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singular1
01-11-2004, 11:33 AM
All it takes is the mere mention of Scientology, and stand back to watch the vitriol gush. But I'm not really sure what all the hate is about. It's easy enough to glean that people hate it, but I can't pin down exactly what why.
Could someone kindly sum up what is so horrific about this "religion"? I tried checking out their web site, but there was a lot of double talk, and I didn't want to spend hours slogging through it to get to the essence. The people that follow it seem so happy and successful, but I've seen people on this board referring to the utter ruination of people's lives. Can I get a little help understanding this?

Freejack00
01-11-2004, 11:39 AM
I think it has to do with Travolta being a part of it that makes me sick!!

minty green
01-11-2004, 11:42 AM
You're in the wrong forum, but http://www.xenu.net/ is a good place to start finding out why Scientology is held in such disdain.

peritrochoid
01-11-2004, 11:47 AM
I've seen this question come up around here a lot. Maybe these links will help you out.

In Cecil's words. (http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a4_134.html)
A prior thread. (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?s=&threadid=175357&highlight=dianetics)
A skeptic on a mission. (http://www.xenu.net/)

friedo
01-11-2004, 11:49 AM
Scientology leads to vitriol because it is a dangerous, manipulative cult whose sole purpose is to con victims out of their life savings. It is extremely litigious, hiring armies of attorneys to sue (usually on very poor grounds) anyone who dares publically criticize the cult. It has been known to verbally harass and threaten former members and detractors, in some cases for years. Scientologists have been convicted of fraud, embezzlement, blackmail, and their actions have directly contributed to at least one death.

Revtim
01-11-2004, 11:50 AM
1) It was founded as a money-making scam by a science-fiction writer.

2) They have *very* wacky beliefs.

See minty's link for details. Be sure to check out the Xenu pamphlet at http://www.xenu.net/archive/leaflet/

Futile Gesture
01-11-2004, 12:05 PM
Most religions will attempt to convert you for free. Scientology deliberately withholds parts of itself until you have paid enough money. That alone is warning enough of its priorities. It is more concerned about your wallet than your "soul".

seaworthy
01-11-2004, 01:20 PM
And I don't know about you guys, but I live about 10 miles from the official hub of Scientology- Clearwater, Florida. I don't know if this made national news, but people around here hate Scientology not only for the "we'll-brainwash-you-and-take-your-money" part of it, but also because a few years back a woman with a serious health condition died while in the Scientologists' care, and no one has been able to bring charges against the church, even though there are some very suspicious circumstances, probably because the church is really rich since all its members give it their life savings. So we don't like them. Unfortunately the city of Clearwater is starting to recognize them as a "real" religion, which is the worst thing you could ever do, IMO. So when we're bored my friends and I will drive through downtown Clearwater making fun of them. They're really easy to spot because they all wear the same uniforms. And carry clipboards, for some reason.

Enola Straight
01-11-2004, 01:23 PM
Indeed, the "religeon" was not founded by a Messiah, Prophet, or Philosopher, but a writer of bad science fiction.

It is more of a philosophy than a religeon...instead of being concerned with salvation or enlightenment, they teach self-actualization and self-optimization.

It is appealing to and promoted by flaky Hollywood celebrities.
(Kirsty Alley, John Travolta, Tom Cruise).

owlofcreamcheese
01-11-2004, 02:24 PM
they don't behave like a religion, it costs money to belong (much money), the beliefs are wacky (based on sci-fi stuff about alien empires and nuclear bombs) and it is very very big into sueing people for various reasons. if you quit the religion its possible you'll be sued for a large sum of money for various reasons, or that some of the secrets you told in confession will suddenly leak out and ruin you.

jimpatro
01-11-2004, 02:35 PM
Alien spirits came here in a spacecraft and...geez!

Exapno Mapcase
01-11-2004, 03:22 PM
Originally posted by Enola Straight
Indeed, the "religeon" was not founded by a Messiah, Prophet, or Philosopher, but a writer of bad science fiction.

Since this is GQ, could you please provide an example of a religion whose holy book is not "bad science fiction"? :D

(Actually, Hubbard in his pre-dianetics days was considered a writer of very good science fiction.)

CheekyMonkey613
01-11-2004, 03:41 PM
Originally posted by Futile Gesture
Most religions will attempt to convert you for free. Scientology deliberately withholds parts of itself until you have paid enough money. That alone is warning enough of its priorities. It is more concerned about your wallet than your "soul".

I realize you said "most". Actually, Judaism is a religion that denounces attempts to convert. If converts truly want to become Jewish, they will seek it out. This is a way of keeping the religion "pure".

However, I'm very well aware that converting to Judaism can be EXTREMELY EXPENSIVE. Starting at $175/month Canadian and upwards of $500/month including books. Towards the end, you can up that to $1000/month to include the extra expense of living within 1000 steps of shul, which some rabbis demand. You can also count in $350 for the bet din to witness your $150 mikvah. Completely out of this world, as far as fees are concerned.

I'm also aware that other converts went through Orthodox (and other) conversions for free. I guess it depends on the area.

I believe in Judaism whole-heartedly, though I despise the money for the "title" attitude. So I can't agree that this is the basis for a religion to be disrespected or denounced. However, I must admit, it doesn't make them look so good.

JS Princeton
01-11-2004, 04:22 PM
I know this tain't Great Debates, and I'm no Scientologist, but the pile-on is a bit out-of-hand. Hubbardists deserve someone defending them, and I guess by the look of things that someone is going to be me.

There isn't anything particularly awful about Scientology other than a) it's a new religion, b) it's rather protective of its image, c) it's declared war on psychotherapy (but the jury's still out on whether that's a good thing or not), and d) it's after people's money.

But, hell, to me those are not reasons to get up-in-arms over. Such criticisms have and are leveled against other more established religions by people and there isn't a crusade to rid the world of those belief systems. Last time I checked, in the United States at least, freedom of religion, association, and commerce were protected things. Singling out Scientology to criticize is, IMHO, just people being afraid of novelty. It's a story as old as time. It happened to Christians, it happened to Muslims, it happened to Jehovah's Witnesses, it happened to Mormons, it happened to any and all new religious groups that have come down the pipe. Are people mad that they have a lot of money and famous celebrities who are connected with them? Well, that's just jealousy as far as I'm concerned. You can't begrudge someone the right in a capitalist society to collect capital through legal means. The people of Clearwater may not like the fact that there is this new religion in town, but Scientology's problems are of the same type as other religions. All religions that I know of have skeletons in their closets that include but are not limitted to death, sexual misdeeds, etc. Just because there may be unscrupulous people in a given church or even running a given church doesn't make them necessarily make the religion itself horrendous. In short, as there other religions equally reprehensible in similar ways, singling out Scientology is just plain arbitrary religious discrimination. I wonder if the people of Clearwater are as upset as the other churches in town that have skeletons in their closets, but no matter. As I see it, the Scientologists should be protected just as any other religion.

Ironically, for a long time there was quite a bit of wrangling within the Scientology Church over whether they wanted to be considered a religion in point-of-fact. The consensus is now that it is better for business if they are legally recognized as a religion. I say, way to go. If it looks like a religion, smells like a religion, acts like a religion, it is a religion. Welcome to the club.

Quite frankly, I find it willfully ignorant that people dismiss new religious movements out-of-hand as being "cults". There are problems in all religions, maybe you can make a case for some religions being more dysfunctional than others, but there is nothing that a priori makes Scientology or any new religion more problematic than any old religion. Get over it, already.

I personally like Scientologists. I find them interesting in the sense that they're really excited to talk about their religion. They are certainly one of the most tenacious groups I've studied over the years. For that, at least, they deserve our respect.

Diceman
01-11-2004, 04:28 PM
Any Christian priest or minister will tell you anything that you want to know about their sect for free.

Scientology keeps its beliefs secret until after you pay a lot of money. What other religion works that way?

seaworthy
01-11-2004, 04:39 PM
Like I said before, I don't know if this made national news, but as I live in the area, I heard quite a lot about it. A woman named Linda (?) MacPherson became seriously ill and turned to fellow Scientolgists for help. She ended up dying while in their care. I can't remember the actual cause of death, but I'm pretty sure malnutrition was involved somehow. There's a lot of he-said, she-said with this case, but her family and prosecutors believe that she was denied medical help (even though she wanted it) and held against her will. As I said before, there's not enough evidence to bring charges against the COS, but it seems to me like the city of Clearwater is afraid to take a stand against them. Yeah, their beliefs are a little wacky, but so, IMO, are the Mormons, but as I've never heard of the Mormons doing anything like this, I'm not really worried about them. I've also heard stories about members wishing to leave the church and being blackmailed, threatened, etc. It's apparently really hard to leave the church. It all sounds a little sinister to me.

JS Princeton
01-11-2004, 04:44 PM
Scientology keeps its beliefs secret until after you pay a lot of money. What other religion works that way?


But they aren't, in-point-of-fact, secret, are they? You can go do the research on them yourself at such places at xenu.net

So, that's basically a strawman argument, first of all.

But even if the church had secret documents that were sealed from the public, scientology is hardly the harbinger of such behavior. Mystery cults have been around as long as recorded history. Free Masons are also secretive about their practices, and as was pointed out by CheekyMonkey, there are things that are unaccessible in certain Jewish traditions without the paymet of cash.

You have to pay to access some libraries. Is that wrong?

I'll further submit that many Christian churches "extort" (to use a loaded term) money out of their congregations using promises of "spiritual benefits". While not about mystery beliefs, tithing and "love gifts" are sometimes explicitly said to allow for God to bless you. What makes that so different from being allowed to read sacred literature? We're just used to people offering vague spiritual benefits that aren't of the variety of revealed mysteries, but both practices are equally legit (or illegit, if you like) from the standpoint of religions getting money out of people.

Just because something is novel or different doesn't make it wrong. The practice of having mysteries revealed as one contributes to the church monetarily and by other means I see as being no more unethical than someone gaining spiritual blessings after paying money to a religious ministry.

spingears
01-11-2004, 04:51 PM
Originally posted by Revtim
1) It was founded as a money-making scam by a science-fiction writer.

2) They have *very* wacky beliefs.

See minty's link for details. Be sure to check out the Xenu pamphlet at http://www.xenu.net/archive/leaflet/



" A M E N "


________________
"Beware of the Cog"

JS Princeton
01-11-2004, 04:53 PM
Yeah, their beliefs are a little wacky, but so, IMO, are the Mormons, but as I've never heard of the Mormons doing anything like this, I'm not really worried about them. I've also heard stories about members wishing to leave the church and being blackmailed, threatened, etc. It's apparently really hard to leave the church. It all sounds a little sinister to me.

These are all criticisms that have been leveled against other religions from time to time. While the Mormons aren't known for their rejection of medical treatment, other religious groups are.

Do some research on Christian Science. Do you think they should be looked at as sinister?

Just recently, a child died under suspicious circumstances while attending a service directed by a Protestant minister trying to cure the boy of his behavior problems. I don't think that necessarily makes the religion of that church sinister.

There are legal issues involved when people die suspiciously, but to whisper about "conspiracy" is just irresponsible unless you have proof.

Sure, there are practices of the church that you find sinister. Fine. That doesn't mean that they are exclusive to this religion. The whole point of religious freedom is that the state cannot single out any given religion to be legislated against. If the state can find compelling evidence that something illegal happened then they can bring prosecution against the perpetrators, but it's not the religion's fault when people commit crimes. There is nothing endemic to scientology more than any other religion that compells people to commit crimes. If you feel differently, point it out directly, but so far all I've seen are people mixing up concepts and indicators.

JS Princeton
01-11-2004, 05:00 PM
Originally posted by Revtim
1) It was founded as a money-making scam by a science-fiction writer.

2) They have *very* wacky beliefs.


1) I don't care who founds a religion or what his or her "hidden motivations" are. There are more than likely many pastors in Christian Churches, for example, that found their churches as "money-making scams". One could argue that all churches are set-up that way. Just because L. Ron Hubbard was a science ficiton writer doesn't mean that there is a problem with scientology. Founders of religions come from all walks of life and all sorts of different professions.

A religion is a religion. If they are doing illegal things then prosecute them, but last I checked, there really isn't anything ontologically, socially, or legally problematic about starting a new religion.

2) Is just plain unsupportable from the standpoint that every religion known to man has its beliefs that to the unbeliever are wacky. This is an argument that can be levelled against ALL religions and not scientology in particular.

Paradoxical
01-11-2004, 05:00 PM
Thank you JS Princeton, you beat me to the punch. Diceman: If you want to know about scientology, buy a fucking book. There are literally hundreds of books and lectures that are available to non-scientologists. You aren't paying for the beliefs, you are paying for the services. If you knew much of anything about scientology, there are certain things available to you that require another individual to help complete. Really it's not so very different from psychology, except that for 1.) they dont believe in manipulating an individual, 2.) they arent very big on "current" study technologies(i.e. american school systems)but rather encourage and teach a much more efficient way to educate people and their children, and 3.) are vehemently against "psych" drugs. Many scientologists aren't paying the church for anything, as paying money is only necessary for the classes which teach you how to perform any counseling. Once the person has learned how to correctly counsel people they can exchange their knowledge for free. Ever heard of a seminary? Where protestants go to learn their counseling and technology of their craft. Is that free? I think not....I'm not going to go in depth about the people involved in the religion, as there are nuts and fanatics in every belief system. At least they haven't led any violent "Holy" crusades......

Nekosoft
01-11-2004, 05:08 PM
Originally posted by friedo
Scientologists have been convicted of fraud, embezzlement, blackmail, and their actions have directly contributed to at least one death.

I've got absolutely no support for Scientologists whatsoever, but it seems like this could be said about any number of religions. </nitpick>

I agree completely with the "dangerous, manipulative cult" part, of course.

Derleth
01-11-2004, 05:08 PM
JS Princeton, would you defend the Mafia if everyone decided to rag on them?

They are known murderers (http://www.lisamcpherson.org/). I don't care how loudly you scream about the Crusades or the PLO or the Great Leap Forwards, that's simply wrong.

They also actively tell people to commit crimes (http://www.fairgamed.org/). Those crimes are aimed at harassing the critics of Scientology, who have been marked to be disposed of "quietly and without sorrow." (http://www.xenu.net/archive/enemy_names/dispose.html) Some real religious groups commit crimes, but only the worst of them commit crimes to harass and kill those who criticise them.

And what real religion do you know uses false fronts to lure the hurting and needy to its doors? Only Scientology could dream up Narconon (http://www-2.cs.cmu.edu/~dst/Narconon/). No, not Narcanon, the short name for Narcotics Anonymous, but Narconon, the short name for Greedy Murderous Cult. Confusing? Deliberately.

The evidence is against you. Don't dig yourself into a hole defending these monsters.

Derleth
01-11-2004, 05:19 PM
Paradoxical: Here's a little project for you: Ask a Scientolgist about Xenu. Or Xemu. (It can be pronounced and spelled both ways.) He'll hem, he'll haw, and he may even deny he knows anything about the alien. (Or he may honestly not know anything about the alien. It depends on how far he's gotten in the cult.)

Do a Google search and you'll get this (http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=mozclient&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&q=Xenu+flyer):
In response to a complaint we received under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (http://www.google.com/dmca.html), we have removed 1 result(s) from this page. If you wish, you may read the DMCA complaint (http://www.chillingeffects.org/dmca512/notice.cgi?NoticeID=232) for these removed results.Who's been bullying Google, and why? Read the links.

Well, this is what I'm looking for (http://www.cnbc.cmu.edu/~dst/Coltice/xemu.html). It explains the theology behind Scientology, something the Scientologists don't want getting out. Why's it a secret? Ask a Scientologist, and see what happens.

JS Princeton
01-11-2004, 05:33 PM
Derleth

Dear Lord, somebody got up on the wrong side of the religious bandwagon this morning.

First off, the mafia is not even remotely relevent to this conversation. So please keep your strawmen to yourself.

If the Scientologists hurt you in some way, I'm sorry, but your case is extremely personally biased, you should know. There are people in almost all churches who are known murders... some of whom have used religious justification and were pretty high up on the ladder. Is it simply wrong? Of course! That doesn't make the religion itself problematic. Simply linking to the website of people who blame scientology for Lisa McPherson's death doesn't meant that scientology is problematic. You can make the argument that it may have led to death (or murder), but what you can make that about many religions. Singling out Scientology is just plain religious intolerance. Period.

Some real religious groups commit crimes, but only the worst of them commit crimes to harass and kill those who criticise them.

It is not official scientology doctrine that one commit crimes to be a member of the church. The CoS has withstood more court cases than any other organization (started many too). If you think there is a case to prosecute them as an organized crime syndicate, then present your evidence to the authorities and see them in court.

And what real religion do you know uses false fronts to lure the hurting and needy to its doors?

First of all, is pretending Scientology is not a "real" religion supposed to support your case? Because it really doesn't make any sense to me.

But okay, maybe you want some mainstream examples? Hmm, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, for one. The Salvation Army for two. I mean, this is a common practice. I don't actually think there is anything wrong with that. Is it misleading? Sure, but the laws out there about false advertising apply to consumer protection, liable, copyright infringement, etc. If you have a beef with them on any of those fronts than contact your state attorney general. Personally, I don't think there is a legal case out there, but that's not for me to decide.

The evidence is against you. Don't dig yourself into a hole defending these monsters.


This clearly seems to me that you have not paid any attention whatsoever to what I've been saying.

Let me spell it out for you:

Scientology deserves the consideration of any other religion. It does not deserve special protection. It does not deserve to be above the law. However, the United States of America has a little concept called "innocent before proven guilty" that protects all of us equally. If you decided to go out and found your own religion or church in Havre then you are free to do that. Likewise, Scientology has the freedom to set-up a religious institution that offers spiritual benefits to its members. There isn't anything a priori wrong with it. Is it my choice? No. Do I think there are problems? Sure. But I don't think those problems are exclusive to Scientology, and I challenge you to show how they are.

JS Princeton
01-11-2004, 05:41 PM
By the way, the whole Google controversy is absolutely delightful, I think. The way Google handled it was a brilliant victory for free speech. I'm sure more people are linking to those removed webpages now than before.

So the Scientologists like to sue. Big deal. If they have a legal point, then they have a legal point. If they don't then they'll lose. That's the way the law works. There complaints and their fondness for litigation does not make their religion problematic, dangerous, or "evil".

Revtim
01-11-2004, 05:52 PM
Originally posted by JS Princeton
1) I don't care who founds a religion or what his or her "hidden motivations" are. There are more than likely many pastors in Christian Churches, for example, that found their churches as "money-making scams". One could argue that all churches are set-up that way. Just because L. Ron Hubbard was a science ficiton writer doesn't mean that there is a problem with scientology. Founders of religions come from all walks of life and all sorts of different professions.

A religion is a religion. If they are doing illegal things then prosecute them, but last I checked, there really isn't anything ontologically, socially, or legally problematic about starting a new religion.You really have no problem with someone starting a religion solely to bilk people vs someone starting a religion to benefit mankind?

Originally posted by JS Princeton
2) Is just plain unsupportable from the standpoint that every religion known to man has its beliefs that to the unbeliever are wacky. This is an argument that can be levelled against ALL religions and not scientology in particular.

It is of course a matter of opinion as to what beliefs are whackier than other. My judgement is that the Xenu bullshit is a good deal whackier than the other religions I'm familiar with. YMMV, of course.

KGS
01-11-2004, 06:00 PM
Originally posted by JS Princeton
So the Scientologists like to sue. Big deal. If they have a legal point, then they have a legal point. If they don't then they'll lose. That's the way the law works.
Dude, you're not paying attention. When the Scientologists sue people, they don't care whether they're right or wrong, they sue people just to drive them into the poorhouse. Defending against those frivolous lawsuits costs money, you know.

They'll also take those secrets you tell them during "auditing" sessions and blackmail you with them, if you don't toe the line. Not even the Catholics will do that!

Long ago I bought a few books and took a class at the Scientology center, cost about a hundred bucks which is meager compared to some. For years afterwards, I kept getting bills in the mail for services I never purchased from them. (Guess I never gave them enough information to get litigous, and they merely hoped I'd pay them blindly.) The bills only stopped when I moved.

Read xenu.net, and learn.

seaworthy
01-11-2004, 06:02 PM
damn,Derleth , you beat me to the punch. I just spent the last hour trying to get my computer to work so I could search the St. Pete Times archives for the Lisa McPherson articles. Here's (http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/sptimes/doc/55114382.html?MAC=3d730fbdd1285292a6d7916826ab424e&did=55114382&FMT=FT) an article from the St. Pete Times without the bias of the Lisa McPherson site. It still sounds fishy to me. That's why I don't like them. Also, living so close (about 20 minutes away) from the official church in Clearwater, I hear a lot more about Scientologists than you guys do. I have heard nothing to suggest that Scientologists are beneficial, or even just harmless. Everything I have heard about them makes me think they are dangerous. 50 years from now they may be an accepted religion. I will still feel the same way. And I don't like Freemasons either.
:D

Paradoxical
01-11-2004, 06:04 PM
that xenu, heh he's a really great alien, and boy is he peppy....

Blake
01-11-2004, 06:08 PM
Who's been bullying Google, and why? Read the links.

“Currently, Google is providing a link to a web page which contains literally hundreds of our clients' copyrighted works and federally registered trademarks. This web site is “XXXXX." This particular web site, “XXXXX.", has been removed five times by well known internet service providers here in the United States for the precise copyright and trademark infringements of which I am notifying Google.”
“This particular web site owner has placed our clients' copyrighted works and federally registered trademarks on his web page without the authorization of our clients. According, his actions are in violation of United States copyright law”


(Bolding mine. I’ve removed the address because these boards automatically hyperlink to the site, and I’m unsure of the legality of doing so.)


Ooooh. Chilling stuff Derleth.

Someone’s website contained dozens of copyrighted photographs (http://images.chillingeffects.org/notices/232-xenu_chart.html) and “literally hundreds of” of other copyrighted works. The legitimate owner of those photographs asked that Google abide by its legal obligation in defending that copyright. The nefarious bastards.

But if you don’t want to be labelled an ignorant hypocrite you’d better start criticising the SDMB for ‘bullying’ posters. After all every single time we post dozens of copyrighted articles we don’t even get the opportunity to “removed the result(s) from this page” It is done for us, without our consent by those horrible bullying mods. And they don’t even do it after being asked by the copyright holder. They just assume that they want their copyright protected.

Pretty sinister stuff. Imagine a website removing material that infringes copyrightafter they are asked to do so. :rolleyes:

Derleth
01-11-2004, 06:13 PM
JS Princeton: I agree with innocent until proven guilty. I agree that until he actually does something illegal, even the most odious man has the full protection of the law. But I don't agree that Scientology is a religous belief system as far as those in power are concerned. I think they know it's a moneymaking scam, and they run it as such to the detriment of those they've bilked. They even commit crimes to further their business goals. In that way, it's exactly like the Mafia.

And when did Mother Teresa or the Salvation Army ever once try to deny their origins, leadership, or true reason for being? When did they try to lure people in with a name so similar to the name of an established group as to cause honest confusion?

Real religions are very forthright about their mission work, as they wish to be known to be doing the work of God as they see fit. Criminals, on the other hand, want the cover of darkness for their deeds. Which does Scientology most resemble?

Derleth
01-11-2004, 06:16 PM
Blake, what religion copyrights its core dogma? Why would a religion need lawyers to prevent people from learning what it's really about?

