Friday, 12 March 2010

How Scientology sees itself and how the world views this group in return

It's not unusual for there to be differing perceptions within society of a particular group or institution and this week Scientology was under the microscope once again.

Here are what might be characterised as the two faces of this quasi-religion.

The official Scientology website indicates how this group would like the world to see it:

In the five decades since the founding of the first Church of Scientology in 1954, Scientology has become the fastest-growing religion in the world.
Today, its scope extends across 164 countries, with 7,500 churches, missions and groups serving millions of parishioners in 53 languages. .....
Scientology is the only major new religion to emerge in the 20th century.......
Scientologists have always been a relentless voice in search of social reform and justice. We have brought to light such issues as the enforced drugging of school children, the dangers of psychiatric brutalities such as electric shock treatment and lobotomy; and the chemical and biological warfare experiments secretly undertaken against unwitting American citizens. Churches of Scientology also have championed the principle of open government and pioneered the use of the Freedom of Information Act to eradicate abuses.
It is because churches of Scientology and their members are so active, and because Scientology is a large and growing international religion, that Scientology continues to be a subject of significant public and media interest......
The Aims of Scientology, as stated by Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard are:
"A civilization without insanity, without criminals and without war, where the able can prosper and honest beings can have rights, and where man is free to rise to greater heights."

The world's response to Scientology commonly features statements like these:

* Scientology. The name is a travesty of science. The reality is a burlesque of religion.

* Australian of the Year Professor Patrick McGorry has thrown his weight behind calls for a Senate inquiry into the Church of Scientology, saying the church's teachings are putting Australians' lives at risk.

* Some of us have lost our families due to Scientology's Disconnection Policy, some of us have experienced physical abuse, and some of us were denied a proper education.

* Lisa died needlessly at the hands of Scientology.

* In 1978, L. Ron Hubbard, creator of Scientology, was convicted for illegal business practices, namely, making false claims about his ability to cure physical illnesses. He was sentenced to four years in prison, which was never served.

* The NSW Greens have lodged an official complaint over an advertising leaflet for a school in Sydney which they say fails to reveal the school's link to Scientology.

* Defectors Say Church of Scientology Hides Abuse

* Just three weeks ago the internet was buzzing with news of a new initiative from the organization. CoS had hired three prize-winning journalists to investigate the St. Petersburg Times, a newspaper that had been investigating them for over 30 years and won a Pulitzer Prize for their coverage in 1980.

* Scientology has been hit by a fresh wave of allegations, likely to give added weight to calls for a Senate inquiry into the church.
Several Australians have spoken out for the first time about their experiences with the church, accusing it of forced abortions, holding slave labour camps and exploiting child workers.
Former rugby league player Joe Reaiche told ABC's Four Corners program on Monday of being coerced into spending $400,000 on spiritual books and being paid just $20 a week as an employee.

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