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Religion Library: Scientology

Principles of Moral Thought and Action

Written by: J. Gordon Melton

Scientology's ethical principles have conflicted with more traditional systems at the point where Hubbard confronted the reality of unethical action, the existence of which demands some sense of justice, the righting of wrong or destructive actions.Hubbard concluded that justice exists to protect society, to shield individuals, social structures, and society in general from the destructive actions of antisocial behavior.In this spirit, Scientology developed an internal justice system to deal with unethical actions by church members.Integral to the system is the belief that punishment is self-defeating since it merely leads the individual to more antisocial behavior.Within Scientology, people involved in destructive behavior are guided first in making restitution to those harmed by their actions and then to take such additional actions as seem necessary to change their present condition.Church officials charged with handling counter-survival situations ideally seek to determine what has occurred and then to arrive at a solution that is beneficial to all concerned.

The most serious situations concern church members who are deemed to be committing ongoing destructive actions against the church itself.In the most severe cases, where those found guilty of such actions refuse either to reform or make restitution, expulsion from the church may be the only remedy.Scientology's harshest critics are former church members who have left over ethical issues, either those expelled by the church for what were deemed unethical actions, or those who left the church and subsequently have accused church leadership of significant ethical failures.

 


Study Questions:
     1.    What are a few of the guides listed within The Way to Happiness? What will followers gain if they adhere to these guidelines?
     2.    How are actions to be judged? What makes an action ethical?
     3.    How is justice regulated within Scientology churches?

 

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