Once Upon A Wolvog

Stories from the front lines


4 Comments

Church Scams

In the third and final novel of the Maddaddam trilogy, Zeb opens up to Toby about his family life, including his father, a “preacher” who created a theology based on oil. The Rev had created and set up more than a dozen donation sites, that collected money from his faithful followers, that was sent straight to his personal bank accounts. The whole idea about creating a theology in order to make money, reminded me about articles that I have read on the Church of Scientology.

scientology pt 2

Scientology is a set of religious beliefs, created by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, for a self-help book he was writing in 1950 called Dianetics. The religion itself is described as the study of self-knowledge. Scientologist believe that people are immortal aliens, known as thetans, who are trapped in human bodies on Earth, and who have no recollection of their true “nature”. Each thetan, is said to have lived multiple past lives on Earth as well as other planets. They believe that by going through multiple teachings, that are referred to as an auditing, that they will them be able to shed themselves of their human form in order to regain their true form. Through taking these classes offered by the church, they believe that they will not only reclaim their true thetan form, but they will become closer to the Supreme Being regain their abilities that have been suffocated by their human form, such as controlling life, energy as well as matter.

scientology

The Church of Scientology has an estimated annual revenue of $500 million, coming from its corporations, and its private donations. The Church charges close to $500/hour for auditing sessions scheduled at Scientology centers. These sessions do not have a fixed duration, the process runs until the member has completed their journey, no matter how long it takes, therefore, members end up spending a tone of money. Their global membership is reported to cost on average, 8 – 15 million. In 2016, the U.S Supreme Court, ruled in favour of revoking the Church of Scientology’s tax-exempt status that was given to them in 1993. They are able to work as an organization in the U.S, but they are now prohibited to work as a non-profit religious organization. An investigation done on the church, concluded that they are a “criminal operation with a sole purpose of making money”.

Reports made from past members of the religion state that the Church has held members against their will in “rehabilitation camps”, as well as having its members search for incriminating data of past members that are used to then keep them silent through the use of blackmailing. These methods are used to punish members as well as past members who have violated the “rules” of the church, or to silence previous members so that the truth is not revealed to the public about what their organization is really doing behind closed doors. In 1979, members of the Church were held responsible for the LARGEST theft of  U.S government documents, which leads us to believe that they are not really a religion, they are a cult, scamming its members, and using their status to exploit peoples weakness and fallibility.

 

If you’d like to know more, there’s a documentary that was aired on BBC in 2010, by John Sweeney called “The Secrets of Scientology” (its a bit long but really interesting!)


1 Comment

Genetic Modification: The Gift of Hope

Throughout Oryx and Crake, Margaret Atwood illustrates the progression of genetic modifications such as pigoons and ChickieNobs that were used for different wants and needs, but are based off of the same immoral aspects; genetically transforming animals (in some cases making them almost unrecognizable) for personal use, thus creating and generating a negative, stereotypical image towards modifications for the readers. This got me thinking about genetic modifications created in our society, and where they stand ethically. After doing some research, I discovered one particular modification, that I believe can change our thoughts towards this idea in general.

Gene Therapy is an experimental technique that is supposed to introduce specific genetic elements into a patients cell in order to prevent or treat diseases, through the alteration of said patient’s gene. If a patient is missing a gene it is not as easy as placing a gene specifically into a cell. They create a vector (carrier) which can be thought of as a virus to spread the missing gene through the patient’s body, being transferred through tissue and IV. Some of these “viruses”, have the ability to combine the genetic material, which has created the new cell, into a chromosome in the human cell, erasing the gene abnormality altogether. This technique is being developed in order to help treat diseases such as Parkinson’s disease as well as cancer.

Gene Therapy

This treatment once fully developed, will change the lives of patients with diseases considered incurable for the better, thanks to genetic modifications contrary to what has been conveyed in Oryx and Crake. My question for you, how do you feel about genetic modifications? Are they ethical or not?