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Claims : that we are all immortal beings, but we have 'forgotten' our true 'nature'. The 'true nature' can be recovered by auditing - a type of counselling. The immortal part of the human is the 'thetan' (soul) and the objective of auditing is to 'cleanse' the thetan.

Origin : Science-fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard was extremely hostile to psychiatry. He invented an alternative system of psychological intervention called Dianetics. The central idea was to enable the conscious recall of previous trauma. The new psychology was panned in the medical literature and quietly died. In 1952 Hubbard revived the notion, but now as a fully-fledged religion, in his 'Scientology, a religious philosophy'.

: The Church of Scientology variously claims between 3.5 million and 10 million members worldwide. This is unlikely. A 2001 survey found that only 55,000 Americans would identify themselves as Scientologists (and it is in the US that the vast majority of the membership live).

Major Atrocities

None known. The Church has a tendency to use legal methods to shut-down opposition, but there is no evidence of any actions that could be called 'atrocities'.

Wiki on Church
Wiki on beliefs
Operation Clambake (anti-scientology)
Entry in ReligiousTolerance

Rationality Score : 3*

Malignity Score : 2

Tends to attract much hostility from other religions, but the core beliefs are certainly no more ridiculous than those in the Abrahamic religions and, arguably, a deal less ridiculous. It strikes me as a money-making con (Scientologists pay for higher levels of 'knowledge') but so do most religions.

* For an explanation of these scores, click HERE

2 blog comments below

I'm surprised you gave a 3 for rationality. You're more forgiving in this one. I wonder what the extra 2 points stands for. This one I gave a tentative 8 in rationality for the thetan and assumption theory though I need more research on this one. Though I gave an 8 for malignity not only because it's a con or may harmful psychologically but it doesn't fit here in my country.
loremar on Tue Jul 05, 2011 12:12 am
It is still deeply irrational, but it is, at least, based on some sort of factual basis. We know L Ron Hubbard was around and we know pretty much why he developed Dianetics and what it is. Furthermore we know that quite a bit of the basic dogma is not completely wrong (in the sense that behaviourism is not completely wrong). The difficulty is in maintaining a sufficient distance from the truly loony stuff in the Abrahamic religions. It is nowhere close to Christianity in terms of irrationality.
I think 3 is reasonable, but I could probably go to 4 if pressed.
Bikerman on Tue Jul 05, 2011 5:54 am

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