Scientology: What is it? And what makes it that?

Kevin R Brown
Superfan
Kevin R Brown's picture
Posts: 3142
Joined: 2007-06-24
User is offlineOffline
Scientology: What is it? And what makes it that?

I'm among the crowd who tends to talk about the 'church' of Scientology as a criminal organization and little more. If you really pressed my to differentiate between Scientology and organized religious bodies, however... well, I'm not sure how successful I'd be. Scientology does share a remarkable number of qualities with more 'conventional' religions - hocus-pocus beliefs and rituals, a clear-cut hierarchical structure, dogmatic principles, absolute moral viewpoints, etc. Even the really sticky issues with Scientology like harassment of outsiders, obscene money extortion & culpability in the deaths of it's members are hardly exclusive to it - orthodox Christianity and Islam in particular are responsible for their own fair share of these things.

 

What does make Scientology 'more' of a criminal syndicate than just another brainwashing religion, if anything? Intuitively, I feel like this is the case (the fact that L Ron was such a crook may have something to do with it), but justifying my stance is rather difficult for me. Perhaps this isn't an entirely accurate perspective? Can anyone think of any particulars that support (or any that cast aside) the treatment of Scientology as a genuinely 'special case' in this regard?

Quote:
"Natasha has just come up to the window from the courtyard and opened it wider so that the air may enter more freely into my room. I can see the bright green strip of grass beneath the wall, and the clear blue sky above the wall, and sunlight everywhere. Life is beautiful. Let the future generations cleanse it of all evil, oppression and violence, and enjoy it to the full."

- Leon Trotsky, Last Will & Testament
February 27, 1940


deludedgod
Rational VIP!ScientistDeluded God
deludedgod's picture
Posts: 3221
Joined: 2007-01-28
User is offlineOffline
I agree with this.

I agree with this. Scientology is an organized crime syndicate and nothing more. While certain behaivours and principles that it employs are common to most if not all religions, what makes scientology unusual is that its entire upper echelons are involved in what is essentially a racket. For other religions to be on par with scientology in terms of modern day criminal activity, they would have to exhibit a similar ubiquity of criminality. This is not the case. By analogy, it would be as if the entire priesthood were child molesters.

"Physical reality” isn’t some arbitrary demarcation. It is defined in terms of what we can systematically investigate, directly or not, by means of our senses. It is preposterous to assert that the process of systematic scientific reasoning arbitrarily excludes “non-physical explanations” because the very notion of “non-physical explanation” is contradictory.

-Me

Books about atheism


Answers in Gene...
High Level Donor
Answers in Gene Simmons's picture
Posts: 4214
Joined: 2008-11-11
User is offlineOffline
Well, let me turn that

Well, let me turn that one around. You seem to be thinking that religion can be easily differentiated from questionable organizations so that you can put Scientology in the latter category and not at all in the former.

 

My formulation would be to start with there being questionable organizations and religion is at best a subset of them. Done that way, the question becomes not which bucket does Scientology belong in but rather where along the scale it happens to be. Is Scientology more like the mafia, the masons or the maronites? Personally, I am inclined to place it somewhere between the masons and the mafia but it has elements of both groups.

NoMoreCrazyPeople wrote:
Never ever did I say enything about free, I said "free."

=


Athwyren
Posts: 7
Joined: 2009-01-29
User is offlineOffline
I think the major difference

I think the major difference between scientology and most other religions is that, as far as I'm aware, the major religious leaders of most other religions actually believe their own story, they're dealers, sure, but they inject just as readily as their customers. I doubt that the leaders of scientology actually believe it's real, and they're not only selling their drug, and doing everything they can to keep their customers on it, even while refusing to take it themselves because they know that it's poison.

That, combined with the deaths and the harassment is more than enough to justify considering them as criminals, that's not to say that deaths in the names of other religions are ok, but at least the offenders in those cases have the defense of insanity.

Athywren, unable to spell his own screen name since 1986.


anniet
Silver Member
Posts: 325
Joined: 2008-08-06
User is offlineOffline
Athwyren wrote:I think the

Athwyren wrote:

I think the major difference between scientology and most other religions is that, as far as I'm aware, the major religious leaders of most other religions actually believe their own story, they're dealers, sure, but they inject just as readily as their customers.

Why do you think the leaders of scientology aren't deluded in the same manner as leaders of more traditional religious organizations?  Is there something they have said to let people know they realize the level of insanity they preach?

 

I think scientology is definitely more aggressive than other churches most people are familiar with, but they seem to be about on par with the gung-ho fundamentalist and evangelical branches of christianity from what I've seen.  Their harsher line against dissent is scary, but paranoid religions do that.  I've never looked into this issue deeply.  Could you guys elaborate a little on why you think they're more criminal than religious? 

