Which theology should we respect?

Wasting time on the Net, I found the following description of Xenu on Wikipedia.  This is, of course, part of the theology of Scientology.

The story of Xenu is covered in OT III, part of Scientology’s secret “Advanced Technology” doctrines taught only to advanced members who have undergone many expensive hours of auditing and reached the state of Clear. It is described in more detail in the accompanying confidential “Assists” lecture of October 3, 1968 and is dramatized in Revolt in the Stars (a screenplay written by L. Ron Hubbard in 1977).

Hubbard wrote that seventy-five million years ago, Xenu was the ruler of a Galactic Confederacy which consisted of 26 stars and 76 planets including Earth, which was then known as “Teegeeack”.The planets were overpopulated, with an average population of 178 billion. The Galactic Confederacy’s civilization was comparable to our own, with aliens “walking around in clothes which looked very remarkably like the clothes they wear this very minute” and using cars, trains and boats looking exactly the same as those “circa 1950, 1960″ on Earth.

Xenu was about to be deposed from power, so he devised a plot to eliminate the excess population from his dominions. With the assistance of psychiatrists, he summoned billions of his citizens together under the pretense of income tax inspections, then paralyzed them and froze them in a mixture of alcohol and glycol to capture their souls. The kidnapped populace was loaded into spacecraft for transport to the site of extermination, the planet of Teegeeack (Earth). The appearance of these spacecraft would later be subconsciously expressed in the design of the Douglas DC-8, the only difference being: “the DC8 had fans, propellers on it and the space plane didn’t.” When they had reached Teegeeack/Earth, the paralyzed citizens were unloaded around the bases of volcanoes across the planet. Hydrogen bombs were then lowered into the volcanoes and detonated simultaneously. Only a few aliens’ physical bodies survived. Hubbard described the scene in his film script, Revolt in the Stars:

Simultaneously, the planted charges erupted. Atomic blasts ballooned from the craters of Loa, Vesuvius, Shasta, Washington, Fujiyama, Etna, and many, many others. Arching higher and higher, up and outwards, towering clouds mushroomed, shot through with flashes of flame, waste and fission. Great winds raced tumultuously across the face of Earth, spreading tales of destruction…

L. Ron Hubbard, Revolt in the Stars

The now-disembodied victims’ souls, which Hubbard called thetans, were blown into the air by the blast. They were captured by Xenu’s forces using an “electronic ribbon” (“which also was a type of standing wave”) and sucked into “vacuum zones” around the world. The hundreds of billions of captured thetans were taken to a type of cinema, where they were forced to watch a “three-D, super colossal motion picture” for thirty-six days. This implanted what Hubbard termed “various misleading data”‘ (collectively termed the R6 implant) into the memories of the hapless thetans, “which has to do with God, the Devil, space opera, et cetera”. This included all world religions, with Hubbard specifically attributing Roman Catholicism and the image of the Crucifixion to the influence of Xenu. The two “implant stations” cited by Hubbard were said to have been located on Hawaii and Las Palmas in the Canary Islands.

In addition to implanting new beliefs in the thetans, the images deprived them of their sense of personal identity. When the thetans left the projection areas, they started to cluster together in groups of a few thousand, having lost the ability to differentiate between each other. Each cluster of thetans gathered into one of the few remaining bodies that survived the explosion. These became what are known as body thetans, which are said to be still clinging to and adversely affecting everyone except those Scientologists who have performed the necessary steps to remove them.

A government faction known as the Loyal Officers finally overthrew Xenu and his renegades, and locked him away in “an electronic mountain trap” from which he still has not escaped. Although the location of Xenu is sometimes said to be the Pyrenees on Earth, this is actually the location Hubbard gave elsewhere for an ancient “Martian report station”. Teegeeack/Earth was subsequently abandoned by the Galactic Confederacy and remains a pariah “prison planet” to this day, although it has suffered repeatedly from incursions by alien “Invader Forces” since that time.]

In 1988, the cost of learning these secrets from the Church of Scientology was £3,830, or US$6,500. This is additional to the cost of the prior courses which are necessary to be eligible for OT III, which could be well over one hundred thousand dollars. Belief in Xenu and body thetans is a requirement for a Scientologist to progress further along the Bridge to Total Freedom.

I’ll take this as a fairly accurate description of part of the theology of that faith.  For the life of me, I can’t see how this differs materially — at least in terms of its truth — from the mythology of any other religion.   Could somebody please enlighten me?  And am I supposed to respect this view?  Do you?  If you respect  the theologies of Catholicism, Judaism, or Islam more, or give their adherents more credibility than you do Scientologists, why?


  1. articulett
    Posted July 5, 2009 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    The more respect you show to believers, the more they feel special for their inane beliefs and the nastier they are to those who threaten them.

    I don’t think “god” faith is any more worthy of respect than belief in demons. I also think it’s just as harmful and just as much an impediment to learning about reality.

7 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. [...] » Today I responded to biologist Jerry Coyne’s question, which he asked at his blog, about whether atheists should take theologians (or theological discussion) [...]

  2. [...] 7, 2009 · Leave a Comment Chris Schoen, he of the u n d e r v e r s e, has a piece up on Coyne’s challenge to the religious as to why Scientology’s absurd etiology of Xenu and souls in volcanoes is [...]

  3. [...] get the NIH spot? I don’t think so.  And a Scientologist who publicly espoused his belief in Xenu and thetans would be considered too much of a lunatic to have responsibility for the NIH. But of course [...]

  4. [...] ideas to hold down an important government job.  But of course the beliefs I described constitute the theology of Scientology, and are no different in kind from the beliefs of Christianity, Judaism, Islam, or of any other [...]

  5. [...] ideas to hold down an important government job.  But of course the beliefs I described constitute the theology of Scientology, and are no different in kind from the beliefs of Christianity, Judaism, Islam, or of any other [...]

  6. [...] If Collins went around espousing a faith in Xenu and his space minions, lecturing about how humans were plagued by the infestation of alien souls [...]

  7. [...] a religion, it is classified as one by the government, and has all the trappings of a faith: a theology, supernatural beings, and the like. And, according to Davis (and anybody who takes the trouble to [...]

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