A day as any other, I found myself in a Starbucks typing away on my laptop, trying to make my way through a to-do list that would rival a grocery list for Jon and Kate.
Since I tend to do my work in a number of different coffee houses, or as my friend calls them, “My Satellite Offices”, I’ve learned to block out the various conversations taking place around me. But at times, some nearby conversations break through the barrier.
The other day, sitting behind me were a group of people that in their various topics somehow landed on Scientology.
For those of you, like myself, not very interested in learning about yet another religion, here is some short copy on Scientology:
“Scientology, on a macro level, teach that people are immortal spiritual beings who have forgotten their true nature. Its method of spiritual rehabilitation is a type of counseling known as “auditing”, in which practitioners aim to consciously re-experience painful or traumatic events in their past, in order to free themselves of their limiting effects.” (Wikipedia)
So far, it sounds no different than a new age self-help book, but to understand their thoughts on the universe, try to stay with me.
Here’s a brief excerpt:
“75 million years ago, there was an alien galactic ruler named Xenu who was in charge of 76 planets in our part of the galaxy, including our own planet Earth, whose name at that time was Teegeeack.
All of the planets Xenu controlled were over-populated by, on average, 178 billion people. Social problems dictated that Xenu rid his sector of the galaxy of this overpopulation problem, so he developed a plan. “ (http://www.skeptictank.org/gen3/gen01985.htm)
It just gets weirder from there.
So as you can see, Scientology quickly goes from interesting to Star Trek in about 4.5 seconds, and of course it’s the latter information that is always the conversation started.
So back to Starbucks…
So the people behind me started discussing Scientology with one another, making a number of jokes and jabs that I found hilarious. They even saw me laughing and I had a chance to add a couple one-liners to the mix before going back to continue my battle with hotmail. It was all in good fun, god bless Starbucks.
But what came next surprised me, and provided me enough laughter for the rest of my day.
As the Scientology chat ended, I noticed their conversation shifted to their own lives. One girl gushed how about her niece’s upcoming baptism, and later another told of his trip to Rome and how he felt so blessed to be able to see the Pope while he was visiting Vatican City.
I found this juxtaposition of conversation absolutely hilarious. I almost looked around to see if I was on Punk’d.
I desperately wanted to turn around and ask them,
“So just to be clear, Scientologists are crazy and laughable because they think humans descended from aliens, but pouring water on a baby’s head so that a ghost will protect them is what? Sane? Practical maybe?
How about worshiping the words of a man in a big ridiculous hat that teaches Africans that condoms cause aids?
Allow me to take that one step further to remind everyone that catholics are the ones that believe their god created an enormous worldwide flood that murdered an entire civilization and Noah restarted the population with his ark and whomever he gathered on his ark. But don’t forget, god loves you.
These don’t cry out to me as the teachings and beliefs of a mentally stable organization.
This aspect of religious people is probably the most interesting to me, the fact that they cannot see the parallels of absurdity between their own beliefs and that of other religions they seem to vilify so often.
If you consider yourself a Scientologist, a Catholic, a Mormon, a Jew etc., you absolutely must believe in things that don’t make any sense. In essence, that is faith.
So, if your argument is that you simply believe and actively refuse to think about your own doctrine, that’s fine. Believe it or not, I respect people who take that stance. At least it’s somewhat acknowledging they’ve never thought about it, and actively have no plans to do so.
But when you make fun of different religions, assign them as “crazy” but later walk into a building that shows a man being brutally tortured and then get in line to drink his blood and eat his body…
Well, you’ve just promoted yourself to a whole new level of crazy.