Debate and Discussion

Scientology
ccs1989 at 7:24PM, Dec. 27, 2005
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So what do people think about this religion? I know there are a bunch of different views on the subject, so what's yours?

And if you know nothing more about this than that Tom Cruise is somehow connected to it, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientology
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“If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”
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last edited on July 14, 2011 11:37AM
lukee at 7:26PM, Dec. 27, 2005
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In my opinion, it's nothing more than a cult with celebrity status.
–LUKEE Q. FINKLEBERG
Genuine President For Life No Seriously Guys I Mean It For Reals of the Top Drawer
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:49PM
Ronson at 5:51AM, Dec. 28, 2005
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I read a bit of the wikipedia link and it confirmed what I always thought.

It's a religion. It makes assertions that are unprovable and provides comfort to people who need comfort in that form provided to them.

Call it a cult or whatever, it's no more or less valid than any belief system.

What is remarkably clever about it is that it has attracted many celebrities to it. It seems to me that it might be a way for them to keep some of their money tax exempt, and that it might give them a belief system that allows them to believe they deserve the fame and fortune in their lives.

…but those are the perks of religion. Who are we to say which belief system does and doesn't deserve this status?

I personally would prefer that no religion be allowed tax-exemption or any special rights in the US, but that's just me.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:10PM
Ronson at 7:25AM, Dec. 29, 2005
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Rosseh!
Ronson
it's no more or less valid than any belief system.

They believe that an evil galactic, alien emperor conquered a load of galaxies, had thousands of races of aliens frozen in ice then he sent spaceships to the volcanoes of hawaii where the aliens were thrown in. Their souls than floated up into the sky and were caught by “soul catchers.”
After this the souls were exposed to loads of propaganda to brainwash them into thinking that our entire history is true (While scientologists believe that this is a “False reality”). The souls wondered about earth for years in a confusion. Then man came (evolved) and the souls found bodies to inhabit. They continued to reproduce to this very day and so we all think this reality is real even though it's not and there are souls of aliens inside us making us think this.

Wow. Just….WOW.
The guy who invented it was a science fiction writer. I'm sure some people just misinterpreted his work and someone thought they could cash on this somehow.

Is this really less valid than other religions?

I mean, let me tell you about the stories that are the basis of many of the world's religions:

There's this guy who creates Light, the Earth, the creatures and finally people. A talking snake convinces the people to eat something they weren't supposed to and they get smart.

Fast forward a few years. The guy decides that the world is getting a little too uppity and floods it, and allows only one man to save his family and two of each animal.

There's a strong man that works for the guy that loses his strength because he gets a haircut.

There's a man who leads the guy's favorite people out of slavery, while the guy sends down plagues and splits rivers apart to help out. After they get free, the guy gives them some rules, but because his favorite people broke the rules BEFORE they knew what they were, the guy forces them to wander the desert for 40 years.

…there are lots more of that.

In the sequel, this guy decides to send his son down to be killed by the people's ruling authority. He does this by making a woman who never had sex pregnant. This causes a star to appear above the birth and brings some wise men to give completely inappropriate gifts to the newborn son of the guy.

The guy's son does a lot of magic and then dies, then comes back, then goes home.

__________

Now, I don't want to name the religion, because these people really believe this stuff and don't deserve to be made fun of. I honestly believe that.

But I personally can't tell what the difference is between the “evil, galactic emporer” story and the other stories that permeate all religions.

I think it's because so many people believed it hundreds of years ago that makes people give it validity. So in a few hundred years, scientology might be considered just as valid.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:10PM
Mazoo at 9:53AM, Dec. 30, 2005
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I have to agree with Ronson on this one:

Any religion or belief system is valid in its own rights.

Just because Scientology is different than what most people believe doesn't mean it's wrong. It's just different. Popularity doesn't make a belief system right or wrong. Just because Christianity is the most “popular” (I'm using that term very loosely) religion, does that mean it is the best one? Not necessarily. Just because Scientology is looked down upon by some others, does that mean it is wrong? Not necessarily.

