Sunday, June 26, 2005

Scientolo-Gee, Even Mormons Think We're Nuts

What's the difference between a cult and a religion? A couple thousand years.

Nevertheless, who in their right mind would take Scientology seriously? Word to the wise: anything that comes out of Hollywood is bullshit.

Lucky for us, the good people of the Smoking Gun provide evidence that Mr. Hubbard, the cult's founder, was truly insane.

If you're feeling saucy, visit the scientologists' own site/bookstore, and leave them some feedback (i.e., "Wow, this shit is loopy!"), or maybe you'll be converted by their claims to provide you with answers to life's questions by selling you books and courses. A little sampling of what awaits you there:

"Let us bear in mind a few salient facts from the larger body of L. Ron Hubbard’s discoveries. In the first place, if the physiological consequences of drug abuse are generally known, the breakdown of mental alertness and ethical fiber is not. Next, he tells us that the user, even the recreational user, is prone to unnatural hostilities and hatreds and, “while this may not hold true in all cases, it does establish a link between drugs and increasing difficulties with crime, production and the modern breakdown of social and industrial culture."


Edward said...

One of the usual defining characteristics of a cult is that its wealth does not benefit its members or society. Accordingly, Islam and Christianity were not cults even when they each had only a handful of members, but Scientology would still be a cult even if there were ever to be a million Scientologists.

beckett said...

I hadn't heard of that distinction. It is a useful distinction to consider and I appreciate you offering it. However, (without claiming expertise on the subject of Catholicism and its history), I would question in what way the Vatican's astounding collection of treasures has benefited its members. I don't deny that the Catholic Church has been involved in and funded many charitable ventures with its fundraising potential. I merely point out that it has used ots position of authority to enrich many a Pope, Cardinal and Bishop.

Assuming that that the Catholic Church has straightened itself out, could it be said that at its inception it was not a cult, but became one after becoming a worldwide power, but is no longer a cult because it has ceased to enrich its elite at the expense of its ordinary members?

I am receptive to this limiter for cults, however. It allows me now to use the phrase "cult of American Democracy" without irony.

I would also suggest that were the Scientologists to ever attain massive popularity in the US, they would seldom be referred to as a cult, because of our culture's extreme sensitivity to offending religious groups.

beckett said...


1. A religion or religious sect generally considered to be extremist or false, with its followers often living in an unconventional manner under the guidance of an authoritarian, charismatic leader.
2. The followers of such a religion or sect.
2. A system or community of religious worship and ritual.
3. The formal means of expressing religious reverence; religious ceremony and ritual.
4. A usually nonscientific method or regimen claimed by its originator to have exclusive or exceptional power in curing a particular disease.
1. Obsessive, especially faddish, devotion to or veneration for a person, principle, or thing.
2. The object of such devotion.
6. An exclusive group of persons sharing an esoteric, usually artistic or intellectual interest.

[Latin cultus, worship, from past participle of colere, to cultivate. See kwel-1 in Indo-European Roots.]cultic or cultish adj.
cultism n.
cultist n.

Source: The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
Copyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.