Blog: Deconstructing Scientology: Chapter 7 - 2016-09-15
Hey everybody. This video is the next in my ongoing series taking apart this collection of essays and academic papers all bundled together under the name Scientology, edited by James R. Lewis. I've said from the beginning that I'm not objective in my views on Scientology and most of my critiques so far have been pretty harsh since the quality of the academic work in this book is frankly disgustingly bad. However, this week I was pleasantly surprised by Danish writers Peter B. Andersen and Rie Wellendorf who wrote chapter 7, Community in Scientology and among Scientologists. This is the first chapter I've read where the authors not only show their familiarity with the subject but use statistical and research information smartly to come up with sensible conclusions about Scientologists' actions and views. Let's get right into it.
Like most academic papers, they start by stating their basic theme and intentions in writing this and compared to some of the highbrow academic linguistics we've seen in earlier chapters, this is surprisingly readable.
"The Church of Scientology has been seen as a privatized religion fitting into the present age with hardly any 'communal expression or community activity'. Based on observations, interviews and a questionnaire handed out to about 500 core members of Scientology in Denmark between 1986 and 1999, the chapter argues that the teachings and organization of the Church of Scientology, gnostic and arcane though they may be, still allow for community in a religious sense of the word, but that it is established through other channels and therefore expresses itself in different ways than in, for example, a Catholic community in which all members have equal access to salvation through one initiation.