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Neil deGrasse Tyson Defends Scientology: Christianity, Other Religions Are Just as Crazy

What do you think of his comments?

Liz Raftery

According to Neil deGrasse Tyson, Christianity and Judaism are just as far-fetched as Scientology.

During a recent interview with The Daily Beast, when asked about HBO's Scientology documentary, Going Clear, the astrophysicist responded: "You have people who are certain that a man in a robe transforms a cracker into the literal body of Jesus saying that what goes on in Scientology is crazy? Let's realize this: What matters is not who says who's crazy, what matters is we live in a free country. You can believe whatever you want, otherwise it's not a free country--it's something else."

Church of Scientology calls HBO's Going Clear "ludicrous"

The tenets of Scientology state that the dictator of the Galactic Confederacy known as "Xenu" brought billions of his people to Earth in a spacecraft 75 million years ago and killed them, and that the spirits of those aliens bring harm to modern-day humans.

"I don't care what the tenets are of Scientology. They don't distract me. I don't judge them, and I don't criticize them," Tyson - who says that he hasn't seenGoing Clear, but is "familiar with it" - tells The Daily Beast.

In fact, according to Tyson, Scientology actually isn't any more bizarre than any other religion.

Former Scientologist Leah Remini applauds Going Clear

"Who is to say that one religion is rational and another isn't? It looks like the [longer] those thoughts have been around, the likelier it is to be declared a religion. If you've been around 1,000 years you're a religion, and if you've been around 100 years, you're a cult," Tyson says. "I'm not going to sit here and say Scientology is an illegitimate religion and other religions are legitimate religions. They're all based on belief systems. ... If you attend a Seder, there's an empty chair sitting right there and the door is unlocked because Elijah might walk in. These are educated people who do this. Now, some will say it's ritual, some will say it could literally happen."

"Look at Mormonism!" he continues. "There are ideas that are as space-exotic within Mormonism as there are within Scientology, and it's more accepted because it's a little older than Scientology is, so are we just more accepting of something that's older?"

What do you think of Tyson's comments?