Scientology – what is it?
Scientology is a complex set of beliefs that combines a religious and church-like structure with a set of unique techniques for personal and spiritual development. It is probably the most widespread and well-known New Religious Movement founded in the 20th Century.
Many critics don’t consider Scientology to be a religion at all.
Scientology was founded by Layafette Ron Hubbard (1911 – 86), a science-fiction writer. Hubbard possessed two doctorate degrees, was a naval commander and war hero and was a noted international explorer. But critics claim that the degrees were of the mail-order variety; he was only ever in command of a small naval escort vessel and tales of his exploring exploits were much exaggerated.
Scientology began as Dianetics – Hubbard’s theory of the mind and mental health. It was published in 1950 in the periodical Amazing Science Fiction.
In August 1952 the Journal of Scientology began publication, and in 1954 the first Church of Scientology was founded in Los Angeles.
As a Scientologist undergoes more courses and studies, he or she is taught more and more about the religious beliefs underpinning the Church.
Ron Hubbard left the leadership of the Church in 1966 to found Sea Org, a training centre situated on Hubbard’s yacht.
Hubbard became a recluse in his final years, living aboard his boat and working on his final ten volume ‘Mission Earth’ series of science fiction novels. He died in 1986.
Some have called Scientology a cult of celebrity because of the number of well- known entertainers who ascribe to its teachings.
In most European countries, such as France, Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, Ireland, this doctrine is not recognized as a religion. Moreover, in the Federal Republic of Germany, Scientology belongs to the category of commercial organizations.
Scientology is a religion based on scientific research or commercial cult?