Monday, July 18, 2005

Scientology is a Cult

A few weeks ago, Tom Cruise sparked an instantaneous controversy while being interviewed by Matt Lauer. We've all known for a long time that Tom Cruise is about Scientology like Fiddler on the Roof is about Jews. In that interview with Lauer, Cruise made some controversial comments about post-partum depression, psychiatry, which he is assuredly quite familiar with, and the use of medication to treat chemical imbalances that lead to mental illness.

As far as Cruise's comments go, I can't say I give half a crap what the guy who starred in Top Gun thinks about the treatment of mental health problems. It's like asking Carrot Top for a neurology consultation. If people take him seriously, they're morons for not recognizing that having your ex-wife play a doctor in a NASCAR movie doesn't qualify you to provide medical advice.

Which brings me to this weekend. I was having a discussion with a group of people about Tom Cruise, some of whom were very upset at his comments, but one in particular was defending him. So, I made essentially the same statement of indifference that I did above, without the clever Carrot Top analogy. What followed was one of the most troubling discussions about religion that I have ever had.

The person who defended Tom Cruise, it turns out, was actually a Scientologist. I didn't know there were Scientologists in Omaha, NE. They must be meeting in someone's basement, because if you use the Church of Scientology Cult Locator on their website, there isn't one within 100 miles of Omaha, NE. Omaha is looking pretty good now isn't it?

In general, I try to keep an open mind about other people's religions, because generally, I learn something new as a result of that strategy. For example, I learned that Mormons believe that Jews, Africans and other people with dark skin are "bad souls", and thus, received a darker coloration from God. The Scientologist refused to have a civilized discussion, and hence, I learned very little.

I don't have a problem with anybody's religious beliefs. There are some religions that believe that people can rise from the dead, Jesus in particular, which I don't think is any more contentious than what Scientologists believe. If you're actually interested in what Scientologists believe and you don't want to buy the book you can get more info here.

My problem with Scientology is that it's essentially a racket. In order to be a good little Scientologist, you have to go to special Scientology psychotherapy, which they call auditing. Cost estimates vary considerably, but in order to get beyond peon status, you must spent between $300,000 and $500,000 on this auditing stuff. It makes it a great religion for Hollywood-types, since they can buy salvation, while still making statements like women who suffer from post-partum depression "need to get out and exercise."

I haven't seen War of the Worlds, but the last movie that I saw where Tom Cruise was worth a shit was Minority Report. Since then, regardless of his religious beliefs, he's really started to go downhill as an actor, but that's just my opinion. This latest case of verbal diarrhea was brilliant self-promotion and idiotic all at the same time.

Any religion that requires it's participants to pay for services connected with salvation, whether it's Scientology or Christianity, should be questioned. Support your church in any way and to whatever degree you wish, but if there are fees that are required for your participation, you're being had.

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