Scientology: Sect, Science, or Scam?

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The present piece surveys different discussions of “religion” — especially in the legal realm — which have had a bearing on Scientology. L. Ron Hubbard adopted the religion label for practical reasons; in his mind, Scientology was a science, not a religion. However, it is clear that Scientology actually is a religion — at least in the sense of functioning as a religion in the lives of participants — parading as science; instead of, as Hubbard thought, a science parading as religion. This becomes particularly clear upon examination of individuals participating in the so-called “Free Zone” (ex-CoS members who continue to identify as Scientologists), for whom Scientology remains their primary religious identity.

Scientology: Sect, Science, or Scam?

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Urban 2011:19. Refer in this regard to the discussion in Chapter 15 of Atack 2013 (2nd ed.). The same basic discussion with a few less details can be found in Chapter 5 of Section iii of the first edition from 1990.


Hubbard 1956:79. In later editions of this book — editions that were issued only after Hubbard’s death — this statement was deleted. I briefly discuss this and similar edits below.


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