Blog: Deconstructing Scientology - Chapter 8 - 2016-09-22

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F0.png Deconstructing Scientology - Chapter 8 September 22, 2016, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large

Hey everyone, this video continues our series of analyses of the chapter of this book, Scientology, edited by James R. Lewis. This book predominantly consists of apologetics, which by definition are "reasoned arguments or writings in justification of something, typically a theory or religious doctrine." That hasn't been the case with every chapter, but this week we are definitely diving deep into the pool of rationalizations for Scientology.

Chapter 8 is by French professor of psychology Regis Dericqueobourg, whose name I am probably butchering because my French really sucks. Now I say that he is a professor of psychology because that's what this book says he is but according to Wikipedia, he's a sociologist of religions, so I'm not sure what his actual professional field of study is but I'll go with sociologist over psychologist. He works at the Charles De Gaulle University in Lille, France and is concerned with the conflict between society and minority religious groups, which may be one reason why he is so desperate to draw connections that don't exist between Scientology and other major religions so as to legitimize what Scientology is doing. Now I know that I'm biased in this, but having been a Scientologist for so long and seeing how it really operates behind closed doors versus what some of these academics have to say about it, I think my bias is well deserved.

This chapter asks the question "How Should We Regard the Religious Ceremonies of the Church of Scientology?" Let me first begin by telling you that when I was in Scientology, most of us regarded them as a bother and something that had to be done because we were ordered to do it. I'm referring mainly to the Sunday Service Program, which if I recall correctly came down pretty hard around 1999 with a newly revised book called The Background, Ministry, Ceremonies & Sermons of the Scientology Religion. This gigantic tome included a whole new format for our Sunday Services which included things that all of the Scientologists I knew had never heard of before such as a Prayer for Total Freedom. We all looked at each other kind of dumbfounded. Prayers? Huh?