"I am that I am." - Proof that the writers of the bible were beyond stoned.


Athwyren
Posts: 7
Joined: 2009-01-29
User is offlineOffline
I have to admit, I'm working

I have to admit, I'm working more on hearsay and scattered memories rather than solid fact, which is perhaps not a good habit for me to get into... but I do remember reading that Hubbard came forward before his death and admit that he had simply made it up, to see how far people would follow and for financial gain, although I could be wrong about that. Either way, it seems to me that the senior members of an organisation like that would have to be formed of likeminded individuals, those who understood the basis upon which the entire system is built and who can actively manipulate it in the way that they wish.

I'm sure that if scientology survives long enough that the originators are all ex-originators, then the leadership will probably be another brainwashed horror, but I'm fairly sure that they will, mostly, still be alive, well, and fully aware of how false the whole thing is.

I can understand christian, jewish and muslim leaders believing their brand of crazy, the people who invented their religions have been dead for centuries, millenia even, but scientology is only 50 years old (ish) so I'm fairly convinced that the leadership will still be aware of the fiction in its roots.

Athywren, unable to spell his own screen name since 1986.


mrjonno
Posts: 726
Joined: 2007-02-26
User is offlineOffline
Scientology is actually a

Scientology is actually a pretty good ally of atheism. Its a pretty nasty religion which hasnt got 'mainstream' acceptance yet. But as a religion it wants the same rights rights  as christianity which actually increases  that all religions will loose this special privelidges.

In the same way muslim faith schools in the UK will make christian ones unattendable


Answers in Gene...
High Level Donor
Answers in Gene Simmons's picture
Posts: 4214
Joined: 2008-11-11
User is offlineOffline
Honestly, it is rather

Honestly, it is rather unimportant whether the leaders believe the material or not. Actually, I would suspect that they are well aware of the con game and they know exactly what they are doing. Allow me to explain:

 

In between my x-tianity and Atheism, I spent several years studying the occult. And not just the pop culture crap that you can buy at borders but actual manuscripts that you can only buy for way too much money from rare book sellers. Then too, I have read all of dianetics and most of the OT materials that are on the web.

 

If you can leave the stuff about the evil galactic overlord and his fleet of spaceships that look like passenger jets behind, quite a bit of L. Ron Hubbard's material is lifted from occultist sources such as Eliphas Levi, John Dee and Edward Kelley.

 

As it happens, part of that system of thought is that as you reach higher levels, you learn that the earlier material is intentional bullshit. In fact, you would never get past what amounts to Novice ranks unless you do. So either the leadership is just as demented as “real” religions or they are running a con and they know it.

 

However, quite a bit of Hubbard's material is drawn from sources which pretty much require the con to exist and the higher levels to be fully aware of that fact. So if the leadership of Scientology does know exactly what they are doing, then they are just following the path of those who came before them.

 

The thing is that if this is the case, that does not remove the semblance of legitimacy that might attach to a “real” religion. The world's major religions are certainly lacking in that area. However, the O. T. O. and the A.:.A are at least honest about the matter. If that is what L. Ron Hubbard did (and I am not saying that this is the case), then the credulity of the lower levels and the lack of same at the higher levels is at least one point that is understandable. At least to me.

NoMoreCrazyPeople wrote:
Never ever did I say enything about free, I said "free."

=


Diagoras23
atheist
Diagoras23's picture
Posts: 77
Joined: 2008-11-25
User is offlineOffline
Magic Aliens

They believe in magic aliens.

That is all I need.

Requires no more thought.

Write off.


Answers in Gene...
High Level Donor
Answers in Gene Simmons's picture
Posts: 4214
Joined: 2008-11-11
User is offlineOffline
Diagoras23 wrote:They

Diagoras23 wrote:

They believe in magic aliens.

That is all I need.

Requires no more thought.

Write off.

 

As opposed to magical people?

NoMoreCrazyPeople wrote:
Never ever did I say enything about free, I said "free."

=


Diagoras23
atheist
Diagoras23's picture
Posts: 77
Joined: 2008-11-25
User is offlineOffline
Ok then

Ok then, they believe we are all magical alien people.

People are magical alien beings.

Not even based on the cool "virus that can survive in space on the ass end of an asteroid seeding life on earth" theory which is at least conceivable as a scientific theory.

Nah, write them off.

I'm hungry, getting some pizza.

 

Who would want to finish what they have said with the same thing everytime?