Now, I'm not a religious person, but I think that any belief system that can give you a good set of morals, common sense, and faith is valid. The problem is, is that what “good morals” or “common sense” are determined by are other people, who most likely have a different belief system than you. And that leads to the question of “what is good?” or “what is evil?”
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:56PM
ccs1989 at 11:33AM, Dec. 30, 2005
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Well just brushing through the wikipedia entry told me that I cannot possibly think this is a real religion, with names of things like: “Thetan levels” “Xenu incident” and some story about an alien dictator sending people to earth, named by him “Teegeeack”.

Of course, to us this sound like the most bullshit thing on the planet. But Ronson's got a point. Christianity was viewed probably as rediculous by the Romans when it came about. The kind of terms that were created for Christian beliefs were probably as outlandish to them as this scientology stuff is to us. You can't dispute that religion is a profitable enterprise, and the people involved in it can live quite comfortably. I'm sure many Popes back in the Middle Ages were sure glad they were popes and not one of the many people getting killed out in the countryside.

All in all the thing that seperates this from some more mainstream religions is the fact that most religions were PROBABLY created to help people feel needed in the world and want to live on, while this religion sounds to me like a get-rich-quick scheme that worked. But in this modern world, where religion is so badly abused as a way to do some outlandish things (even the Devil can quote scripture for his own means, or so the saying goes) I really don't see much of a difference between the NEW bullshit religion of scientology, and the OLD bullshit religions including Christianity, Islam, and many many more.

However many times it's good to believe in something, so putting faith in these religions and using the religion as a way to live your life as a good person is fine. But it doesn't look like many people who believe in Scientology do that…
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“If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”
-Henry David Thoreau, Walden
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:37AM
SpANG at 6:39PM, Dec. 30, 2005
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ccs1989
However many times it's good to believe in something, so putting faith in these religions and using the religion as a way to live your life as a good person is fine. But it doesn't look like many people who believe in Scientology do that…

I could say the same thing about MANY people that believe in Christianity as well, famous and not famous. :roll:

It all boils down to perspective, I think.

.: SpANG! :.
“To a rational mind, nothing is inexplicable. Only unexplained.”
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:51PM
ccs1989 at 7:40AM, Dec. 31, 2005
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Phantom_Penguin
We are taking stabs at scientology now, not real religions.

And explain to me how mohammed could have made money, if his own people killed him?

However they're both ‘faiths’. If Tom Cruise and whoever his girlfriend is had a child, and they taught him Scientology, the child (unless we was born bitter and jaded) would believe in it. And that would be faith. And that would make at least one person a real believer in scientology.

Even if many religions were started with people who were more honorable, in the end it's the way these religions are used which that justify it. And I can't say that any major religion in the world hasn't been abused. And since they're all ‘faiths’, even if some are older than others, they're equal.
http://ccs1989.deviantart.com

“If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”
-Henry David Thoreau, Walden
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:37AM
Ronson at 8:28AM, Dec. 31, 2005
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Mohammad and Jesus were not the people who started their respective religions. Even still, things were different back then, and the monetary system wasn't the same thing that it is now.

Christianity started with Paul, who took what was learned and added his own spin, and allegedly had visions.

A cynical view of Paul was that he may have been epileptic, and these visions were just hallucinations.

How is that better or worse than someone who starts a religion to make money? In one case, religion is started by manic visions, in another religion is crafted to draw a crowd and raise money.

Also, don't you think that religious leaders such as Pat Robertson, Jerry Fallwell and Oral Roberts learned a long time ago that money pours like water into allegedly religious endeavors.

As for what a “real” religion is and what it isn't, I have no idea how anyone can tell the difference. Religion is the rock-hard belief in something unprovable. It is sometimes what we're born into, and other times what people are looking for to make their lives more understandable.

“Evil Galactic Emporer” has as much validity as “Omnipotent Cloud Being” or “Angels” or “Demons.” The terminology is more recognizable as science fiction because that's where it came from. But Christianity myths have their roots in ancient mythologies, which were the most well known stories of THAT time.

I read once that it was theorized that a hundred years from now or so there would be a cult worshipping Elvis as a Jesus figure. Now 20+ years from his death, I think I can see that possibility. Are they nuttier than Christians a hundred years after Jesus' death? By today's standards, yes.

