General Question

Likeradar's avatar

What are the benefits or upsides of Scientology?

Asked by Likeradar (19575points) June 2nd, 2009

There’s been lots of discussions on why Scientology is a sham and/or dangerous. From what I know of it, it seems kinda nutso. So I’m wondering, is there anyone on here with an opposing viewpoint (as in, a positive one) who would like to shed some light on why someone would follow this line of beliefs?

I mean this as a serious question, by the way.

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38 Answers

wundayatta's avatar

That cool machine that measures your engrams or whatever they are. Science fiction is so cool, and a religion created by an sf author has got to be the coolest cosmic joke ever!

whatthefluther's avatar

You’ll have something in common with Tom Cruise and Kirstie Alley?

Mtl_zack's avatar

You think it’s nutso, others might think it’s a legit religion that tells a valid explanation of the origins of the world.

SeventhSense's avatar

The celebrity friends no doubt.

sccrowell's avatar

Let’s not forget John Travolta

jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities's avatar

A posse of crazy celebrities who’ve got your back when you sue someone for making fun of you. But then again, you face the wrath of Zenu.

Likeradar's avatar

Sooooo…. aside from @Mtl_zack ‘s answer… no real ones? Y’all are making me laugh, though. :)

AstroChuck's avatar

The upside is you won’t have such a heavy wallet to carry around with you.

whatthefluther's avatar

It has been many years since I checked them out but it gave me the impression that it was a power trip “all-about-me” make that “all-about-special-me” belief that didn’t teach kindness or compassion of your fellow man but rather justified why you needed really give a crap about anyone else. But I was young then so it was eons ago and my memory ain’t what it used to be…wtf

SeventhSense's avatar

@AstroChuck
You always make me chuckle.

dannyc's avatar

For those who wish to have a group experience, and who might challenge the norms of traditional religions, they will gravitate to a belief system that is provocative and has some shock value. In that sense, they would find it beneficial. Also, the mind can make any experience positive if reinforced by a group. I think the science is totally bogus, but the perceived benefit to those who practice it obviously outweighs the risks or naysayers. Any cult may temporarily boost a person’s sense of worth. In the long-term logic prevails or the evidence starts to cast doubt in the believers who will, in a higher percentage over time, leave the religion. Not unlike other religions, might I add, or say born again charismatics speaking in tongues. No one can deny they feel a benefit, even if outsiders think it illogical.

steve6's avatar

Upside is you won’t have to worry about all that money in your savings account.

Darwin's avatar

At the beginning, the practitioners do a great deal to make new members (and potential new members) feel accepted and loved just as they are. When my friend in college got caught up with the church it filled an empty space he had carried around for most of his life, and thus enabled him to get off drugs.

However, soon the church demands much more of its members, including becoming subservient to folks at the higher levels of the church and allowing them to order you around and berate you at will. And then there’s the whole “what’s yours is ours” thing.

If you don’t mind subsuming your will and ego to others and you don’t particularly want to think for yourself, Scientology can offer you a safe little niche, just as many other cults can. Scientology does offer the upside that there is no requirement to prepare for any sort of mass suicide in order to achieve whatever the goal of the cult might be. Scientology wants its members to stay alive and continue earning money and spreading the word.

Bear in mind that Scientology deliberately targets celebrities and treats them differently than they do the average member, even giving them a luxurious place to stay on the Los Angeles Celebrity Centre’s upper floors, where there are thirty-nine hotel rooms to accommodate visiting Scientologists, particularly those whose fame may require special facilities so they can feel safe, secure and private.

ragingloli's avatar

In Germany, the Church of Scientology is not officially considered a religion, but a corporation. It is furthermore under surveillance by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, because of Scientology’s antidemocratic activities and ideology, as evidenced by internal scientology documents.

Apart from that, the Corporation of Scientology forces its members to cut all ties to family and friends, it brainwashes them to make them obedient followers, and it bankrupts them with astronomic costs for course material, to make them dependent on the Corp.
Members who managed to leave the Corporation of Scientology have been harassed by the Organisation, even driving them to suicide.
The same is done to outspoken critics of Scientology.
According to scientology’s “Fair Game” doctrine, even murder is permitted.

Likeradar's avatar

@ragingloli Interesting upsides :) Really though, I didn’t know that about Germany.

ragingloli's avatar

The only upside is that they will make you enjoy being a bankrupt slave.

steve6's avatar

Burroughs evened disowned them. He was no fool.

Darwin's avatar

I once saw an edict from L. Ron Hubbard entitled “Rule 44.” It said in essence that if someone is deemed to be an enemy of Scientology that it is acceptable to shoot them with a .44 caliber pistol.

Charming organization.

tiffyandthewall's avatar

weird; i just had a really long conversation with my friend about scientology.

granted, our only real reference during our discussion was wikipedia – but call me crazy if you wish – i don’t think scientology is that out there.
especially if we’re comparing it to other religions. i mean, how many people criticize it mainly because of the inclusion of aliens and whatnot, but will readily accept the ‘normal’ theory that there’s just an infinite invisible dude up there who used to talk to people and set plants on fire?

i really don’t know much about the technicalities, and i certainly don’t agree with most of the things they say, but i don’t see why everyone thinks it’s so out there and corrupt. have they taken a look at 99% of other organized religions commonly practiced?

pikipupiba's avatar

Its great if eternal damnation is your cup of tea.

ragingloli's avatar

@tiffyandthewall
It is not the beliefs that sets scientology apart from other religions, frankly, they are no more crazy than those of the other major religions, what makes Scientology different are the practices and activities.

http://www.stmi.bayern.de/imperia/md/content/stmi/sicherheit/verfassungsschutz/scientology/system_so_engl.pdf

This is an official report about scientology from the Bavarian Ministry of the Interior.

dynamicduo's avatar

The only benefit is observing just how gullible and dumb some humans are, but overall that makes me more sad than it is beneficial.