Blake
01-11-2004, 06:24 PM
But I don't agree that Scientology is a religous belief system as far as those in power are concerned. I think they know it's a moneymaking scam, and they run it as such to the detriment of those they've bilked. They even commit crimes to further their business goals. In that way, it's exactly like the Mafia.

We can’t know what those in power believe, so please don’t state it isas fact in GQ without some reputable references.

The same criticism can be levelled at the Roman Catholic church not so very long ago. Selling indulgences and selling Scientologist ‘pscychotherapy’ is exactly the same thing. RCs not so long ago, and possibly still today, were made to feel obliged to make a donation when they attended confession and communion, and they were made to feel a spiritual dire need for communion and confession.

And certainly Catholics have committed crimes to make money, [particularly out of their orphanages and workhouses, just as much as the Scientologists have.

Furthermore almost all fundamentalist and even moderate Baptist churches also promote tithing. While I am unaware of crimes being committed to further this I would not be in the leat to discover they were.

People are people. Some religious people commit crimes in the name of religion, and some Democrats commit crimes in the name of their party. Scientologists are nothing special in that regard.

Blake
01-11-2004, 06:33 PM
what religion copyrights its core dogma?

Straw man.

We aren’t talking about core dogma here. We are talking about photographs, amongst other things. I would be astounded if you could name one religion that does not hold copyright on photographs.



Why would a religion need lawyers to prevent people from learning what it's really about?

Straw man.

The example we are discussing is using lawyers to prevent people from publishing hundreds of copyrighted photographs on a website. Nothing to do with learning what the religion is about.

Try publishing copyrighted material on this website and see how long your posting privileges continue.

Pretty sinsister stuff there. The SDMB Chicago Reader owners are damn bullies, right Derleth?

JS Princeton
01-11-2004, 06:34 PM
You really have no problem with someone starting a religion solely to bilk people vs someone starting a religion to benefit mankind?


To hear the CoS tell it, the latter was the very reason dianetics began.

Now, how, praytell, are we to decide which motivation is the true one of L. Ron? I mean, can you honestly say you know that founders of other religions weren't operating out of a "bilking" paradigm?

I'm just trying to be fair here. Scientology might be founded for bilking, it might not be. What's true is that we can't really know except to psychoanalyze from a distance or to jump to our own conclusions.

My judgement is that the Xenu bullshit is a good deal whackier than the other religions I'm familiar with. YMMV, of course.

Virgin birth, Godman dies for sins. Says bread and wine are his body and blood and that all should eat of the body and blood. Was present at the creation of the world as the Divine Word. That's somehow less whacky than believing in supergalactic empires and aliens who telepathically abuse thetans? YMMV indeed.

Derleth
01-11-2004, 06:35 PM
Blake, read my link about Fair Gaming (the text "They also actively tell people to commit crimes" has it in my first post in this thread). That is official dogma, and it is pretty unique in the world of religion: While the other faiths focus on peace and love and forgiveness, Scientology has a doctrine of harassing people and disposing of them.

As for the leadership of Scientology: I don't know what's in their minds, but look at Narconon. Explain why Narconon is run as it is without assuming the leadership of Scientology wants money more than it wants to spread the faith.

Eleusis
01-11-2004, 06:43 PM
Originally posted by Blake
Straw man.

We aren’t talking about core dogma here.

Shouting "straw man" doesn't make you look smart. The CoS DOES hold copyrights on their core dogma, and they have sued websites for publishing such - without any photos.

Why would a religion need lawyers to prevent people from learning what it's really about?

Straw man.

Again, NO. It's a relevant question about "What exactly is the problem with $cientology.

JS Princeton
01-11-2004, 06:44 PM
Dude, you're not paying attention. When the Scientologists sue people, they don't care whether they're right or wrong, they sue people just to drive them into the poorhouse. Defending against those frivolous lawsuits costs money, you know.

Are the scientologists doing anything illegal? Sounds like your beef isn't with them but rather with our criminal justice system. If they have a case, they have a case. If they don't, they don't. It's as simple as that.

If you think our justice system is skewed against the little guys with no money, then you are entitled to your opinion. Only, that's not Scientology's fault. Is it maybe unethical? Perhaps, but the whole point of this discussion is that other religions are also unethical.


They'll also take those secrets you tell them during "auditing" sessions and blackmail you with them, if you don't toe the line. Not even the Catholics will do that!


Well, blackmail is illegal. So bring them to court. Actually, I don't buy the "blackmail" charge at all. What they have done is they bring out the secrets in court. That may seem to be a violation of the minister-supplicant confidentiality that we hold dear, but there is no law that says that cannot be done. Blackmail is illegal. It's as simple as that. Bringing up admissible evidence in court is legal.

Long ago I bought a few books and took a class at the Scientology center, cost about a hundred bucks which is meager compared to some. For years afterwards, I kept getting bills in the mail for services I never purchased from them. (Guess I never gave them enough information to get litigous, and they merely hoped I'd pay them blindly.) The bills only stopped when I moved.


I'm sorry you got involved with the Scientologists and were dissastisfied. You are free to trumpet about that as much as you want. If they were harrassing you, you have a right to sue them. If you don't owe them anything, then you don't have to pay. What's so hard about that?

I mean, I understand that the group is tenacious and money-grubbing, but so are other religions that don't get the flack. Ever donated to a charity and got junk mail or even bills for the next 20 years? These practices, dude, are not exclusive to the Scientologists.

[quote]
Read xenu.net, and learn.[quote]

Read through and through. An enjoyable read, but I don't see how it shows Scientology as being worthy of being singled-out as problematic.

Derleth
01-11-2004, 06:45 PM
Blake, those aren't straw men. Those are the main points in contention here.

To prove it, here's the article Scientology vs. the Internet (http://www.skeptic.com/03.3.jl-jj-scientology.html). Basically, those in command of the CoS tried to stamp out all criticism of the group in the newsgroup alt.religion.scientology. It became official church practice to start trollfests, essentially, and to try to cancel messages it didn't like. They claimed copyright as a blanket excuse, of course, but more often they simply tried to kill messages that were critical of them.

You can't ascribe that to a few morons within the group: That was the people in charge deciding what the church as a whole must do. That was official practice.

Eleusis
01-11-2004, 06:48 PM
Originally posted by JSPrinceton
Now, how, praytell, are we to decide which motivation is the true one of L. Ron?

How about this:

"The way to make a million dollars is to start a religion." L Ron Hubbard (http://www.cs.colorado.edu/~lindsay/scientology/start.a.religion.html)

Derleth
01-11-2004, 06:48 PM
Anyway, I kind of lost the plot there. Sorry.

:smack:

The OTs were posted to ars. Just the text, no pictures. The CoS claimed copyright on those. So to say the pictures are the main thing is to ignore the basic facts of the issue.

Blake
01-11-2004, 06:50 PM
Blake, read my link about Fair Gaming (the text "They also actively tell people to commit crimes" has it in my first post in this thread). That is official dogma, and it is pretty unique in the world of religion:

Pretty unique huh? Sort of like being a little pregnant and other oxymorons.

Telling people to commit crimes is not even vaguely unique in the world of religion. The Jehovah’s Witness faith tells people not to perform any type of military service, which is a crime in many nations. They have been imprisoned for it. The Hindu faith told people to commit satee, even when it was made illegal by the British colonial government. They were executed for it. The list of religions that have official dogma that tells people to commit crimes is huge. In fact I could issue you a challenge to find me three religions, aside from Bhuddism, Daoism and other philosophical religions, whose official dogma has never been a crime in any nation at any time.

While the other faiths focus on peace and love and forgiveness, Scientology has a doctrine of harassing people and disposing of them.

So you believe. As I have already said, that is your more-or-less worthless opinion and it has no place in GQ. The fact is that scientology has a stated aim as a religion to ensure that all people willing ti embrace the message experience lasting peace and true love.

As for the leadership of Scientology: I don't know what's in their minds, but look at Narconon. Explain why Narconon is run as it is without assuming the leadership of Scientology wants money more than it wants to spread the faith.

I could easily answer that by saying that the leadership believes, as does almost everey other religion, that money is essential for spreading the faith.

JS Princeton
01-11-2004, 06:54 PM
Originally posted by seaworthy
I have heard nothing to suggest that Scientologists are beneficial, or even just harmless. Everything I have heard about them makes me think they are dangerous. 50 years from now they may be an accepted religion. I will still feel the same way. And I don't like Freemasons either.
:D

You want to hear good stuff about scientology? Find a scientologist. They'll talk your ear off. Just as credible as your non-scientologist friends. In fact, they are in some ways more credible because they actually believe in dianetics and probably deal with it considerably more than people who dislike it?

As for the woman who died under suspicious circumstances, that's no reason that there is a problem in-and-of-itself with Scientology. Unless you are of the opinion that, say, the Inquisition is problematic for Catholicism. What if we had started a thread about "What exactly is the problem with Catholicism"? Would you be so quick to disparage?

You are free to disagree, dislike, and malign the group. Fine, you don't like them. I don't think the case can be made thought that just because you don't like them they shouldn't be a religion. And just because you only hear bad things about them from your friends and acquaintances doesn't mean that they are wholly bad.

This is the problem I have with cult-bashing. In the 70s people were litterally kidnapped and tortured for believing in "destructive cults" because they wouldn't submit willingly to leaving. They are adults and they say they are happy. These deprogramming sessions were supposed to prove that they were being brainwashed? Nonsense. All they proved was that you can break a human soul.

There are people happy in scientology. I have met them. They proselytize me, but so do other religions. I am not of the opinion that we can automatically say they are being duped. That no one benefits from this group just because you say so. Hogwash. It's a religion like any other. If you want to declare scientology unworthy of redemption than cast an eye on other religions similarly. At least Murray-O'Hair was consistent in her condemnations of religions.

You are free to not like certain groups, but I do not think that that necessarily means the should automatically be discriminated against.

JS Princeton
01-11-2004, 06:55 PM
Originally posted by Eleusis
How about this:

"The way to make a million dollars is to start a religion." L Ron Hubbard (http://www.cs.colorado.edu/~lindsay/scientology/start.a.religion.html)

Come now, Eleusis, this is complete hearsay. Maybe he said it, maybe he didn't. The CoS denies it (for good reason, of course), and actually attributes it to George Orwell.

Derleth
01-11-2004, 07:00 PM
Blake, are you actually going to post some evidence? Like another religion that has anything comparable to Fair Gaming as an official dogma. Civil disobedience does not come close to "disposing of someone quietly and without remorse."

Eleusis
01-11-2004, 07:01 PM
Originally posted by JS Princeton
Come now, Eleusis, this is complete hearsay. Maybe he said it, maybe he didn't. The CoS denies it (for good reason, of course), and actually attributes it to George Orwell.

Well, the essay I cited lists NINE WITNESSES.

To summarize: we have nine witnesses: Neison Himmel, Sam Merwin, Sam Moskowitz, Theodore Sturgeon, Lloyd Arthur Eshbach, Harlan Ellison, and the three unnamed witnesses of Robert Vaughn Young. There is some confusion and doubt about one of them (Sam Moskowitz). Two are reported via Russel Miller: one is reported via Mike Jittlov: one reported in his autobiography; one reported in an affidavit; and one reported to me in person. The reports describe different events, meaning that Hubbard said it perhaps six times, in six different venues - definitely not just once

Maybe not good enough Scientology apologists, but more than enough for me.

Blake
01-11-2004, 07:09 PM
Shouting "straw man" doesn't make you look smart. The CoS DOES hold copyrights on their core dogma, and they have sued websites for publishing such - without any photos.

Yes but we aren’t discussing that. We are discussing the ‘bullying’ tactics of the CoS in asking Google no to post copyrighted photographs. That is why it is a Strawman. It is unrelated to the issue being discussed.

EleusisNot understanding what is under discussion does not make you look smart.

It's a relevant question about "What exactly is the problem with $cientology.

It’s totally irrelevant in Derleth’s defence of his charge that the CoS and presumably the Chicago Reader are bullies for enforcing copyright of photographs.

Blake, those aren't straw men. Those are the main points in contention here.

But they don’t support your accusation of bullying for not allowing a random stranger to publish copyrighted material on a website. You posted that comment in defence of that charge.

They may be relevant to the greater issue, but your charge of bullying in the example you referenced is hypocritical and ignorant if you do not also criticise the SDMB for not allowing copyright infringement. To try to defend that accusation by pointing to other, unrelated, examples of bullying is a strawman. I never argued that the CoS wasn’t averse to negative publicity.

My sole point was that the example you gave is not evidence of bullying, it is evidence of the same stringent protection of copyrighted photographs that the Chicago Reader demands of you right here. For you to label such action bullying when carried out by the CoS but not when it is carried out by the Chicago Reader is hypocritical and ignorant.

JS Princeton
01-11-2004, 07:10 PM
Originally posted by Derleth
JS Princeton: I agree with innocent until proven guilty. I agree that until he actually does something illegal, even the most odious man has the full protection of the law. But I don't agree that Scientology is a religous belief system as far as those in power are concerned. I think they know it's a moneymaking scam, and they run it as such to the detriment of those they've bilked. They even commit crimes to further their business goals. In that way, it's exactly like the Mafia.

Derleth: How is a religion LEGALLY defined? I challenge you to offer a counter to Scientology being a legal religion. The CoS won its case and was determined to fit the IRS's legal definition of a religion (which is, by the way, the only "power that be" in the federal government that has a regulation on the subject that I know of) and so a real religion. The mafia is a crime syndicate. It makes no claims at being a religion, nor does it fit the legal definition of one. I'm afraid you are out-of-luck in this argument.

And when did Mother Teresa or the Salvation Army ever once try to deny their origins, leadership, or true reason for being?

Huh? You're changing argument on me. The issue was "false pretenses". The Salvation Army offers economic support to those in need, actively supporting the evangelization of those it helps. That's the old "bait-and-switch". People don't come to get help so they can be told the gospel. They don't come to an addiction program to learn about dianetics. Nevertheless, it is a matter of the free exercise of religion that when a religious group sets up a charity they can run it how they please. You may find that problematic, but try to understand that others find ALL groups with religious agendas problematic in that regard. Your argument fails to recognize that other religions engage in similar behavior.


When did they try to lure people in with a name so similar to the name of an established group as to cause honest confusion?

You want to know about religions that do that? I'll tell you what: research churches that support anti-abortion health clinics. See how they advertise. They DELIBERATELY mislead in order to try to get their message across. Check out www.planningparenthood.com and try to tell me that the people (who happen to be connected with religious groups, btw) at adoption.com aren't attempting to do EXACTLY what you are describing.


Real religions are very forthright about their mission work, as they wish to be known to be doing the work of God as they see fit.

I disagree. For example, ever heard of "Preach the Gospel, if necessary, use words"?

Criminals, on the other hand, want the cover of darkness for their deeds. Which does Scientology most resemble?

I get it already, Derleth, you don't like the Scientologists. What you fail to realize is that for the very reasons you don't like them, there are other people out there who do very similar things that, quite frankly, don't get called out like the Scientologists do. That's just plain bigotry, as far as I'm concerned.

You are allowed to dislike a group, but to go on tirades such as yours seems to me to be based more in a personal vendetta than actually fighting ignorance.

JS Princeton
01-11-2004, 07:16 PM
what religion copyrights its core dogma?

Scientology. Next question please!

Why would a religion need lawyers to prevent people from learning what it's really about?


Huh-uh. You don't get to apply laws to some people and not to others. Just because you don't like it that Scientology copyrights things doesn't mean you can flaunt the law and demand to know why. All that matters is that that's what they choose to do. Is it for nefarious reasons? Maybe, maybe not. You aren't in Scientology, therefore, you have no say about what the reasons they have are.

Seems to me, what you're upset about is that Scientology is just a modern religion that uses the modern world cleverly to help support itself.

Do you think that some of these evangelical preachers would stand for someone taking their book that sells for $19.95 at Christian Bookstores and distributing free copies of it? Huh-uh.

As far as I'm concerned, copyright law is such a pathetic reason to call a religion dangerous. It's almost laughable.

JS Princeton
01-11-2004, 07:19 PM
quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Why would a religion need lawyers to prevent people from learning what it's really about?

Straw man.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



Again, NO. It's a relevant question about "What exactly is the problem with $cientology.

Explain. How is it relevant at all? I mean, how is copyrighting your core dogmas a problem? It's just different from religions you're used to, that's all.

tomndebb
01-11-2004, 07:20 PM
RCs not so long ago, and possibly still today, were made to feel obliged to make a donation when they attended confession and communion, and they were made to feel a spiritual dire need for communion and confession. Sorry. This statement is wholly false, either now or in the past.

Indulgences sold in the late 15th and early 16th century were clearly scams (as well as being violations of church law--though tolerated by too many of the hierarchy), but there has never been a fee for receiving Communion or going to Confession.

Blake
01-11-2004, 07:23 PM
Blake, are you actually going to post some evidence? Like another religion that has anything comparable to Fair Gaming as an official dogma.

Another blatant straw men.

I never said that any religion has something “comparable to Fair Gaming as an official dogma”. I was pointing out the obvious ignorance involved in your wild and baseless assertion that most religions do not endorse illegal acts in official dogma. That was your claim, and it displays the grossest ignorance of both religion and history ignorant. I demonstrated that it is in fact almost impossible to find a religion that doesn’t endorse illegal acts in official dogma.

So rather than arguing against what I actually posted you are now arguing equivalence of the illegal acts mandated. I never mentioned equivalence. I never needed to. Your overly broad erroneous statement never mentioned equivalence. You just said that most religions do not mandate illegal acts. Period.


You are wrong when you say that. That was my point. iI has been proven. Attempting to argue equivalence of the illegal acts betrays that you were wrong when you said the illegal acts didn’t exist in most religions.

JS Princeton
01-11-2004, 07:33 PM
Blake, read my link about Fair Gaming (the text "They also actively tell people to commit crimes" has it in my first post in this thread). That is official dogma, and it is pretty unique in the world of religion: While the other faiths focus on peace and love and forgiveness, Scientology has a doctrine of harassing people and disposing of them.

Now, the "official dogma" of this is in question, including whether "Fair Game" really incites church members to crime. That's totally a matter for the court to decide, and decide they have: in favor of the Scientologists. So I fail to see how it can be that the organizatino is a crime syndicate as you seem to be saying.

At best, it's a case of he-said she-said, I'd say. Interesting story, but not nearly the open-and-shut case you make it out to be. In fact, this kind of stuff is also seen in other religions. MLK used Christian principles to justify his violation of the law. Does that mean that the Baptist Church is dangerous?


Explain why Narconon is run as it is without assuming the leadership of Scientology wants money more than it wants to spread the faith.

You need to be more specific. What part of the way it is run lends you to believe this to be so, other than the spelling of its name? I think that's about all the evidence you have offered up until now, and that's hardly a smoking gun.

Blake
01-11-2004, 07:35 PM
there has never been a fee for receiving Communion or going to Confession.

I never said there was tomndebb. I said that “RCs not so long ago, and possibly still today, were made to feel obliged to make a donation”. That is not a fee.

Or are you suggesting that all the stories I have been told of the 1960s and the collection plate being handed ‘round and the pointed looks for those not giving enough were all made up?

There is a difference between a fee and a feeling of obligation.

Eleusis
01-11-2004, 07:42 PM
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Why would a religion need lawyers to prevent people from learning what it's really about?

Straw man.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Again, NO. It's a relevant question about "What exactly is the problem with $cientology.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Explain. How is it relevant at all? I mean, how is copyrighting your core dogmas a problem? It's just different from religions you're used to, that's all.
It's CORE to the question asked in the OP. It's different from religions I'm used to, and that is a problem. CoS charges in excess of $300,000 to go through their "program". That is a problem. They SUE PEOPLE who quote their "intellectual property" for the purpose of criticizing it. That is a problem. They brainwash people and take their money. That is two problems.

If they were a real religion, with only the best interests of the people in mind, NONE of this would happen. Heck Gideon's gives away free Bibles every minute of every day. Simply put, the CoS exists expressly for the purpose of making money. Hiding behind their copyright to avoid criticism is CORE.

The Chicago Reader does not claim to an altruistic religion IMHO any comparisons are moot.

John Kentzel-Griffin
01-11-2004, 07:43 PM
Off to Great Debates.

DrMatrix - GQ Moderator

Eleusis
01-11-2004, 07:44 PM
That last sentence should read, "The Chicago Reader does not claim to be an altruistic religion, and therefore IMHO any comparisons are moot."

JS Princeton
01-11-2004, 07:48 PM
Originally posted by Eleusis
Well, the essay I cited lists NINE WITNESSES.

Maybe not good enough Scientology apologists, but more than enough for me.

Maybe you should read up (http://www.urbanlegends.com/religion/hubbard_heinlein_bet.html) a bit more about this.

What's funny is that portions of the essay you quoted are being rewritten, regrabbed, reeditted and reposted all over the internet with varying degrees of certainty about whether L. Ron Hubbard said the thing. It's not at all clear what's going on, other than there are a number of different sources that indicate that Hubbard said such a thing. It's by no mean a proven fact in my book, and didn't seem to stand up in court, for one.

However, even if he did say such a thing, that does not make the religion a problem or dangerous. As I pointed out, there are other religions that the same complaint could be leveled against. We don't single out the religions as being problematic just because they had unscrupulous people in charge.

We might take the case of Joseph Smith who clearly had a "colorful" past, to say the least. Does this automatically mean that Mormonism is problematic and shouldn't be labelled a religion? Absolutely not. In terms of the legal definition of a religion, the LDS Church is a religion. Likewise for Scientology.

I don't care if Hubbard had ten wives and was a cocaine addict with gingivitis, he still founded a religion of which people who are members find speaks to part of their spiritual life.

JS Princeton
01-11-2004, 07:51 PM
Blake, are you actually going to post some evidence? Like another religion that has anything comparable to Fair Gaming as an official dogma. Civil disobedience does not come close to "disposing of someone quietly and without remorse."

Actually, in the eyes of the law, civil disobedience is worse. One could conceivably dispose of someone quitely and without remorse perfectly within the bounds of the law.

Shall we look into what other religions say about unbelievers and those who "fall away"? I tell you, it ain't pretty, for the most part.

seaworthy
01-11-2004, 07:57 PM
Cecil (http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a4_134.html) doesn't like them much either. I'm not saying that they're not a religion, or that they shouldn't be a religion. I'm also not saying that individual Scientologists should be persecuted for their beliefs. I know some Scientologists, and they don't seem disturbed or dangerous. I just include Scientology in my personal list of useless/possibly harmful religions. Along with Baptists and lots of other "conventional" religions. It's just a matter of opinion. This thread doesn't really belong in general questions, it should be in IMHO, because that's what all this is- a matter of opinion. I think southern Baptists are silly because they can't dance or clap. I think Scientologists are silly because, well, there's lots of stuff about them that's silly. And even if they are recognized as a "real" religion, they still sound a lot like a cult, according to the definition in my sociology book-
1. The doctrine is reality.
2. An elitist mentality pervades.
3. Continued acceptance depends on good performance.
4. Members are manipulated through fear and guilt.
5. No reason for leaving is legitimate.
So that's why I don't like them. I just don't. That's my opinion.

