I’m presently reading a memoir written by an ex-Scientologist. I forget the name of the book. It’s on my Kindle and the title doesn’t show up on the top of the page like you might expect. Some books it does, this one it doesn’t.
Anyway, the first thing to strike me about the story is that when the author describes some of the basic premises of Scientology – reincarnation, multi-dimensional existence, and the need to free oneself from past traumas in order to progress – I found myself nodding in agreement. I came to many of the same conclusions L. Ron Hubbard obvious had.
Now don’t let this get you all excited if you’re a scientologist or worried for me if you’re not. Just because I believe of some of the tennets of a religion – any religion, doesn’t mean I’m made for that religion and am going to run right out and join it. That is so not happening.
I investigated Scientology back in the 1980s as a project for a theology class I was taking. I pretended to be a prospective just so I could get an interior view of some of its recruiting methods.
The guy I met with in the Seattle office (I think you’d call him an “auditor”) was dressed like a Catholic priest and spoke to me, ironically, of Scientology being a self-help tool and life-style as opposed to being a religion.
When I couldn’t help laughing and asked why he was wearing a priest collar then, he explained that it was just a fashion choice of his. Then he explained the process of auditing.
I don’t remember the details of this. It reminded me of regressive hynosis to identify the chains in one’s past and eliminate this. I did not undergo this process. Instead, I allowed him to lead me into a little conference room that had been made over into a theater full of highschool style desk-chairs with a big screen at the front of the room. There, I was the only viewer to a film about the auditing process, how it helped people with everything from health to mental issues. There was electric shock treatment involved just like in the movie “Cats Eye.”
That was all I needed to see. I left in disgust before the film was even over. Whatever I agreed with them about mattered a whole lot less to me than how they tried to control people thereby captured. I nonetheless received invitations from the Church of Scientology for the next 15 years.
The first method evangelists of any religion to capture converts is presenting bits of their ideology that the prospective convert can agree with. They’ll say (or insinuate) “See, you believe what we do. You already belong to us. All you need to do is formalize it and then we’ll help you go further in it.”
Okay, they almost never use those exact words but they do play on that exact idea and deliberately leave out the objectionable bits until after they are certain they have you.
A great many Islamic evangelists, for example, will say to open-minded Christians, that they worship the same god (a lie they believe btw) and that they also follow Christ/Yeshua (also a lie: the believe Yeshua was a prophet, not a son-of-God, a source of redemption, or even a teacher). If they succeed in getting the Christian to convert to Islam, thinking it a purer version of Christianity, he/she will soon find there is no such thing as the Golden Rule or actual mercy. Allah is frequently called “Merciful” but his laws, the Sharia, demonstrate no mercy whatsoever. Oh, and for a Muslim to call Jesus the son-of-god is a sacrilege punishable by death.
Another example of selling common beliefs in evangelism is when Christian Evangelists to Hindus try to convince them that their god Krishna is none other than Christ prior to preaching back in Israel. There is both historic and chrono data to suggest this may actually be true but, regardless, Hindus mostly just find it insulting and wish the Christians would stop saying that. Yet some must bite because the Evangelists still keep trying it.
Honestly, I think it could usher in world peace if we looked more at what we have in common as human beings than where we are very different. But religion just never seems to let it go that way. No. Commonalities for them are just what attracts converts and then they insert rules – lots and LOTS of rules – by which to control their won adherents.
In short, they’re clubs. You follow the rules or you get the hell out. In some of them, like the Mafia and Islam, that means you have to die.
Islam has more rules than any of them. It governs every aspect of an aherent’s life in detail. But all religions have rules. They tell you what to think and feel and do and will tear you down as a person whenever you show more indendence than that.
Listen. It’s okay to think for yourself and be your own authority. What’s more, we should be able to respect that in one another and be friends regardless. No one needs to control us or take away our right to be our own persons.
One of my beliefs, formed on my own independent of religion, is that we are all creative expressions of our Creator, just trying out different modes of experience. Good or Evil probably means nothing to the Creator. But it means something to us who have to live with one another in the physical realm.
So yeah… If another creative expression of the Creator tries to supercede or undermine others, that’s just them asking for a knock-down in my opinion. But that’s just me. I won’t let you control me. I’m always going to be my own person.
How about you?