@tiffyandthewall – I don’t just criticize it for the B plot movie that is their “truths”. I criticize them because they blackmail their members with the secrets they learn via the e-meter reading process (how handy is that), take as much of their money as they can possibly get their hands on, discourage logical thinking and encourage cutting off anyone who doesn’t support you completely. And the quotes from L Ron himself regarding “if you want to be rich, start a religion” are just too much. Sure, most other religions do similar things too, but they at least are very quiet and discreet about it (church tithes are usually 10% or donating via the passed around hat, cutting off of non agreeing people is not really mainstream).

Oh, and FWIW, I don’t believe anything. Yay for reason and logic!

bythebay's avatar

I am not a scientologist and I know nothing about the practice. I do, however, find it very telling that not one person answered @Likeradar ‘s question. Instead, every opinion proffered was a negative judgment on the group, except for @tiffanyandthewall.

Live and let live certainly doesn’t apply here on Fluther anymore does it? Not to worry though, character assassination is certainly alive and well.

ragingloli's avatar

@bythebay
asking for good sides about scientology is like asking for good things about the nsdap.
there just isn’t any.

Darwin's avatar

@bythebay – I did give some good things about Scientology, namely that it gives affirmation to new members such that they can get off drugs, and it does not require suicide. It also provides a safe and comfortable niche for those who seek one.

However, I have had personal experience with Scientology and have found that the fact that they will not let someone leave the religion for any reason without penalty is worrisome. Unlike other churches, which may be sad or upset if you leave or go so far as to ex-communicate you, Scientology takes you to court and sues you. And because of how they set up the paperwork members sign whenever they take one of the required classes, Scientology wins. Its founder also advocates harassment and physical violence against ex-members.

In my experience with Scientology it is difficult to find an up-side to a religion that advocates terrorizing detractors and that deliberately places its members into debt in order to get a hold over them so they cannot leave. A church that sues members for every penny they have or that blackmails members with information given to the church in confidence is not a admirable organization.

If Scientology would live and let live, perhaps those of us familiar with it but not members would find more good things to say about it.

And don’t forget, many members of Fluther successfully rely on counseling and medications to make their lives worth living, but Scientology states that psychiatry is a fraud and that mental illness does not exist.

Perhaps you should read up on Scientology before you judge us? Other people might look at so many negative comments and decide that perhaps there is something wrong with Scientology as a church and thus research it to see why so many are against it.

bythebay's avatar

@Darwin: I apologize, I missed the positives you pointed out. However, I am only referencing the actual question @Likeradar asked, which was seeking “positive viewpoints”.

I don’t need to read up on Scientology as it holds no interest to me. I’m not here to judge Scientology. I’m not judging your feelings about it, or anyone else’s, but rather the inability of most posters to answer the question that was asked, which again, was for positive viewpoints.

whatthefluther's avatar

@bythebay…And what was the purpose of your post? You offer no positive viewpoints either, do you?

bythebay's avatar

@whatthefluther: No, I don’t. As I mentioned I know nothing of the upsides of Scientology. I did read the question and come to it in order to learn more though, having never really heard any positives/benefits.

whatthefluther's avatar

@bythebay…Respectfully, I do understand where you are coming from and I am guilty as charged. You may consider asking a question such as: Why do so many flutherers feel compelled to post what they may believe to be clever remarks that do not remotely address the very specific details of questions” or something similar. The responses may proof interesting. See you around…wtf

whatthefluther's avatar

@bythebay…Kindly reread your previous post from a different perspective:
“I know nothing of the upsides…”: & “having never really heard any positives/benefits”
One could conceivably infer that you know lots about the downsides and have only heard bad things. I feel like you nearly bashed it! Just having some fun with you and I think fun is what the other posters had in mind on their negative posts. Now, I believe we both owe @Likeradar an apology. I am sorry. Lots of lurve to all…wtf

Blondesjon's avatar

Your whites are whiter and it keeps your tartar under control.

SuperMouse's avatar

@Blondesjon seriously? Sign me up!

Likeradar's avatar

@whatthefluther Thank you, but no apology needed. :) I’m kinda surprised so many people just chimed in with negatives (instead of not chiming in at all), but I think it’s a little interesting that very, very few of you have anything seriously positive to say about it. I guess I was looking for information that may not exist.

pikipupiba's avatar

All hail Tom Cruise!

SeventhSense's avatar

@bythebay
I offered some positive input. You can make lots of famous friends.:)

And another plus-I think I would go all Scientology freaky for Travolta’s wife Kelly Preston.

mattbrowne's avatar

There are none.

SeventhSense's avatar

@mattbrowne
Kelly Preston? I think she comes with the welcome package. Heloooo….:)

LuckyGuy's avatar

It redistributes wealth from those who have more money than brains to those clever enough to develop an excellent marketing plan.

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