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Religion: Scientology

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Re: Religion: Scientology

Postby mazacultura on Sat Feb 12, 2011 2:30 am

Get dog costumes wrote:
tarblackvomit wrote:That article wasn't the greatest, but it's so relevant and current and scary I think it's an important read.

dabrasha wrote:Article had its moments, but mostly a chore to read.

The NYer still blows. Glad the annual David Grann and William Finnegan pieces are made available online.

big_dave wrote:The New Yorker article definitely isn't as great as everyone is saying it is (although it is very moving) but one thing that it has over previous accounts of scientology is the role of the "space opera"

A couple I waited on tonight was discussing it, and I joined in a bit. Lawrence Wright's wife teaches their son in kindergarten.

It's a tough piece to write. Like much previous reporting on Scientology, it relies on a party line from the Church versus a party line from defectors. The article ping-pongs between these questionable sources for pages and pages, and is organized to reward only those who finish it: until I got to the NYC interview and records examination near the end, the article seemed like an exercise, an interminable back-and-forth of inconclusive research.

The article is good for the same reasons that it's a chore (if you dislike the writing style or the biographical cliches, that's another issue): it's not sensational; it painstakingly evaluates even dull claims; apart from framing the story with Paul Haggis, it refuses to take sides with anyone, even with reasonable-seeming people against insane-seeming people; and it presents only it's own original reporting as fact. It reflects enormous effort and an impressive commitment to truth.

The New Yorker's great. The writing is tangent-laden, but if you finish the article, you'll have an understanding of the subject. I've never, ever been so psyched to see a byline as when I see Jon Lee Anderson's in the table of contents. And the two-part series on Siberia in fall '09 is one of the coolest things I've read.


+1

One of the best pieces of pure, exhaustive journalism I've read in a while.

Generally, I find New Yorker pieces work better on the page; good for when you have a solid amount of quiet time. Plus, you can just put the damn thing down and come back to it when it gets a little long. I've found I have trouble with this in web articles. Too many other things I could be doing.
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Re: Religion: Scientology

Postby Dovey on Sat Feb 12, 2011 2:12 pm

One thing that I learned from that article that I didn't know before was the weird objectivist slant that Scientology has, i.e; that certain people are useless and just obstacles to be swept aside on the way to happiness/success/enlightenment. No wonder it all appeals so much to a bunch of extremely rich + shallow show-business fucks.
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Re: Religion: Scientology

Postby bogusaurus on Sat Feb 12, 2011 2:48 pm

I ditched a number of SP's since reading that thing and it's done me a world of good.
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Re: Religion: Scientology

Postby Colonel Panic on Sat Feb 12, 2011 3:11 pm

It's particularly telling of their closed-mindedness that anyone who criticizes them in the least are deemed "suppressive" and worthy of outrageous retribution.
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Re: Religion: Scientology

Postby steve on Sat Feb 12, 2011 5:05 pm

The aspect of Scientology I seldom see mentioned is the sort of you-are-actually-a-god-with-secret-powers one.

Look at the famous people who succumb to Scientology, and you'll find a lot of people who got famous for superficial reasons like being pretty or on television. Most of them are unlettered or even high school dropouts. They have no legitimate credentials or achievements, but they are famous and feel important.

This religion validates them by telling them they are actually immortal beings with magical powers and limitless potential, and therefore yes, their egotism and narcissism are appropriate and may even underestimate their importance. Since these people are dumb or bad at school, Scientology promises them a way to unlock the inner greatness they have always assumed they possessed without having to study, learn anything or do anything more difficult than talk about themselves, something self-obsessed narcissists are probably really fond of.

Since they are unschooled, the adherents can be easily impressed by the language of science and technology that is applied like whitewash to this bullshit, and they lack the experimental or critical background to challenge any of it on that basis.

That's the hook -- telling self-obsessed people they are actually gods, and "proving" it to them with "science."
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Re: Religion: Scientology

Postby Colonel Panic on Sat Feb 12, 2011 5:29 pm

Scientology teaches that once a member is "Clear" he or she will never get sick, and the highest-level Scientologists are able to teleport, become invisible, and control the minds of others through telepathic suggestion.

I guess by the time people are that deep into it, they're so deluded that they overlook the fact that the "powers" never actually manifest themselves directly. Or else they keep quiet about it because admitting they don't have the powers will require them to do even more hours of expensive auditing.
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Re: Religion: Scientology

Postby Chromodynamic on Sat Feb 12, 2011 6:24 pm

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Re: Religion: Scientology

Postby iembalm on Sat Feb 12, 2011 7:06 pm


That's great, but P.T. Anderson doing Inherent Vice with Robert Downey Jr? Yes, please.
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Re: Religion: Scientology

Postby etch on Sat Feb 12, 2011 8:18 pm

Tori Christman was a high level sci that blew a couple of years back. She trained Travolta and Tom Cruise, both guys that had been in show business since they were really young and in Cruise's case, he was severely dyslexic and couldn't read well.