Eleusis
01-11-2004, 08:00 PM
originally posted by JS Princeton
One could conceivably dispose of someone quitely and without remorse perfectly within the bounds of the law.
Please explain. To me, "dispose of someone quietly" is tantamount to "sleeps with the fishes".

seaworthy
01-11-2004, 08:00 PM
oh and that sociology book (printed in 2002) lists scientology as a cult.

JS Princeton
01-11-2004, 08:02 PM
Originally posted by Eleusis
It's CORE to the question asked in the OP. It's different from religions I'm used to, and that is a problem.

Are you serious? I mean, if something is different from things you're used to that's a problem? I'm sorry, but this smacks of extreme bigotry on your part. Moreover, it's extremely dismissive of the point that other religions get money from people in other ways. Just because you're familiar with those techniques, that makes them unproblematic?

CoS charges in excess of $300,000 to go through their "program". That is a problem.

No they don't. You aren't REQUIRED to go through their program to be a member of their religion. This is absolute nonsense.

It's like criticizing seminaries for charging money and demanding people devote their life to the church of their choice. People CHOOSE to spend their money they way they want to. There is no one putting a gun to your head saying that you must fork over the money.

They SUE PEOPLE who quote their "intellectual property" for the purpose of criticizing it. That is a problem.

No, that's an interpretation. I don't think you really want to get into a discussion of the finer points of plagarism, but there is plenty of law to go through. They made their case in court and that's that. How is that a "problem"?

They brainwash people and take their money.

You could say that about any religion. Are you saying that all religions are problematic? How do you define "brainwashing"? I know plenty of people who would argue that they were "brainwashed" into giving their money to a certain church. Should they get their money back after donating to Benny Hinn Ministries?


If they were a real religion, with only the best interests of the people in mind, NONE of this would happen.

Nonsense. You're simply making up your own definition of religion. Religion is defined and scientology fits the definition. If you want to offer a different definition, go ahead, but realize that it's not legal.

Heck Gideon's gives away free Bibles every minute of every day.

They also ask people to donate every minute of every day.

Simply put, the CoS exists expressly for the purpose of making money. Hiding behind their copyright to avoid criticism is CORE.

The SAME ARGUMENT can be said about many other religions which remain protected in the USA, and RIGHTLY SO.


The Chicago Reader does not claim to an altruistic religion IMHO any comparisons are moot.

So, altruistic religions are not allowed to bring up copyright suits? Okay, then I guess that theologians who publish have a problem. If you want to be consistent, that's the name of the game. Either you equally apply your standards TO ALL religions, or drop your case.

Revtim
01-11-2004, 08:03 PM
Originally posted by JS Princeton
Now, how, praytell, are we to decide which motivation is the true one of L. Ron? I mean, can you honestly say you know that founders of other religions weren't operating out of a "bilking" paradigm?Since there are contemoraries of Hubbard who claim that was his motivation, and I know of no claims that Jesus or Muhammud were in it for a buck, I'd give Scientology a much higher probability of being a money-grab. Plus the fact Hubbard died a multi-millionaire is a clue, too.

Originally posted by JS Princeton
Virgin birth, Godman dies for sins. Says bread and wine are his body and blood and that all should eat of the body and blood. Was present at the creation of the world as the Divine Word. That's somehow less whacky than believing in supergalactic empires and aliens who telepathically abuse thetans? YMMV indeed. IMO, space alien religion wackiness trumps any supernatural religion wackiness.

JS Princeton
01-11-2004, 08:07 PM
Originally posted by seaworthy
oh and that sociology book (printed in 2002) lists scientology as a cult.

Don't get me started on "cults". Most sociologists in the field don't even use the term anymore. It's a loaded label that came out of Evangelical Christian Churches in the 1970s redefining Weber's work and using it to fight against growing New Religious Movements. They were afraid at the time that the young people in Evangelical Churches were being too easily recruited by NRMs. So they worked tirelessly to discredit new religions as dangerous. The blatant stereotype remains in our culture, unfortunately in my opinon.

There is a reason the Cult Awareness Network was sued out of existence (and taken over by the Scientologists, btw). They were behaving inappropriately.

Are some NRMs dangerous? Perhaps, but so are some Old Established Religions too, I'd say.

JS Princeton
01-11-2004, 08:08 PM
Originally posted by Eleusis
Please explain. To me, "dispose of someone quietly" is tantamount to "sleeps with the fishes".

You're entitled to your interpretation. Should I pull out some selective Bible quotes that seem to indicate that infanticide is okay? Pslam 137:9 anyone?

JS Princeton
01-11-2004, 08:16 PM
Originally posted by Revtim
Since there are contemoraries of Hubbard who claim that was his motivation, and I know of no claims that Jesus or Muhammud were in it for a buck, I'd give Scientology a much higher probability of being a money-grab.

We know very little of the circumstances surrounding the founding of Islam or Christianity in comparison to Scientology. It is an accident of history that we have independent corroborators surrounding Scientology. It's patently unfair of you to simply discriminate based upon the fact that the religion is new. Islam and Christianity have had hundreds of years to iron out the things that were problematic. I mean, there were early Christian cults that drank semen during the last supper. If that happened today, many would probably immediately label the religion as problematic or dangerous.

You just have more distance and the religion is an accepted part of society. As Scientology continues, it too will become more and more mainstream. That's the way new religions work. They adapt and change to make themselves palatable.


Plus the fact Hubbard died a multi-millionaire is a clue, too.


Same probably could be said of Muhammed. Anyway, he was a best-selling author. And since when is it problematic to die a multi-millionaire when founding a religion?


IMO, space alien religion wackiness trumps any supernatural religion wackiness.

Why? What makes one more wacky than the other? They are equally unprovable. Space aliens can't be disproven, neither can a supernatural deity or Santa Claus or the IPU.

JS Princeton
01-11-2004, 08:17 PM
So that's why I don't like them. I just don't. That's my opinion.
seaworthy
And you are entitled to it. But, you said you don't think they should be recognized as a religion. I think you are being unfair. Do you think that Baptists shouldn't be recognized as a religion either?

JS Princeton
01-11-2004, 08:21 PM
Will the real seaworthy please stand up?

Unfortunately the city of Clearwater is starting to recognize them as a "real" religion, which is the worst thing you could ever do, IMO.

I'm not saying that they're not a religion, or that they shouldn't be a religion.

Nanoda
01-11-2004, 08:22 PM
I just think any group who'd kill your pet (http://www.solitarytrees.net/pickets/sp992a.htm) 'cause you disagree with them is seriously uncool.

Eleusis
01-11-2004, 08:33 PM
Originally posted by JS Princeton
Are you serious? I mean, if something is different from things you're used to that's a problem? I'm sorry, but this smacks of extreme bigotry on your part. Moreover, it's extremely dismissive of the point that other religions get money from people in other ways. Just because you're familiar with those techniques, that makes them unproblematic?
It's not merely the fact they are different, it's how they're different.

No they don't. You aren't REQUIRED to go through their program to be a member of their religion. This is absolute nonsense.
Yes they do. Whether they require you to go all the way through the program or not, they still charge for you to go through it.

It's like criticizing seminaries for charging money and demanding people devote their life to the church of their choice. People CHOOSE to spend their money they way they want to. There is no one putting a gun to your head saying that you must fork over the money.
Walk into the CoS and see how far they let you go without giving money or massive amounts of volunteer work. Now walk into a real church and quietly let the collection plate pass you by. You aren't REQUIRED to give a dime to a real church, in order to sit there and be enlightened. The CoS charges for their scriptures. Bibles are provided for free.
No, that's an interpretation. I don't think you really want to get into a discussion of the finer points of plagarism, but there is plenty of law to go through. They made their case in court and that's that. How is that a "problem"?
It's a "problem" because it's supposed to be a church, not a greedy multinational corporation. Post the entirety of the Bible on the internet, and "fisk" it line by line, explaining how it's all hooey. Who's gonna sue you?
You could say that about any religion. Are you saying that all religions are problematic? How do you define "brainwashing"? I know plenty of people who would argue that they were "brainwashed" into giving their money to a certain church. Should they get their money back after donating to Benny Hinn Ministries?Sleep deprivation is a tactic utilized by which other religions?
Nonsense. You're simply making up your own definition of religion. Religion is defined and scientology fits the definition. If you want to offer a different definition, go ahead, but realize that it's not legal.
seaworthy's definition of "cult" seems to fit the bill.
They also ask people to donate every minute of every day.So? That's not even remotely the same as charging for copyrighted scripture.
The SAME ARGUMENT can be said about many other religions which remain protected in the USA, and RIGHTLY SO. Okay, please make the same argument for Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. Show how they exist solely for the purpose of making money.

So, altruistic religions are not allowed to bring up copyright suits? Okay, then I guess that theologians who publish have a problem. If you want to be consistent, that's the name of the game. Either you equally apply your standards TO ALL religions, or drop your case. The difference is so plain, you are coming across as obtuse. No. An altruistic religion would NOT SUE you for publishing SCRIPTURE.

JS Princeton
01-11-2004, 08:39 PM
If this is a cult:

1. The doctrine is reality.
2. An elitist mentality pervades.
3. Continued acceptance depends on good performance.
4. Members are manipulated through fear and guilt.
5. No reason for leaving is legitimate.

Then, let's see...

EVERY RELIGION is a cult.

netscape 6
01-11-2004, 08:55 PM
Originally posted by JS Princeton
You're entitled to your interpretation. Should I pull out some selective Bible quotes that seem to indicate that infanticide is okay? Pslam 137:9 anyone?

That seems to be a prayer by a Jewish exile after Babylon destroyed Jerusalem. I could pray till I was long in the tooth for the God of the Bible to do unspeakable things. Would those prayers be reflective of the God of the Bible or me?

Magiver
01-11-2004, 09:10 PM
I have seen people in flee markets "giving away" free therapy. You want to hear the sound of crickets, ask them if they are scientologists.

JS Princeton, If you truly know nothing about scientology then you're devils-advocate approach in it's defense is truly amazing. However, it does nothing to answer the question of any potential dangers involved.

netscape 6
01-11-2004, 09:26 PM
Originally posted by JS Princeton
If this is a cult:

1. The doctrine is reality.


Most would say the doctrine is a delusion, in this case passed off by a man wanting rip people out of their life savings.

Originally posted by JS Princeton
2. An elitist mentality pervades.


Not true of all religions


Originally posted by JS Princeton
3. Continued acceptance depends on good performance.


I know of a quite a few churches that would be happy to have you come in for service, even if they did not think you lived a Bibilicaly moral life.

Originally posted by JS Princeton
4. Members are manipulated through fear and guilt.


Are they? I have been to churches where most of the members seemed to think they were doing it out of love.

Originally posted by JS Princeton
5. No reason for leaving is legitimate.

Then, let's see...

EVERY RELIGION is a cult.

NOPE

Derleth
01-11-2004, 09:48 PM
JS Princeton, you've been busy. I won't go through all your posts line-by-line and deconstruct them, but I will make my own points very clear and I will respond to specific questions and debates with them entered into in good faith.


Scientology is directly responsible for the death of at least one person. That person wasn't killed by loonies in the name of Scientology, or even deragned ministers acting `out of school'. She died in direct accordance with Scientology teachings, particularly the Introspection Rundown.
Scientology harasses those who criticise it, to the point of making death threats and killing their pets. They run people's names through the mud and they do their best to make the critics appear to be horrible, horrible people.
Scientology does not allow people to leave. It considers lapsed Scientologists as being nearly as bad as psychologists.
Scientology pursues punitive lawsuits and refuses to pay what the court orders it to. It engages in barratry and does its best to subvert, pervert, and invert the legal system of every country it moves in to. Look up Larry Wollersheim for an example of this (http://www.xenu.net/archive/events/wollersheim/).
Scientology keeps much of its dogma and practice secret. Moslems don't cover up Muhummad, Christians don't make a secret of Christ, and Jews don't profess ignorance of YHVH when asked for information. The only other groups to have trade secrets are businesses and criminal organizations.
I've listed those roughly in order of importance. Notice that I never mentioned copyright directly, and that the murder of one of its members tops the list.

I think everyone on a specific side of this discussion wants a strawman. Let me point out a huge one erected early on: Other religions kill people and act nasty. Or have in the past. Sometime. HEY, LOOK AT THOSE CATHOLICS!

I don't care if other religions have done it. It's wrong, and any group that does it now should be punished. I don't care if it's Catholics, Protestants, or anyone else. Scientologists have done it, and they aren't above the law because they cling to the mantle of religion.

JS Princeton
01-11-2004, 10:50 PM
Originally posted by Eleusis
It's not merely the fact they are different, it's how they're different.


The same argument is made by white supremicists. Bigotted when they say it, bigotted when you say it.


Yes they do. Whether they require you to go all the way through the program or not, they still charge for you to go through it.


And how, exactly, is that different from a seminary?


Walk into the CoS and see how far they let you go without giving money or massive amounts of volunteer work.

Let you? What are you talking about?

Listen, I've walked into many CoS. I've never been kicked out. I haven't lifted a finger, I haven't paid them a dime. I've talked with people. They've pressured me, I've said no. It's really quite simple. Ready? You don't have to do what they ask or tell you to do! It's as simple as that.

Now walk into a real church and quietly let the collection plate pass you by. You aren't REQUIRED to give a dime to a real church, in order to sit there and be enlightened.

Hmm, don't know about that one. My 85-year-old grandmother gets a guilt trip every month from her AoG, and she's on fixed income. Is it required? Nah. But then, they tell her that they "worry about her soul" if she isn't a "cheerful giver". I don't think it's REQUIRED in the CoS either. We're talking about common practices of "religious extortion" here.

The CoS charges for their scriptures. Bibles are provided for free.

Not universally, at all. In fact, I've been to churches where they've asked me to purchase their literature just like in the CoS. What I want from you is an admission that such churches (and believe me, there are a lot of them) are just as dangerous.

It's a "problem" because it's supposed to be a church, not a greedy multinational corporation.

So, if a greedy multinational does it it's okay, but if a church does it, it isn't? I'm sorry, I fail to see the logic in that.

Post the entirety of the Bible on the internet, and "fisk" it line by line, explaining how it's all hooey. Who's gonna sue you?

No one, because the Bible isn't copyrighted. Post the Harry Potter books online and "fisk" it line by line and you may have a problem. Why should a church not be allowed to do what J. K. Rowling is allowed to do?


Sleep deprivation is a tactic utilized by which other religions?


Well, certain Christians rely on that technique to become closer to God (the praying of the hours).


Okay, please make the same argument for Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. Show how they exist solely for the purpose of making money.

You show how the Scientologists exist solely for the purpose of making money. I have shown how Christians and others have shown how Jews attempt to get money from people. Why is it so hard to understand that it's the SAME THING?


The difference is so plain, you are coming across as obtuse.

No, I have been very clear about my reasons. Insulting me is not going to make your argument hold water.

No. An altruistic religion would NOT SUE you for publishing SCRIPTURE.

Says who? You. Fine. But that's not a legal definition of a religion in any sense of the word. I say it's just another way of running your religion.

Does an altruistic religion damn people to hell for not belonging to their religion?

JS Princeton
01-11-2004, 10:57 PM
Originally posted by netscape 6
That seems to be a prayer by a Jewish exile after Babylon destroyed Jerusalem. I could pray till I was long in the tooth for the God of the Bible to do unspeakable things. Would those prayers be reflective of the God of the Bible or me?

Actually, the text reads, "Blessed is he who dashes the little baby's head upon the stone."

As in, God blesses you when you do that.

Now, you can play apologetics games on that, but the point of the matter is that so can the Scientologists on their Fair Game doctrine. We should at least play by the same rules. If Christians can do it, Scientologists should be able to too.

JS Princeton
01-11-2004, 10:59 PM
JS Princeton, If you truly know nothing about scientology then you're devils-advocate approach in it's defense is truly amazing. However, it does nothing to answer the question of any potential dangers involved.

1) I never said I knew nothing of Scientology. I study it a lot. I am not a Scientologist.

2) Scientology may be dangerous. So might Christianity. I think they deserve the same consideration in that regard and it is blatant religious intolerance to not do that.

JS Princeton
01-11-2004, 11:08 PM
Originally posted by netscape 6
I know of a quite a few churches that would be happy to have you come in for service, even if they did not think you lived a Bibilicaly moral life.
[quote]

So would scientologists.


[quote]
Are they? I have been to churches where most of the members seemed to think they were doing it out of love.


One might say the same thing about scientologists.



NOPE

This breathtaking reasoning of yours is entirely specious. The point of fact is that someone could easily level the very criticisms outlined by seaworthy that define so-called "cults" against all religions. Yes, one can argue against them. So can one argue against them being applied to Scientology.

That's the whole point.

Either we admit that Scientology is a religion or we call all religions cults. At least, if you're going to use seaworthy's Soc. book as the rationale, your arugmentation is going to be completely subjective and therefore subject to being interpretation. Without an objective definition of cults that separates them from mainstream religions, there really is no difference that can be adequately described. Now, you may feel netscape 6 that Scientology is somehow problematic, but until you can show me how in comparison to other religions there doesn't seem to be any teeth to what you are saying.

Eleusis
01-11-2004, 11:12 PM
Well, JS Princeton, it's all there in black in white. You can play the semantics game, but to me the differences between the CoS and real religions are far more profound than the similarities.

They're scum, plain and simple.

I don't find these debates to be fun or entertaining in the slightest, and I really have no interest in changing your opinion, so I'm just gonna leave this alone and go back to GQ where this mess all started.

Also, my saying "you are coming across as obtuse" was not meant to be an insult. It appeared you were doing this intentionally. My apologies if you were insulted.

Princhester
01-11-2004, 11:15 PM
Originally posted by Exapno Mapcase
(Actually, Hubbard in his pre-dianetics days was considered a writer of very good science fiction.)

Given that he has managed to convince millions of people that his greatest work of fiction (scientology) is in fact a work of truth, you'd have to say he was an exceptional writer. :)

JS Princeton
01-11-2004, 11:26 PM
Scientology is directly responsible for the death of at least one person. That person wasn't killed by loonies in the name of Scientology, or even deragned ministers acting `out of school'. She died in direct accordance with Scientology teachings, particularly the Introspection Rundown.

Let the courts decide. If Scientology is truly responsible, then why hasn't it been held responsible by the courts? Are the courts flawed? Did someone somehow give you the ability to mete out the divine eyes of justice to determine how things happened? I'm really curious because all you've demonstrated is that you've bought a lot of argumentation hook-line-and-sinker without even considering the counterclaim. That's pretty shoddy debating if you ask me.


Scientology harasses those who criticise it, to the point of making death threats and killing their pets.

I can run down a rather long list of people who have felt other religions have harassed them upon leaving. Certain vocal critics of Christianity receive death-threats and outright harrassment. Do they blame Christianity? No. They blame the idiots who believe that they are doing right by God in carrying out such acts.

Same consideration should be held for Scientology.

By the way, "Scientology" doesn't kill pets, people kill pets.

They run people's names through the mud and they do their best to make the critics appear to be horrible, horrible people.

Oh, and other religions don't? Have you watched the 700 Club?


Scientology does not allow people to leave. It considers lapsed Scientologists as being nearly as bad as psychologists.

What religion allows people to leave? What does Scientology as a Church specifically do to stop them and how is it at all different from some of the things loonies in other mainstream churches have done?


Scientology pursues punitive lawsuits and refuses to pay what the court orders it to. It engages in barratry and does its best to subvert, pervert, and invert the legal system of every country it moves in to. Look up Larry Wollersheim for an example of this.

Yathink you could find for us a source that isn't biased on the subject? I mean, if I told you that Christianity was evil and then referred you to a former Christian's website would that be a legitimate way to prove it by you?

And furthermore, the man got paid. I don't see how the Church of Scientology "perverted" the legal system any more than, say, the Diocese of Boston did when dealing with the whole sex abuse scandal. This is all par-for-the-course stuff in religions. It is not unique to Scientology. It's just easy for us to pile on here because there are, frankly, not very many Scientologists around to defend themselves and it's currently "ok" to attack new religions. I think it's disingenuous and without basis. To insist that Scientology holds a special place in lunacy and/or dangerousness compared to other religions.


Scientology keeps much of its dogma and practice secret. Moslems don't cover up Muhummad, Christians don't make a secret of Christ, and Jews don't profess ignorance of YHVH when asked for information.

Some do. That's actually a taught tactic for evangelism among some Christians. They don't "reveal their hand" until the "time is right".

And it's an outright lie to say Scientology keeps its practice and dogma secret. Dianetics is a book you can read for yourself. That there are "secrets" is supposed to be problematic? Why on Earth is that? I mean, why can't you set up your religion the way you want to?

The only other groups to have trade secrets are businesses and criminal organizations.

Like the LDS church and the Freemasons. Riiiiight.


I think everyone on a specific side of this discussion wants a strawman. Let me point out a huge one erected early on: Other religions kill people and act nasty. Or have in the past. Sometime. HEY, LOOK AT THOSE CATHOLICS!

I don't care if other religions have done it. It's wrong, and any group that does it now should be punished. I don't care if it's Catholics, Protestants, or anyone else. Scientologists have done it, and they aren't above the law because they cling to the mantle of religion.

If you really don't care that anyone else has done it, then you clearly must think that these other religions are just as problematic and dangerous as Scientologists.

Will you agree that Catholics and Protestants are dangerous or problematic?

dre2xl
01-11-2004, 11:53 PM
All semantics indeed.

All I can say is, France and Germany--two countries which the vast majority of SDers would say are more tolerant/accepting than the US--are coming down pretty hard on Scientology.

There's got to be a reason why.

My definition of a cult is an individual organization that tells you that you cannot obtain salvation elsewhere. If the 700 Club says that if you can't obtain salvation if you don't watch them or don't give them money, then the 700 Club is indeed a cult.

Scientology is a cult. Christianity in general is not. Catholicism in general is not. Neither is Judaism, Buddhism, Mormonism, etc. FreeMasonry, AFAIK, is not about salvation.

If your grandmother's church tells her that she can't be saved unless she goes to that particular church, and unless she gives that particular church money, then she belongs to a cult. Get it?

Twist words and semantics all you want but there is no comparision between the great religions of the world and Scientology.

JS Princeton
01-12-2004, 12:27 AM
You can play the semantics game, but to me the differences between the CoS and real religions are far more profound than the similarities.

They're scum, plain and simple.


I'm sorry, but I don't think this qualifies as an argument at all. ALl you need to do is explain the profundity. Here's what I see:

Certain members of the CoS exhibit the church as authoritative, fond of using legal muscle, secretive, and actively tries to silence critics.

I don't see that as being profoundly different from other mainstream religions. Granted, there are those that appear more innocuous than Scientology, but there are plenty of examples of Christian, Jewish, and Muslim sects that engage in such practices.

I guess the question can be asked, can you blame the CoS as a religion for the excesses of individual members? Remember, there are millions of people who are in the CoS who don't engage in these detrimental tactics. I think it's unfair to level undue criticism on the group as a whole.

Maybe you think that the CoS hierarchy is problematic in-and-of-itself. Then compare it to other Church hierarchies and see what goes on, e.g. the Vatican. I honestly don't see the profound difference and, no, I'm not just being argumentative.

Urban Ranger
01-12-2004, 12:29 AM
Originally posted by JS Princeton
[There isn't anything particularly awful about Scientology other than a) it's a new religion

This is incorrect. Or rather, this is incorrect as far as the conventional definition of "religion" goes.

