S is for Scientology
You might say that slagging off Scientology is like shooting fish in a barrel but it’s just too hard to resist having a pop at a “religion” that’s as full of shit as Scientology. If Scientology was a harmless enough creed full of honest and good intentions I might be able to let slide all the bullshit it preaches. As it is, though, the Church of Scientology is more a sinister corporate empire than a honest-to-God religion.
Scientology is the stuff of science-fiction. That might be partly explained by the fact that its architect, L. Ron Hubbard, was a science-fiction writer, responsible for such pulp “classics” as The Automagic Horse, The Indigestible Triton and, lest we forget, Mission Earth 9: Villainy Victorious (although I personally preferred Mission Earth 7: Voyage of Vengeance). To give you just a quick idea of how full of shit Scientology is, here’s a synopsis of Scientology’s take on life after death:
According to Scientology, when a person dies — or, in Scientology terms, when a thetan abandons its physical body — they go to a “landing station” on the planet Venus, where the thetan is re-implanted and told lies about its past life and its next life. The Venusians take the thetan, “capsule” it, and send it back to Earth to be dumped into the ocean off the coast of California
You really couldn’t write this shit — but Mr. Hubbard did.
Mr Hubbard is worshipped as a god by Scientologists but he was certainly no saint. When I look at that portrait of him (above) I think: “That’s what I imagined Darth Vader to look like under that mask of his!” If he hadn’t dreamt up Scientology he still could have made a fortune playing megalomaniacal villains in Hollywood.
Rumours abound that he was an abusive father, egotistical and a devilish hypnotist, but the most damaging rumour of all tells of how, in his eyes, Scientology was only ever a money-making scheme. Many of his associates in those early days have mentioned that they were privy to his ulterior motive and he is said to have written a letter to George Orwell saying “…the easiest way to make a lot of money, is to start a new religion.” I can’t imagine Mother Teresa saying that.
Hubbard was probably right though; as long as there are stupid people ready to believe stupid things organised religion will always be a viable business model. Most relgions, thank God, aren’t in the business of making money but Scientology is a notable exception. One of the fundamental tenets of most religions is that everyone should be treated equal but Scientology takes a different view: “If your pockets aren’t fat we don’t want to hear from you”. Scientology requires its members to attend courses that, at the more advanced stages, can cost several thousand dollars. In other words, if you’re hard on your luck and on the dole Scientology has no place for you.
The whole thing sounds like a sinister corporate enterprise. For instance, in a move that calls to mind a dodgy pyramid scheme, existing members are paid a commission for recruiting new members. In addition, so-called Scientology “franchises” must pay 10% of their gross income to the Church of Scientology. The Church even has its own brand logo!
Then, of course, there are the celebrity endorsements. As well as forsaking the poor, Scientology also likes to treat the rich and famous better than just the rich. So-called “Celebrity Centers” (no, I’m not making this up) across the US are designed to serve the Tom Cruises and John Travoltas of this world and attract other high-profile celebrities/nut-jobs. I don’t know how they differ from the normal Scientology centers, but presumably being a member of a Celebrity Center entitles you to telekinetic powers and a top-of-the-line spaceship in the afterlife.
Scientology may be a growing religion but they’re not going to brainwash me with their mumbo-jumbo about an afterlife and immortal spirits — I’m Catholic, thank you very much.