But society tends to accept things over generational periods that would have been unthinkable at one time. Look at the way people lived a mere 100 years ago compared to today - what was and wasn't allowed - and tell me that beliefs don't change.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:10PM
ccs1989 at 12:45PM, Dec. 31, 2005
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I agree with mostly all of what Ronson/Chuck said there. It's all figments of imagination which becomes real by many people's standards. Ah grand delusions…
http://ccs1989.deviantart.com

“If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”
-Henry David Thoreau, Walden
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:37AM
Ronson at 2:53PM, Dec. 31, 2005
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Well, to take the other side of that, ccs1989, I don't know what is true or what belief should be given more credibility.

Even beliefs based on what the person believes to be logic and rationality are doomed to be formed by the many unknowns that outweigh the knowns of our universe.

I'm not saying Christianity is just as crazy as Scientology, I'm saying they're equally valid. Unprovable like all belief systems, but we all have our belief systems that are equally unprovable.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:10PM
ccs1989 at 3:38PM, Dec. 31, 2005
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And then of course there is the argument that since everything is formed from human ‘opinion’ nothing is real, and that faith is all that really exists, making religion omnipotent over everything. I've heard that argument used more than once.
http://ccs1989.deviantart.com

“If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”
-Henry David Thoreau, Walden
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:37AM
Ronson at 5:30PM, Dec. 31, 2005
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Ah but faith can't be proven to exist either. It's just the distant cousin of “I think, therefore I am.”

Anyone who says that faith is all that really exists would have to prove it to me before I believed them.

Which, of course, you can't do. Because proof denies faith. It's what keeps religous types from testing the strength of their deities.

I would further ask this person claiming that only faith exist whether or not they think churches should have a tax free status. If they say yes, then they believe that an illusionary organization should not have to pay illusionary money to an illusionary government – by their definition.

If they were of the evangelical type, I would ask why they are spreading their “faith” to illusionary people.

In the end, it's a bad argument … but a valid belief, I suppose. :)
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:10PM
ccs1989 at 8:03PM, Dec. 31, 2005
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Wow. It's really easy to go up in the clouds with these kind of theories.
http://ccs1989.deviantart.com

“If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”
-Henry David Thoreau, Walden
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:37AM
hpkomic at 2:01PM, Jan. 2, 2006
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lol scientology.

I believe that statement explains my thoughts on it all.

On a related note, I live in Hemet, California, which Tom Cruise and John Travolta fly to constantly because there is some large scientology building camp.. thing here.

It's like a castle, and it's a huge complex.

Something about the religion (read, cult) never really struck me. Perhaps it's because for a religion (cult), it's structured around a community of lavishness and riches.

Damn large place though. I was invited to a Christmas party there once.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:50PM
ozoneocean at 3:35PM, Jan. 2, 2006
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I look at religions in terms of their cultural and historical footprints… Compared to the real, established religions, Scientology is naught but scratch in the sand and that's all it'll ever be I'm afraid.
While the world's five “Great” religions have given us great art, music, architecture, promoted some of the greatest movements (Renascence), preserved language and ancient history, provide us real links to the distant past, they’ve given us some of our greatest scientists and philosophers, blah, blah bahdy blah etc…
…Influenced some of our greatest most violent wars, genocide…

Scientology, like all our lovely little 20thC pseudo religions, is destined to contribute virtually nil.
Oh there might be some bad architecture, some nasty book illustrations, a few B moves staring rotten actors, but in the end all you’ve got at best is a footnote.

BTW, was Hubbard’s SciFi any good? I’ve never read any, but I’ve read what some of his contemporaries have said and they never had a very high opinion of him. Apparently he used to do most of his writing very quickly, sort of like over the weekend.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:23PM
marine at 8:23PM, Jan. 8, 2006
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I'm a scientologist. How dare you guys call it a cult.

You will be hearing from our lawyers.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:51PM
mykill at 9:08PM, Jan. 11, 2006
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Scientology….

Okay, I'll out myself. I've gone thru the entire ‘transformation’ programe of Landmark Education, formerly known as “EST” - and burdened with it's own tradition of detractors and claims of ‘cult status’.

My experience had been positive, it helped me come out of the closet as a gay man and helped me handle the resulting existential crisis. But it costs money, not a ridiculous amount of money, but not cheap - for the whole programe from intro course thru the most advanced courses it will cost you 2-3000 dollars or so. There are ‘seminars’ you can take indefinitly, but these last for several months each and cost 20-30 dollars a pop.

