Starting a new religion

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 27, 2006

Recently, there have been a lot of reports on tabloid television about Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, their baby, a possible wedding, and their involvement in Scientology.

Scientology was created by a science fiction writer, L. Ron Hubbard.

It is considered a “religion,” but after reading some articles on the subject, I’m not certain what the religion espouses.

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It has something to do with man being mind, body and soul (sounds familiar of most religions), that the spirit is eternal and that an individual can provide his own salvation (although I’m not clear on how that happens).

There is an Eastern influence to Scientology that purports past lives, and the need to clear one’s self of past experiences in order to reach a more perfect status.

That’s pretty much all I know about Scientology.

A former co-worker, Tom, and I had a discussion once about Scientology. Based on what L. Ron Hubbard did, Tom believes he can start his own religion, Yertleology, based on the principles taught in that classic children’s book, “Yertle the Turtle,” by Dr. Seuss.

Actually, taking Tom’s idea one step further, you could start a Seussology religion based on all the author’s works.

After all, Dr. Seuss, probably more than any other writer, has had a great influence on today’s children, as well as previous generations.

And his works encourage morality and philosophies similar to many religions.

Just take a look at “Yertle the Turtle.” The message is that you can’t rise to the top on the backs of others.

“Horton Hears a Who” teaches us that even the smallest person can make a difference. Another theme of the book is to stick to what you know to be true, even when those around you are nonbelievers and make fun of you.

“The Lorax” shows basic principles of stewardship – that we are responsible for protecting the environment.

And, of course, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” teaches us that the magic of the holiday is not about getting presents, or about decorations, but about the spirit of the season – and caring about one another.

In “McElligot’s Pool,” Seuss shows us how all things are interconnected, teaches that optimism is a good thing and that we should never give up.

The “Cat in the Hat” shows us why two of the most basic rules apply to life: First, don’t associate with those who are a bad influence, and second, always listen to your mother.

The truth is that in our crazy society, someone has probably already started a religion based on the books of Dr. Seuss.

Stranger things, like Scientology for example, have happened.

I’ll have to do some research and get back to you on that.

Tammy Leytham is editor of The Times-Journal.