Every religion has their own share of doubters and naysayers who oppose contemporary religious movements. However, Scientology is not a cult, but a unique American religious organization. Below introduces five of the most common misperceptions that people have about Scientology.
Scientology is Just a Cult
Many religions experience a rocky beginning. Christianity was considered to be a cult by Roman authorities, Protestants and Catholic extremists considered the other to be a cult and fought bloody wars during the late middle ages. Latter Day Saints (Mormons), Jehovah’s Witnesses and Seventh Day Adventist have all experienced harsh treatment from the public and the media. However, all religions share basic virtues and ideas that form their conceptual understanding of the universe. Scientology is no different from other churches and also has a belief in the ultimate truth and reality.
Scientologists are Non-Denominational
Scientology is frequently described as being non-denominational and thus excluding certain sects. However, Scientology is actually identical to most major Asian religions, such as Taoism, Buddhism, Shintoism and Hinduism. All of these Asian religions are very diverse, but they openly embrace and integrate with other religions. In similar fashion, Scientology members can actually simultaneously belong to other sects. However, many sects of Islam, Judaism and Christianity have strict membership rules that forbid affiliation with different religious groups.
Scientologists Worship Bizarre Aliens
L. Ron Hubbard began his career as a prolific science fiction writer. Therefore, many outsiders confuse Hubbard’s creative works with the core teachings of Scientology. Like most religions, Scientologists believe people are spiritual beings and that intelligent life exists throughout the universe. However, certain critics claim that Scientologists worship aliens that live inside people. Coincidently, Jesus claimed that the kingdom of heaven existed in the hearts of men.
Scientologists are Abusive
There have been notable media stories about horrifying stories that recount abusive and controlling treatment of members within Scientology branches. However, many religions have different beliefs when it comes to sacrifice and spiritual cleansing. For example, Jehovah’s Witnesses will not allow blood transfusions based on their understanding of Old Testament teachings. Mormon members famously pay their own way to serve two-year missions all around the world. The month of Ramadan in Islamic countries is strictly enforced as believers prioritize humanitarian donations over eating.
Scientology is Rigid and Dogmatic
Scientology does have specific rules and guidelines for how their members should behave. However, all religions have their own unique dogmatic rules. For example, Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, had a revelation known as the Word of Wisdom which is still in practice today. It forbids the consumption of coffee, alcohol and tobacco products. On the other hand, Jehovah’s Witnesses are firm pacifists that famously refused to fight in World War II. However, they made significant contributions to humanitarian aid in Europe.
Overall, many people still believe that Scientology is a cult because they limited exposure and understanding of the core teachings.