Scientology Is Insane, But Nowhere Near As Dangerous As Christianity

Until born-again crack evangelist Charlie Sheen unseated it with aplomb, Scientology was the fastest growing comedy reference on the planet. But look beyond the laughter and the plain truth of it is L. Ron Hubbard’s disciples are no more insane than the religious mainstream and far less likely to kill you.
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Until born-again crack evangelist Charlie Sheen unseated it with aplomb, Scientology was the fastest growing comedy reference on the planet. But look beyond the laughter and the plain truth of it is L. Ron Hubbard’s disciples are no more insane than the religious mainstream and far less likely to kill you.

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If you were to bullet-point Scientology’s main tenets on a sheet of A4 paper, secrete it about your person and leap off the nearest multi-storey car park with a space hopper gaffer-taped to your arse, firstly, no one would be surprised – you’ve always been an attention-seeking twat. And secondly, the note police would duly find in amongst the bits of burst thorax and vulcanised rubber would all but confirm their initial suspicions: that you were a mentally defective peyote-fiend who, in the midst of a fatal psychotic episode, had unwittingly mistaken a child’s inflatable conveyance for the Mothership. Nanu-nanu, and case closed.

Yep, there’s no getting away from it, Scientology’s premise is fucking nuts: intergalactic tyrants, sticky Thetans, exploding volcanoes. But after a good, hard look at the bigger picture, I feel obliged to ask you this: are L. Ron Hubbard’s goofball precepts really any more preposterous than virgin births, magic hippies or transubstantiation? If you’re struggling to find it, the answer is no.

A lot’s been said of California’s third favourite cult bona fide religion. And not much of it has been that flattering. Words like “sinister”, “controlling”, “money-grabbing” and “fartclouds” get bandied about with alarming frequency (accusations that could easily have been cut and pasted from Catholicism’s charge sheet, by the way). A situation certainly not helped by their reaction to criticism. Say a bad word about them and, before you know it, a round-the-clock suits-and-sunglasses surveillance team has pulled up outside your house heralding a relentless campaign of slander and intimidation that invariably culminates in a bit of shouting and the revelation of a few sex crimes you don’t recall committing.

Say a bad word about them and, before you know it, a round-the-clock suits-and-sunglasses surveillance team has pulled up outside your house heralding a relentless campaign of slander and intimidation

Now before we continue, I’d just like to say I’m in no way condoning their actions.  A David Miscavige apologist I am not. Nor am I willing to excuse his/their more obnoxious views, not least that Psychiatrists are responsible for the holocaust [having seen the hourly rate they charge, I’ve since re-evaluated my standpoint and am now more than happy to pin that one on the shrinks]. But what I will say in Scientology’s defence is unlike Christianity, Islam, Judaism, the one with the cool headgear, and the one where they worship a pantheon of deities that look like the first draft of a particularly poor Hanna-Barbera cartoon series, you can count the amount of people Scientology has slaughtered in the name of its god with the fingers on Rick Allen’s left hand.

Maybe, given time, Hubbard’s little indie imprint will rack up a body count to rival the majors. But for now, I’d happily take a couple of extras from the Matrix invading my personal body-space over 40,000 troops invading my country, slaughtering my family and stealing my oil in the name of Jesus, Democracy and Halliburton. Fairly sure you would too.

All the big acts on the Theo-mythology circuit have their weird idiosyncrasies, bizarre rituals that only reveal their true absurdity when viewed with the sound turned down: genital mutilation, babbling incantations, Prog Rock capes, centrally-governed eating disorders. If I suddenly decided the only way my son could achieve atonement was by stripping the skin off his penis with a potato peeler I’d be sectioned immediately. Likewise, if I claimed a voice from the bushes had told me not to eat yoghurt on a Tuesday or to avoid touching light switches unless I’m dressed in crotchless jodhpur’s and a ball-gag I’d be diagnosed with clinical dickishness and put on clonazepam for the rest of my life.

Nebulous belief system or not, one thing’s for sure, no Scientologist has ever abused their articles of faith to justify flying a passenger jet into an office block. Not yet, anyway

Yet for some reason, though we readily accept myriad acts of shit-fingering lunacy from Big Religion, the second Xenu or the Galactic Confederacy start appearing on Tom Cruise’s ‘concept map’ we all develop a hitherto absent sneering rationality. Why is that? Is it simply because BR has been around long enough to have acquired immunity from the laws of sense and reason? And if so, what is the statute of limitations, there? When does a spurious collection of self-help manuals and fables go from being laughable folly to viable grounds for theocratic reverence? A ball-park figure will suffice.

Scientology’s appalling name aside (it always sounds like one of those meaningless portmanteau frankenwords to me), where the faith tends to fold quickest under scrutiny is doctrine, the problem being nobody really understands what the fuck they believe in. Not even they do. Whenever asked to quantify their creed Hubbard’s proselytes simply deny all knowledge of Meat Bodies and Space Operas before staring blankly into middle distance and smiling inanely like they’re being watched. Probably because they are.

But nebulous belief system or not, one thing’s for sure, no Scientologist has ever abused their articles of faith to justify flying a passenger jet into an office block. Not yet, anyway. Nor has Miscavige ever played pimp to a globalised coven of predatory paedophiles – a TKO in Scientology’s favour that segues neatly to my next aside: why exactly do you suppose the Catholic Church remain so vehemently anti-abortion? Is it (a) the sanctity of human life or (b) so there are more kids for them? Think about it for a few days and we’ll have a proper discussion at next week’s meeting.

So. The Church of Scientology. Never started a war; never invaded someone else’s country; never committed an act of terrorism; never throat-fucked a dorm full of orphans; and most important of all, never knocked on my front door trawling for converts while I’m frantically shaking my bollocks into a bag of dead birds. On that score alone I think they’ve earned the right to a fraction more slack than the fuck-all we’ve been cutting them ‘til now.