In fact, Scientology has more in common with the Unification Church, Branch Davidian, and The People's Temple than with Christianity and Buddhism, say.

JS Princeton
01-12-2004, 12:32 AM
If ... she can't be saved unless she goes to that particular church, and unless she gives that particular church money, then she belongs to a cult. Get it?

But you say that Christianity in general isn't a cult, but I am here to tell you that this very sort of dogma exists in the vast majority of Churches. That is the way it has been for hundreds or thousands of years in some cases. As I said, it seems to me that you aren't being fair in the application of your definition. All I'm saying is that these types of statements are made by people in religions because that's the nature of the way religions do business.

If you set up a religion where you really didn't care if people gave you money or whether people believed in your particular brand of spirituality/theology/doctrine/practice/belief, I think you'd be hard pressed to keep said religion going. There has to be something which convinces you to stay there. Generally speaking, all religions at their core (with the possible exception of Unitarians) tie their beliefs to an idea of hegemony of power, principle, and, yes, economic support.

Brutus
01-12-2004, 12:37 AM
Originally posted by dre2xl
All semantics indeed.

All I can say is, France and Germany--two countries which the vast majority of SDers would say are more tolerant/accepting than the US--are coming down pretty hard on Scientology.

There's got to be a reason why.


Like moving to ban religious clothing items in school or throwing musicians in jail? The notion that France and Germany are more tolerant/accepting than the US is ridiculous, at best.

Anyhoo, when members of the CoS start slamming planes into buildings or strapping explosives to themselves in the belief that they will get 70-some virgins in the great beyond, let me know. Then they will qualify as a dangerous cult. Until then, however, they are just some oddball religion that for some reason is OK to slam on.

JS Princeton
01-12-2004, 12:38 AM
Originally posted by Urban Ranger
This is incorrect. Or rather, this is incorrect as far as the conventional definition of "religion" goes.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but the conventional definition of a religion is: a belief system that has been around for a while.


In fact, Scientology has more in common with the Unification Church, Branch Davidian, and The People's Temple than with Christianity and Buddhism, say.

In what quantifiable or objective ways?

We're supposed to just take your word for it?

I can tell you one way that they're similar: they're all new religions. Does that mean they necessarily have more in common?

Do be quite frank: if you did a point-by-point comparison of the beliefs and practices of the Scientologists with the Moonies, for example, do you really think they would have MORE in common with them than, say, a Tibetan Buddhist Temple?

JS Princeton
01-12-2004, 12:55 AM
My definition of a cult is an individual organization that tells you that you cannot obtain salvation elsewhere.

Well, in point-of-fact, Scientology does not talk about salvation in the same sense Christianity talks about salvation. So I guess by your definition Scientology isn't a cult?

olanv
01-12-2004, 02:13 AM
Have you ever seen an employment application for a Scientology center? They are blatantly illegal. How can the organization manage to serve such applications without legal action? Is it because of the "religion status"? If you can fathom the invasion of privacy question, it's in the application.

Voyager
01-12-2004, 02:50 AM
Well, JSP, did Hubbard originally start a religion, or a business? (I've got the Astounding with the original Dianetics article.) Why did Dianetics, a business, become Scientology, a religion (and thus protected by the Constitution.) Could it be because the law was on Hubbard's tail?

Your claim that religions don't let people leave is a lie. Some of the more cultlike religions do, but I know lots of people switching Protestant churches with no problems. No Rabbinical enforcers ever got after me when I stopped going to shul.

Your mention of the Inquisition is extremely interesting. If it were still going on today (and of course it is not) anyone defending it would be an immoral piece of crap. I'm sure you agree.

Two personal experiences. An old girlfriend's brother got money sucked out of him by Scientologists. They actually got it back because he was under age, something the CoS cared nothing about. A friends brother joined the church, had a high position, and was kept from having his children contact their grandparents. Sounds like a cult to me.

Urban Ranger
01-12-2004, 03:42 AM
Originally posted by JS Princeton
Correct me if I'm wrong, but the conventional definition of a religion is: a belief system that has been around for a while.

Religion is not just a belief system.

Originally posted by JS Princeton
In what quantifiable or objective ways?

We're supposed to just take your word for it?

I suppose one can always look up some facts wrt to how they operate.

Originally posted by JS Princeton
I can tell you one way that they're similar: they're all new religions. Does that mean they necessarily have more in common?

As I said, you use the word "religion" differently than most people, so maybe you can tell me how exactly do you define "religion?"

Originally posted by JS Princeton
Do be quite frank: if you did a point-by-point comparison of the beliefs and practices of the Scientologists with the Moonies, for example, do you really think they would have MORE in common with them than, say, a Tibetan Buddhist Temple?

No. Why should that be the case?

Brutus
01-12-2004, 03:54 AM
Originally posted by Voyager
...Your claim that religions don't let people leave is a lie. Some of the more cultlike religions do, but I know lots of people switching Protestant churches with no problems. No Rabbinical enforcers ever got after me when I stopped going to shul.

From Al-Islam.org (http://www.al-islam.org/short/apostacy.htm), we get this little gem:

Now even the question of apostacy, irtidãd or deserting of one's faith, for a Muslim, becomes a shar'í/religious issue-even in this issue he is governed by the laws of Islam. And Islam clearly says: No! You cannot become an apostate. After coming into the fold of Islam, rejection of the fundamentals is not tolerated. If there are doubts in your mind about the fundamental beliefs of Islam, then discuss, question, debate, study and solve them BUT you are not allowed to leave Islam, desert your own fitra!

Wouldn't that seem to refute your statement?

TeaElle
01-12-2004, 04:27 AM
Originally posted by JS Princeton
Let the courts decide. If Scientology is truly responsible, then why hasn't it been held responsible by the courts? Are the courts flawed?The courts can't make a determination when no case has been laid before them. Scientology has made huge inroads into the city of Clearwater, Florida where Lisa McPherson died. There is extraordinary political pressure brought to bear on any authority which attempts to run against Scientology -- in this case, charges were dropped because the prosecutors were wary that the medical examiner was not willing to give full and complete testimony as to the nature of Lisa McPherson's injuries and her overall condition at the time of her death. There are affadavits on file from employees in the medical examiner's office about weird goings-on at the time the case was pending, such goings-on pointing to typical Scientology harassment tactics.

I'm really curious because all you've demonstrated is that you've bought a lot of argumentation hook-line-and-sinker without even considering the counterclaim. That's pretty shoddy debating if you ask me.There is no counterclaim. It's not argued, by anyone, that Lisa McPherson was a Scientologist. It is not argued that she was significantly malnourished, dirty, bruised and covered in bug bites when she died. Her body was in deplorable condition.

It is not also not argued that Lisa McPherson was taken to a Clearwater hospital after she was involved in a car accident and observed by paramedics to be acting erratically. It is not argued that Scientologists came and removed Ms. McPherson out of the hospital because their official doctrine opposes psychiatric and psychological treatment and McPherson was set for psychiatric observation due to her behavior.

It is not argued that Lisa McPherson's whereabouts between that day and the day of her death are unverifiable by Scientology's own records.

It is not argued that Scientology has a specific "methodology" which is to be used on members who have suffered psychiatric breakdowns, a program called the Introspection Rundown. Former Scientologists who are well aware of the organization's practices have described the Introspection Rundown as a period during which the suffering member is placed in isolation until they are able to explain the cause of their breakdown to the satisfaction of their Scientology minders.

It is not argued that the state of Lisa McPherson's body at the time of her death are consistent with someone who was mentally unstable and confined (in an unclean place, as many of the areas of one of Scientology's Clearwater properties happened to be at the time) in isolation without access to adequate food and water.

(It's also not argued that Lisa is just one of four people who died under mysterious circumstances while at -- or supposedly at -- the Fort Harrison hotel, the CoS main property in Clearwater. But that's another story.)

Where was Lisa McPherson from November 18 to December 5? Scientologists seem to know, though their otherwise meticulous records do not coincide with their official statements nor with the evidence as contained within Lisa's corpse. Why won't the organization in Clearwater cooperate with authorities and McPherson's family in investigating her death if they have no culpability?

For an organization as concerned with their public image as Scientology otherwise is, why would they want to put forth any indication that they are disinterested in finding the truth behind Lisa's death and helping the police and her next of kin unless they have something to hide? Why has the CoS publicly defamed Lisa's family and their legal representation if CoS has no culpability in her demise?

There is also no argument that since Lisa McPherson died, the CoS now requires members to sign a waiver before beginning an Introspection Rundown.

If you look at the Lisa McPherson Trust's website (http://www.lisamcpherson.org/) you can see the released court documents. You can see the CoS logs. You can see the documents from the Clearwater police department. You can see the ruling which suspended the license of the CoS staff doctor who prescribed drugs for Lisa sight unseen. You can say that the family is biased, are the CoS logs biased? Was the police department biased?

I can run down a rather long list of people who have felt other religions have harassed them upon leaving. Certain vocal critics of Christianity receive death-threats and outright harrassment. Do they blame Christianity? No. They blame the idiots who believe that they are doing right by God in carrying out such acts.Well, are any of the people who carry out harassment in the name of Christianity private investigators who are paid by attorneys who are in the private employ of Christ or some Christian denomination? Because that's who was responsible for the harassment of Stacy and Vaughn Young in the Seattle, Washington area, a well-known Los Angeles based PI who is retained by the CoS's cheif in-house counsel. That same PI has run afoul of the law on numerous occasions, including a charge of impersonating a officer of the peace (a police officer) in the state of Florida.

Yet another difference between other churches and the CoS.

What religion allows people to leave? What does Scientology as a Church specifically do to stop them and how is it at all different from some of the things loonies in other mainstream churches have done?I don't know of any Christian church or branch of Judaism which has a doctrine teaching that people who have a change of heart away from the faith or attendance of a particular congregation should still be obligated to pay their annual tithes or membership due. You'd be hard pressed to find any religion whose (sub)organizational headquarters has a policy to sue former members who publicly criticize the faith with the following stated purpose;
"The purpose of a lawsuit is to harass and discourage rather than to win.... Don't ever defend. Always attack. Find or manufacture enough threat against them to cause them to sue for peace. Originate a black PR campaign to destroy the person's repute and to discredit them so thoroughly they will be ostracized..."

"The law can be used very easily to harass, and enough harassment on somebody who is simply on the thin edge anyway, will knowing that he is not authorized, will generally be sufficient to cause his professional decease. If possible, of course, ruin him utterly."That's direct from L. Ron himself. That's what he says should be done to former CoS members who publicly state their dissatisfaction with their former church. Unless you can show anything remotely similar from any other religion, you have to agree as a matter of plain faced logic that CoS uses unusual tactics against its critics with an express purpose of causing enough upheaval in their lives that they feel forced to shut up and go away. Not to protect its copyrights, not to end libel or slander, not to uphold the dignity of the church, but to destroy anyone who dares speak against it. Ruin them utterly.

Yathink you could find for us a source that isn't biased on the subject? I mean, if I told you that Christianity was evil and then referred you to a former Christian's website would that be a legitimate way to prove it by you?Have you ever heard of the word "whistleblower?" Former insiders of Scientology are the best source of (damning) information about the organization because of its closed nature. Outsiders do not have the ability to know about CoS practices because they're all kept behind closed doors, in copyrighted manuals and out of the public eye, and the doctrine demands their secrecy. The "disgruntled former adgerent/employee" argument only goes so far. It simply cannot be used to nullify the reports of literally thousands of those in the know about CoS.

The attacks that these people have endured lend credence to their claims; if they were all liars who were just making things up to try to discredit a church in which they no longer believed, why would the CoS go to such lengths -- even so far as creating a specific doctrine on the matter -- to try to prevent them from sharing their stories instead of trying to disprove the claims by presenting evidence to the contrary?

YourOldBuddy
01-12-2004, 08:01 AM
Heh, the parallels Princeton is using are getting more desparate each post. 500 year old christian persecutions somehow make Scientology ok. Hes drawing parallels by the actions of multibillion member religions and other cults and thinks that somehow makes Scientology ok. How that applies to the OP is lost on me.

Let me repeat the OP. "What exactly is the problem with Scientology?". The question isnt "is Scientology worse than other religions or cults?". The problems with Scientology have been mentioned by multiple posters. The onus is on Blake and Princeton to show how pet slayings and persecutions, bilking, etc. are not problems or disprove them.

YourOldBuddy
01-12-2004, 08:06 AM
For those that didnt read Princetons article from "Urban legends" on wether or not Hubbard started Scientology for money, it ends like thisTo summarize: one the one hand, the Church has won lawsuits about this, details unknown. On the other hand, we have five witnesses: Neison Himmel, Sam Merwin, Sam Moskowitz, Theodore Sturgeon, and Lloyd Arthur Eshbach. There is some confusion and doubt about one of the five (Sam Moskowitz): two others are reported via Russel Miller: one is reported via Mike Jittlov: one reported in his own book. All five witnesses seem to be reporting about different instances.

Conclusion: I really don't see how they could all be wrong.Thanks for making our point Princeton :)

JS Princeton
01-12-2004, 10:26 AM
Have you ever seen an employment application for a Scientology center? They are blatantly illegal. How can the organization manage to serve such applications without legal action? Is it because of the "religion status"? If you can fathom the invasion of privacy question, it's in the application.

If it is illegal then take them to court.

However, religious freedom law is very sensitive to the needs of a religion. If the religion gets federal funding (for charity work, e.g.), it is covered under privacy laws, EEO, etc. Many religions have problems with such laws and so forgo federal funding. Scientology has a right to set-up itself in the same legal setting as any other religion. Just because it's a new religion doesn't mean it shouldn't receive the same considerations.

netscape 6
01-12-2004, 10:36 AM
Originally posted by JS Princeton
Actually, the text reads, "Blessed is he who dashes the little baby's head upon the stone."

As in, God blesses you when you do that.

Now, you can play apologetics games on that, but the point of the matter is that so can the Scientologists on their Fair Game doctrine. We should at least play by the same rules. If Christians can do it, Scientologists should be able to too.

The exile is saying that, not God. The exile thinks doing that would be great. Given the eye for eye mentality of the time, it was what the exile thought would be just. Babylon had just killed many of Jewish children.

If I were I were to say blessed is anyone who shoots your kids*. Would that be reflective of God or me?

It's not alogizing if's the truth.


Care to explain to me why the "church" of scientology felt all those cats and dogs in that animal shelter deserved to die?

from an earlier link:

Hello.

My name is Robert Vaughn Young. My wife and I have been operating a small non-profit animal sanctuary in Seattle, Washington. Over the last two years, we have rescued and adopted out nearly 500 cats and dogs. That effort is now jeopardized because the Scientology cult is attacking the sanctuary and trying to get it closed down.

Why would a cult try to close down an animal sanctuary?


You can read the rest of it here (http://www.solitarytrees.net/pickets/sp992a.htm) for those you who don't feel like going to Nanoda's link to it in this thread.


Intimidiation of witnesses to a murder, sounds likes something the mafia would do.


*I am not saying that. They are going to have enough troubles having a scientologist for a parent. For one thing

JS Princeton
01-12-2004, 10:42 AM
Originally posted by Voyager
Well, JSP, did Hubbard originally start a religion, or a business?

Completely up for debate. The detractors say business, the religion has its own take.

Was Christian Science originally started as a religion or a business? Same deal.

In fact, it can be argued that the major religions of Japan are basically run as businesses today. Does that make them not religions? Please, apply your conditioned statements fairly. Why the pile-on wrt Scientology? It's doing the same thing other religions get away with without anybody making a peep!

Why did Dianetics, a business, become Scientology, a religion (and thus protected by the Constitution.) Could it be because the law was on Hubbard's tail?

That's an interesting interpretation. I'm sure you can make the argument for it. The fact of the matter remains, Scientology is a legally defined religion. That's the end of the matter as far as the IRS is concerned. It did become a federal case, but the fact of the matter is, you haven't offered a rationale why a religion can't spring from a business -- it happened before, as I pointed out.


Your claim that religions don't let people leave is a lie. Some of the more cultlike religions do, but I know lots of people switching Protestant churches with no problems. No Rabbinical enforcers ever got after me when I stopped going to shul.


It's not that all religions "don't let people leave", it's that they all have that tacit message in their basic beliefs with the possible exception of a few of the more theologically liberal denominations. Even there, the tacit assumption is that the "right answer" is with the Church that you attend. Theologically speaking, that's the name of the religious game. You get it right or you get it wrong. That no rabbinical enforcers "got after you" is beside the point because I think you'd be hard pressed to argue that Judaism wasn't a religion just because a rabbinical enforcer did get after you. It's totally specious argumentation. It has nothing to do with whether Scientology is a religion.

Maybe it has something to do with whether Scientology is dangerous, but the fact of the matter remains is that people attack Scientology as being somehow "different" or "more problematic" than, say, Evangelical Christianity which basically engages in similar "membership" tactics. That's ALL I'm saying. You can decide if Scientology is dangerous for yourself. What you cannot do is say it is different in kind from accepted religions in our society because there are accepted religions that behave in kind.


Your mention of the Inquisition is extremely interesting. If it were still going on today (and of course it is not) anyone defending it would be an immoral piece of crap. I'm sure you agree.


This is interesting. It is basically admitting to a time bias. We'll let it go as to whether the "Inquisition" is still in existence (the Congregational Office in the Vatican still exists under a different name). So, basically, Scientology is guilty of being a religion that was started too late. If it had started in the 16th Century and then morphed its practices to something more palatable to society then the religion would be okay? Fair enough, but when you put your blinders on with respect to history and simply evaluate religions as they exist today you strip all contextual authority from your argument.

New religions are more dogmatic than old religions. They have to be, because they have to define themselves as different. That's the whole point. They don't have the benefit of being mainstreamed into society and defined as the "social clubs" that a lot of the mainline Churches enjoy. They actually function as religions typically do in their infancy. If it's alarming to you, then you should look seriously at all religions, because they basically start with that sort of dogmatism and move away from it. There are indications that Scientology is in the process, as it grows, of mainstreaming itself. It's inappropriate to assume just because we are more immediately aware of the circumstances surrounding its inception that it is somehow a totally different beast or more dangerous than any other religion to come down the pipe.


Two personal experiences. An old girlfriend's brother got money sucked out of him by Scientologists. They actually got it back because he was under age, something the CoS cared nothing about. A friends brother joined the church, had a high position, and was kept from having his children contact their grandparents. Sounds like a cult to me.

The anecdotal stories are fascinating, but we could have just as easily started a thread about Catholic abuses (http://afgen.com/child_abuse.html) and declared Catholicism to be dangerous and a cult. That's wrong, in my book. Is it wrong in yours?

JS Princeton
01-12-2004, 10:48 AM
Originally posted by Urban Ranger
Religion is not just a belief system.


Missing the forest for the trees. I'm simply saying that "conventional" definitions of religions are biased towards religions that have been around for a while. Do you think that's not true? Name a religion that was founded in the last 100 years that hasn't suffered the "cult" ridicule.


I suppose one can always look up some facts wrt to how they operate.


Just like any other religion. That's my whole point!


As I said, you use the word "religion" differently than most people, so maybe you can tell me how exactly do you define "religion?"


Well, one way to do it is to look at the legal designation of the IRS. By that definition, Scientology definitely is a religion.


No. Why should that be the case?

Do a comparison of Tibetan Buddhist principles, beliefs, and practices and Scientologists principles, beliefs, and practices. Scientology borrows heavily from Eastern mystical traditions which is far different from the Unification Church which uses mostly Christian templates.

JS Princeton
01-12-2004, 08:52 PM
Originally posted by TeaElle
The courts can't make a determination when no case has been laid before them.

So what's stopping you?

Scientology has made huge inroads into the city of Clearwater, Florida where Lisa McPherson died. There is extraordinary political pressure brought to bear on any authority which attempts to run against Scientology -- in this case, charges were dropped because the prosecutors were wary that the medical examiner was not willing to give full and complete testimony as to the nature of Lisa McPherson's injuries and her overall condition at the time of her death. There are affadavits on file from employees in the medical examiner's office about weird goings-on at the time the case was pending, such goings-on pointing to typical Scientology harassment tactics.

This is all simply covering up for the basic fact that there was no criminal prosecution.

You cannot, in this country, call someone guilty without proving it in a court of law. The CoS is not legal responsible for the death of that individual.

The independent judicial system is a thing that this country is very good at maintaining. To claim that a city is under the hold of a nefarious religion is a matter for state or federal review. It should be dealt with by those authorities. Until that is done, I don't see how you can claim that you have proof of harassment.

Harassment is illegal. If the CoS is harassing people it is a matter for the courts. Period.


There is no counterclaim. It's not argued, by anyone, that Lisa McPherson was a Scientologist. It is not argued that she was significantly malnourished, dirty, bruised and covered in bug bites when she died. Her body was in deplorable condition.


You're completely missing the point. The argument is that the CoS is dangerous because it murdered Lisa McPherson. Last I checked the definition of murder is a legal one, not one based on websites and ex-members drumming up criticism.


It is not argued that Scientologists came and removed Ms. McPherson out of the hospital because their official doctrine opposes psychiatric and psychological treatment and McPherson was set for psychiatric observation due to her behavior.


Was that illegal?


It is not argued that Lisa McPherson's whereabouts between that day and the day of her death are unverifiable by Scientology's own records.


Is that illegal?

You continue on basically making no claim other than you have evidence to the effect of something that should be brought to trial. Or at least that's what it seems to me. If that's the case, then that's perfectly legit. But what you completely ignore is the fact that there doesn't seem to be enough evidence available to make the case that CoS murdered the woman.


Where was Lisa McPherson from November 18 to December 5? Scientologists seem to know, though their otherwise meticulous records do not coincide with their official statements nor with the evidence as contained within Lisa's corpse. Why won't the organization in Clearwater cooperate with authorities and McPherson's family in investigating her death if they have no culpability?

Are they legally required to? Last I checked, the Fourth Ammendment was pretty clear about such things.


For an organization as concerned with their public image as Scientology otherwise is, why would they want to put forth any indication that they are disinterested in finding the truth behind Lisa's death and helping the police and her next of kin unless they have something to hide?

If you were a member of the organization, you could make a claim to that opinion. Fact remains, neither you nor I are members. We don't have a right to claim that the Church should "behave" in a certain way. As long as what they are doing is legal, that's all that matters.

You want to know why it's so hard to prosecute the CoS? Because most of the criticisms you and other detractors level against it could easily be applied to other religions. Forget 500 years ago, there are mainstream religions that exist today that have had questionable goings-on. We don't demand "special consideration" in cases which involve those religions because they are mainstream. That's simply the way things are. We respect religious privacy and they are allowed to organize legally any way they want.

Why has the CoS publicly defamed Lisa's family and their legal representation if CoS has no culpability in her demise?

That's a preposterous argument. If you were innocent of a crime and you publically defamed a person who accused you of that crime does that make you guilty? Honestly, this is absolutely ludicrous.


There is also no argument that since Lisa McPherson died, the CoS now requires members to sign a waiver before beginning an Introspection Rundown.


Post hoc ergo propter hoc, eh?


You can see the ruling which suspended the license of the CoS staff doctor who prescribed drugs for Lisa sight unseen. You can say that the family is biased, are the CoS logs biased? Was the police department biased?

I doubt it. Still, doesn't mean the CoS was guilty of any crimes.

