Scientology is a set of beliefs and practices originally created by American speculative fiction author L. Ron Hubbard in 1952 and now promoted by the Church of Scientology (CoS), an organization founded by Hubbard.
There have been repeated and increasing allegations by many that the Church of Scientology (CoS) uses highly unethical attack strategies against those who criticize it, and that Scientology is a dangerous cult prone to brainwashing its members. Such criticisms have come both from former CoS members as well as those not affiliated with CoS. While there is certainly a great deal of evidence that Scientology is heavily associated with brainwashing, bullying, and other authoritarian tactics, these seem to be associated primarily with the Church of Scientology and not the belief-system of Scientology itself. (Discussion of such abuse should go on the Church of Scientology page, unless it does not appear to be associated with the CoS.)
It is arguable whether the practice of scientology itself is a religion; according to the Church of Scientology's scientology.org web site, "In Scientology no one is asked to accept anything as belief or on faith. That which is true for you is what you have observed to be true. An individual discovers for himself that Scientology works by personally applying its principles and observing or experiencing results." This has reportedly not been true in practice (see Church of Scientology), but this may be due more to corruption of the Scientological ideal within the CoS than to the idea of Scientology itself.
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