In the beginning phases of scientology, adherents are given tactile learning courses and for Cruise, this was a huge breakthrough and he felt like he was finally able to learn like other people. He then spends most of his adult life learning that psychology was evil and that sci had the answers to all of life's problems. Not to mention the appeal to narcissistic tendencies by teaching that OT8's are like Gods and are the saviors of mankind.

When Cruise found out about Xenu at OT3, he almost bailed but decided to stay probably because he had been slowly indoctrinated and they had control of him on a deep level due to his learning disabilities.
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Re: Religion: Scientology

Postby Ptommydski on Sun Feb 13, 2011 7:26 pm

Seven pages and no real discussion on whether Scientology will ever or should ever reach the point whereby people publicly acknowledge that it deserves an equal amount of respect to other Religions (if it is one).

I'll be completely honest for a second and admit I think all existing Religions are some nonsense but I think most of them have so core tenements which are reasonably admirable. Usually we live in and around Religious people and they are on occasion so decent and friendly that you feel like an asshole for being as harsh as you want to be about it sometimes. I can say CRAP to Christianity and Islam but it's more complicated than that when you fundamentally agree with a large number of their central values (depending on interpretation I guess), have friends who practice either faith or just personally recognise that you have a fascination with what people believe and the incredible history that goes with it. Thus, I often find myself caught between being sure that organised Religion is ultimately destructive and absolutely ridiculous and also wanting to have a certain level of respect for the beliefs of other people. It's one of the hardest dichotomies in my life and I never really know where to stand.

Thus, should I afford the same grudging respect for Scientologists also? Sure, it makes me sick to my stomach but that doesn't actually set it apart from other organised Religions (if it is one). Ultimately they're all basically as ridiculous as each other and historically, for all its craziness Scientology is probably responsible for the death of a handful of people, unlike probably millions of people who have been killed because of Christian or Muslim beliefs. Maybe if we don't crack down on it now, it will eventually get that bad (certainly has the capacity to I guess). However, if I met a Scientologist and they were a decent person (I think I recall there is one on this forum even?), I'd probably gradually amend my attitude out of politeness as I do with other faiths.

So I guess there's the discussion point - does it deserve equal billing with other Religions or is it irrevocably different?
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Re: Religion: Scientology

Postby enframed on Sun Feb 13, 2011 7:32 pm

Ptommydski wrote:So I guess there's the discussion point - does [Scientology] deserve equal billing with other Religions or is it irrevocably different?


Between the institutionally excepted abuses and assload of cash it takes it it's not unlike Catholicism. "Suppressive persons" are Islam's "Infidels." I'm sure the list goes on. IMHO, all religions are absurd and essentially damaging to society.
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Re: Religion: Scientology

Postby kenoki on Sun Feb 13, 2011 8:12 pm

I am okay with closing the door to new memberships. Hm, developed in my parents' lifetimes? No thanks. For all of their faults, at least Judaism, Islam and Christianity have been around for thousands of years. So far back there's no way I'm ever going to be able to trace my family tree that far. And we've pretty much rocked them into submission. I mean, not really, but religion's control on man isn't quite as bad as it was a few hundred years ago--the ole' God excuse has gotten old. But we still need to keep that shiz in check. Which brings us back to no new memberships. Scientology is insane. Tom Cruise is a nutbag. Wasn't he in Franciscan seminary as a young lad? Uh huh. Now to read that New Yorker article...
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Re: Religion: Scientology

Postby Colonel Panic on Sun Feb 13, 2011 8:36 pm

enframed wrote:
Ptommydski wrote:So I guess there's the discussion point - does [Scientology] deserve equal billing with other Religions or is it irrevocably different?


Between the institutionally excepted abuses and assload of cash it takes it it's not unlike Catholicism. "Suppressive persons" are Islam's "Infidels." I'm sure the list goes on. IMHO, all religions are absurd and essentially damaging to society.

Most religions value the family unit as a sacred institution. Alienating family members by designating them "SP" is cultlike behavior. Unlike most religions, Scientology works toward complete domination of the social and economic lives of its members.
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Re: Religion: Scientology

Postby Ernest on Mon Feb 14, 2011 12:25 pm

Ptommydski wrote:Seven pages and no real discussion on whether Scientology will ever or should ever reach the point whereby people publicly acknowledge that it deserves an equal amount of respect to other Religions (if it is one).


