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kelley
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I used to think Tom Cruise was awesome, but he jumped the shark soooo hard when he started jumping up and down on Oprah's couch.

 

If I went from Nicole Kidman to Katie Holmes, the only reason I'd be standing on a couch would be to hang myself.

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Ok, intrigued by our own synthetic simian's scintillating syntax, I looked up "Scientology" on wikipedia to see what a "thetan" was. Here you go:

 

The central beliefs of Scientology (or rather the early teachings) are that a person is an immortal spiritual being (referred to as a thetan) who possesses a mind and a body, and that the person is basically good. The life one should lead is one of continual spiritual and ethical education, awareness, and improvement, so that he/she can be happy and achieve ultimate salvation, as well as being more effective in creating a better world. Scientology claims to offer specific methodologies to assist a person to achieve this.

 

Those that reach the higher teachings (OT III) within the Church of Scientology will learn all about Xenu, the evil intergalactic ruler who implanted ?thetans,? or alien spirits, in earth?s volcanoes 75 million years ago, after which they escaped and invaded human bodies. The ultimate belief of Scientology is that you are possessed by the spirits of aliens murdered 75 million years ago by "Xenu" and you have to exorcise these spirits.

 

Um, what? :eh I knew movie stars were crazy, but...

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A little more information from site dedicated to "unmasking" Scientology. The site owner sees Scientology as being a form of brainwashing and attempts to back that up. Makes for some interesting reading:

 

The results of applying their crackpot psychotherapy (called "auditing") is to weaken the mind. The mind goes from a rational state to an irrational one as the delusional contents of the subconscious mind are brought to the surface and are assumed to be valid. It also makes a person more susceptible to suggestion since it submerges the critical thinking faculties of the mind into a partial subconscious state. It results in a permanent light hypnotic trance and so from thenceforth that person can be more easily controlled. The person will, to a much greater extent, believe and do whatever they are told. And of course this is used to the full in persuading them to hand over further money and dedicating themselves further to the cult.

 

The results of applying their oversimplified and inapplicable rules in life is to lose the ability to think rationally and logically. A person loses the ability to think for themselves and so they lose the ability to challenge incorrect ideas. This makes them easier to control. It also isolates and alienates the person from society so that they withdraw from normal society and into their "Scientology" society. This further increases their susceptibility to the influence of their group. They end up being afraid of society, believing all society to be controlled by a group of drug companies, psychiatrists and financiers all of whom report to more remote masters. In other words they are in a state of mass paranoia. They therefore avoid reading newspapers and the like since they fear it will disturb their safe Scientology world. It is a downward spiral into madness.

 

The science fiction content of Scientology is revealed to them after they have reached the state they call "Clear", meaning freed from the aberrations of the mind. However, perhaps "brainwashed" would be a more applicable word to describe the mental state of someone who has survived the near entire delusional contents of their subconscious mind brought to the surface and presented to them as "truth". On the "advanced" levels (called OT levels) above the state of "Clear" they encounter the story of Xenu. Xenu was supposed to have gathered up all the overpopulation in this sector of the galaxy, brought them to Earth and then exterminated them using hydrogen bombs. The souls of these murdered people are then supposed to infest the body of everyone. They are called "body thetans". On the advanced levels of Scientology a person "audits out" these body thetans telepathically by getting them to re-experience their being exterminated by hydrogen bombs. So people on these levels assume all their bad thoughts and faulty memories are due to these body thetans infesting every part of their body and influencing them mentally. Many Scientologists go raving mad at this point if they have not done so already.

 

You can read more here:

 

http://www.xenu.net/roland-intro.html

 

Keep in mind guys that I'm ok with talking Scientology here. It's bending the religion rule but as long as the discourse remains civil, I have no problems at all.

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Without taking this too far, and I'm by no means a proponent of Scientology (or any religion, for that matter), nor am I a Tom Cruise fan. In fact, I think he's a hack. But virtually any religion, when looked at in a purely "what it is" sort of way, sounds ridiculous.

 

Christianity: Some dude is the son of God. God didn't have sex with anyone, mind you, but he impregnated some chick. So this Jesus guy dies, come back three days later, promises to come back again, and then billions of people spent that 2000 years waiting for him to come back. Again.

 

Meanwhile, other popular religions include horses floating up to heaven, giant seas parting, magic underwear, blood turning into wine, etc.

 

Aliens, ghosts, prophets, call them what you want, it's all pretty fantastic.

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