I’m not going to write much today because I’m not feeling very well. But I want to put up this symbol and point out something–it looks like a cross. In fact, it’s a cross with rays sticking out of it.
Now Scientology has the right to any symbol it wants. Legally. So there’s no argument there. The thing is, from what I know about Scientology there’s no good reason for a cross. Christians have the cross as a symbol because Jesus Christ was crucified. Crucification is a horrific way to die, and the fact that the son of God would go through that to save mankind is deeply moving to Christians. You don’t have to be a Christian to understand that. And while there’s something kind of disturbing about using the method of horrible death as a symbol of a religion, it’s not without rationale.
Why does Scientology use it, though? Hubbard was not crucified. There’s no link between Scientology and Christianity. Scientology says you can continue to practice your religion when you join the Scientology “religion” (which is not really true in reality). But if Scientology is about people from all religions joining them, shouldn’t the symbol be a mixture of the Star of David and the Star and Crescent of Islam and a few others?
Here’s why–Scientology uses it–to attract Christians. Preferably wealthy Christians. Not strongly faithful–that wouldn’t work– but lapsing Christians in search of some spiritual need that their religion does not address. This cross with the rays is a way to make them feel welcome and comfortable and for the “church” to feel familiar and suitably religious. It’s just another manipulation, which is pretty much what the entire organization is. Otherwise the Scientology symbol which is on “Big Blue” would look more like this:.
I wanted to talk more about the manipulation and the difference between established religions and a cult that pretends it’s a religion, but as I said, I’m not feeling well. Maybe next time. Feel free to add what you think the differences are, though
Add on: So when I wrote this, I was feeling sick but had Stuff To Say, so I just hit publish. But it occurred to me this morning that I don’t talk a lot about my books and here’s a perfect place. Because, like L. Ron Hubbard, I have created a religion (I know, that’s sacrilege to say that to Scientologists, but they aren’t reading this because they aren’t allowed to read anything criticizing their church). I also created a symbol. A new one. I didn’t just drag old religious symbols in to make people feel more comfortable.
So bear with me here. The PostPlague Trilogy takes place 274 years after plagues kill the world. One of the reasons the few survivors believe the apocalypse happened is the government lacked morality. The new government, they decided, would be based upon Reyism, the religion that sprouted up around Braedon Rey, the man who prophesized the end. This religion/government called the various governing departments sects. They created 10 (over time. These things don’t all happen at once). There are nine departments and the High Council, which is the ultimate governing body consisting of the High Priest or Priestess of every sect and the Prophet, the supreme leader of the country.
Each sect identifies itself with a color. These colors are worn by the Priests and Priestesses of the sect. Ceremonial robes are just the sect colors, and uniforms for the Enforcers and Guard have a standard mixing of sect color and white or gold (the latter being the color of the Prophet and his family.) Priests and Priestesses mix colors on their clothing, but the predominant color is that sect’s color. For example a 2nd sect Priestess (arts and education) might wear a pink gown with blue flowers. As long as the flowers are small and sparsely distributed, that would work. She could wear a white gown with pink flowers, as long as the flowers are the predominant color and the white is really “background.”
The symbol, then, should have all the color, to represent each sect. In fact it’s a pie, with pieces for each sect delineated. Because the Plague Wars were actually wars, there’s a peace symbol in the middle.
It was circled in gold because it’s the Prophet’s color. Each sect member has the symbol tattoed on his/her arm, only with the pie piece of his/her sect. The Prophet’s spouse and the Apprentice (next in line for governening, usually a son or daughter, but not always) has this exact symbol tattooed, because they serve all the sects.
The final addition to the symbol are the rays, to symbolize the sun–a new start–Rey (ray) and the ten parishes–states, districts, areas of the country–and the governing city Temple City. At least, that was the original intent, but over time it was decided that those rays didn’t look right, so more were added. They are still representative though. This is the national/religious symbol of Reyism. It’s in stained glass in temples, it’s on flags and buildings. It’s tattooed on the Prophet’s arm. He or she is the only person in the nation who has that tattoo.
So there ya go. Now I know Scientology uses other symbols, but that’s not what you see on the top of Big Blue, which is one of the iconic Scientology buildings. That’s because they aren’t a separate religion with their own religious doctrine. They’re an organization masking as a religion selling warped psychology (I mean, really, that’s what auditing sessions are in the beginning) philosophy and self-help, and some weird-ass stuff about Zenu. Reyism isn’t a real religion either. I made it up. But at least it’s not poaching symbols.