If celebrity endorsement is a guarantee of religious truth, Scientology is a winner. Many thoughtful people consider it a false cult. Only in America, it seems, can both statements be considered true.
– The Selling of a Church: The Courting of Celebrities
Tom Cruise and the mother of his child, Katie Holmes, and John Travolta, Kirstie Alley and dozens of lesser lights follow the teachings of the controversial religion that is a kind of Gnostic human potential movement.
Founded by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard in 1954, the quintessentially 20th-century American religion claims to offer a precise path to understanding one’s true nature.
A disciple simply needs to know the mysteries of Hubbard’s teaching to achieve enlightenment. His secret knowledge sounds much like the second-century Gnostic heresy that offered a secret path to salvation by special knowledge of Jesus’ teaching.
Scientology acknowledges a supreme being but requires no worship since its bootstrap philosophy leaves salvation entirely up to the individual.
“He (man) is able to not only solve his own problems, accomplish his goals and gain lasting happiness, but also achieve new, higher states of awareness and ability,” according to a statement on the religion’s official Web site, www.scientology.org.
That’s probably why Scientology is so popular among some celebrities. They want a religion, that both glorifies them and demands nothing of them. Judaism, Christianity and Islam require a level of accountability.
Disciples ‘audit’ or listen with a counselor to rid themselves of traumatic events and bad decisions that retard growth. Auditors often use a Hubbard patented E-meter (electro-psychometer) that allegedly measures skin response similar to a lie detector.
Critics of Scientology say the religion is a jumble of psychobabble, mind control and science fiction. Critics, however, do not deter the faithful.
Holmes planned to observe ‘silent birth‘ when her baby was born in April. That’s in obedience to the teaching of Scientology.
A quiet birthing experience allows no shouting or laughter and is thought to be good for both mother and child, according to Kathy Dillon, public relations officer for the church in Coral Gables.
The biblical character, Sarah, legitimate wife of Abraham, might argue the point, since she named her child Isaac. That word means laughter, and through laughter, Judaism asserts, all nations are blessed.