the religious desires of its believers, and that it degrades the spirit of religious freedom to label an individual’s belief as not having the standing of a legitimate religion simply for the reason that it is untraditional and new. An individual might think that L. Ron Hubbard was not a truthful person, but his believers are truthful and, thus, are worthy of the standing of a legitimate religious denomination.
In regards to is Scientology a religion or a cult, might be best resolved, not as a result of judging Scientology’s beliefs and traditions to that of an individuals specific belief, but to be more accurate one can evaluate the criticisms of Scientology with the criticisms of their particular belief in its beginning. As far as claiming that someone’s group is an unacceptable religion, it is wise to be vigilant in making such claims. Works Cited Adams, Bob. “Church Of Scientology Backs UN Drug Demand Reduction Strategy – Yahoo! News. ” Yahoo! News – Latest News ; Headlines. July 2012. Web. 21 Oct. 2012. Beghe, Jason. “5 Giant Companies Who Brainwash Their Employees. ” 26 June 2012. Web. 21 Oct. 2012. “Buddhism At A Glance. ” Buddhism. 17 Nov. 2009. Web. 17 Oct. 2012. Cox, Roger A. “Scientology. ” Sept. 2003: Print. Das, Subhamoy. “Hinduism For Beginners – What Is Hinduism? ” About Hinduism – What You Need to Know About Hinduism. Web. 17 Oct. 2012. Emery, Debbie. “From Thetans to Xenu! Seven Things You Didn’t Know About Scientology | Radar Online. ” Radar Online. 5 July 2012. Web. 21 Oct. 2012. Gerri. “5 Giant Companies Who Brainwash Their Employees. 26 June 2012. Web. 21 Oct. 2012. “How Does Faith In Jesus Christ Affect My Life? ” Faith in Jesus Christ. Web. 17 Oct. 2012. Hubbard, L. Ron. A Description Of Scientology. Web. 27 Sept. 2012 Huda. “Introduction to Islam. ” About. com. Web. 17 Oct. 2012. Pelaia, Ariela. “What Do Jews Believe? – Jewish Beliefs. ” About Judaism. Web. 17 Oct. 2012. Salam, Mohiuddin. “The Prophet’s Teachings In The 21st Century. ” 6 Nov. 2011. Web. 17 Oct. 2012. “Scientology Auditing: Spiritual Counseling For A Better Life. ” What is Scientology Auditing?. Web. 21 Oct. 2012.
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