Landmark turned right while scientology turned left: Scientology there is NO LIMIT to the amount of money you'll spend to reach “the next level”, Landmark has a definite finite number of course you can count on one hand. Scientology maintains a cult of personality around its deceased founder, L Ron Hubbard. Werner Erdhardt, the suspicious founder of EST -left EST to its own devices realizing he had his own ‘cult of personality’ and that it interfered with any benefit his work had to offer.

People associated with Scientology has shared some of scientologies ‘advanced’ work - and it not only sounds like science fiction - it sounds like BAD science fiction. For followers to buy this level of bullshit strongly suggests that Scientology is very much akin to brainwashing.

Interesting that Dianetics and Scientology is largely based on psychological principles - but they are so strongly oppossed to the science of psychiatry (granted there is bad to psychiatry - but some people really DO need those meds!).

Now I'll grant that there may be some benefit to Scientology. I benefitted from Landmark. But from what I see, Scientology exploits and ‘milks’ the people it ‘benefits’ - resulting in a final accounting of benefitting no one.

There are renegade “scientology” groups that practice scientology outside of the official frame work, so as to exploit no one but still benefit people.

The attraction of pop stars to Scientology I believe is linked to the ‘religion’ making specific claims of the ‘superiority’ of actors and creative persons. Why shouldn't L.Ron Hubbard, a fantasy novelist - want to believe himself and creative people like himself to be naturally superior?

The only reason Scientology is a religion, in my opinion, is that it creates a tax shelter for the group. Fuck that! And fuck all the other rip off ‘religions’. TAX ALL CHURCHES! I'm serious. Tax Churches but allow them to declare charitable giving. Those good churches that spend their profit helping their community will see little change. Scientology tho, may want to cease naming itself a ‘religion’.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:09PM
kat8kit at 4:47PM, Feb. 1, 2006
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ahhh. people there are thousands of things we could tax but dont.

but i read a book on scientology, and it was scary.

something about how you can create anything you want and control people and minds through the negative enrgy– idk.. all i remember was it was the most bizarre idea i had read in a while.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:13PM
Fibonacci at 11:09AM, Feb. 11, 2006
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That's sounds more like something the CIA would do rather than that of Scientology. I would like to ask what exactly Scientology is? (I am not being rude, I want to hear it from a scientologist perspective and not that of an encyclopedia entry.)
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:28PM
ozoneocean at 11:49AM, Feb. 11, 2006
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I like the idea of the fleet they have (or had). All those ships and vessels so they could operate outside of international boundaries to avoid tax (I know they still own a whole cruise ship at least). I read a while ago about how L Ron Hubbard and a bunch of other SciFi writers would get together in the 40's and play war-game with miniature warships… sort of like a naval role-playing game. They got very obsessive about it.
It's funny to think that his interest in that game might have influenced him when he invented scientology.

A scientologist perspective will just give you dogma. They can't inform you about scientology, just what it means to them and about being a scientologist.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:23PM
ozoneocean at 8:51AM, Feb. 12, 2006
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Mr. Neil
I said that ignorance is the genesis of religious concepts. For example, characters like Thor and Zues at one time existed to explain the origin of lightning. Here in the 21st century, we understand where lightning comes from. Thus, Thor and Zeus are dead.
Well, not exactly, lightning isn't really a reason for existing, it's more like evidence of their existence… One of the more spectacular manifestations of the gods. We don’t totally understand lighting now, but we can explain it without the supernatural. :D
Zeus and Thor are dead because of Jesus :(

Ignorance helps religion along, but I’d say intelligence is part of the genesis of religious concepts (lovely pun there with genesis btw!). The birth of the original religions was all about intelligently making sense of the natural world from an utterly human perspective, which is a logical thing to do given the way understanding and communication works: We understand each other by ascribing traits of our own personality to others, we understand animals the same way. So what I’m saying is that part of the birth of religion is the process of thinking about the universe as sentient and then anthromorphising it. It’s quite an intellectual a leap really. And we don’t know the universe isn’t sentient, (although I don’t think it is).

