To many, Scientology is certainly a religion of great curiosity. From its belief system, to some of the big names that support and practice it, it’s natural to be a bit inquisitive of this subject in general. One specific area of notable query is that of the religion’s adamant disdain and rejection of any form of psychology or psychiatry. From an outside and neutral perspective, this is a brief attempt to answer just the question of why this is.
A Belief System at a Glance
In order to try to come to some understanding of this particular stance, it may in fact be best to first try to understand the general beliefs and history of the system itself. Scientology was originally founded in 1952 by a progressive-minded science-fiction writer by the name of Lafayette Ronald Hubbard. L Ron Hubbard established in this new religion that sciences such as psychology and psychiatry were wrong and hurtful to the more ethereal battle that took place at times of mental struggle.
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Fast-forward several decades, and you have a religion that, according to 2001 statistics cited by Wikipedia as being the most recent, has somewhere around 55,000 members in the US alone. Central beliefs revolve around “auditing” or the admitting of private shortcomings to a clergy member for betterment purposes. These private bits are then recorded and no advice or forgiveness concerns are issued as the act concludes. This all happens while the person being audited holds two metal cans that are used to measure electrical movements through the body.
Members also feel that God is somewhat of an afterthought, seeking to focus more on themselves and their own perceptions and life experiences for personal guidance and belief. Outsiders may be considered “fair game” or adversaries to the belief and are to be readily treated as an enemy. The entire process is said to be aimed at administering the highest degree of self-betterment to members and eventual societal perfection as well.
At the core of the creation of this belief system, L Ron Hubbard was extremely vocal about his desire to create a science, not necessarily a religion. However, as some interesting events had it, the transformation to religion was fairly rapid and was heartily embraced by Hubbard. Original intentions aside though, this new belief system had its own air of scientific-styled beliefs. Therefore, outside assertions, including those of psychology or psychiatry, were considered null, void, and frankly absurd. To believe in such outside sciences would then be the same as disbelieving the alternate theories of the human mind set forth therein.
Stated by the group via its website: “Prior to 1950, prevailing scientific thought had concluded Man’s mind to be his brain, i.e., a collection of cells and neurons and nothing more. Not only was it considered that Man’s ability could not be improved, but it also was believed that with the formation of his cerebral cortex, his personality was likewise irrevocably established. These theories were, however, inaccurate and as a consequence science has never evolved a workable theory of the mind nor a means to resolve problems of the mind.”
In the end, the reason given for this belief system’s rejection of “outside” sciences is that they are not correct. Whether this is a correct assertion is truly subject for a whole other piece, but what is certain is that psychology and psychiatry offer a different and conflicting version of the human mind than what is provided by this religion. These are the basics of Scientology, as well as some layman explanation as to this group’s rejection of these outsider sciences.