Friday, January 18, 2008

Is Scientology a religion?

Recent news events regarding the publishing of the Tom Cruise biography, specifically made unavailable here in Australia has piqued my interest in the Church of Scientology.

In my previous post I put a video showing a dramatic re-creation of events regarding a particular incident that has reverberated from practices of the Scientology Church. It is an attempt to illustrate the fact that when Scientology attempts to interfere in the field of psychiatry, or more specifically attempts to block the treatment of patients by qualified psychiatrists, it is interfering in medical supervision which it (Scientology) as a religion is not qualified to practice. That is the accusation in a nutshell.

I apologize for the failure of the web address to load the video but if you do a search on google specifically for "The Bridge movie" you will get the address I have shown, and clicking the google entry will take you to the site showing this video.
It is interesting that the Church of Scientology has done everything in it's powers to block the screening of this video. I wonder why?

Further contemplation regarding Scientology as a religion made me ask myself, what makes Scientology a religion?

Here is an edited quote from an authoritative source answering this question.

The revised and corrected version of a shorter presentation given at the 27th Deutscher Evangelischer Kirchentag, June 20, 1997, Leipzig, Germany

Stephen A. Kent (Ph.D.)
Department of Sociology
University of Alberta
Edmonton, Alberta, CANADA
T6G 2H4

July 1, 1997



Although some social scientists insist that Scientology is a religion, the more appropriate position to take is that the organization is a multi-faceted transnational that has religion as only one of its many components. Other components include political aspirations, business ventures, cultural productions, pseudo-medical practices, pseudo-psychiatric claims, and (among its most devoted members who have joined the Sea Organization), an alternative family structure. Sea Organization's job demands appear to allow little time for quality child rearing. Most disturbing, however, about Sea Organization life is that members can be subject to extremely severe and intrusive punishments through security checks, internal hearings called "Committees of Evidence," and a forced labour and re- indoctrination program known as the Rehabilitation Project Force (RPF) and its harshest companion, the RPF's RPF. Taken together, these harsh and intrusive punishments likely violate a number of human rights clauses as outlined by two United Nations statements.

June 30, 1997


As a person trained in religious studies, I find the debate about Scientology's alleged religious nature to be an interesting and important one. It should not be, however, the only issue over which we evaluate the German-American debate over Scientology's religious claims. Intimately related to the religious question are human rights questions. Some people assume that religious practice is a guaranteed human right, but even a superficial examination of world events shows that many atrocities occur in the name of God or religion. Universally, therefore, religious belief must receive absolute protection, but religious practice stemming from that belief must receive protection only until it begins to violate the rights of its members or nonmembers. Following from this last point, I argue that even if Scientology contains a theology and cosmology that some members interpret religiously, its organizational actions and behaviours raise serious human rights questions. Without wanting to review the pronouncements from all German officials about the organization, I conclude that the German government has good reason to investigate Scientology's activities in this country. It also has compelling reasons to inquire about the well-being of German citizens in Scientology facilities in the United States and elsewhere. I will share just a few of the documents that led me to these conclusions, and some of them are available in numerous world wide web sites on the "internet.


It seems that no matter how ridiculous the processes and practices of the Church of Scientology might appear to us, we must take into account that we do respect other religions with equally ridiculous assumptions, practices and beliefs.

My attempts to bring public attention are motivated only by my inquisitiveness regarding recent news events coupled with my distaste for all religions, and here I do not discriminate.

Religion as a psychological crutch may seem a legitimate means of coping with grief, stress or the tribulations of suffering caused by life.
My suggestion to those who turn to religion is that maybe a better alternative would be to turn to philosophy and seek a belief system of ideas that will help them cope with life that has nothing to do with religion.

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