Blog: Deconstructing Scientology: Chapter 11 - 2016-11-17

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F0.png Deconstructing Scientology: Chapter 11 November 17, 2016, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large

Hey everyone, we are picking back up on our reading and deconstruction of this book, Scientology, edited by James R. Lewis and featuring essays from a number of different academics and religious scholars on the subject of Scientology. We've covered the first 10 chapters and so far it's been a slugfest of Scientology apologetics to one degree or another, with these scholars almost one-for-one refusing to take a critical view of the subject and many of them simply repeating the content of Scientology's own promotional materials or Hubbard's words verbatim and calling it religious scholarship. But this week, we finally have something new.

Andreas Grunschloss is the author on deck. He is a German scholar and according to Wikipedia, is the current Professor of Religious Studies at Gottingen University in Germany. He is an ordained Protestant pastor, has written three books and is the co-editor of the Marburg Journal of Religion, an English language peer-reviewed academic internet journal.

I was impressed in reading about some of his other works as how he manages to maintain what looks to me like an actually objective view of the subjects he studies, yet does drill down into their details to get at what is really going on in the heads of the believers. This is not as easy as it sounds. Not to stereotype Grunschloss, but perhaps because he is German, it was easier for him to maintain neutrality towards Scientology. Germany has had a long and epic history with Scientology because the government there never bought into the idea that Scientology was a religion and in fact, has had its eyes on them for quite some time. This is more due to the fact that the German government is not at all interested in anything like the Nazi Party rising again than they are in suppressing freedom of religion and it's telling that they view Scientology with such potential. Given its rapacious appetite for money at the cost of broken lives and broken families, hardsell sales tactics, seemly inexhaustible legal fund and the anti-government sentiments Hubbard espoused over the years, it's not hard to see why Germany would have reason for concern.