I'm not splitting hairs here. I could do the same thing for the Catholic Church in their sex-abuse scandals. The issue of guilt or innocence is decided in court, not in an internet forum.


Well, are any of the people who carry out harassment in the name of Christianity private investigators who are paid by attorneys who are in the private employ of Christ or some Christian denomination?

Actually, yes. There are any number of organizations that were formed to investigate, for example, abortion providers in the name of Christ. Do I think that it's a reasonable tactic? No. But I don't think it makes Christianity a dangerous and problematic religion. Likewise for Scientology.


Yet another difference between other churches and the CoS.


Except, see, it isn't. Just because you spend your time researching claims against CoS and not against Christianity or other mainstream religions doesn't mean that you have a balanced picture.


I don't know of any Christian church or branch of Judaism which has a doctrine teaching that people who have a change of heart away from the faith or attendance of a particular congregation should still be obligated to pay their annual tithes or membership due.

I challenge you to demonstrate that that's CoS doctrine.

You'd be hard pressed to find any religion whose (sub)organizational headquarters has a policy to sue former members who publicly criticize the faith with the following stated purpose;
That's direct from L. Ron himself. That's what he says should be done to former CoS members who publicly state their dissatisfaction with their former church.

You're saying the Church isn't allowed to sue because other churches are less inclined to use the legal instruments of this country as a tool in the defense of their faith?

Unless you can show anything remotely similar from any other religion, you have to agree as a matter of plain faced logic that CoS uses unusual tactics against its critics with an express purpose of causing enough upheaval in their lives that they feel forced to shut up and go away.

Big deal. I don't care if CoS is unusual. Other religions are unusual too. Just because they use legal tactics, they are a problematic and dangerous religion? I don't buy it.

If you don't believe in legal tactics being part of a religion, DON'T BECOME A MEMBER of the CoS. If you do, then that's one less barrier to your membership. I don't see what your crusade is all about.

Not to protect its copyrights, not to end libel or slander, not to uphold the dignity of the church, but to destroy anyone who dares speak against it. Ruin them utterly.

Within the confines of the law.

You know, this is all rather interesting. What you are doing is criticizing the CoS from ethical standards that you have declared somehow universal. Hell, I might even agree with them. But that doesn't mean that someone who disagrees with them is dangerous or problematic. If that were the case, we'd have laws against being like that and we'd prosecute people for acting on such behaviors.


Have you ever heard of the word "whistleblower?" Former insiders of Scientology are the best source of (damning) information about the organization because of its closed nature.

This has always been the case WITH EVERY RELIGION. It's not different from Scientology. When someone has an agenda against a particular religion that they used to be a part of, the BIAS IS APPARENT. That's all I'm saying.

Outsiders do not have the ability to know about CoS practices because they're all kept behind closed doors, in copyrighted manuals and out of the public eye, and the doctrine demands their secrecy.

Except, as I mentioned before, with a little research you too can find these things on the internet. Either you agree that they exist on xenu.net or you don't. You can't call it secret if it's available.

[qoute] The "disgruntled former adgerent/employee" argument only goes so far. It simply cannot be used to nullify the reports of literally thousands of those in the know about CoS. [/quote]

It doesn't nullify them, it simply means that they have an agenda.

Agendas aren't in-and-of-themselves bad. They simply aren't free from bias. That's all I'm saying.


The attacks that these people have endured lend credence to their claims;

Hooey. Just because you're attacked for saying things doesn't mean you're correct.

if they were all liars who were just making things up to try to discredit a church in which they no longer believed, why would the CoS go to such lengths -- even so far as creating a specific doctrine on the matter -- to try to prevent them from sharing their stories instead of trying to disprove the claims by presenting evidence to the contrary?

I dealt with this complaint above.

People can evaluate the evidence for themselves. One can do it in court, actually. That's where this should be taking place.

If there is a case, why haven't these people successful in taking legal action? Don't give me the martyrdom crap. There are plenty of examples in our legal system of people with fewer resources winning legal cases against financial giants.

I just don't buy this pile-on at all. We have a venue to deal with claims of illegality and that place is the courts. The burden of proof is on the plaintiff, not on the defendent in this country. That's the way it works. Those are the rules.

JS Princeton
01-12-2004, 09:00 PM
Heh, the parallels Princeton is using are getting more desparate each post. 500 year old christian persecutions somehow make Scientology ok.

I didn't say that at all.

Hes drawing parallels by the actions of multibillion member religions and other cults and thinks that somehow makes Scientology ok.

This is absolutely correct. Just because one religion is larger than another doesn't make Scientology problematic in that regard.

How that applies to the OP is lost on me.

The beef is: Scientology isn't particularly or peculiarly problematic. The complaints outlined by people are complaints that can also be leveled against mainstream "multibillion member" religions too. That's why it's disingenous to claim there is something especially dangerous or problematic with Scientology.


Let me repeat the OP. "What exactly is the problem with Scientology?". The question isnt "is Scientology worse than other religions or cults?". The problems with Scientology have been mentioned by multiple posters. The onus is on Blake and Princeton to show how pet slayings and persecutions, bilking, etc. are not problems or disprove them.

What I fail to see is how any of the problems are different than the problems that any other religion also has. I.e. if Scientology is problematic then so are other religions. That's a fine thing to think, but so far few people who are engaged in the pile-on are aware that that is exactly what is required from a non-biased perspective.

Perhaps the basic problem is this: there is no objectivity when it comes to evaluating religious doctrine, dogma, or behavior. You have to apply your own standards. In the eyes of the law, there is nothing problematic about the religion of Scientology. Personally, you may have a problem with it, but there isn't anything, as far as anyone has been able to show by me, that makes it any more problematic than religions that aren't being attacked.

That's all I'm saying.

Magiver
01-12-2004, 09:02 PM
Without actually trying, JS Princeton has done the best job of answering the original question. JS, you are the best example of scientology I have ever seen.

JS Princeton
01-12-2004, 09:09 PM
For those that didnt read Princetons article from "Urban legends" on wether or not Hubbard started Scientology for money, it ends like this

Thanks for making our point Princeton :)

Perhaps you should actually read my post. The point is that that particular essay is all over the internet and has been reeditted and reposted in many forms. Let me clarify my points:

one) it is clear that there are many ways to tell this story and even those that agree that Hubbard probably said the quote don't agree on the evidence to that end.

two) EVEN IF Hubbard said such a thing, the unscrupulous behavior of a founder does not necessarily a dangerous or problematic religion make. Are Mormons problematic? Well, that's a debate too. Religious tolerance simply says you let the religions to themselves unless they do things that are illegal. In that way, you cannot say that Mormonism nor Scientology are problematic or dangerous... they are simply religions.

In other words, if you respect the freedom of religion, then the idiosyncrasies of a particular religion are preposterous to hierarchically deliminate. They are for the members to work out, not for you. You need a frame of reference with which to evaluate a religion. Legally, Scientology is a religion, no more "problematic" than any other religion. It may have "problems" that people have pointed out, but that does not make Sceintology as a religion problematic.

I am not just parsing terms here. I fail to see how someone can say Christianity, for example, isn't problematic or dangerous but Scientology is.

Personally, I think they are both equally unproblematic.

Guinastasia
01-12-2004, 09:28 PM
Wait, so JS Princeton is a Scientologist?

JS Princeton
01-12-2004, 09:30 PM
The exile is saying that, not God. The exile thinks doing that would be great. Given the eye for eye mentality of the time, it was what the exile thought would be just. Babylon had just killed many of Jewish children.


Well, it's nice, netscape 6, that you have decided that God didn't inspire or write that verse in the Bible. That's fine. However, realize that for the great majority of Christian and Jewish history, the Bible was considered the word of God, not the word of the people who wrote it.

What you are doing is applying apologetics to the scripture. There's nothing wrong with that. Just give the Scientologists the same right to do it with their documents. That's all I'm asking for.


It's not alogizing if's the truth.


Actually, it is apologetics if you are answering a complaint (like mine). It's OK to engage in apologetics for you. It's also okay for Scientologists.


Care to explain to me why the "church" of scientology felt all those cats and dogs in that animal shelter deserved to die?


*SIGH*

You just aren't getting it, are you?
Let's make a few things straight about the "dead pets" argument.

1) There has never been a legal case brought before a court about the CoS condoning, supporting, or encouraging the abuse of animals (which is a crime, btw).

2) The claims that were offered on the site range from credible to ridiculous (i.e. "I found a dead pigeon... must be Scientologists!"). However, there was nothing to indicate that the CoS was the perpetrator other than the poster's word. Why didn't any of those people call the police? Leaving a dead animal on a doorstep is evidence of a crime. Instead they post pictures on a website? I'm sorry, that's being an irresponsible citizen. You report crimes to the authorities, not to your cult-bashing buddies.

3) The actions of individuals do not represent the actions of the church. In other words, it is pretty difficult in my mind for you to claim that the church condones petkilling. Ask any Scientologist if the church condones the abuse and killing of pets.

4) The animal shelter in question was actually in violation of the law. They were operating an illegal animal shelter. Thankfully, the people running the shelter were able to relocate it, but it's not the CoS's fault that these people were operating an illegal animal shelter. It's the government that were trying to get them to close it down, not the CoS. Why would the government want to close down an illegal animal shelter? I leave it to the reader to figure that one out.

It is the right of any citizen to issue a complaint. If you think it is harassment, you have the right to sue. The people on that site have a right to get an attorney and get to the bottom of the harassment. If the CoS is legally culpable, they have a right to hold them accountable.

However, I have done research on a lot of "cult-watchers", and let me tell you, a lot of them aren't as saintly as you might think. Now, I make no judgements on anybody in particular, but again you've taken the evidence from a site that is devoted to slamming Scientology. OF COURSE they're going to say that Scientology is killing Rover. It only helps to bolster their case.


Intimidiation of witnesses to a murder, sounds likes something the mafia would do.


And it is illegal. If there is evidence of it, then it is the responsibility of those with evidence of it to bring it before the appropriate investigatory arm of the executive power of government in the area and let the wheels of justice turn.

If you want to go on a legal crusade against Scientology, that's totally within your legal right. I find it disingenuous for you to assume that you know the entire story and are willing to find them guilty of being a crime syndicate totally without letting them defend themselves.

JS Princeton
01-12-2004, 09:41 PM
Wait, so JS Princeton is a Scientologist?

No.

Interesting that Magiver thinks I am, though.

I think it's really sad that people can't honestly see how someone might defend a religion even though it's not their own. I am an equal-opportunity defender when it comes to religions. I just happened to notice a pile-on that I thought was without rational basis. This board is about fighting ignorance and I have tried to make my arguments from reason.

I can understand why people would fight against Scientology. I can also understand why people would fight against any religion. I'm personally a fan of religious tolerance. That's just who I am.

Honestly, make up your own mind about Scientology. That's fine with me. I just think you should also look with equally critical eyes to other religions. What I have seen in my studies of religions is that the new religions tend to get bashed a whole lot more than the older religions. I think that's unfair. Maybe I'm just a fan of the underdog, but I spend a lot of time dealing with many different religious traditions. Honestly, I have found more similarities between religions than I was expecting to find in the realm of practice, rules, and the structure of the religions. The criticisms leveled against Scientology I have seen leveled against many different religions. There isn't anything new about the argument, "it's weird, it's scary, it's authoritarian, it scams people, it intimidates people, it kills people," etc. It's the same argument that's leveled against every new religion that comes around. Scientology just happens to be the one for today.

TeaElle
01-13-2004, 12:06 AM
4) The animal shelter in question was actually in violation of the law. They were operating an illegal animal shelter. Thankfully, the people running the shelter were able to relocate it, but it's not the CoS's fault that these people were operating an illegal animal shelter. It's the government that were trying to get them to close it down, not the CoS. Why would the government want to close down an illegal animal shelter? I leave it to the reader to figure that one out.The government, acting on "anonymous" citizen complaints that were entirely unfounded and started simultaneously with the Seattle appearance of the lawbreaking private investigator who is known to work exclusively for the CoS under the direction of their in house attorney? The same private investigator who attempted to gain access, for no "apparent" reason to the property adjacent to the Young's new, legal shelter location shortly after they moved? The same private investigator who was seen leaving defamatory flyers on cars near the Young's new home and refused to identify himself when asked who he was and upon whose behalf he was acting?

Government acting on anonymous complaints that began simultaneously with the beginning of a series of pickets outside of the Young's house, carried out by CoS members?

The government, acting at the same time that an anonymous, defamatory flyer campaign was started against the Youngs in exactly the same fashion as other flyer campaigns against other former Scienos or Scieno critics?

The government which was prepared to commit Stacy Young to a mental facility on the basis of more of these anonymous complaints?

There's a lot more to the story than you're willing to admit, and you know it.

TeaElle
01-13-2004, 12:20 AM
I just think you should also look with equally critical eyes to other religions. What I have seen in my studies of religions is that the new religions tend to get bashed a whole lot more than the older religions. I think that's unfair.I think you need to think about the idea that even if every religion acted in the manner that Scientology does, it would still be wrong, it would still be criticized for the exact same reasons which have been presented here. The comparisons to the way other religions behave or have behaved historically were raised by you, not by Scientology's critics.

The issues raised here stand on their own as problems without comparisons, and you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who would say "Scientology shouldn't do _______ because Islam/Christianity/Judaism/InsertYourReligionOfChoice doesn't do that." alone. The argument has always been "Scientology shouldn't do _________ because it's unethical, underhanded, deceitful, hurtful or illegal. It also runs directly counter to their claims that they are a religion like any other because no other religion would endorse _______ as a proper course of action." There's more than a little bit of difference there.

JS Princeton
01-13-2004, 12:32 AM
There's a lot more to the story than you're willing to admit, and you know it.

You aren't serious, are you?

Are you seriously insinuating that the Seattle City gub'ment is in the nepharious paws of the Church of Scientology?

Color me skeptical, to say the least.

The government, acting on "anonymous" citizen complaints that were entirely unfounded

First off, putting "anonymous" in quotation marks is meaningless, I think. Are you insinuating they weren't anonymous?

Secondly: entirely unfounded? They were breaking the law!

The same private investigator who was seen leaving defamatory flyers on cars near the Young's new home and refused to identify himself when asked who he was and upon whose behalf he was acting?


So sue the bastard for harassment. I said that in a previous post. Why do they need to play victimization games here? Why didn't they DO something?

The government which was prepared to commit Stacy Young to a mental facility on the basis of more of these anonymous complaints?


All we have to go on for that particular gem is the "we know it to be true" attitude of the Youngs.

If you are being harassed, then you have a right to seek legal protection.

Let's review: These people had set up an illegal animal shelter. They were CoS critics. They feel harassed by CoS members and who do they turn to? The cops? No. They turn to the great internet support group of anti-scientologists to trumpet once again that the Big Bad Wolf was huffing and puffing.

I don't see any evidence that they took legal action.

But maybe that was all for the better since it seems that the government might just simply be pawns of Hubbard's Dynasty.

:rolleyes:

JS Princeton
01-13-2004, 12:44 AM
I think you need to think about the idea that even if every religion acted in the manner that Scientology does, it would still be wrong,

Now THAT'S a consistent opinion. Let's try to figure out whether Scientology does things that are ontologically different from other religions. I say they don't and I have offered my reasons why.

The comparisons to the way other religions behave or have behaved historically were raised by you, not by Scientology's critics.

Yes, I know. That's my biggest beef.


The issues raised here stand on their own as problems without comparisons, and you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who would say "Scientology shouldn't do _______ because Islam/Christianity/Judaism/InsertYourReligionOfChoice doesn't do that." alone. The argument has always been "Scientology shouldn't do _________ because it's unethical, underhanded, deceitful, hurtful or illegal.

That's a clever statement. I think I even buy it, as long as it's administered fairly. However, what I'm not sure I like is the implicit assumption that Scientology "DOES" something. Scientology is a religion that people follow. There is an organization, the Church of Scientology, that might be held accountable (like any other religious organization, e.g. the Catholic Church) and there are people, but SCIENTOLOGY as a religion is not problematic.

You may think I'm playing semantic games, but I really do think there is a difference between organizations, people, and religions. That's not necessarily something I think is germane to the discussion, but we can get into it more if you'd like.

What you then do is contradict yourself. This is part of your statement on why Scientology is problematic:

It also runs directly counter to their claims that they are a religion like any other because no other religion would endorse _______ as a proper course of action." There's more than a little bit of difference there.

It is similar in kind to the statement that you said that I'd be "hard pressed to find anyone" who would say. How is saying "no other religion would endorse _______ as a proper course of action." any different from "Scientology shouldn't do _______ because Islam/Christianity/Judaism/InsertYourReligionOfChoice doesn't do that."

Maybe you'll claim that it's a difference in "endorse" and "do", but I say that Sceintologists would never claim they endorsed _________. If you then refer to the Fair Game law and such, then I have to refer you to the fact that other religions have doctrines which basically do the same thing, so in effect "endorse" _________.

That's why that's not a reasonable statement.

Derleth
01-13-2004, 12:51 AM
Let the courts decide. If Scientology is truly responsible, then why hasn't it been held responsible by the courts? Are the courts flawed? Did someone somehow give you the ability to mete out the divine eyes of justice to determine how things happened? I'm really curious because all you've demonstrated is that you've bought a lot of argumentation hook-line-and-sinker without even considering the counterclaim. That's pretty shoddy debating if you ask me. So, did OJ do it?

I can run down a rather long list of people who have felt other religions have harassed them upon leaving. Certain vocal critics of Christianity receive death-threats and outright harrassment. Do they blame Christianity? No. They blame the idiots who believe that they are doing right by God in carrying out such acts.

Same consideration should be held for Scientology.Did you not read any of my cites? They were acting on official policy. That is what the church does.

How about this: The Mafia isn't evil. Nobody gets to say that. Instead, some deranged people acting on behalf of the Mafia sometimes do illegal things. How much sense does that make? None. Why? Because the Mafia is all about killing people and making money.

Scientology is all about making money, too, and its official documents condone and encourage harassment.

Oh, and other religions don't? Have you watched the 700 Club? Show me where Jesus told people to lie about their enemies and make them look like child molestors.

What religion allows people to leave? What does Scientology as a Church specifically do to stop them and how is it at all different from some of the things loonies in other mainstream churches have done? Uh, again, haven't you been reading any of my cites? If you don't want to read my cites, this discussion is over.

I won't try to debate with someone who won't put forth a minimum of effort. Sorry, Potzie.

And it's an outright lie to say Scientology keeps its practice and dogma secret. Fine. Lie to me.

Mr. Miskatonic
01-13-2004, 01:14 AM
Well, it's nice, netscape 6, that you have decided that God didn't inspire or write that verse in the Bible. That's fine. However, realize that for the great majority of Christian and Jewish history, the Bible was considered the word of God, not the word of the people who wrote it.
4) The animal shelter in question was actually in violation of the law. They were operating an illegal animal shelter. Thankfully, the people running the shelter were able to relocate it, but it's not the CoS's fault that these people were operating an illegal animal shelter. It's the government that were trying to get them to close it down, not the CoS. Why would the government want to close down an illegal animal shelter? I leave it to the reader to figure that one out.


The legal status of the shelter pales in comparison to the accusations of felony-level abuses that the CoS claimed were taking place withing the shelter. If you park your car a couple of feet too close to a fire hydrant and I bring it to the policeman's attention by saying you were molesting children in the back seat, I'm hardly doing the world favors.

Scientology claimed severe levels of animal abuse via anonymous calls and pamphlets. Later, they attacked the relocated permitted shelter with more pamphlets that claimed you could get AIDS from the animals.

Yes, that's right. The CoS lackey, hired directly by the church delibrately or ignorantly mixed up Feline AIDS and HIV/AIDS as a scare tactic. Thats abuse.

JS Princeton
01-13-2004, 01:30 AM
So, did OJ do it?

Get off it. That has absolutely zero to do with this discussion. Unless you are claiming that OJ=Scientology. Sheesh!


Did you not read any of my cites?

Read 'em all.

They were acting on official policy. That is what the church does.

That's what all churches do. Problem is, when Catholics act on "official policy" and cover up sex abuses no one goes around claiming that Catholicism is problematic or dangerous without someone saying "hang on a minute." They are right to do that. The whole point is that it was wrong for those particular people to engage in criminal activity in the name of protecting the church. It would be equally wrong for Scientologists to do that in the name of their Church. However, the official policy is not in violation of the law in point-of-fact. It's all about the apologetics. If you say that it is inciting people to illegality, then you bring 'em to court. They're going to tell you about the apologetics and I'm of the opinion that an unbiased and fair court is probably going to side with the person who actually believes in the documents rather than someone who claims they don't believe in them, but really knows what they mean.

That might be my personal bias though. ;)


How about this: The Mafia isn't evil. Nobody gets to say that. Instead, some deranged people acting on behalf of the Mafia sometimes do illegal things. How much sense does that make? None. Why? Because the Mafia is all about killing people and making money.


Actually, the mafia is set up deliberately to flaunt the law. Thus the term "crime syndicate". The "organization" is denied to exist by its members to those in legal authority for that very purpose.

Contrast that, if you will, with Scientology which is a religion (and the mafia isn't), is very forthright about its own existence, going as far to ask to be legally defined as a religion, and is not set up to deliberately flaunt the law by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, they are pretty much "law happy".


Scientology is all about making money, too, and its official documents condone and encourage harassment.


They would dispute your last qualifier and probably could make a good legal case for it, as I demonstrated above. Making money isn't a crime. Suing people isn't in-and-of-itself a crime. I've said all this before.


Show me where Jesus told people to lie about their enemies and make them look like child molestors.


Well, show me where the CoS tells people to lie about their enemies and make them look like child molestors. I believe that's not part of their official doctrine, per se. And again, apologetics. You really aren't paying attention, it seems.

The fact of the matter remains, people use the words of Jesus to justify all kinds of mean and nasty things. That doesn't make Christianity problematic or dangerous.

Same goes for Scientology.

JS Princeton
01-13-2004, 01:36 AM
The legal status of the shelter pales in comparison to the accusations of felony-level abuses that the CoS claimed were taking place withing the shelter.

It would, but that's not really the reason that the City came down against the Youngs. The story goes that many complaints were filed with the city. Some may have been aggregious and libelous. If that's the case then you go to court. It's as simple as that.

If you park your car a couple of feet too close to a fire hydrant and I bring it to the policeman's attention by saying you were molesting children in the back seat, I'm hardly doing the world favors.

Hell, I don't think the people who did what they did to the Youngs were doing the world favors. That's not the point in the least.


Scientology claimed severe levels of animal abuse via anonymous calls and pamphlets. Later, they attacked the relocated permitted shelter with more pamphlets that claimed you could get AIDS from the animals.


Scientology claimed no such thing. At least, not according to any legal statement I've seen.

I really think the Youngs ought to collect evidence and sue. That's the proper course of action.


Yes, that's right. The CoS lackey, hired directly by the church delibrately or ignorantly mixed up Feline AIDS and HIV/AIDS as a scare tactic. Thats abuse.

And it's prosecutable by law.

However, does this make Scientology problematic or dangerous? Maybe. But then shouldn't we also look at the questionable hirings of some other religions too? They might be just as problematic and dangerous.

Dewey Cheatem Undhow
01-13-2004, 10:04 AM
This is all simply covering up for the basic fact that there was no criminal prosecution.

You cannot, in this country, call someone guilty without proving it in a court of law.This is, in a nutshell, a crock of shit.

