Scientology is regarded as the most notorious religious movement of the 20th century. The Church of Scientology is considered to be more of a cult than a religion and it has come under frequent attack for its so-called religious practices which include brainwashing its adherent and cheating them of money and other possessions. It has also been accused of very aggressive behavior against those who criticize them and anyone that they identify as an enemy by character denouncement, psychological abuse, and expensive court cases. Scientology was founded by fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard (1911-1986) who characterized this as a religion and insisted that it was a regular religion like Christianity. He established the first Church of Scientology in 1953 in Camden, New Jersey.
Although adherents of Scientology and social scientists are adamant that it is a religion, a more appropriate explanation is that this is a multi-national organization and religion is only one of its several mechanisms. The other components of Scientology include political ambitions, business enterprises and projects, cultural production, simulated medical perpetrations, and simulated psychiatric practices, and an interchangeable family structure for some of its elite members known as the Sea Organization. Elite Sea Organizations members have very little time for family obligations because of the demands of their jobs. The most disturbing aspect of life with the Sea Organization is that members might have to undergo very strict and invasive penalties and forcing them into working in their Rehabilitation Project Force.
These penalties violate most of the basic doctrines of human rights. Scientology cannot be said to be a religion in the conventional sense that constitutes most of the major religions in the world. The organization can be called “religious in nature” and is regarded as good as any religion by its adherents. This is because Scientology envisages twenty so-called principles or commandments that form the base of Scientology are usually found in what is generally regarded as a religion. Social scientists insist that although the movement took the title of “church” especially to be recognized as a religion, which does not say anything about the status of their belief systems.
In fact, some social scientists contend that Scientology is setting the trend for religion for the 21st century. However, critics maintain that Ron Hubbard declared Scientology to be a religion because it was a good way to make money and also avoid paying taxes. Another fact is that Scientologists deny that Scientology is a religion when they want to enter any country that does not like religious propagation such as Japan and Greece However, whatever the reason behind Scientology’s religious claims because they make only selected claims does not reduce the fact that most Scientologists regard their commitment to Scientology as a religious commitment.