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Scientology is a religion/philosophy developed by L. Ron Hubbard in the 1950s. The emphasis is on improving human potential through courses and mental disciplines taught by the organization. Embryonic forms of the belief system are found in L. Ron Hubbard's book "Dianetics." Several famous Hollywood actors are members and two Hollywood movies "Battlefield Earth" and "Phenomenon" are viewed as including themes drawn from or related to Scientology.

In 1941 L. Ron Hubbard wrote: "Writing for a penny a word is ridiculous. If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion." Reader's Digest reprint, May 1980, p.1.

Scientology is not a Christian denomination or a member of any particular major world religion. In his 2006 book The God Delusion Richard Dawkins describes both Scientology and Mormonism as "purely designed religion"s. (page 201).

Scientology has been involved in extensive litigation with former members (often involving issues of copyright and defamation), and with the IRS. A determination that certain Scientology related educational practices were eligible for a charitable deduction has led to high profile litigation in an effort to obtain similar treatment for other religious practices. Scientologist organs have also been accused in litigation of mistreating members.

One source (the American Religious Identification study shown on the Religion and Politics page), estimated Scientologist membership at about 50,000 based on self-identification survey data. Scientology's official organs keep the number private.

Some people have claimed that the belief system is based on the premise involving what amounts to the souls of alien life forms impacting life on Earth, but that such teachings are given only to a select group of insiders.

The group is highly controversial and has a history of reacting forcefully to alleged mischaracterizitions of it.



  • Beck
  • Tom Cruise
  • Issac Hayes
  • Juliet Lewis
  • Gretta Van Susteran
  • John Travolta


  • Richard Dawkins. 2006. The God Delusion. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 0618680004.


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