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Discussion 5 to Meditation 373
Why is it worse?

from Linda LeBrun

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In defense of Scientology, and Katie Holmes’ conversion to it, why is it considered worse than converting to any other religion? Let us take the negative points of Scientology.

  1. It is a cult. A cult is merely a religion with fewer members, and a religion is merely a cult with more. All revealed religions started as cults.
  2. The founder was a science fiction writer. Is that a worse occupation than carpenter? Or caravan leader? Or prince? I would rather join a religion founded by a writer than any other kind because at least I know writers are educated beyond what is “known” in their village.
  3. The main proponents are celebrities. Those of us old enough to remember the 1960s and ‘70s can equate this with the criticism aimed at the Beatles and other media figures who embraced transcendental meditation and yoga in those days, as well as the celebrities who converted to Islam. Both Buddhism and Islam are considered mainstream religions today, although of course Islam has had some pretty bad press in recent years.
  4. The recruiting methods are too aggressive. Puh-leeze. Reexamine the historic (and some current) recruiting methods of Christianity and Islam. Many were really nasty, of the “convert or die” variety. And Judaism is possibly the most aggressive of all. If you’re born to a Jewish mother you are considered Jewish whether you want to be or not. That’s pretty aggressive.
  5. The cult takes over your life. And other religions don’t?

This is not to say that I agree with the tenets of Scientology. I have not studied the movement more than superficially, but I would not dream of joining them, or any other revealed religion. But to condemn Katie Holmes because she chooses to convert to her lover’s religion is worse than the religion itself.