Kevin R Brown
Superfan
Kevin R Brown's picture
Posts: 3142
Joined: 2007-06-24
User is offlineOffline
Quote:They believe in magic

Quote:

They believe in magic aliens.

That is all I need.

Requires no more thought.

Write off.

...And Christians believe in magical guardian angels and monstrous man-possessing demons.

Yes, no doubt we write that off as well... but do you see what I'm getting at? None of the absurdities in Scientology somehow 'trump' the beliefs of Christianity.

Quote:
"Natasha has just come up to the window from the courtyard and opened it wider so that the air may enter more freely into my room. I can see the bright green strip of grass beneath the wall, and the clear blue sky above the wall, and sunlight everywhere. Life is beautiful. Let the future generations cleanse it of all evil, oppression and violence, and enjoy it to the full."

- Leon Trotsky, Last Will & Testament
February 27, 1940


HisWillness
atheistRational VIP!
HisWillness's picture
Posts: 4100
Joined: 2008-02-21
User is offlineOffline
deludedgod wrote:For other

deludedgod wrote:
For other religions to be on par with scientology in terms of modern day criminal activity, they would have to exhibit a similar ubiquity of criminality.

What's interesting is that Scientology has its analogue in the medieval Catholic church. The church made no qualms about secret documents, having its own private army (no shit - Scientology has a "navy" - look it up), and fucking with the operations of sovereign nations.

The good thing about The Church of Scientology is that it doesn't have the numbers it boasts. It has a disproportionate number of celebrities to represent it, but its actual numbers, thankfully, can't be very large. It's my great hope that the church loses its tax-exempt status.

Coincidentally, the Church of Scientology is what drove me to first accept that I was a hard-line atheist. Someone said to me, "well, if their alien story is nonsense, then so are all the rest of the stories from other religions".

My response: "Yes, of course they are. But -" And then the sudden realization that the whole of it was a scam.

Saint Will: no gyration without funkstification.
fabulae! nil satis firmi video quam ob rem accipere hunc mi expediat metum. - Terence


Stosis
Posts: 327
Joined: 2008-10-21
User is offlineOffline
I just call scientology

I just call scientology fucked up. I mean seriously a navy? What's next, are they going to start launching launching military grade satillites and take over the world?

 

Some of the stuff these people do is almost a weird as the stuff they believe.


Answers in Gene...
High Level Donor
Answers in Gene Simmons's picture
Posts: 4214
Joined: 2008-11-11
User is offlineOffline
Actually, the Catholic

Actually, the Catholic church still has a navy. They lost their last base to Napoleon a couple of centuries ago but the order still exists and even is recognized as a sovereign nation in the UN.

 

It is called the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and has as it's only territory one apartment building in Italy. Those who are lucky enough to have parents as members are also members as the order is hereditary. They have a post office (technically a mail room) and their cars have SMOM registration plates.

 

Of special note to metal fans, Joey DiMaio, the bass player for Man-O-War is a Grand Knight and Minister Of Youth of the Sovereign Order of Saint John of Jerusalem Knights of Malta Federation of Autonomous Priories

 

NoMoreCrazyPeople wrote:
Never ever did I say enything about free, I said "free."

=


Tamas
Posts: 45
Joined: 2009-02-07
User is offlineOffline
Scientology

If they gather too much money, they can do anything.

Even they could track you down for a whole life. Somebody mentioned satellites...

They also work like a charity, applying people who couldn't get proper job.

Somebody said, he is joining them to get food, TV and place to live, visit starving africans and give them food and help.

He was very confiding, he was happy to do something good.


Answers in Gene...
High Level Donor
Answers in Gene Simmons's picture
Posts: 4214
Joined: 2008-11-11
User is offlineOffline
(No subject)

NoMoreCrazyPeople wrote:
Never ever did I say enything about free, I said "free."

=


Tamas
Posts: 45
Joined: 2009-02-07
User is offlineOffline
I mean, that this is very

I mean, that this is very sad Sad

 


Vastet
atheistBloggerSuperfan
Vastet's picture
Posts: 13210
Joined: 2006-12-25
User is offlineOffline
Yay again Jean Luc!On a

Yay again Jean Luc!

On a serious note, the only difference I see between Scientology and any other religion in existance is that they are more ordered. Clearly defined levels and costs, less division within the ranks, etc. They are simply the most advanced religion. If they're criminal, they're all criminal. Of course, they're all criminal in my view.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.


triften
atheist
triften's picture
Posts: 591
Joined: 2007-01-01
User is offlineOffline
Answers in Gene Simmons

Answers in Gene Simmons wrote:

This differs from the cat macro how? : P