All human beings at one time or another have attempted to find purpose in what it means to exist in the universe. Millions have found solace in believing detailed writings of religious texts that tell stories of the beginning of time, or values surrounding life. Many religions go as far as to set guidelines of how one should behave or how one should act towards churches and gods. Recently the French government determined that the Church of Scientology has gone too far with what they ask of their followers.
The Cour de Cassation, France’s highest appeals court, rejected The Church of Scientology’s appeal on several convictions of “organized fraud”. The church was convicted of taking advantage of several elderly members by making them attempt to pay for unnecessary materials at a religious bookstore.
The interesting part about the article comes from Scientology’s claim that they are being treated unfairly when given the context of other religions similar practices towards taking money from followers. Representatives are upset over how their beliefs might be treated as “untrue or fraudulent, but not say the same thing about Protestants or Catholics”. I personally see a major difference since their “donations” should only be seen as a clever version of racketeering. The ridiculousness that I can purchase a ticket into heaven is a cheap technique. The beauty of religion is the freedom to choose the path that’s shines brightest. I have the freedom to pursue my own ethics, my own goals, and if I choose to associate them with a religion then so be it. No religion should have the right to twist my moral authority or force practices upon me.
The argument could be made that a majority of religions ask for donations from their followers, this is true. For any religion of this scale to function and be productive some source of income has to exist. In my opinion Scientology brings it all to a new level by instead of requesting money for the betterment of the entire religion, it tricks followers into thinking it will better for the individual. Sounds like a scam to me.