The way I look at this, even as far as religions go, there's nothing to place them on a scale where their accomplishments, or teachings are 'equal'; meaning that even with legitimate religion, it makes little sense to approach it as a level playing field. And with Scientology, much much less than that. It hasn't attained, and probably never will, the complexity Christianity, Islam, or Buddhism has both socially, and culturally. A big part of this is why I could never consider it a religion.

Ptommydski wrote:Thus, should I afford the same grudging respect for Scientologists also? Sure, it makes me sick to my stomach but that doesn't actually set it apart from other organised Religions (if it is one).


There is a lot that set Scientology fundamentally apart from legitimate organized religion, and it's a few points already covered; namely Steve's criticism, and Dave's. These points are immense opposition against the idea that Scientology should be viewed in the same light.

Steve's criticism is spot on; Scientology is more akin to new age spiritualism because of it's insistence that all teachings, and "faith" occur at an individual level; there's no social aspect, strictly speaking, in Scientology. This should be a cause for concern. All teachings, all the impetus for learning, all interaction takes place between auditor and victim, between the victim and the people pressing them for private information to aide their journey to becoming clear. This is different than an Imam or priest conversing with a believer because it contains their motive; the expectation that the believer continue to buy course materials every so often because it's necessary to move onto a higher plateau. This individualized aspect of Scientology is there to ensure the church's financial growth in our modern world.

In contrast, Christianity, Islam, even Buddhism, stress the social aspects of their teachings, not only towards the world, but in the way authority functions with it's believers. There is no flock in Scientology, there's only the confused thetan begging for release, and offering his wallet.

Scientology validates extreme self centeredness by engaging at that level with it's adherents. It claims to want to rid the person of all negative influence, but it reinforces the idealism that brought the adherent to the church in the first place; personal elevation, and elevation over those that aren't "in the know". It's a thinly veiled pursuit of power. There is no poor, or useless soul in Christianity or Islam, but there are those who need to be controlled in Scientology, and it's Clears will be the ones with authority.

As far as beliefs go, sure, we can view creation stories roughly as all being ridiculous, but it's not necessary to even focus on this to make a case against scientology. It's most important aspect that damns them to eternal mocking is their behavior towards it's own adherents, and the practical, material function of it's church. This is why, I think, Germany was completely correct in it's handling of the church; it operates as a business, not as a religion.

As terrible, and as full of shit Christianity, Islam, Judaism, can be, none of them operate as capitalists in mindset. Salvation is financially free, but spiritually difficult. They stress understanding, and ethical behavior, and for most, the role of the church is to facilitate this journey. Scientology is directly opposite this; the church determines the journey, the pace, and the economics of salvation.

It also has to be stressed that the relationship to it's opposition is draconian. Scientology gained a massive foothold by being afforded the legal designation of religion here in America, but it led them refashioning themselves as ultimate victim in a spiritual struggle. The opposition isn't branded according to fundamental theological teachings, because Scientology has none; it's branded according to the opinion of the church. Opposition isn't "wayward", or "satanic", or "heretical", but they're "Suppressive Persons", probably in league with horrifying Psychiatry.

Ptommydski wrote:Ultimately they're all basically as ridiculous as each other and historically, for all its craziness Scientology is probably responsible for the death of a handful of people, unlike probably millions of people who have been killed because of Christian or Muslim beliefs.


We keep neglecting the very real political aspect to religious campaigns. They function as more than theological disputes, but very real political ones. Territory, resources, wealth, etc. It's not simply a matter of belief. Belief is secondary, but prime motivation to have the underclass do your bidding.

The only way they're all as ridiculous as one another is in belief; but we don't need to set Scientology apart to show it's completely ridiculous. We don't need to divorce Xenu from Christ, but we need to point out the message behind Christianity's theology, which Scientology's stories don't have. There's no greater issue here when we talk about Xenu loading up a DC-10 with aliens, but there is when we talk about the crucifixion of Christ. Like Dave said, Xenu/space opera functions more as a test of party allegiance, a la Soviet style, than anything worth learning from.

Ptommydski wrote:Maybe if we don't crack down on it now, it will eventually get that bad (certainly has the capacity to I guess). However, if I met a Scientologist and they were a decent person (I think I recall there is one on this forum even?), I'd probably gradually amend my attitude out of politeness as I do with other faiths.


