The Los Angeles Times has a great cartoon page, on the weekend there are even two of them. That is about all news I usually read on paper (I confess to be an online news junkie). But today the L.A. Times surprised me with an editorial about Scientology Myths! Not the website, unfortunately. Jean E. Rosenfeld, a religious scholar at UCLA, uses Christian myths to show that each religion has one which might sound strange, or not, to those who have not studied up on the background information leading to the “myth”. He says:
“Speaking as a scholar who has analyzed new religions for over 20 years, I deplore critics who pose as experts. Scientology is a new religion, and unlike most, it may become an established religion whether the rest of us like it or not.
All religions have origin myths, and all religions keep secrets from the uninitiated. If a nonbeliever were to tell the origin myth of Christianity, it would sound no less fantastic than the Thetan myth of L. Ron Hubbard: A spirit present as God before the creation of the universe splits off from Godhead after billions of years of Earth time and is born again as a flesh-and-blood person to a Jewish woman. The son gathers adherents, casts out demons from afflicted people, works miracles and finally confronts the evil king in the Jewish capital city. The evil empire’s soldiers try, convict and kill him in a public execution. He then is resurrected before his disciples and tells them to spread his kingdom throughout the world. He promises to appear again and save those who believe in his message and condemn to eternal punishment those who do not. All of his followers will be resurrected after our Earth is destroyed by seven years of heaven-sent catastrophes that kill off most of the human race. …
Myths are symbolic expressions of existential truths; they are not literal accounts of historical events. Their truth — religious truth — is not subject to experimental verification. Religious truth sustains and organizes human societies and gives identity — and thus, sanity — to human beings. Expressing oneself religiously and symbolically is an essential ingredient of being human. Myth will always be with us, whether created by cosmologists, as the Big Bang theory, or by poets and prophets as alternative accounts of world creation.” (Los Angeles Times, 22 February 2008, Scientology Stands a Chance)
I used the chance to update the “Aliens” pages of ScientologyMyths.info with this nicely formulated viewpoint.