Comedic Relief at Religious Expense
Dina Hassan
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Response to “Comedic Relief at Religious Expense”

When looking at instances of religious mockery in comedy we tend to focus on traditional religions like Christianity, Islam etc. as shown in this blog. Though these are the religions that are mocked the most, they aren’t the only.

New Religious Movements have become increasingly popular in this day and age and thus have also been subject to much mockery. Scientology in particular, along with Tom Cruise has been the butt of many jokes that run rampant across the Internet. This can be seen in the clips provided below.

This blog post provides a comprehensive and humorous explanation of what Scientology is. The author likens it more to a “nerdy fantasy than an actual religion” as it is “founded by a science-fiction author and has a space alien for a deity”.

If you’re too lazy to read the blog, this video explains what scientology is (and its relation to Tom Cruise) in 100 seconds.

Nonetheless, if we were to break Scientology down to its functions we’d find that it is like any other conventionally accepted religion. For example, the functionalist Durkheim sees religion as providing a worldview for members of society so as to maintain solidarity; Scientology certainly does this as it has a clearly defined set of beliefs. Further explanation can be found on this website which describes why Scientology is considered a religion.

With a following of more than 10 million people it is hard not to acknowledge Scientology as something serious. Since it has indeed established it self as a full-fledged and “real” religion perhaps it deserves the treatment given to other religions as well? i.e. being blatantly mocked in pop culture but also deserving of defense in academic scholarship as much is written about the inaccurate portrayal of religious minorities in the media.

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