Poll: Most Americans don’t think Scientology is a religion

WASHINGTON — Most Americans do not believe Scientology is a real religion, according to a recent poll by 60 Minutes … Continued

WASHINGTON — Most Americans do not believe Scientology is a real religion, according to a recent poll by 60 Minutes and Vanity Fair.

The survey, conducted by CBS News, found that 70 percent of Americans say that Scientology is not a true religion; 13 percent believe it is; and 18 percent either don’t know or don’t care.

Out of the more than 1,000 people polled, Christian Americans were even more likely to question Scientology’s status as a religion — 79 percent of evangelicals, 74 percent of Protestants and 72 percent of Catholics surveyed responded that they did not think Scientology is a religion.

L. Ron Hubbard, a science fiction author, established Scientology in 1952, and the Church of Scientology has been acknowledged as a religion in the United States since 1993. Scientology is known for its celebrity followers, such as actors Tom Cruise and John Travolta.

It’s hard to say exactly how many people practice Scientology in the U.S. Many critics suggest that there are between 25,000 and 55,000 active Scientologists, but the church’s website claims growth of more than 4.4 million adherents each year.

Calls for comment from the church’s Washington, D.C., office were not returned.

Each month, 60 Minutes and Vanity Fair conduct a survey of a random sample of Americans by telephone. The questions touch on a variety of topics from religion to politics to celebrities. September’s poll asked, “What line of work would Jesus be in today?” Half of those surveyed said that Jesus would be a teacher, while 18 percent said he’d be a carpenter.

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Religion News Service LLC.

  • Pet2012

    I think you would have to KNOW exactly about what you are talking about, before giving an opinion. It’s a new religion, new material, and it might containg helpful information. It is very racist and degradant to talk negative about it if you dont know…

  • ReadMoreWatchLess

    I’m not sure that the masses of American public are well enough educated, nor open-minded enough, nor independent-thinking enough, to offer a valid opinion on what is and isn’t a religion. It’s a complex question, not something to ask knee-jerk reactions about.

    Don’t you think it’s suspicious that BOTH Vanity Fair and 60 Minutes have attacked Scientology and individual Scientologists unfairly in biased and bigoted coverage — and those two were the ones who ran the poll?

    Anybody who thinks they asked asked the poll questions fairly, run to the nearest lemming farm.

    And how many people polled knew that the USA’s money-covetous IRS had already audited the Church of Scientology six ways from Sunday, and was finally *legally obligated* to recognize them as a religion and to grant all their churches and projects complete charitable tax exemptions?

    If you think I exaggerate the average person’s IQ and discernment, watch Jay Leno’s “Jay Walking” segments some time. That’s even more depressing than this ridickledockle article.

  • Scnethics

    Scientologists shouldn’t take this to mean that people find their beliefs unacceptable. It’s simply that awareness is rising of things like the church’s policy of disconnection, whereby the church tells it’s members whom they can and cannot communicate with. Since this policy results in children no longer speaking with their parents and families literally torn to pieces, people naturally assume that this could not be a religion.

    I believed in and defended scientology for most of my adult life – for decades. I understand the irony of a group that espouses communication, but then stops it; that champions free thinking, but then squashes any criticism of its management; that tells its members that they are becoming more and more able to confront evil and shatter suppression, but then forbids them to look at negative writings on the Internet for fear these will turn them to the dark side. Are the members so weak, that the slightest exposure to a contrary view will shift them away from their faith? Why, yes they are :)