OJ Simpson stabbed his ex-wife and her friend, period. Lizzie Borden hacked up her parents, period. Lee Harvey Oswald shot President Kennedy, period.

All of those individuals are guilty of their crimes, in spite of the lack of prosecution or of their aquittals for various reasons.

Courts of law are useful and have their place in civilized society. But they are not a replacement for our own cognitive abilities. Just because a court says it doesn't necessarily make it so. An individual can evaluate the evidence in the MacPherson case, or in any of the other charges leveled at Scientology, and reach their own conclusions independently of any judicial determinations, and can validly use those conclusions in forming an opinion about Scientology.

Mr. Miskatonic
01-13-2004, 12:43 PM
It would, but that's not really the reason that the City came down against the Youngs. The story goes that many complaints were filed with the city. Some may have been aggregious and libelous. If that's the case then you go to court. It's as simple as that.


No, its not as simple as that. Getting into a civil suit over this matter would cost more than it would return, and the CoS would never pay. They would drag things out for years. They love this sort of thing.

A criminal case would involve a lot of police work to track down an anonymous paphleteer and phone calls. Sadly, urban police don't have the time for that sort of thing.

You seem to have this stock answer that the courts are some kind of magic bullet that will stop the cults activities cold. Our court system has demonstrated that it has many limitations.


Hell, I don't think the people who did what they did to the Youngs were doing the world favors. That's not the point in the least.


Yes, your point seem to be one of several apologetics for the cult with a few tu quoqu arguements thrown in.


Scientology claimed no such thing. At least, not according to any legal statement I've seen.


No, their hired goons and followers did it.


I really think the Youngs ought to collect evidence and sue. That's the proper course of action.


Oh yeah, lets do what the CoS want, get into long expensive litigation. That makes sense :rolleyes:


And it's prosecutable by law.


These hired goons have a few warrents out for their arrest in certain states. Its done no good in the 1/2 dozen years since they were issued. In fact there have been several more such abuses of the legal system by Scientology goons. They have yet to stop because the consuquences are few and far between. Its easy intimidation cost return for them.


However, does this make Scientology problematic or dangerous? Maybe. But then shouldn't we also look at the questionable hirings of some other religions too? They might be just as problematic and dangerous.

Tu Quoque arguement. I've been with a few religions in my youth (Quakers, Episopalians, and Presbys) none of them even come remotely close to the activities in the criminal enterprise known as the CoS. Even catholicism, with is various sex scandals and lurid history, does not have the density of nefarious activities as the CoS.

ralph124c
01-13-2004, 02:51 PM
My main criticism of $cientology: it has never PROVEN its claims about :
=Auditing: auditing is supposed to raise your IQ and improve your mind..judging from Tom Cruise and John Travolta, I'd take these claims with a grain of salt.
-"ENGRAMS" as the source of human ills..let's SEE some proof!
-this "Xenu" chap" where's the proof of his existance?
Finally, the COS hands out booklets about how psychiatry harms young people..before they make these claims, let's see some evidence please!
Finally, the late L. Ron Hubbard was a liar, a swindler, and a con man..yet the COS insists that he was a humanitarian genius..where's the truth?
So, those of you who defend $cientology, please back up your claims! :D

JS Princeton
01-13-2004, 03:09 PM
This is, in a nutshell, a crock of shit.

OJ Simpson stabbed his ex-wife and her friend, period. Lizzie Borden hacked up her parents, period. Lee Harvey Oswald shot President Kennedy, period.

All of those individuals are guilty of their crimes, in spite of the lack of prosecution or of their aquittals for various reasons.

Absolutely untrue. Guilty is a legal definition. In this country someone is not guilty until they are proven guilty. That's the way it works. If you want to redefine guilty that's up to you.


Just because a court says it doesn't necessarily make it so.

Um, legally, I'm afraid it does.

An individual can evaluate the evidence in the MacPherson case, or in any of the other charges leveled at Scientology, and reach their own conclusions independently of any judicial determinations, and can validly use those conclusions in forming an opinion about Scientology.

This is correct. Likewise an individual can do that about ANY religion. My point is that there are equally repugnant things perpetrated by other religions that would make them problematic if the same standards were applied. In general, people aren't saying that Evangelical Christianity is problematic. Nor are they saying that Orthodox Judaism is problematic.

I happen to think that the ideal of religious tolerance as outlined by court decisions in the US is an admirable ideal and one I adhere to. As such, I'm not going to make a case that Scientology is any more problematic than any other religion. They have their skeletons in their closets and I think I have demonstrated how they are of the same caliber as Scientology's. You can argue with this, but it comes down to simple weighing of ethics and morality which isn't something that can be objectively qualified. He said/she said, you know? As long as we're talking in circles, the only thing that is fair is to extend the same considerations to Scientology you would to any other religion. That's the deal and I'm sticking to it.

JS Princeton
01-13-2004, 03:24 PM
No, its not as simple as that. Getting into a civil suit over this matter would cost more than it would return, and the CoS would never pay.

That's a lie as demonstrated by a post someone else made showing that they have paid out in lawsuits.

They would drag things out for years. They love this sort of thing.

Um, yeah... your point? Is it illegal? I mean, other Churches have done the same thing. Why aren't you up in arms over them?


A criminal case would involve a lot of police work to track down an anonymous paphleteer and phone calls. Sadly, urban police don't have the time for that sort of thing.


That's no excuse for not even filing a police report.


You seem to have this stock answer that the courts are some kind of magic bullet that will stop the cults activities cold. Our court system has demonstrated that it has many limitations.


This is exactly the rationale that allowed for such horrendous behavior as what led to the Cult Awareness Network's Bankruptcy (http://www.rickross.com/reference/newcan/newcan11.html). Total blindsided bigotry, as far as I can tell. It's sad that you've bought into it.


Yes, your point seem to be one of several apologetics for the cult with a few tu quoque arguements thrown in.


I haven't turned the critique back on the accuser at all. I'm simply saying that if they want to evaluate Scientology in the way they demonstrate, they should be prepared to level the same evaluation against ALL religions. That is not a fallacy, that's fairness.


No, their hired goons and followers did it.


This is nothing new. This sort of criticism is as old as religions.

Try attacking Christianity vocally and see what sort of "hired goons and followers" will begin doing nasty things to you. That's the way the game works. You can't say that Scientology is evil just because it behaves the way other religions are, unless you also are willing to call the other religions evil as well.


Oh yeah, lets do what the CoS want, get into long expensive litigation. That makes sense :rolleyes:


As I said, enough of the martyrdom crap. "O woe is me, Scientology is too rich to fight so I must roll over and cry foul on the internet". That makes sense :rolleyes:


These hired goons have a few warrents out for their arrest in certain states.

Then that's that, ain't it?

Its done no good in the 1/2 dozen years since they were issued. In fact there have been several more such abuses of the legal system by Scientology goons. They have yet to stop because the consuquences are few and far between.

Then pressure needs to be applied. Why are you griping about it on a message board? If you think there's a problem then isn't it your duty as a citizen to go and stop it?

Honestly, I don't understand this at all.

Its easy intimidation cost return for them.

Whose fault is that? Scientology as a religion?


Tu Quoque arguement. I've been with a few religions in my youth (Quakers, Episopalians, and Presbys) none of them even come remotely close to the activities in the criminal enterprise known as the CoS. Even catholicism, with is various sex scandals and lurid history, does not have the density of nefarious activities as the CoS.

Would you like to hold that up to academic scrutiny? I have gone through point-by-point how other religions behave in similar ways to Scientology, but because you are FAMILIAR with the other religions of your youth you don't find those practices unseemly. That's fine. However, I submit that if the same scrutiny with which you claim that there is a density of nefarious activies in Scientology were applied to any of the religions you mentioned, you'd find out they were remotely closer than you think.

JS Princeton
01-13-2004, 03:31 PM
My main criticism of $cientology: it has never PROVEN its claims about :
=Auditing: auditing is supposed to raise your IQ and improve your mind..judging from Tom Cruise and John Travolta, I'd take these claims with a grain of salt.
-"ENGRAMS" as the source of human ills..let's SEE some proof!
-this "Xenu" chap" where's the proof of his existance?

Every religion makes unprovable claims. By your logic, then, you should be criticizing every religion. There's no proof that praying to God will give you a better life. There's no proof that if you die when "saved" you'll go to some "heaven". There's no proof that Christianity makes people better.

Are those legit criticisms?

I don't think so, because the whole POINT of a religion is that it is based on faith, not on "proof".


Finally, the COS hands out booklets about how psychiatry harms young people..before they make these claims, let's see some evidence please!

Psychiatry has harmed people, it has helped people. The general scientific consensus is that it has helped more people than it has harmed, but religions aren't bound to scientific consensus. They make their own judgements like you or I.


Finally, the late L. Ron Hubbard was a liar, a swindler, and a con man..yet the COS insists that he was a humanitarian genius..where's the truth?

Well, I could claim that Jesus was a liar (saying he was the Son of God), a swindler (he made people leave their families for a better life), and a con-man (he led people to believe he was the Messiah -- which was a political figure according to Jewish consensus). Christianity insists that he was a humanitarian genius... where's the truth?

Don't you see that the "truth" is dependent upon your faith. That's all.

Hubbard is just as much a humanitarian as Jesus. There are plenty of people that will testify to that fact. You may think they're brainwashed, but then why aren't Christians likewise brainwashed?


So, those of you who defend $cientology, please back up your claims! :D

Done and done.

Dewey Cheatem Undhow
01-13-2004, 03:47 PM
Absolutely untrue. Guilty is a legal definition. In this country someone is not guilty until they are proven guilty. That's the way it works. If you want to redefine guilty that's up to you.Ahem.

Guilty (http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=guilty) --

1. Responsible for or chargeable with a reprehensible act; deserving of blame; culpable: guilty of cheating; the guilty party.
2. Law. Adjudged to have committed a crime.
3. Suffering from or prompted by a sense of guilt: a guilty conscience.
4. Hinting at or entailing guilt: a guilty smirk; a guilty secret. See Synonyms at blameworthy.

So tell me again that I'm redefining words, smart guy.

In the specific context of a court case, guilty has a narrow meaning. In its ordinary, day-to-day usage, its meaning is broader.
Um, legally, I'm afraid it does.
Courts do not define objective truth. Just because OJ was deemed "not guilty" by a Los Angeles jury does not mean he did not murder his wife. Similarly, just because the Church of Scientology has not been legally adjudged responsible for the death of Lisa McPherson does not mean they are factually innocent.
This is correct. Likewise an individual can do that about ANY religion.
Yes, and it's called "moral equivelance," and it is as repugnant here as it was when hard-leftists made similar comparisons between the US and the Soviet Union during the Cold War.
You can argue with this, but it comes down to simple weighing of ethics and morality which isn't something that can be objectively qualified. And Mussolini made the trains run on time. Hey, it's all just the weighing of ethics and morality which can't be objectively qualified, right?

ralph124c
01-13-2004, 05:08 PM
You have made some strange statements. L.R. Hubbard was no humanitarian..abundant evidence exists that he was nothing short of a monster. The fact that you are willing to make light of many year's testimony (of his numerous victims) means that you have chosen to ignore the truth.
Of course, you could argue that some people have been helped by $cientology, just like some people have been helped by taking arsenic. I repeat, in all I have read about this preposterous "church", I have never seen any evidence that any of Scientology's claims are true.

Pashnish Ewing
01-13-2004, 05:24 PM
You have made some strange statements. L.R. Hubbard was no humanitarian..abundant evidence exists that he was nothing short of a monster. The fact that you are willing to make light of many year's testimony (of his numerous victims) means that you have chosen to ignore the truth.Ralph,
Where do you get that Princeton is claiming LRH was any kind of Humanitarian? The point is that even if LRH was a monster, that does not inherently make the CoS evil or dangerous.
I repeat, in all I have read about this preposterous "church", I have never seen any evidence that any of Scientology's claims are true.Unless you have evidence that the claims of other "mainstream" religions are true, you are only adding to Princeton's case of religious bigotry.

Pash

JS Princeton
01-13-2004, 05:34 PM
Ahem.

So tell me again that I'm redefining words, smart guy.

In the specific context of a court case, guilty has a narrow meaning. In its ordinary, day-to-day usage, its meaning is broader.



The context was courts. You decided you wanted to talk about day-to-day usage, not me. So if you aren't redefining words you're redefining contexts.


Courts do not define objective truth. Just because OJ was deemed "not guilty" by a Los Angeles jury does not mean he did not murder his wife. Similarly, just because the Church of Scientology has not been legally adjudged responsible for the death of Lisa McPherson does not mean they are factually innocent.

Who, praytell, does define objective truth? You? Me? The Pope? Come now, reasonable people disagree on the culpability of the CoS in Lisa McPherson case. You have your opinions, other people have theirs.


Yes, and it's called "moral equivelance," and it is as repugnant here as it was when hard-leftists made similar comparisons between the US and the Soviet Union during the Cold War.


Actually, it's called fair play, and your moral higher ground may or may not be justified. I'm just saying that what's good for the goose is what's good for the gander.


And Mussolini made the trains run on time.

Lies (http://www.snopes.com/history/govern/trains.htm).


Hey, it's all just the weighing of ethics and morality which can't be objectively qualified, right?

Morality and ethics cannot be objectively qualified, right. You can, however come to a societal consensus about things. Generally, that's done in the courts. Do you have a different venue to propose we evaluate the claims of those disliking Scientology?

JS Princeton
01-13-2004, 05:39 PM
Of course, you could argue that some people have been helped by $cientology, just like some people have been helped by taking arsenic.

Any way you cut it, far more people have died of arsenic poisoning than have died from Scientology.

Is using the dollar sign supposed to be somehow persuasive? Because I don't see how it is.

Mr. Miskatonic
01-13-2004, 07:47 PM
Would you like to hold that up to academic scrutiny? I have gone through point-by-point how other religions behave in similar ways to Scientology, but because you are FAMILIAR with the other religions of your youth you don't find those practices unseemly. That's fine. However, I submit that if the same scrutiny with which you claim that there is a density of nefarious activies in Scientology were applied to any of the religions you mentioned, you'd find out they were remotely closer than you think.

Had a longer reply but it was lost to the new world gophers.

OK, since you threw down the gauntlet, find anything that Quakers, as a religion have done in the 20th an 21st centuries, that is comparable to the reprehensible antics of Scientology.

Your point-by-point has failed because your best examples have come from the middle ages.

Furthermore, your entire complaint against the Vaugns seems to be that he reported the incident to the internet. You seem to feel this is improper somehow. You also seem to feel that it is wrong for me to point out he bad behavior of the CoS on this board. Sorry, but that just doesn't hold water. Essentially what you are saying is "Shut up and sue".

Mr. Miskatonic
01-13-2004, 07:51 PM
Is using the dollar sign supposed to be somehow persuasive? Because I don't see how it is.

No, its merely indicitive of the way the CoS operates. You are measured by how much money you spend on the cult taking classes, you are also measured in worthiness by how much you earn. Not the deeds you perform.

Its also shorter that writing "money grubbing cult".

Like it or not, this is the reality of the CoS.

JS Princeton
01-13-2004, 09:00 PM
OK, since you threw down the gauntlet, find anything that Quakers, as a religion have done in the 20th an 21st centuries, that is comparable to the reprehensible antics of Scientology.


I knew a gay couple that was nastily given notice that they weren't welcome (what they considered bordering on abuse) by a Meeting associated with the Friends Evangelical Church. They're a bit more forgiving than some notable ex-Scientologists and so don't go publicizing their case, but since there were no other Quaker Churches in the area, they quietly had to convert to a different denomination.


Your point-by-point has failed because your best examples have come from the middle ages.


Actually, the majority of my points came from present-day.

And, to boot, one of the things I'm claiming is that Scientology, as a young religion, is necessarily more dogmatic (and therefore more offensive to free-thinking post-modern society) than other mainstreamed religions. I think its okay to look at the history of religions because it informs us as to what they were like before they became mainstreamed. It is interesting that the parallels can be seen for religions that are of the same age. Actually, Scientology is much MORE tolerant than many denominations in the Middle Ages, you have to agree. No, we're not living in the Middle Ages, but if Scientology had been somehow founded at that time and managed to survive I seriously doubt that this discussion would be happening at all.

Can you imagine someone asking "What exactly is the problem with the Amish?" and getting the response this thread has generated?


Furthermore, your entire complaint against the Vaugns seems to be that he reported the incident to the internet. You seem to feel this is improper somehow. You also seem to feel that it is wrong for me to point out he bad behavior of the CoS on this board. Sorry, but that just doesn't hold water. Essentially what you are saying is "Shut up and sue".

No, they are free to go ahead and point out bad behavior. I don't think they nor you should shut up. I do find their choice for voicing their opinions odd, but it's a free country and they can do what they want. I just don't think their complaints prove much by way of saying Scientology is problematic or dangerous.

I only hope you realize that similar types of criticisms that you're using to point out the "bad behavior" of CoS can be leveled against other religions too. That's all I'm doing, pointing out that Scientology may not be as "bad" as you paint it because if we honestly compare it to other churches it is difficult for me to see exactly how it is so problematic.

People are free to disagree with me. It may be a self-evident fact to you. I welcome you to show me how I'm being obtuse in this regard.

JS Princeton
01-13-2004, 09:07 PM
No, its merely indicitive of the way the CoS operates. You are measured by how much money you spend on the cult taking classes, you are also measured in worthiness by how much you earn. Not the deeds you perform.

Actually, you aren't measured by the money, but by levels of awareness. It's all in dianetics which you can read. Your spin is supportable, but any Scientologist could easily tell you ten ways in which that was wrong and support their side equally well. Who's right?


Its also shorter that writing "money grubbing cult".


This is very similar to the same tactics used by racists when using racial slurs.


Like it or not, this is the reality of the CoS.

This is like arguing with a KKK member as to whether blacks are not problematic people. They have their beliefs and stick to it. They present their evidence and balk at any attempts at deconstruction. A KKK member is bigotted, and it seems to me, so are you.

robertliguori
01-13-2004, 10:48 PM
This is very similar to the same tactics used by racists when using racial slurs.


Are you denying that Scientology is a money grubbing cult? Because you better have one heckuva cite lined up if so.

Also, I'd like to commend you for remaining so civil throughout this discourse. I personally believe you are comitting crimes against critical thought with your never prosecuted == never happened line of reasoning, but respect your ability to remain cool under pressure.

robertliguori
01-13-2004, 10:53 PM
This is like arguing with a KKK member as to whether blacks are not problematic people. They have their beliefs and stick to it. They present their evidence and balk at any attempts at deconstruction. A KKK member is bigotted, and it seems to me, so are you.

Damn. Should have read this before my previous post.

Wanna tip for future debates? You should respond to someone's points with a counterpoint which contradicts their point. Here, for instance, you didn't even try the "It's never been shown in court that they're evil" defence any more.

Mr. Miskatonic
01-13-2004, 11:45 PM
I knew a gay couple that was nastily given notice that they weren't welcome (what they considered bordering on abuse) by a Meeting associated with the Friends Evangelical Church. They're a bit more forgiving than some notable ex-Scientologists and so don't go publicizing their case, but since there were no other Quaker Churches in the area, they quietly had to convert to a different denomination.

Its funny, I cannot for the life of me find this "friends Evangelical Church" listed amonst the Society of Friends at quaker.org. Are you certain these are quakers?

Either way, rejecting gays is bad behavior. But nothing compared to brainwashing, attmepts to frame people, and a whole litany of actual crimes that members have gone to jail for, plus a host of other nafarious deeds that they have gotten away with. That's a level far and above being treated rudely.


Actually, the majority of my points came from present-day.

And, to boot, one of the things I'm claiming is that Scientology, as a young religion, is necessarily more dogmatic (and therefore more offensive to free-thinking post-modern society) than other mainstreamed religions. I think its okay to look at the history of religions because it informs us as to what they were like before they became mainstreamed. It is interesting that the parallels can be seen for religions that are of the same age. Actually, Scientology is much MORE tolerant than many denominations in the Middle Ages, you have to agree. No, we're not living in the Middle Ages, but if Scientology had been somehow founded at that time and managed to survive I seriously doubt that this discussion would be happening at all.


I'm sorry, but you want to give them points for being better than religions in the middle age? Thanks like saying someone is "less prone to rape and pillage than Atilla the Hun". Talk about backhanded compliments.

Furthermore, being new is no excuse. Scientology is not the only religion founded in this age. I have yet to see wicca act as a criminal enterprise.


Can you imagine someone asking "What exactly is the problem with the Amish?" and getting the response this thread has generated?


1) The Amish are pacifists.
2) The Amish don't try to trick you into their religion with 'personality tests" that disguise the fact that they are Amish recruiters
3) The Amish don't have a whole system of paid classes designed to indoctrinate you into their system.
4) The Amish have not made several attempts to restrict free speech on the internet.
5) If someone leaves the Amish, that's pretty much it. They don't send private investigators if they are critical of the Amish Heirarchy.
6) If someone leaves the Amish, their family might not speak to them again, but that is the familiy's choice, they are not ardered to do so by the Amish heirarchy.

Not to say that the Amish are without their foibles (above and beyond the buggies and clothes) but nothing compared to the activities of the CoS.


No, they are free to go ahead and point out bad behavior. I don't think they nor you should shut up. I do find their choice for voicing their opinions odd, but it's a free country and they can do what they want. I just don't think their complaints prove much by way of saying Scientology is problematic or dangerous.


Your opinion.


I only hope you realize that similar types of criticisms that you're using to point out the "bad behavior" of CoS can be leveled against other religions too. That's all I'm doing, pointing out that Scientology may not be as "bad" as you paint it because if we honestly compare it to other churches it is difficult for me to see exactly how it is so problematic.


Actually, I think you have failed utterly to do so. My opinion only of course.


People are free to disagree with me. It may be a self-evident fact to you. I welcome you to show me how I'm being obtuse in this regard.

Lisa McPherson, Operation Snow White, The framing and Raid on anon.penet.fi, The attempts to censor the internet, the continual harassment of critics, the attacks and supression of "Free Zoners", oh, and the brainwashing, the whole fiasco of Sea Org (with its billion year contract), the quasi legal siezing and destruction of Dennis Erlich's Computer, the attempts to frame CSICOP with forged letters, the SWAT raid by the 'in pocket' Clearwater police on Jesse Prince, the intimidation and threats made on protesters at CoS facilities, the failure to pay Wollershiem his owed money (The 'not one thin dime' declaration) until the court was so fed up with them that they were going to seize documents, the 'it-would-be-funny-if-it-weren't-true conviction of Keith Henson for "terroristic threats against Scientology", the further arrest (and embarassed release) of Henson in Canada by SWAT teams brought about by Scientology making false claims to the police. Let's also not forget the behavior of LRon himself. Oh, and for the critics we get some of the most abhorrent attacks on critics on this webpage. (http://www.religiousfreedomwatch.org/extremists/index.html)

That's just for starters. And they are way ahead of the pack. Nobody other mainstream religion is even coming close to this.

AveDementia
01-14-2004, 01:49 AM
::wading in::

If I might offer a suggestion?

I have found the Advanced Bonewits' Cult Danger Evaluation Frame to be very useful in discussing (or more to the point- pinning down) what to look for in groups that may be harmful. You can't just go by names, beliefs, or even reputations, you've really got look closer at the structure of a group to comprehend what they're about, becuse that's where the danger may be.

