Scientology, the controversial new religious movement
I find this article; “A mixed month for Scientology, The contours of freedom” (http://www.economist.com.blogs/eramus/2013/10/mixed-monthscientology?zid=315&ah=ee087c5cc3198fc82970cd65083f528) to be very interesting because although the author is not directly stating his/her own opinion) on Scientology, it is evident that they do let their bias get in the way and this bias reflects that the author of the article does not believe that Scientology is a religion. I have come to this conclusion for a number of reasons. First of all, the author introduces the article stating that this New Religious movement is in a dilemma because it wants to “enjoy the same legal and tax status as more traditional faiths”. Here the author is implying that Scientology is trying to be profitable by not having to pay taxes. This statement also makes scientology seem undesirable because it eludes the reader to think of this religion as fake. Another example in which the author demonstrates that Scientology is not legitimate is when he/she states that the Church of Scientology “claims more than 10 million worldwide members”. They key word to look at is the word “claim”. The author is implementing that this information may be false and that the number of followers is actually quite lower. I do not know if the author of this article was aware that their bias was in their article, but I believe that this should have been avoided because it is not professional.
A point that I really liked about this article is how the author addresses the issue that even though a country is “religion-neutral” it still needs to make assessments, like determining what is a cult verses a religion. And this type of decision requires a person to look into religions and cults, therefore not being “religion-neutral” anymore. This was very intriguing to me because I never really thought of this before, nor have I read about it. It really shows the complexity of understanding Religions and cults. Because even in the article itself the author argues that any religion can be a cult (because it is open to the public but doesn’t want you to leave) and any cult can be a religion (as long as people are not harmed). And this is when you need clear defining definitions for religion and cult, which can be hard to get.
When it comes to Scientology, it has been discussed in class and I agree that it is a religion because as stated in class, it meets Paul Tillich’s definition (that religion is what is most important) along with Ninian Smart’s definition of Religion with the seven dimensions of Religion (where two of them are practical and the rest are abstract). Since I do agree that Scientology is indeed a religion, I think we should be analysing and seeing if it is a good or bad religion. Now this question opens up doors to a whole new discussion, but I do think it is important to discus and I believe that the author of this article should have analysed this question.
An article that I really like that simply states facts about Scientology is in the Telegraph (link: http://goo.gl/qMQzEp). I used this article to get me caught up to speed about the New Religious Movement, Scientology, because I did not know about it before. As you can see when reading this article, there simply is no bias to be found, it is full of facts. I believe that the author of the “Mixed month for Scientology” should have done the same.