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By: Chelsea Prentice
Scientology is a complicated and often described as far-fetched religion whose beliefs are founded by the late science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard. The religion is based on the concept of one following the path to reach their true spiritual and universal understanding. The Church claims it is designed to help people find themselves in relation to the world around them as well as [what they refer to] the Supreme Being.
The documentary that was recently released by Alex Gibney explores this concept in-depth through interviews with former practicing members as well as video footage, court documents, and other means. Those that have agreed to speak in the documentary have already been ostracized from the Church and its community. Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief was wildly praised by critics and the public alike. Gibney opened the door to a closed society that was reminiscent to the ideals and practices of Jim Jones. Naturally, people were surprised and appalled, but what we haven’t spoken out about yet is the contradictions we find ourselves making just to define another religion as superior.
Read through the last two sentences of that first paragraph. What religion exists now that doesn’t have the same goals? We need not question the ridicule the Church has received for its methods, to many they are far and beyond unfair and even cruel. We need not question the issues of force or brainwashing, as fellow human beings we know what is right and wrong, and hope to reach those that need help when we are able and they are willing. What we should question, what is our human obligation to each other, is whether or not someone may view our own beliefs through a similar lens?
The fantastical idea behind Scientology’s Supreme Being and the creation of the Earth seems ridiculous. But if we question their principles, don’t we then need to question our own? With no physical evidence to support any religion’s theory of creation, aren’t we expected to explore all options equally and respect each other’s views?
It is important that we, as a society, step back and really take a look through the looking glass, and remember it is indeed a mirror. All new ideas stem from a perception, understanding, love, and/or loathing of an already existing concept. Our imaginations are only possible through our previous experiences. It is with our knowledge of people, places, feelings, and things that we mold new notions.
L. Ron Hubbard was as off-base with his religion as the rest of us, but that’s the beauty of religion. It is a belief that we have seeded our faith in. It is a foundation for our morals which we are each as convinced as the next is the key to success and the breath to life. It is with these notions we are able to come to an understanding of why we are here and who we are; is it not then wrong to question someone else who is only aimed at doing the same?
My hope for humanity is that we never stop questioning ourselves. There will be no final subjugation to determine the right religion. They are systems of belief that we, as a civilized people, have been brilliant enough to create and allow to prosper. It is also then our duty to allow individuals, be it Scientologists, Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Atheists, etc., the same right to trust in whatever conviction they find suitable, while only passing judgment on them if we pause to look back into the mirror at ourselves.