Friday, October 03, 2008

Weird ideas about Scientology

A friend of mine who is not a Scientologist recently encountered someone who claimed to be a member of "Anonymous". This person had even demonstrated outside a Scientology Church.

The subject came up when the person was critical of Star Trek because (according to him) it had been written by L. Ron Hubbard. When my friend told him that wasn't true the anonymite insisted it was.

Next he told my friend that Scientologists worship Dianetics or something to do with Dianetics (it was hard to understand what he was meaning). When my friend told him this was not correct he still insisted it was.

He said a bunch of other incorrect things, one of which is a misconception I've come across a lot in comments that have been made on my blog - he completely misunderstood the term "thetan". (I cover what it really means here: The Secrets of Scientology, the anonymite had the same weird "alien ghosts" idea that I cover in the linked post.)

The bottom line is that this anonymous guy has fallen into the same trap that people have been falling into for millennia: Someone doesn't like some other person or group so he tells lies about them and tries to make them seem weird so that others will help him to attack them.

Unfortunately there are many people out there who are easily led. When they encounter a group being demonized they just join in. If I were to be kind I would excuse them by saying that maybe they don't have any concept of history and how often this "demonizing" method has been used in the past or maybe they are not very bright and can't easily tell truth from lies. If I were to be less charitable then I would say it is just an excuse to unleash their hatred and if it wasn't Scientology then they'd find something else to attack.

But whatever the reason behind it, I would request of these people that they at least find out what they are attacking before they attack it.


Switzer said...

Hi, I understand your point of view and I agree with you that people should really understand something before they decided to protest it.

I think though that there are many others that have spent time researching it, and there opinions should not be dismissed so easily.

I would also say that many scientologists don't fully understand scientology, as that is how the organisation works. The information is only divulged once you reach a certain level. If the information from the upper levels were freely available, I'm sure a lot of the misunderstandings of outsiders would not occur.

Grahame said...

Dear Switzer,

Thanks for your comment.

The people who have spent time researching Scientology and whose opinions I respect are the religious experts who know what they are talking about. You can read what they said here Treatises on Scientology by Religious Scholars. These guys have examined many religions, new and old and their comments clearly show where Scientology fits in the scheme of things. One issue they tend to agree on is that Scientology is much more of an eastern style religion than a western, so it is sometimes difficult for people brought up in the Jewish-Christain-Mulim tradition of the west to understand.

Your third paragraph is incorrect. From very early on in Scientology people are encouraged to understand what it is all about. Right now you can do the "Basics" course, which cover the fundamental books and lectures, and you will know enough about the subject to make an educated decision about whether it is a religion you wish to pursue or not.

This fixation by those who oppose Scientology on the advanced levels is a mistake. The advanced levels are a very small part of Scientology: maybe 5% or less. There are millions of written words and thousands of hours of lectures that are freely available to anyone.

In fact, there are now free online courses available: Free Scientology Online Courses.

Technically the advanced levels are no different to any other levels. Why detractors get so obsessed with them is a mystery. My guess is that it's because we won't talk about them (because that is part of our religion), so it becomes a weak spot. They get to say any old crap about these levels and we can't reply to it.

There are plenty of materials freely available that they could pick on if they want to denigrate our beliefs, but no, they pick on a very small selection that is neither basic nor defining and yell about that.

I would love to hear your views on one of the free courses. Why not actually do one and then you can have something real to discuss?