Recently, HBO aired a controversial documentary which criticized the church of Scientology. Many Christians have used this documentary as a scapegoat for their own crazy religion, mocking different aspects of the church and overall using the documentary to claim that Christianity is the superior religion.
Neil DeGrasse Tyson was asked about his views on the church in light of the documentary, and managed to say what everyone’s thinking. Tyson refused to make any negative commentary on the church, eloquently stating that it’s a free country and everyone can believe what they want. However, my sass radar went off at one particular quote. “So, you have people who are certain that a man in a robe transforms a cracker into the literal body of Jesus saying that what goes on in Scientology is crazy?”
I totally agree with Tyson on this. When you compare Scientology to Christianity, the two are both relatively equal in insanity. Think about it: the Bible claims that a magical being floated down from the sky and impregnated a virgin with a magic baby who was born on a pile of hay. The baby grows up to be a wizard who can heal the blind and walk on water. Don’t forget the angry God who needed a blood sacrifice to right his own wrong because he created imperfect people who he hated.
In order to better understand Scientology, I went to the belly of the beast. Okay, actually going to a Church of Scientology would have been more impressive, but I attempted to grasp an understanding of it with what tools I have. Scientology was founded by L. Ron Hubbard, a science fiction writer. Hubbard was rumored to be schizophrenic. However, reading and listening to the ideals of Scientology, I believe he was bipolar and on a manic when first creating his religion.
Watching the videos on the official Scientology website, I can’t help but notice how cryptically it’s displayed to the public. Scientology is extremely mysterious because few people leave it, and those who do are often forced to remain silent about their experiences within the church. Many ex-Scientologists remain anonymous as they share their experiences because of threats they’ve received from the church.
The church has been widely criticized for using hypnosis, abusing members and even holding members hostage. Many members of the church have attributed their successes to the church, in a way which resembles the Law of Attraction.
From the outside, the Church of Scientology seems to be a bit more practical, acknowledging new ideas such as science and physics. Unlike the Christian church, which breaks its members down and forces them to acknowledge their mistakes, Scientology focuses more on building up its members and helping them grow as a person to be the best they can be. As much as I agree with that sentiment, the church seems very cult-like when you listen to the accounts of its former members.
Overall, I think Scientology and Christianity both have their flaws. I don’t believe that one is crazier than the other, although I loathe religion. Tyson’s thoughts on Scientology sum up perfectly what many atheists are thinking: all religions are relatively insane.