There are many celebrities who are members of the Church of Scientology, including Tom Cruise and John Travolta.
A faith system is instrumental in guiding the spiritual beliefs of people. The system is meant to be helpful in guiding them to 'the' higher power, be it God, Allah, Vāhigurū, one of the many million Hindu deities, or any other name that the power is known by. It provides a firm structure for humans to lean on. The Church of Scientology is one such system.
I have knowingly avoided using the term 'religion', owing to the fact that Scientology has been recognized as a religion by only a few countries. For its followers though, a stamp from some authority, rather than the absence of it, is not going to make any impression on their trust factor. The Church of Scientology has various beliefs and practices, which are supposedly based on extensive research, the most common of which have been mentioned in the upcoming sections.
Scientology is a faith that was founded in the 20th century by L. Ron Hubbard, and is inspired from many religions around the world. It all started with 'Dianetics', a new approach of Hubbard towards the mental health of human beings. Building on the teachings of Dianetics, he published a new religious philosophy, known as Scientology.
Scientology literally means 'knowing how to know'. The word 'Scio', in Latin, means 'knowing', whereas the Greek word 'Logos' means the 'study of'. This faith provides guidance to its followers to get a better understanding of their spiritual nature, and also of their relationship with the surrounding universe.
Their beliefs include,
- The physical universe that consists of matter, energy, space, and time is created by the spirit, also known as theta.
- Humans are immortal spiritual beings, known as thetans, and that the spirit has control over the mind as well as the body.
- The spirit keeps on taking one physical form or the other, until all the traumas from the past and current lives are not confronted.
- However, there are no reincarnations, as the spirit is not born again, and it only changes its physical form.
- It is because of the trauma that the thetan spirits are not able to realize their actual potential.
- Trauma, along with other experiences, are recorded by the brain in the series of 'engrams'.
- Children are the spirits that occupy young bodies, and should be treated with the same respect that adults are treated with.
- Humans are capable of committing sin or harm to others, and this reduces their potential power and awareness.
- The spirit can exist outside a body before taking a physical form.
- More than charity, they believe in exchange, because the people who never give will lose self-respect and be unhappy.
- Psychiatric drugs interfere with the functioning of a rational mind.
- Humans must be self-reliant, and increase their abilities to solve their own problems.
Their practices include,
- 'Auditing' is the process that helps in finding and getting rid of the traumas that a person may have faced in the past lives, as well as the present one.
- The traumas are located by an 'auditor', in the process of auditing. This is done with the help of a device known as an E-meter.
- Silent birth is a practice in which the mother cannot make any noise when giving birth to a baby, so that the baby is delivered in a warm and calm environment.
- They do not encourage interpretation of the scriptures and writings.
- Their texts are to be studied in a particular order, and one can move to the next level only after the completion of the current level.
- Some of the prominent holidays include the birthday of Hubbard in March, the anniversary of the publication of the Dianetics in May, and Auditor's Day in September.