What chance does Scientology have of rising above its current status as a ludicrous, money-grubbing cult and becoming an important mainstream religion?
Yes, the Xenu story is hilarious in its silliness. But as an agnostic I find the stories behind Christianity, Islam, etc to be just as unlikely to have happened in the way believers say they did. I find many of the rituals involved in mainstream religion as pointless as E-meters and Scieno personality tests. And I know others here do as well.
And there are many religions that became legitimate despite a haze of early illegitimacy and wacky founding members. The Mormons, the most recent “cult” to attain legitimate status, was founded by polygamists who married children, and led by a man who had visions that would today be interpreted as a psychotic break. Yet, modern-day Mormons are not crazy, they get a lot of comfort out of their religion no matter what its origins and only the most close-minded would refer to them as a cult.
I think that in order for Scientology to become a real religion it will 1. have to make “the truth” known to everyone (which is already true, anyone with an Internet connection can get to OT3), 2. lift its ban on psychiatric medicine, perhaps under a sort of “Reform Scientology” that is more liberal in its outlook, and 3. stop insisting on fees to reach levels and make tithing voluntary (then again there are some mainstream churches like the Mormons for whom it is mandatory). Will this ever happen? I know that there are already Scienos who are not affiliated with the Church called “Free Zoners” who are condemned by the leaders for practicing the religion on their own. But I could see this sort of thing being the way it becomes a real religion, people taking the doctrine and applying it to their lives in their own way. And then, who’s to say that it’s any less real than all the current religions? Keep in mind, I don’t follow any faith, so it’s all the same to me. But I think Scientology has a chance of becoming more than a cult, for good or ill.
So, chances of this happening? Social repercussions if it did?
It’s going to have to change “the truth” for folks to accept it. Yes, some things in Christianity seem wacky, but nothing comes close to Xenu sending people to Earth in spaceships that look just like DC-8s.
OT, a bit.
In their home base, Clearwater, FL, they have taken control of the downtown real estate market. Thusly denying the city of tax revenues. The city is not happy to be growing without a lot of its tax base. And the majority of the public is unhappy with this cult.
Really, it was the DC-8s that copied the spaceships. A lot of things in modern society are actually imitations of aspects of galactic society that we subconsciously remember. For instance, a lot of 1950s fashions imitated those of one of the old galactic republics. It’s not as wacky as people think.
I think one thing it will have to do is stop being secretive about what it actually teaches. The LDS church has a little bit of this, too, from what I understand…that there are some things they don’t tell you until AFTER you become a member. Most churches, certainly those with any organization, let you know exactly what the beliefs & theology are. Anyone can pick up a Catechism of the Catholic Church and read all about it. Other churches may not have it in writing, but you can go to a minister/priest/rabbi, and they will tell you all about it, even if you don’t have intention of joining, there are no secrets that will be hidden from you.
Blanche does have a point…you can take anything out of context and make it sound totally without reason. I may not agree with Scientology, but just her brief explanation of that one thing makes it seem a little more grounded, at least to me…at least now I understand WHY they think that the spaceships look like DC-8s.
Certainly; it’s no sillier than any of the mainstream religions. IMHO the only small religions that can’t go mainstream are the ones that are self-annihilating, like the ones that forbid all breeding or the suicide cults.
I don’t actually believe anything about Scientology, and I think the real reason they were described as looking like DC-8s was that Hubbard had an epic movie in mind and was looking to keep the budget manageable.
I don’t think that their beliefs are slightly less silly when you hear their explanations makes them any more believable.
Well, I guess I was wooshed unintentionally. BUT…I actually stand by what I said. What I have heard about Scientology sounds a little off-the-wall to me, but on the other hand, I have only heard bits & pieces. I’m not sure it is REALLY a good idea to judge all Scientologists based on Tom Cruise’s behavior, because he is just plain nuts.
We know the Church of LDS was founded by a fraud, and was considered sufficiently outlandish circa its inception that Mormons were violently persecuted and to some degree forced to migrate into relatively uninhabited parts of the counry to escape main-stream Christians’ disapproval. Now they’re firmly established, growing, and not considered so strange, despite their highly unorthodox beliefs about the nature of the Judeo-Christian diety, or, even more oddly, their outlandish beliefs about Jewish migration to the New World. I certainly don’t think the LDS faith was viewed with less skepticism in the 19th century than Scientology is today, and yet it has thrived. Hence, I think it entirely possible Scientology could at least achieve the level of respect (albeit grudgingly granted by many) afforded the Church of LDS.
Well, it’s just barely been around long enough for a generation of people born to converts (and thus raised in the religion) to reach adulthood. Are there any statistics on how many of these people stay with the religion? That’d be the key to its long-term survival.
“To some degree?” You’re kidding me, right? The governor of a state issued an illegal extermination order.
No such thing as “Judeo-Christion deity” as postulating that Jesus is deity is blasphemous for Judaism.
It’s not “the Church of LDS.” It’s the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. There are still plenty of people today who consider the LDS to be non-Christian and don’t respect it at all. And there are quite a few non-Mormons who think they know about the LDS but really don’t.
Could the Scientologists ever become a mainstream faith? I personally doubt it for a couple of reasons:
They evidently don’t want to be considered mainstream/orthodox.
They are getting a fairly good income from people who pay for their services.
IIRC L. R. Hubbard fabricated Scientology from the whole cloth after hearing a charasmatic evangelist or some such. He felt he could build a religiouslike following based on his own prowess. This was told in a book of some years back by an acquaintence. (No cite).
I knew that! Really, I did! My excuse is that I stayed up way past my bedtime last night and woke up early today. (Excuse, not reason.)
What I should have said is that there is really no single belief about “the Judeo-Christian deity.” Each denomination (or major group of denominations, if you will) has their own view of its nature and composition.
I think you will find many people to disagree with you on that point.
I’ve always thought the really truly awesome thing about abbreviating is you don’t have to type everything out. Howabout this: CoJCoLDS. Happy?
I think the facts about Joseph Smith speak for themselves. I consider it a matter of opinion about as much as I consider L. Ron Hubbard’s status as a fraud a matter of opinion.
I’m not sure if it’s the only reason all Mormons chose to migrate.
Christians claim to worship the same one God as the Jews. Are you saying “Judeo-Christian” is an invalid term? Is that tradition not ancient and mainstream in the USA throughout its history?
Members of the, ahem, CoJCoLDS believe the Trinity are three quite individual Beings, the Holy Ghost of pure spirit, while the Father and Son (who is also identified with the God of the Hebrew Bible, rather than the Father) were both incarnate. Among other things quite outside anything resembling either Christian or Jewish theology.
Having realized that John Travolta, Kirstie Alley, Jenna Elfman & various other celeb Scientologists, while having their eccentricities, don’t act out nearly as much as Tom, I’ve come to the conclusion that Tom would give a bad rep to any religion he joined. He’d make Methodism look loony.
My point was that your “abbreviation” wasn’t really identifying the outfit you meant to identify. How about “LDS” for an abbreviation?
“The facts” aren’t as clear cut in Smith’s case as they are in the case of Scientology. No doubt, that has a lot to do with how recently Scientology came about.
Do tell. I’m kind of partial to thinking people chose to live instead of die.
I have claimed before on this board that “Judeo-Christian” isn’t really a valid term, in my humble opinion. While I realize that we Christians claim that our deity is the same deity as that of Judaism, there is a big difference between the two religions.
As to treating Judaism on an equal par, the country’s gone through, shall we say, some growing pains over the years.