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Scientology is a movement based on a system of beliefs. These beliefs are based on written words by L. Ron Hubbard. A few other people have added, but almost all of it is his. He started it in 1952. Hubbard contributed until his death in 1986. Different people understand the words he wrote differently. In some countries, there is a Church that stands behind it. A few countries - such as Germany, France, Belgium, Italy, Greece, or the Netherlands - are suspicious of the Church. They feel that it is a cult, and a business to make money. Scientology has been controversial since it began.
Scientology teaches that people are immortal spirits who have forgotten their true nature. A system called auditing is used to help people remember. In auditing, people are able to re-experience painful events in their past. This helps people understand past, painful moments.
There are a many organizations that are linked to Scientology. These help people get away from illegal drugs or to get back into society after they served a prison term, for example. Scientology also thinks that psychiatry is bad, and should be abolished.
Number of followers
The Church of Scientology says that there are 13-15 million people who are a part of the Church. Critics disagree with that figure, however. They say the organisation probably does not have more than 100,000 people and most of them in the United States. They say that in 1960, there were probably 50,000 to 100,000 followers in the US. In the 1990s, a representative survey claimed there were only about 45,000 followers left. These figures seemed to have increased a bit, by 2004, where there were an estimated 55.000 followers.
The Church of Scientology
The Church of Scientology was started by the American writer and amateur philosopher L. Ron Hubbard in the year 1954. It is not as well known as Christianity or Islam, but it is newer. Scientologists believe it is growing. They claim it has thousands of churches, some of which are very small. The largest is in Clearwater, Florida.
Basic Beliefs of Scientologists
- The word "Scientology" means "the study of knowledge."
- Man consists of a body, a mind, and a spirit. The spirit is the person himself. He uses his mind and body.
- The purpose of life is to survive.
- Harmful drugs should not be taken.
- Affinity, reality and communication help us get along with others.
- The better you feel about yourself and life, the more free you are. This scale of emotion is called the Tone Scale.
- Auditing helps people look at thoughts and understand them better. This in turn helps them feel better.
Aims of Scientology
L. Ron Hubbard wrote about the aims of scientology saying:
- "A civilization without insanity, without criminals and without war, where the able can prosper and honest beings can have rights, and where man is free to rise to greater heights, are the aims of Scientology."
In a talk he gave to some Scientologists in 1972, Hubbard told them "You are the people the planet obeys. You are the people who own the planet."
Scientologists say that the book Dianetics was the first self-help book ever written. It was written by L Ron Hubbard in the year 1950. Some key concepts in the book are:
- A person's mind remembers painful times. This helps a person to do bad things, and even get sick. Dianetics calls these kinds of memories, "engrams".
- A person's mind also remembers everything else.
- Auditing is meant to help a person understand his engrams. Its goal is to become clear of them.
Another basic teaching of Scientology is the three parts that together, are understanding. These are affinity (willing to be close), reality (an agreement on what is real) and communication (the exchange of ideas). Hubbard called this the "ARC Triangle". Scientologists use this as an idea in their lives. It is based upon the idea that making one bit better, makes the other two better.
The tone scale is a way to rate an emotion as bad, better, or good. The scale goes from -40 ("Total Failure") to +40 ("Serenity of Being"). Positions on the tone scale started from the idea that one way of feeling is better than a worse way of feeling. But Hubbard described many other things that go along with emotion, such as health, mating behavior, survival potential, and ability to deal with truth. The tone scale is frequently used by Scientologists to understand people. According to Scientology, the lower the individual is on the tone scale, the more complex his problems are.
Many well-known people are followers of Scientology. They include:
- Hugh B. Urban (2006): Fair Game: Secrecy, Security, and the Church of Scientology in Cold War America. In: Journal of the American Academy of Religion 74 (2): 356–389, S. 356f.
- Neusner 2003, p. 227
- Kent, Stephen A "Scientology – Is this a Religion?" (1999). Retrieved 24 November 2008
- Cohen, David (23 October 2006). "Tom's aliens target City's 'planetary rulers'". Evening Standard.
- Virginia Linn: Scientology comes to town. In: The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 24. Juli 2005. (Online Edition
- Gerald Willms: Scientology: Kulturbeobachtungen jenseits der Devianz, transcript verlag, Bielefeld 2005, page 91 (German)
- Sydney E. Ahlstrom: A Religious History of the American People., Yale University Press, New Haven, CT 1972, S. 955.
- Seymour P. Lachman & Barry Alexander: One Nation Under God: Religion in Contemporary American Society., Harmony Books, New York, NY 1993, page 16.
- James R. Lewis: New Religion Adherents: An Overview of Anglophone Census and Survey Data. In: Marburg Journal of Religion (2004) 9 (1): 14. (Online edition)
- "French court fines Scientologists, allows operations". http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20091027/wl_nm/us_france_scientology_ruling;_ylt=A9G_RmYM7.ZKehMA3g4EtbAF. Retrieved 2009-10-27.
- Official Website
- Operation Clambake - The Inner Secrets of Scientology, a website critical of Scientology