The only intelligent way, I think, to combat Scientology is to go after what it gained; not to attempt to rub it out in some way. You need to create the conditions where Scientology undoes itself, and you do this by making the church make mistakes. Get it to kill it's own image. We can take away it's tax exemption because it's a business, increase taxes, increase knowledge about it's dark side, warn people, and gradually, it'll fall out of favor. Every bit of Scientology's dirty laundry, from it's dealings with the FBI, to Hubbard's character, to the death of Lisa McPherson, needs to be shouted from the rooftops, and then you let the church slip up visibly. It'll slip up once it's free financial ride comes to an end.
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Re: Religion: Scientology

Postby Wood Goblin on Mon Feb 14, 2011 2:37 pm

Colonel Panic wrote:
enframed wrote:
Ptommydski wrote:So I guess there's the discussion point - does [Scientology] deserve equal billing with other Religions or is it irrevocably different?


Between the institutionally excepted abuses and assload of cash it takes it it's not unlike Catholicism. "Suppressive persons" are Islam's "Infidels." I'm sure the list goes on. IMHO, all religions are absurd and essentially damaging to society.

Most religions value the family unit as a sacred institution. Alienating family members by designating them "SP" is cultlike behavior. Unlike most religions, Scientology works toward complete domination of the social and economic lives of its members.


Most of the reasons why Scientology should be excluded from the club have been addressed. One the biggest is the simple fact that Scientology was started by a verifiable fraud and con man, as was Mormonism. There is no ambiguity on this point. The leaders of the cult perpetuate this fraud even though they know it is a fraud.
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Re: Religion: Scientology

Postby enframed on Mon Feb 14, 2011 3:15 pm

Wood Goblin wrote:
Colonel Panic wrote:
enframed wrote:
Ptommydski wrote:So I guess there's the discussion point - does [Scientology] deserve equal billing with other Religions or is it irrevocably different?


Between the institutionally excepted abuses and assload of cash it takes it it's not unlike Catholicism. "Suppressive persons" are Islam's "Infidels." I'm sure the list goes on. IMHO, all religions are absurd and essentially damaging to society.

Most religions value the family unit as a sacred institution. Alienating family members by designating them "SP" is cultlike behavior. Unlike most religions, Scientology works toward complete domination of the social and economic lives of its members.


Most of the reasons why Scientology should be excluded from the club have been addressed. One the biggest is the simple fact that Scientology was started by a verifiable fraud and con man, as was Mormonism. There is no ambiguity on this point. The leaders of the cult perpetuate this fraud even though they know it is a fraud.


Sweet fancy Moses.

Do you all know how ridiculous you sound with this horseshit? Scientology is only 50 years old. Give it a couple thousand years (plenty of time to bury its past) before you pass judgment.

All religions are started by con men, that's why they're religions and not some other thing.
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Re: Religion: Scientology

Postby Ernest on Mon Feb 14, 2011 3:22 pm

enframed wrote:All religions are started by con men, that's why they're religions and not some other thing.


That's severely oversimplified, and not historically correct.

Religious beliefs flower socially; not because of the sheer power of a church. Try forcefully imposing Christianity on any number of Asians, or other non-westerners, for instance, and you'll inadvertently solidify opposition, and morph pagan beliefs into a pagan/Christian ideology. You'll also see the creation of crypto-paganism along side externally imposed religion.

Simply saying it's the work of con men not only incorrectly implies believers can't alter their culture's belief structure, but it gives too much credence to the idea that history is the work of great men. You can be an atheist and take religion for what is, instead of making shit up just because you don't like it.

enframed wrote:Scientology is only 50 years old. Give it a couple thousand years (plenty of time to bury its past) before you pass judgment.


The point is to not let that happen. Why would we wait to pass judgment? We have the evidence we need, and people are getting fucked now.
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Re: Religion: Scientology

Postby jimmy two hands on Mon Feb 14, 2011 3:31 pm

Ernest wrote:
enframed wrote:All religions are started by con men, that's why they're religions and not some other thing.


That's severely oversimplified, and not historically correct.

True, some are started by epileptics.
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Re: Religion: Scientology

Postby Wood Goblin on Mon Feb 14, 2011 3:35 pm

Ernest wrote:The point is to not let that happen. . . . We have the evidence we need, and people are getting fucked now.


I wrote a much longer response, but Ernest gets at my essential point.
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Re: Religion: Scientology

Postby jimmy two hands on Mon Feb 14, 2011 3:56 pm

I think we should abandon pseudoscience and superstition, regardless of who started it. Obviously, some superstition and/or pseudoscience are more damaging than others, some are relatively benign.
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