Scientology membership collapsing in Belgium


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Translation of a French article published on Thursday, October 2, 2014 in the Belgian daily newspaper La Capitale:
La scientologie s'écroule chez nous, d'autres sectes progressent
Scientology collapsing in Belgium, Pentecostal sects growing

October 2, 2014
La Capitale

Though the Church of Scientology is still present on the rue de la Loi, in the heart of Brussels, it has almost no members left in Belgium. There was a time when the organization was regularly talked about in the press, but now there's nothing, or almost nothing.

Scientology is ailing pretty much everywhere, a conclusion based on observations made in other European countries, including England. Even in the United States, membership seems to be sharply declining. In Belgium, Scientology appears to have only about 300 followers. In reality, this number was probably never much higher, according to Eric Brasseur, director of the CIAOSN, the Centre for Information and Advice on Harmful Sectarian Organisations. "Nothing indicates that the movement is expanding. On the contrary, all indications suggest that the group is dwindling," says the specialist who monitors harmful sectarian organizations.

Pentecostals on the rise

The community of Jehovah's Witnesses is stagnating and presently numbers approximately 25,000, but it no longer attracts young people and may eventually become extinct, according to specialists. However, other groups are growing significantly in Belgium, namely the Pentecostal churches. These movements are based on a theology of prosperity and often promise cures that exclude traditional medical care, all for sums of money in the neighborhood of 10% of every member's income.

These movements settle in areas with large concentrations of people who originate from Africa or Latin America, but these aren't the only target communities. According to the CIAOSN's latest report, there are at least 1,200 religious or philosophical groups of this type in Belgium, a considerable total.
La Capitale 2014-10-02 p. 16.jpg


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