Personally I think ignorance is much more a feature of maintaining the sillier parts of a religion in the face of good evidence to the contrary. Modern religion is characterised by that kind of ignorance, especially the newer ones like scientology and even Mormonism, not the ancient, simple ones. They were about natural philosophical science.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:23PM
mykill at 12:30PM, Feb. 12, 2006
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Coming from a chaos magic background, I have to announce that Thor is alive and well.

Not only is he represented by a popular Marvel franchise keeping him relevant in the modern consciousness, but he is worshipped explicitly by ASTARU pagan worshippers and a couple others.

When you suggest a God is dead, it begs a definition of God. The defacto definition is being the object of ‘worship’.

But realize if you let that definition fly, TV's Spock, Tyra Banks and Oprah Winfrey all get to be “gods” too.

I believe all religion is lies you tell yourself to help you feel better and manipulate probability in your favor. I believe in magic, not god.

Scientology is fucked because it's lies that serve Scientology, not yourself. But a lot of organized religion has that problem.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:09PM
mykill at 8:37AM, Feb. 13, 2006
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Good grief, how do ya'll trip over something so simple. Religions addresses the UNKNOWABLE..

How comfortable you are not knowing determines the degree to which religion is important to you. If you must know it all, religion provides answers. If you want to stick to a more confirmable truth, you have to settle for not knowing much at all.


In other words, Religious people KNOW MORE than non religious people.

Now, if you want to turn that into “All atheists or religious people are stupid”… it's like a magic mirror where if what you see is ‘stupid" you’re really looking at yourself.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:09PM
mykill at 9:10AM, Feb. 13, 2006
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Scientology 101, discovered from reading about ‘em online (both pro and con).

You are negative and diseased psychologically because of bad experiences in your past, your childhood and… your past lives, which can include some heavy duty science fiction.

Via a process that may be helpful or may prove a catalyst for emotional dysfunction (called “auditing”) - you become aware of these past traumas and become free of their influence.

After working in scientology a LOT (and spending many many thousands of dollars) you get to be “clear” (In theory, I suspect there is none one really perfectly clear - you always need to spend more money to get more clear - that’s what the science fiction is for.).

Mormons at least are a religion. Scientology is a scam.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:09PM
ozoneocean at 9:48AM, Feb. 13, 2006
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But isn't Mormonism a kind of spiritual scam? Not just because the guy made up this holy book and pretended he “found” it (that’s bad), but because of what they believe…
Now I’m not sure of my facts here, what I know, I know from listening to the performances of Suanne Post, an Australian lesbian stand-up comedian, and former Mormon.
It goes something like this: Only Morons know the true faith (no surprise there), and every Mormon has a responsibility to do missionary work and gain converts. The more converts you gain, the higher your status. All the converts they gain also accrue to you, and so on down the line. There are a limited amount of places in heaven (it's a number like 3000 or something…), and only those who’ve done a lot for the religion can gain a position, lots of converts are required for you to get a place a “latter-day saint”. You sort of become a god in your very own heaven. But women are excluded: They can’t become latter-day saints… They do get to serve you though… (like most religions)

But on the amount of converts thing, it’s basically a pyramid scheme! Only those at the top will ever get a place, so you may as well not even bother trying.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:23PM
Zwuh at 10:57AM, Feb. 13, 2006
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Sorry I'm late folks! Dundundunnnn.

Try to keep things ON TOPIC and avoid personal attacks in threads. Keep comments to the arguments.

FinbarReilly: Drop the tirade against Mr Neil. He has pointed out quite clearly how you missunderstood him and has expressed no desire to follow that derailed line of thought, so lets move on shall we? Kaythanks.

I might have to fish out the old rules thread and sticky it up around here.

(Also, if anyone has any other issues not related to the topic then PM me, don't reply here)
last edited on July 14, 2011 5:02PM
x3022 at 9:02PM, Feb. 18, 2006
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Every single religion (ever) first started out as a cult. 100%. So, when comparing religions to cults and vice-versa, keep in mind it's all relative. 1000 years from now, when 80% of the galaxy's 400 billion citizens are faithful TyraBanksians, people will still being arguing over this.

And you just know those RyanSeacrestians (only 8% of the population) are going to be jerks about the whole thing.
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:52PM

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