The first half of the page explains the background of it, and the second part is the Frame itself. I hope it can perhaps be useful to the discussion.

http://www.neopagan.net/ABCDEF.html

::wading out::

edwino
01-14-2004, 10:30 AM
JS Princeton
I admire the work you have been doing in this thread, especially since you seem to have no real horse in the race. I won't disagree with you about the illegitimacy of using the word "cult" or that Scientology is a religion. It just seems like this thread is missing the forest for the trees.

I won't say Scientology doesn't have its merits. Plenty of people seem to have been helped by its teachings. But looking at history, we can pick out the bad things religions have done and attempt to trace their root causes. Many of these bad aspects of religion -- insularity, elitism, violence, extreme prosetylization -- can now be used to describe Scientology. Probably the only thing I can think of off the top of my head that Scientology doesn't have is fatalism. Yeah, all religions have their bad points. Yeah, it is a total judgement call. Yeah, all religions have their merits. But Scientology really seems to be at the bad end of the scale. OTOH, Scientology as a modern religion using modern tools only may only seem worse because it is more efficient than other organized religions.

My particular beef is the untastefulness by which Scientology recruits. And yes, I will gladly lump this in with all of the Christian and other groups who recruit by deceit -- Messianic Jews, anti-abortion groups masquerading as family planning outfits, even creation scientists. Scientology claims to be a religion based in science (despite that there is an obvious conflict within that definition). From http://www.scientology.org:

Scientology constitutes man’s first real application of scientific methodology to spiritual questions.But they don't do science in the traditional sense, they have never done science, and their techniques are not scientific. At least from what I understand. They actively use deceit (Narconon is just one, they pulled a similar stunt on 9/11 (http://www.solitarytrees.net/cowen/misc/ground0.htm)) to get people away from science and into their non-scientific programs. They have "declared war" on psychotherapy and psychiatry, aiming to replace them with what is essentially a treatment based on faith. Yes, there are problems with modern psychotherapy and psychiatry, but they are improving fields which rest on scientific methods and subjected to scientific scrutiny. The same cannot be said of E-Meters. I feel the exact same way about this (which perhaps is the central dogma of Scientology) than I do about churches which preach sexual orientation conversion therapy or Christian Science or faith healing of any sort.

If another religious group moved in on legitimate therapy groups set up to help 9/11 survivors, I would have the exact same fury. The only break Christianity or another "established" religion would get that they are older, larger, and more fragmented. We can dismiss the actions of a few bungholes without dismissing the religion at large. Scientology is new, smaller, and strictly regimented. I must, therefore, assume that this isn't the action of a renegade group but is central dogma. And that is a Bad Thing.

Dewey Cheatem Undhow
01-14-2004, 11:12 AM
The context was courts. You decided you wanted to talk about day-to-day usage, not me. So if you aren't redefining words you're redefining contexts.Bullshit.

You are the one that brought up courts. No one else in this thread has made their case based on the presence or absence of courtroom proceedings. You said, and I quote, that "You cannot, in this country, call someone guilty without proving it in a court of law." Which is patently false.

To sum up this part of the discussion to date:
1. Everyone else: Scientology is guilty of heinous things!
2. You: You can't call anyone "guilty" without a court proceeding.
3. Me: Bullshit. Oswald is guilty even absent judicial proceedings.
4. You: "Guilty" is a legal term, and cannot be used otherwise.
5. Me: (provides definition of "guilty," calls bullshit, points out context issue).
6. You: Well, we're talking about a legal context.

To which, again, I reply "bullshit." You're bootstrapping -- claiming your earlier (and erroneous) statements about judicial proceedings have changed the context of the discussion to that of courts of law. And that is simply not so. Who, praytell, does define objective truth? You? Me? The Pope? Come now, reasonable people disagree on the culpability of the CoS in Lisa McPherson case. You have your opinions, other people have theirs. I have more than my opinions. I have facts. And while others can cleave to their own opinions in the face of those facts -- much like the OJ Simpson jury -- that does not make them right. Actually, it's called fair play, and your moral higher ground may or may not be justified. I'm just saying that what's good for the goose is what's good for the gander. So you consider, say, comparisons between the Soviet gulags and the American prison system to be just "fair play"? Morality and ethics cannot be objectively qualified, right. You can, however come to a societal consensus about things. Generally, that's done in the courts. Do you have a different venue to propose we evaluate the claims of those disliking Scientology?I categorically reject the notion that we cannot call a given set of behavior "immoral" or "unethical" unless there are judicial proceedings involved.

And yes, there is another venue -- the hearts and minds of individuals everywhere. By informing others of Scientology's excesses, sites like xenu.net do the general public a great service.

E-Sabbath
01-14-2004, 11:21 AM
Crimes committed by Scientologists or Scientology in general, a selected list from one site.

http://www.scientology-lies.com/crimesindex.html

1999: Greece: Scientologists found guilty
15 Scientologists were accused of systematically keeping files on politicians, journalists, judges, clergymen and other Greek leading personalities


1996: France: Scientology executive found guilty of involuntary homicide

1996: France: Scientologists guilty of interfering with a witness

1995: Canada: Scientology pays the largest libel award in Canadian history

1984: USA: Clearwater Police Investigator Recommends RICO Charges


1980: USA: Top-ranking Scientologists guilty of burglary, forgery, infiltration, and obstruction of justice
Eleven Scientology executives, including L. Ron Hubbard's wife, pled guilty to a number of serious crimes. The stipulation of evidence included the following statement: "At all times material to the indictment, L. Ron Hubbard was, by virtue of his role as the founder and leader or Scientology, overall supervisor of the Guardian's Office."



More fun facts about Scientology, including someone's ISP being raided!

http://www.virtualschool.edu/mon/SocialConstruction/Scientology.html


In 1995, a Scientologist was convicted of sexually molesting his young stepdaughters. His wife stated, under oath, that the "Church" of Scientology ordered her not to report it

http://www.shipbrook.com/jeff/CoS/strawn/uscode.html

A history of high crimes _against_ Scientology...

An open letter to all Scientologists: Issue II

Greetings and by way of introduction, I am a Class 8, OT 8, who has been in the Church for many decades and I am in good standing with the Church. I am a lover of LRH's technology and that is my motivation in writing you and in doing what I am now doing.

It came to my attention, sometime in the not too distant past, that the current top management of the Church, particularly David Miscavige, is off source. One of the ways he is off-source is that he has made the same mistake as the old Guardian's Office staff made, engaging in criminal activities to solve problems.

Furthermore, he and RTC have betrayed Ron's trust to keep the technology true to source. Along this line he has allowed thousands of alterations to LRH issues in books, HCOBs, and tapes. The attached time track gives some of the details.

I am not alone in this observation, there are hundreds upon hundreds of other Scientologists who also know this to be true and efforts to apply KSW within the Church have not yielded any positive results. Miscavige, being at the top in command, ousts anyone who tries to correct his squirreling of the technology by internal methods.

The Creed of the Church provides an answer: We of the Church believe that all men have inalienable rights to conceive, choose, assist or support their own organizations, churches and governments.

In keeping with that, a new group has been formed, an association of on-source auditors, loyal to LRH and his technology. We reject any and all alterations of LRH's technology by Miscavige, or anyone else, for that matter. The only technology we agree to practice is that which comes from LRH himself. Since this is unavailable to us at the formal Churches at this time, we are starting our own group to make this a reality.

Our first project is to get KSW point 1 in: having the correct technology. We are currently working at assembling a complete, on-source, LRH library of the entire bridge.

When that is done, we will engage in the paramount - producing theta clears and beyond.

You will hear from us again in the near future. In the meantime, you can educate yourself by reading the attached time track.

http://www.skeptictank.org/gs/crimtime.htm


There. Now you have some specifics. JS, we eagerly await your responses in detail.

JS Princeton
01-14-2004, 11:44 AM
Are you denying that Scientology is a money grubbing cult? Because you better have one heckuva cite lined up if so.


If you think Scientology is a money-grubbing cult, then you are entitled to your opinion. I happen to think it's no more money-grubbing than many other religions I've come across. Some religions really push to get money. Others don't have that as part of their organizational set-up. In this country, if it's legal than it's allowed. You may disagree with it, but then that's your issue and you may find that you'll have to fight quite a few other religious groups that behave in similar fashion.

The essence of religious tolerance is that you DON'T tell people in other religions how to run their religions unless it is illegal. That is all.


I personally believe you are comitting crimes against critical thought with your never prosecuted == never happened line of reasoning, but respect your ability to remain cool under pressure.

I'm not saying never prosecuted = never happened at all. I'm simply saying that the venue which we decide whether a person or organization is culpable is in the courts. There is an enormous difference between those two statements.


Wanna tip for future debates? You should respond to someone's points with a counterpoint which contradicts their point. Here, for instance, you didn't even try the "It's never been shown in court that they're evil" defence any more.

I've responded plenty of times before to ad hominem attacks against Scientology as a religion. I don't think that it's that important that I continue like a broken phonograph to repeat myself.

I was just pointing out the obvious similarities between the argumentation of the anti-scientologists and racists, for example. My position is well-documented in this thread and even you seemed to have a good handle on what my responses are (though I think your interpretation of my defense isn't exactly what I think I believe in).

theR
01-14-2004, 12:26 PM
I've responded plenty of times before to ad hominem attacks against Scientology as a religion. I don't think that it's that important that I continue like a broken phonograph to repeat myself.

If you don't think it's necessary, why do you continue to do it?

I've seen no indication that you are actually engaged in debate here. You have ignored the opening post, instead buiding strawmen or completely changing the subject. People have stated why Scientology is bad, including numerous cites. Your point by point rebuttals to the many posts here have not cited any evidence that the allegations and stories about the CoS are false, but have instead concentrated on excusing those actions or pointing out that other religions have been guilty of similar actions.

As such, I really wish people would just stop arguing with you, because it is pointless. I am confident that most people reading this thread would see that your only point is that the CoS is not so bad, but that you have no factual reasoning behind that opinion. Being for, against, or neutral towards the CoS based on emotion or some other non-factual reasons are fine, but the people in this thread that dislike the CoS have at least, at times, shown specific instances and reasons why they dislike Scientology.

E-Sabbath
01-14-2004, 12:27 PM
I was just pointing out the obvious similarities between the argumentation of the anti-scientologists and racists, for example.

So... what you're saying is the statement "Organization X not only has members that commit crimes to further the goals of the organization, but it officially supports such crimes being committed," is similar to argumentation of racists?

How about "Organization X has, repeatedly, and in official capacity, ordered harassment of people it thinks may do things that are not in the best interest of the organization." Is that similar to the argumentation of racists?

Argumentation is a real word, interestingly enough.

http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=argumentation

1. The presentation and elaboration of an argument or arguments.
2. Deductive reasoning in debate.
3. A debate.

So... what you're saying is that the structure of the debate, but not the contents, is similar to that of at least one racist? I fail to see the problem here. Even invalid premises can be manipulated in deductive reasoning... they simply won't lead to valid conclusions.

JS, your interesting form of debate, sound and fury, teetering on the edge of logic and hairsplitting words, seems interesting but useless. Might I suggest you engage instead of spitting out what might be seen by some as flim flam and poppycock?

JS Princeton
01-14-2004, 02:32 PM
Its funny, I cannot for the life of me find this "friends Evangelical Church" listed amonst the Society of Friends at quaker.org. Are you certain these are quakers?

This denomination (http://www.evangelical-friends.org/)


Either way, rejecting gays is bad behavior. But nothing compared to brainwashing,

Please, demonstrate the "brainwashing" and how it is ontologically different than the indoctrination that occurs in most religions.

attmepts to frame people,

Illegal. Should be prosecuted.

and a whole litany of actual crimes that members have gone to jail for, plus a host of other nafarious deeds that they have gotten away with. That's a level far and above being treated rudely.

The couple received repeated harassment and actually a few comments that they perceived as death threats. They left and tried to keep a low-profile. Interesting behavior for a pacifist church.

I think the justification is simple: members or even church officials do NOT represent the religion as a whole. Since there are good things that Quakers do and there are Quakers who are wholly happy with their religion, why should the religion itself deserve bashing? The answer is, it shouldn't.

Scientology is not its members. It is not, really, even about Church hierarcy inasmuch as religions are sets-of-beliefs. The organization may be flawed or problematic, but then that's a matter, IMHO, for the courts to decide. If you have a different way you wish to handle it, that's your business.


I'm sorry, but you want to give them points for being better than religions in the middle age? Thanks like saying someone is "less prone to rape and pillage than Atilla the Hun". Talk about backhanded compliments.


Scientology deserves the same respect we would extend any other religion. Religions, in general, have things that people outside of the religion find problematic -- pretty much across the board.


Furthermore, being new is no excuse. Scientology is not the only religion founded in this age. I have yet to see wicca act as a criminal enterprise.


How is Scientology as a religion acting as a criminal enterprise. Refer to the specific beliefs of the religion that can ONLY be construed as being criminal.

I really don't think this is possible.


Not to say that the Amish are without their foibles (above and beyond the buggies and clothes) but nothing compared to the activities of the CoS.


I think you missed my point entirely. The Amish are incidental to the whole argument. I'm just saying older and more established religions are more palatable to most people.

There are people who are extremely angry at the way the Amish behave and write just as vitriolically against them as you are writing against scientologists (including insinuations of criminal activity). Does that mean that the Amish are problematic/dangerous? I'd say not.


Lisa McPherson,

Dealt with.

Operation Snow White,

Illegal?

The framing and Raid on anon.penet.fi,

If true, then illegal, why is there no court case?

The attempts to censor the internet,

Or protect copyrights, as the case may be.

the continual harassment of critics,

ala Pat Robertson.

the attacks and supression of "Free Zoners",

Describe these so-called "attacks" and "supressions". Were they illegal?

oh, and the brainwashing,

I guess that must be a proven fact?

the whole fiasco of Sea Org (with its billion year contract),[/qute]

Which part of this fiasco are you referring to in particular? The billion-year contract? The criminal investigation?

More importantly, how does this prove that Scientology is a dangerous or problematic religion? Do the actions of a few deviant hire-ups necessarily mean the whole religion is awful?

[quote] the quasi legal siezing and destruction of Dennis Erlich's Computer,

How was it "quasi-legal"?

the attempts to frame CSICOP with forged letters,

This one I don't even think CSICOP blames on the CoS.

the SWAT raid by the 'in pocket' Clearwater police on Jesse Prince,

In pocket? Eh? I suppose you have evidence to that effect?

the intimidation and threats made on protesters at CoS facilities,

See what you do when someone protests outside facilities of your religion. Justified? Not in my book, but simply human nature: NOT an endemic problem of the religion.


the failure to pay Wollershiem his owed money (The 'not one thin dime' declaration) until the court was so fed up with them that they were going to seize documents,

They paid him! What more do you want? I think you want Scientology to roll-over and be happy about the fact it was sued. People and organizations that are sued for a lot of money rarely are cooperative about it. Name a counterexample to show that the CoS was somehow different in kind.

the 'it-would-be-funny-if-it-weren't-true conviction of Keith Henson for "terroristic threats against Scientology",

It wasn't justified? Have you read at all about what Keith Henson does wrt Scientology?

the further arrest (and embarassed release) of Henson in Canada by SWAT teams brought about by Scientology making false claims to the police.

Verifiable false claims? I thought that some were actually legit.

Let's also not forget the behavior of LRon himself.

We've dealt with this before. You just don't want to deal with the substance of the issues I'm talking about: religious tolerance.

Oh, and for the critics we get some of the most abhorrent attacks on critics on this webpage. (http://www.religiousfreedomwatch.org/extremists/index.html)

Snow job par excellance. Not only are these a hodge-podge of claims that are simply listed without careful evaluation (a number have been dealt with, but a number are simply wild accusations), they are simply outside the point I listed earlier about the religion itself.

Saying that members of Scientology or members in the hierarchy of Scientology acted illegally or abusively does not a problematic or dangerous religion make. Saying that the Clearwater police are goons for the CoS is a straight-up lie, as far as I can tell.

More than that, some of the claims you level are simply ridiculous. If you don't want to pay a person as an organization and you state that, but then you pay him when the courts decide you must, is that acting dangerously or problematically? If so, why?


That's just for starters. And they are way ahead of the pack. Nobody other mainstream religion is even coming close to this.

I'd like to see you quantify this in some way. I anxiously await it.

JS Princeton
01-14-2004, 02:45 PM
JS Princeton
Yeah, all religions have their bad points. Yeah, it is a total judgement call. Yeah, all religions have their merits. But Scientology really seems to be at the bad end of the scale. OTOH, Scientology as a modern religion using modern tools only may only seem worse because it is more efficient than other organized religions.

I appreciate your comments edwino.

I think you hit the nail on the head. You personally think that Scientology is at the bad end of the scale. That may be true, but I think the real measure is, for lack of a better technique, in the courts. It seems to me that this is the test that is used by society to determine the legitimacy of a group. If the religion is problematic and dangerous then shouldn't it be illegal?

That's the question I think we can ask, "Should Scientology be outlawed?" I'm sure there are a few people in this thread that would say, "yes".


My particular beef is the untastefulness by which Scientology recruits.... I feel the exact same way about this (which perhaps is the central dogma of Scientology) than I do about churches which preach sexual orientation conversion therapy or Christian Science or faith healing of any sort.

Okay, you're consistent. I appreciate that consistency.

Here's my question: do you think Scientology should be legally made to reform? Should it be illegal to recruit untastefully?

If not, then I must extend my defense of them as a religion. In other words, I may not agree with them, but I don't think that I have a right to, for example, automatically lambaste the member [i]simply because[/r] they're a member.


We can dismiss the actions of a few bungholes without dismissing the religion at large. Scientology is new, smaller, and strictly regimented. I must, therefore, assume that this isn't the action of a renegade group but is central dogma. And that is a Bad Thing.

I think I disagree with the central dogma claim as I have met many Scientologists who do not act out of this paradigm. We hear a lot about the bungholes, I think, and receive a skewed view of the religion.

My opinion, of course.

Again, thanks for your enlightened comments, edwino. It's nice to hear from someone who isn't foaming at the mouth about this discussion.

JS Princeton
01-14-2004, 02:55 PM
Bullshit.

You are the one that brought up courts. No one else in this thread has made their case based on the presence or absence of courtroom proceedings. You said, and I quote, that "You cannot, in this country, call someone guilty without proving it in a court of law." Which is patently false.
[/quote[

Well, Dewey, taking that comment completely out of context is ridiculous. I could call you guilty of anything I wanted to, but the evaluative technique of choice for determining guilt or non-guilt in this country is the courts. That's ALL I have been saying.

[quote]
To sum up this part of the discussion to date:
1. Everyone else: Scientology is guilty of heinous things!
2. You: You can't call anyone "guilty" without a court proceeding.
3. Me: Bullshit. Oswald is guilty even absent judicial proceedings.
4. You: "Guilty" is a legal term, and cannot be used otherwise.
5. Me: (provides definition of "guilty," calls bullshit, points out context issue).
6. You: Well, we're talking about a legal context.

To which, again, I reply "bullshit." You're bootstrapping -- claiming your earlier (and erroneous) statements about judicial proceedings have changed the context of the discussion to that of courts of law.

My QUESTIONS about the perceived guilt or innocence in question were with regards to courts, to which you responded that, e.g., "OJ was guilty", to which I respond that the case is the context of courts does not allow for that. If people want to use their own personal judgement, as you wish to do, then they should REALIZE that it is not an objective measure. Are the courts fallible? Of course, but that's what WE USE AS A SOCIETY to determine guilt or non-guilt. You may not like it, but that's the way it is.

I have more than my opinions. I have facts.

What FACT do you have that shows that Scientology is, for example, guilty of killing Lisa McPherson?

I categorically reject the notion that we cannot call a given set of behavior "immoral" or "unethical" unless there are judicial proceedings involved.


You are fine to reject that. What I don't understand is how, in the context of society, you intend to pass judgement on a group.

Yell against Scientology. Call them raving lunatics. Call them bastards. That doesn't make them any less of a religion or any more problematic. As I've said, you have your opinions, I have mine.


sites like xenu.net do the general public a great service.

And the SAME could be said for Scientology's official website.

E-Sabbath
01-14-2004, 02:55 PM
I think the justification is simple: members or even church officials do NOT represent the religion as a whole.


What does then? If a church official, acting in their official role, does not represent a religion, what does?



How is Scientology as a religion acting as a criminal enterprise. Refer to the specific beliefs of the religion that can ONLY be construed as being criminal.

I really don't think this is possible.


Certainly. Easily done. The Fair Game Policy. I present to you a letter written by the founder of the religion suggesting, even directing, illegal activities.

http://www.xenu.net/fairgame-e.html

For the heck of it, here's LRH on starting a religion, analyzed and verified.

http://www.cs.colorado.edu/~lindsay/scientology/start.a.religion.html


While the Fair Game policy was later recinded, I believe that there are later references to declaring people Fair Game, as late as 1984.

In fact, here is a reference to Fair Game, as early as March of '68.

http://www.planetkc.com/sloth/sci/hubbard_fair_game.html

Another interesting tradition is the R2-45 Auditing Process. Which seems to be "Shoot Person In Head With Colt .45" There is no proof this process has ever been implemented, but it seems to have been a viable threat.
http://www.planetkc.com/sloth/sci/R2-45.html

JS Princeton
01-14-2004, 02:59 PM
There. Now you have some specifics. JS, we eagerly await your responses in detail.


I have a question for you: how many Scientology members are there worldwide? Is there a higher percentage that are involved in crimes than, say, Southern Baptists? I'd be interested to see the statistics.

What your sites prove is that Scientologists have been convicted of crimes. What they fail to show is how that makes Scientology in and of itself problematic.

JS Princeton
01-14-2004, 03:13 PM
You have ignored the opening post, instead buiding strawmen or completely changing the subject. People have stated why Scientology is bad, including numerous cites. Your point by point rebuttals to the many posts here have not cited any evidence that the allegations and stories about the CoS are false, but have instead concentrated on excusing those actions or pointing out that other religions have been guilty of similar actions.

The question is "What exactly is the problem is Scientology?"

The answer is: people can give you reasons they don't like it, but a religion in-and-of-itelf is not problematic. Our society is founded on religious freedome precisely because religions are deemed to not be in-and-of-themselves problematic. You can legislate against religions because religions aren't problematic in the legal sense of the word. Since they aren't problematic in the legal sense of the word, I'm saying they aren't problematic.


Being for, against, or neutral towards the CoS based on emotion or some other non-factual reasons are fine, but the people in this thread that dislike the CoS have at least, at times, shown specific instances and reasons why they dislike Scientology.

Some of those instances were specious, some were extremely spin-doctored.

Not that you can't do that, but I'm claiming that they have nothing to say about Scientology as a religion being problematic.

JS Princeton
01-14-2004, 03:20 PM
Certainly. Easily done. The Fair Game Policy. I present to you a letter written by the founder of the religion suggesting, even directing, illegal activities.

http://www.xenu.net/fairgame-e.html


Please go back and read the thread. It would be better had you done this before hand rather than later.


For the heck of it, here's LRH on starting a religion, analyzed and verified.

http://www.cs.colorado.edu/~lindsay/scientology/start.a.religion.html


Must we rehash this argument too? At least read the thread before you post.


While the Fair Game policy was later recinded, I believe that there are later references to declaring people Fair Game, as late as 1984.


