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Christopher Blythe. Princeton: Princeton University Press, The Church of Scientology has made headlines throughout the globe often with reporters and critics asking whether such an organization should rightfully be classified as a religion at all. In the past ten years, the church has been the target of popular protests and cyber-attacks, as well as numerous parodies in popular culture, including most infamously, an episode of South Park.

Oddly, academics have largely avoided the subject of the Church of Scientology. Until the present volume, the sixty-year-old movement had been the subject of only two monographs and one edited collection. I have incorporated their recommendations into this piece and, thus, cannot take sole credit for the ethical discussion offered here. I am the editor in chief of the Journal of Bioethical Inquiry. Skip to main content.

The Church of Scientology A History of Violence Part 2-A

Advertisement Hide. Book Review First Online: 13 November This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access. Acknowledgements I am very grateful to Katrina Bramstedt, the JBI Associate Editor for Reviews, and the anonymous peer reviewers, all of whom offered excellent suggestions for improving this book review. Through their recovered memories, pre-clears were initiated into the Scientology mythos, which hinges on the story of an intergalactic dictator called Xenu who 75 million years ago collaborated with psychiatrists to massacre a population of aliens whose tortured essences now inhabit the bodies of humans.

Scientology quickly became one of the loudest and least articulate voices in the anti-psychiatry movement of the s — a time when doctors still had unfettered authority to administer drugs to unwilling patients.

Scientology News: Church of Scientology Newsroom

The first international edition of the Scientology magazine, Freedom , showed horned devils performing lobotomies. But Hubbard never let go of the dream that the world would become explicable through science. Hubbard had begun exploring the redemptive possibilities of science in the s and s, when he was writing the voluminous short stories that appeared — he produced nearly , words a month — in Astounding Science Fiction , the most popular US magazine of its kind.

His stories were crass, overdetermined and breezy; his heroes morally, mentally and physically superior to the rest of humanity.

AC, QC and former Solicitor General of Australia

Soon Hubbard began interpreting that power literally, and many of his colleagues lost interest in his work. At each level of the process they attained new knowledge that enriched the fictional universe for them. The religion would create a supremely rational species capable of all sorts of amazing feats — healing the sick, communicating with plants, levitating.

Hubbard gradually came to terms with years spent writing science fiction. Thanks to science fiction, he had discovered an age when men could transcend the boundaries of the physical universe. Some of them remember it quite well, but then they reverse their time … and put it all into the future.

Scientology might be dismissed as an overgrown vanity project, were it not for its year battle with the Internal Revenue Service. The organisation filed more than suits against the IRS claiming harassment and violation of First Amendment rights, among other things.

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The Church of Scientology: A History of a New Religion by Hugh B. Urban

The tax authorities have become a litmus test for whether a religion in America is authentic. Only the Royal Navy officially designates it a religion.


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Urban takes no position on whether or not Scientology should qualify as a religion; he argues that religion is a form of discourse, which Scientology has carefully mastered. In lectures, books, radio broadcasts and promotional movies, Scientology rebranded itself with references to the superhuman and the eternal, though the purpose of the redefinition was material.

Tax-exempt status came as a financial boon, and meant the church could exercise tighter control over copyrighted materials. In the course of the s and s, Scientology gradually fashioned itself as a sect of Christianity. Urban does not argue, as other writers have, that it was all a financial ploy, though he agrees that getting rich was a powerful motivating force.

Inventing time and space and energy and matter.