Scientology, the controversial religion invented in the middle of the 20th century by science-fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, is not a “real” religion in the eyes of many Americans, a new poll reveals.
Scientology is known for its many celebrity adherents — John Travolta and Tom Cruise, perhaps most famously — as well as what many say are abusive practices and cult-like aspects that put most average people (or ones with average bank accounts) off the expensive and time-consuming pursuit of Scientology.
Ultimately, the number of Americans that actually practice Scientology or consider themselves Scientologists is fairly low; around 100,000 are believed to be among those who consider themselves to be Scientologists among Americans who identify with any one religion.
And a small poll conducted in late August of more than 1,000 Americans has revealed just how skeptical many are that Scientology is a “real religion,” with an overwhelming 70 percent of respondents riddled with thetans indicating that they do not consider the newer religion legitimate.
The people who organized the 60 Minutes/Vanity Fair poll say that the fact that Americans are not overwhelmingly believers in the plausibility of Scientology but that they tolerate it indicates that Americans overall are tolerant of religious differences. Those who ran the poll commented:
“It’s a tribute to America’s tradition of religious tolerance that Scientology is accepted throughout the country.”
Which perhaps can be construed as damning with faint praise, but, nonetheless, Scientologists can take heart in learning that, while most Americans don’t put much credence in their religion, they don’t mind it all that much either.
Do you consider Scientology a “real religion?”