So, if the Fair Game policy isn't even part of Scientology, then how does that make the religion problematic, dangerous, or illegal?

In other words, the argument that Scientology is problematic because fo the Fair Game policy doesn't make any sense to me at all.

Another interesting tradition is the R2-45 Auditing Process. Which seems to be "Shoot Person In Head With Colt .45" There is no proof this process has ever been implemented, but it seems to have been a viable threat.
http://www.planetkc.com/sloth/sci/R2-45.html
[/quote]

Read some of the stuff I wrote about apologetics.

We might compare this kind of doctrinal development to the apologetics the Mormons play with plural marriage. The whole game is that when you fit yourself into society, sometimes you say that your "beliefs" are not for this time and place.

In effect, that's what Scientology is doing. It's just as legit when any other religion does it. I fail to see how it makes them problematic -- ESPECIALLY if they, like other religions, retract and do apologetics on doctrinal problems that make people uncomfortable or society finds illegal.

JS Princeton
01-14-2004, 03:25 PM
What does then? If a church official, acting in their official role, does not represent a religion, what does?


The religion as a whole. It's a difficult concept to wrap your head around, but I think it's the only way we can talk about a religion without falling into inductive fallacies.

I also think you'd be hard-pressed to find a Scientologist Church Official acting in their official role commiting a crime.

For example, when a priest molests a child he is not acting in his official role.

E-Sabbath
01-14-2004, 03:28 PM
What your sites prove is that Scientologists have been convicted of crimes.

This is, in fact, not true. The sites indicate that Scientologists have a predictable pattern, approved and in fact, ordered, by the administration and leaders of the church, of comitting crimes to preserve, protect, defend, and spread Scientology.


Let me restate that in different words.

This is not a random priest.

This is not a errant follower mugging someone.

This is the head of the church, and his direct assistants, or the head of a foreign branch of the church, and _his_ direct assistants, committing crimes, or ordering crimes to be performed.

These crimes are for the apparent benefit of the church.

I fail to see how these three things, the crime, the person ordering or comitting the crime, and the goal of the crime, added together, fail to make Scientology responsible for the crime.


I am waiting for your direct analysis of each incident cited above, and your explanation.

JS Princeton
01-14-2004, 03:31 PM
This one I don't even think CSICOP blames on the CoS.


I checked up on this. It turns out that the "forgeries" are not exactly "forgeries", but rather misappropriation of organizational representation.

In other words, the very thing that many in this thread are doing.

E-Sabbath
01-14-2004, 03:37 PM
So, if the Fair Game policy isn't even part of Scientology, then how does that make the religion problematic, dangerous, or illegal?

In other words, the argument that Scientology is problematic because fo the Fair Game policy doesn't make any sense to me at all.




Read the entire sentence, JS. The Fair Game policy has been shown, despite the '68 recantation, to have been in effect as late as 1984.

http://www.wwwaif.net/scn/scn_stip_index.php

How about the Snow White affair? Pick that. Tell me why that incident is something that was not condoned by the religion. It's a simple case, isn't it?

And, actually, Scientology is problematic. It is dangerous. And it is illegal.

It is problematic. It causes problems. An example of this would be the hijacking of Fox's World Trade Center efforts to hype their Dianetics hotline.

It is dangerous. It puts people in danger. See the previous crimes listing.

It is illegal. In Germany, the religion is outlawed.

Voyager
01-14-2004, 03:38 PM
I have a question for you: how many Scientology members are there worldwide? Is there a higher percentage that are involved in crimes than, say, Southern Baptists? I'd be interested to see the statistics.

What your sites prove is that Scientologists have been convicted of crimes. What they fail to show is how that makes Scientology in and of itself problematic.

There you go again. The cites are not of Scientologists knocking over liquor stores, (which would be irrelevant) but of crimes specifically in support of Scientology. Any cites on high level Baptist officials doing anything similar? If not, your analogy is bogus.

And what is Scientology? Proven science? Not hardly. Divine revelation? Never heard of any. Scientology is just a business running under the flag of a religion. Sometimes living under the Constitution means you have to swallow the bad with the good.

JS Princeton
01-14-2004, 04:20 PM
This is, in fact, not true.

In point of fact it is true.

The sites indicate that Scientologists have a predictable pattern,

The sites indicate a history of individuals connected to Scientology. Whether it is a "predictable pattern" is a matter for quantifiable review. Make a prediction and we'll see if it comes true.

approved and in fact, ordered, by the administration and leaders of the church, of comitting crimes to preserve, protect, defend, and spread Scientology.


If the church orders crimes, that is illegal and should be prosecuted.


Let me restate that in different words.

This is not a random priest.


How is it not a random person, though? Even if it is a person in the high echelons, how can you say it is systemic evil that is causing it? Did the Roman Catholic Church cause dioceses to cover-up sex scandals? Same difference.


This is not a errant follower mugging someone.

This is the head of the church, and his direct assistants, or the head of a foreign branch of the church, and _his_ direct assistants, committing crimes, or ordering crimes to be performed.


First of all, that is not the only documentation your site provides. If you'd like to edit your post with just those crimes then that would be more honest.

Secondly, the character or behavior of the heads of churches are not indicative of the value of the religion.


These crimes are for the apparent benefit of the church.


As an organization or as a religion?


I fail to see how these three things, the crime, the person ordering or comitting the crime, and the goal of the crime, added together, fail to make Scientology responsible for the crime.


Because Scientology is a religion that is not based around crime. It's as simple as that. You may have people that use crime, but as far as being doctrine or dogma, you can go look into Scientology's doctrine (available at your local CoS outlet) and see what it says about crime.


I am waiting for your direct analysis of each incident cited above, and your explanation.

You've COMPLETELY missed the point.

It's not about whether people have committed crimes. It's about whether Scientology caused them to do it. I say "no". You say that the leaders of the church acting in official capacity committed crimes. I say that's simply not true. The convictions of members of the church are, in fact, not grounds for ruling that the religion is problematic.

The same thing happened with Joseph Smith and his doomed run for presidency. It didn't make Mormonism problematic NOR does it make Scientology problematic.

Do you honestly believe it is impossible that people can be involved in Scientology without being under the influence of nefarious forces? If it's true, then Scientology in-and-of-itself is not problematic or evil.

JS Princeton
01-14-2004, 04:30 PM
Read the entire sentence, JS. The Fair Game policy has been shown, despite the '68 recantation, to have been in effect as late as 1984.

That was 20 years ago. Honestly, what is that supposed to show?

How about the Snow White affair? Pick that. Tell me why that incident is something that was not condoned by the religion. It's a simple case, isn't it?

Because there are those who are in the religion who do not condone the actions of those who were convicted.


It is problematic. It causes problems. An example of this would be the hijacking of Fox's World Trade Center efforts to hype their Dianetics hotline.


This is not ontologically different from what other religions do, let me assure you. Robertson and Falwell on the 9/11 tragedy a prime example.


It is dangerous. It puts people in danger. See the previous crimes listing.


Scientology is not what puts the people in danger. I'm sorry, but this is plain inductive fallacy.

It is illegal. In Germany, the religion is outlawed.

Well, at least you admit it's a religion. In Germany, freedom of religion is not a guaranteed right. Maybe you should move there if you think it's better.

JS Princeton
01-14-2004, 04:37 PM
There you go again. The cites are not of Scientologists knocking over liquor stores, (which would be irrelevant) but of crimes specifically in support of Scientology. Any cites on high level Baptist officials doing anything similar? If not, your analogy is bogus.

For example, people have accused Southern Baptists (and their leaders) of promoting hate crimes in the name of their religion (http://www.religioustolerance.org/chi_decl.htm)/


Sometimes living under the Constitution means you have to swallow the bad with the good.

That's right. That's exactly what I'm talking about. You may think Scientology is bad, but you have to swallow the bad with the good. In other words, in the eyes of the Constitution and the law, Scientology is not problematic as a religion.

E-Sabbath
01-14-2004, 04:48 PM
That was 20 years ago. Honestly, what is that supposed to show?

Fair Game was initiated in 1967.
A document stating it was canceled was issued 1968.
It has been indicated that it was official policy of the church as late as 1984.
Sixteen years after the only cancellation order shown.

There is no reason to believe it is not currently policy of the church.

Fair Game suggests that any means necessary, including illegal actions, such as Snow White, shall be taken on behalf of the church.

Note: Pat Robertson said many things after 9/11. He did not go down to Ground Zero, and make life more difficult for those attempting search and rescue, to the point where they infiltrated police lines. He did not attempt to profess his religion to firefighters while they were working. He did not present his church's phone number to a major news bureau by pretending it was a psychatric help line.

Why was Snow White not indicative of the organization, JS? I'm still waiting for specifics, not frantic handwaving. You certainly like to assert things without basis.

Blake
01-14-2004, 05:00 PM
Just want to offer some encouragement to JS Princeton. Keep fighting the good fight.

I have very little to add to this debate that you have not already said. I certainly don’t have the patience to keep it up as longas you have. Kudos to that man.

It seems apparent to me that most of the detractors of scientology are basing their opinion on a totally baseless assumption that the Church incites people to commit crime. I can say clearly that that is baseless because if it had any basis that would convince 12 reasonable men there would be a conviction.

Dewey Cheatem Undhow
01-14-2004, 05:01 PM
Well, Dewey, taking that comment completely out of context is ridiculous. I could call you guilty of anything I wanted to, but the evaluative technique of choice for determining guilt or non-guilt in this country is the courts. That's ALL I have been saying.
Please explain how I took that comment "out of context," or how it means something other than what it plainly says (indeed, how it means something other than what you wrote above). You apparently think that no one can legitimately be labeled "guilty" of something unless a court has thusly ruled. That's ridiculous. Pete Rose could legitimately be called guilty of betting on baseball even before his recent public confession. Lee Harvey Oswald can legitimately be called guilty of the Kennedy assasination.

And courts are often victims of their own caution. "Beyond a reasonable doubt" is an incredibly high standard of proof -- appropriate, perhaps, for imposing upon a defendant the loss of his freedom or even his life, but not appropriate for more mundane, day-in, day-out evaluations. Thus, OJ Simpson can quite appropriately be called guilty of murder by the average man on the street in spite of his acquittal at a criminal trial. In the specific context of legal sanctions, that word is inappropriate, but outside of that context that description of OJ is quite apt (so much so that I frankly question the sanity of anyone claiming otherwise).

No one here has suggested that Scientology should have lesser legal rights when and if they are ever haled into court over their many misdeeds. Should that day come, they will be able to put their accusers to the same standard of proof as anyone else. But we're not in a courtroom, and the OP does not ask a legal question. The OP asks why people have a problem with Scientology. And members of this fora have, quite rightly, pointed out the many reasons why Scientology is considered a disreputable organization. They have, in short, been answering the OP's question, no more and no less.

The responses here have been every bit as appropriate as the responses to threads asking whether Pete Rose should be reinstated into baseball, or to threads inquiring about Oswald's role in the Kennedy assasination. Your attempt to cloud the issue at hand by demanding judicial proceedings as the only appropriate measure of Scientology's propriety is simply absurd.
My QUESTIONS about the perceived guilt or innocence in question were with regards to courts, to which you responded that, e.g., "OJ was guilty", to which I respond that the case is the context of courts does not allow for that. If people want to use their own personal judgement, as you wish to do, then they should REALIZE that it is not an objective measure. Are the courts fallible? Of course, but that's what WE USE AS A SOCIETY to determine guilt or non-guilt. You may not like it, but that's the way it is. Simple question: do you believe a rational person can believe OJ is innocent?

Surely at some point we can point to the absurdly high mountain of evidence and say, as a matter of objective truth, this guy did it, courtroom antics notwithstanding.
What FACT do you have that shows that Scientology is, for example, guilty of killing Lisa McPherson? The facts in the McPhereson case have been well-reported here. I need not reinvent the wheel.
You are fine to reject that. What I don't understand is how, in the context of society, you intend to pass judgement on a group.How? In the same way that xenu.net does. By shedding light on what they actually do.
Yell against Scientology. Call them raving lunatics. Call them bastards. That doesn't make them any less of a religion or any more problematic. As I've said, you have your opinions, I have mine.
My "yelling" (I wasn't aware I had raised my voice) doesn't make them problematic. Their own actions do. The facts speak for themselves.
And the SAME could be said [xenu.net does a "great service"] for Scientology's official website.
Yeah, right. Next you'll be saying that the same can be said of the National Alliance's website as compared to the Wiesenthal Center or Nikzor.org.

Mr. Miskatonic
01-14-2004, 06:33 PM
This denomination (http://www.evangelical-friends.org/)
Please, demonstrate the "brainwashing" and how it is ontologically different than the indoctrination that occurs in most religions.


Since you are so fond of court cases:

http://www.factnet.org/Scientology/Mary_Johnson.html


Illegal. Should be prosecuted.


Yes it is. They still do it. Sometimes they get caught. More often they get away with it. Since they are just trying to harass they win. Look at the Jesse Prince assualt case. The jurors said it was a frame-up. Yet those invovled run free.


The couple received repeated harassment and actually a few comments that they perceived as death threats. They left and tried to keep a low-profile. Interesting behavior for a pacifist church.


This is no Society of Friends I am familiar with. The fact that it puts "friends" in its name doesnot make it part of the SoF.


I think the justification is simple: members or even church officials do NOT represent the religion as a whole. Since there are good things that Quakers do and there are Quakers who are wholly happy with their religion, why should the religion itself deserve bashing? The answer is, it shouldn't.


Yet overall Scientology has a massive record of criminal activities at a density that pales by comparison. E-Sabbath post a tiny fraction, I've posted others.


Scientology is not its members. It is not, really, even about Church hierarcy inasmuch as religions are sets-of-beliefs. The organization may be flawed or problematic, but then that's a matter, IMHO, for the courts to decide. If you have a different way you wish to handle it, that's your business.


If people want to use the tenets of LRon, that's their business. But the CoS has harassed the so-called "freezoners". I could ignore the freezoners since they don't have a record like the CoS. Yet technically they use the same tenets.


Scientology deserves the same respect we would extend any other religion. Religions, in general, have things that people outside of the religion find problematic -- pretty much across the board.


In and of itself, I could care less about the working of Scientology. However, the CoS is a criminal enterprise hiding behind the skirts of religion.


How is Scientology as a religion acting as a criminal enterprise. Refer to the specific beliefs of the religion that can ONLY be construed as being criminal.


E-Sabbath covered this one.


I think you missed my point entirely. The Amish are incidental to the whole argument. I'm just saying older and more established religions are more palatable to most people.

There are people who are extremely angry at the way the Amish behave and write just as vitriolically against them as you are writing against scientologists (including insinuations of criminal activity). Does that mean that the Amish are problematic/dangerous? I'd say not.


The Amish are not acting as a criminal enterprise.


Lisa McPherson
Dealt with.


You wish


Snow White
Illegal?


That would explain why CoS members went to jail. And why LRon went into hiding.


If true, then illegal, why is there no court case?


Isufficient proof, and a lack of jurisdiction by Finland.


Censoring the Internet
Or protect copyrights, as the case may be.


Wrong. That was their excuse, and a lame one at that. It also brings the question of why a tax-free religion has copyrights to protect.


ala Pat Robertson.


I loathe PR, but at his worst he was a piker compared to the CoS.


Suppression and attack on FreeZoners
Describe these so-called "attacks" and "supressions". Were they illegal?


Attempts to seize materials, and other activities much like what happened to Vaughn.


I guess that must be a proven fact?

[quote] the whole fiasco of Sea Org (with its billion year contract),[/qute]

Which part of this fiasco are you referring to in particular? The billion-year contract? The criminal investigation?


The mistreatment of people within that org. Many folks have gone to jail. But many more have gotten away with criminal abuse.



THe Seizing of Erlich's computer
How was it "quasi-legal"?


Warrant served under false pretenses. Computer damaged when they had no right to do so. Private correspondance from computer used in Dead agenting.


This one I don't even think CSICOP blames on the CoS.


"In 1977, a government raid on the offices of the Church of Scientology uncovered considerable evidence of the organization's misdeeds, including a plot by Scientology to discredit CSICOP by forging CIA documents. The documents seized by the FBI described a plan to spread rumors that CSICOP was actually a front group for the CIA. (Source: Toronto Globe and Mail, January 25, 1980.) "


In pocket? Eh? I suppose you have evidence to that effect?


The raid was brought on by a CoS Private Investigator who made several false allegations about Prince. Anywhere else in the USA the police and courts would have at least looked for more before raiding.


See what you do when someone protests outside facilities of your religion. Justified? Not in my book, but simply human nature: NOT an endemic problem of the religion.


Its epidemic at all such events, despite the bad publicity it garners. The CoS has not learned. Protests outside Catholic churchs (albeit mostly by Catholics) did not recieve this constant harassment TTBOMK.


They paid him! What more do you want? I think you want Scientology to roll-over and be happy about the fact it was sued. People and organizations that are sued for a lot of money rarely are cooperative about it. Name a counterexample to show that the CoS was somehow different in kind.

They hid the money, claimed they were bankrupt, yet hired tons of lawyers and PI's to harass Wollersheim. They used tactics that the court determined were illicit.


It wasn't justified? Have you read at all about what Keith Henson does wrt Scientology?


Yeah, he stood outside one of their facilities with a sign. Oh, and was critical about the CoS. You got another story?


Keith Henson again
Verifiable false claims? I thought that some were actually legit.


Nope. Read Hensons' account: http://www.operatingthetan.com/oakville-mall.txt

They lied to the police and said he was a "dangerous fugitive" this was simply not true. The Toronto police got lied to, and have been pulling CYA since.


We've dealt with this before. You just don't want to deal with the substance of the issues I'm talking about: religious tolerance.


Again, I could care less about the religion. ITs the criminal activities of the church that are a problem. They've gone well beyond any other church in that respect. In other words: Freezoners I don't care about, the CoS is worrisome criminal enterprise.


Snow job par excellance. Not only are these a hodge-podge of claims that are simply listed without careful evaluation (a number have been dealt with, but a number are simply wild accusations), they are simply outside the point I listed earlier about the religion itself.

Saying that members of Scientology or members in the hierarchy of Scientology acted illegally or abusively does not a problematic or dangerous religion make.


The fact demonstrate otherwise. The CoS as its stands is a danger.


Saying that the Clearwater police are goons for the CoS is a straight-up lie, as far as I can tell.


As far as you can tell is not very far. Most Clearwater police are not goons for the Cos, but some have taken steps that make one question who is pulling their strings.


More than that, some of the claims you level are simply ridiculous.


You have yet to demonstrate that


If you don't want to pay a person as an organization and you state that, but then you pay him when the courts decide you must, is that acting dangerously or problematically? If so, why?


Because the courts said they must pay him several dozen times before they actually paid. The CoS played 3 card monte with the cash.


I'd like to see you quantify this in some way. I anxiously await it.

You first. Link have been provided for you in many occasions. You have chosen to ignore them or dismiss them.

Now if you'll excuse me I have to unplug my computer, as I am moving.

edwino
01-15-2004, 03:27 AM
That's the question I think we can ask, "Should Scientology be outlawed?" I'm sure there are a few people in this thread that would say, "yes".

Here's my question: do you think Scientology should be legally made to reform? Should it be illegal to recruit untastefully?

If not, then I must extend my defense of them as a religion. In other words, I may not agree with them, but I don't think that I have a right to, for example, automatically lambaste the member [i]simply because[/r] they're a member.Oooh these are good questions and worthy of another thread beyond this train wreck. The Establishment Clause is a big sticky issue, and it gets even stickier if we start to dissect the philosophy behind it.

In short, I don't know. In fairness, if they convince the IRS that they are a religion, they are a religion in my book. I suppose it should be strongly considered that they were unable to convince the tax guys in other countries that they are a religion, but in the USA they must be afforded any luxuries we give to other religions.

One of these luxuries is that the government doesn't meddle too much. We saw the ugliness in the recent Catholic Church scandals. Scientology should thus be offered the same. Law breakers must be prosecuted, if the religion is encouraging breaking the law, then there needs to be intervention, etc.

In medicine, we can effectively remove a minor from a religion, at least temporarily, if it is in a child's medical interests. For instance, we can give Jehovah's Witness children blood transfusions by making them a temporary ward of the state. Our entire system of government is based on the fact that most people of legal age can make these decisions for themselves. In practice, we know that this is not the case -- competency to make a decision is a big continuum from the well informed to the totally clueless. My future sister-in-law (well towards the clueless end of things) was approached by Scientologists and asked me for advice. I told her to stay away. If a truly informed person were approached by them, I would let them make their own decisions (and they probably wouldn't be coming to me for advice anyway). It is like playing with fire. We don't let kids play with matches, but adults can do whatever they like. We all know that there are plenty of adults who should be staying away from the lighter fluid though, and we all take actions to prevent tragedy.

JS Princeton
01-15-2004, 04:46 PM
Fair Game was initiated in 1967.
A document stating it was canceled was issued 1968.
It has been indicated that it was official policy of the church as late as 1984.
Sixteen years after the only cancellation order shown.

There is no reason to believe it is not currently policy of the church.


Yes there is, they say it's not. Whether people act out of the paradigm or not, the Scientologists say that it was not doctrine. This is outlandish posturing on your part. If you think it's still part of their doctrine ask a Scientologist. Seriously.


Note: Pat Robertson said many things after 9/11. He did not go down to Ground Zero, and make life more difficult for those attempting search and rescue, to the point where they infiltrated police lines. He did not attempt to profess his religion to firefighters while they were working. He did not present his church's phone number to a major news bureau by pretending it was a psychatric help line.

No, but Scientology didn't blame feminists and homosexuals for the planes crashing into the WTC. Pick your favorite unethical movement.


Why was Snow White not indicative of the organization, JS? I'm still waiting for specifics, not frantic handwaving. You certainly like to assert things without basis.

Snow White is not indicative of the organization because there are Scientologists who do not believe it was correct. End of story.

As I said, you're simply acting on inductive fallacy impulses rather than addressing the issues I bring up.

JS Princeton
01-15-2004, 05:22 PM
And courts are often victims of their own caution. "Beyond a reasonable doubt" is an incredibly high standard of proof -- appropriate, perhaps, for imposing upon a defendant the loss of his freedom or even his life, but not appropriate for more mundane, day-in, day-out evaluations.

I happen to be of the opinion that passing judgement on an entire religion is not a mundane, day-in, day-out evaluation.

No one here has suggested that Scientology should have lesser legal rights when and if they are ever haled into court over their many misdeeds.

Not true. People have said Scientology shouldn't be considered a religion. In that way, the CoS would not have the legal rights an organized religion should have.

But we're not in a courtroom, and the OP does not ask a legal question. The OP asks why people have a problem with Scientology. And members of this fora have, quite rightly, pointed out the many reasons why Scientology is considered a disreputable organization. They have, in short, been answering the OP's question, no more and no less.

I have been extremely clear about my position. The fact is that the "problems" outlined I don't find to be any more problematic than the "problems" outlined for other religions.

I am inclined to say that if other religions have problems, then Scientology with its problems isn't really ontologically problematic. It's not that I'm making excuses for Scientology, it's that I don't see how the ethical problems surrounding the religion of Scientology are any greater than the ethical problems of other religions, they're just different.


The responses here have been every bit as appropriate as the responses to threads asking whether Pete Rose should be reinstated into baseball, or to threads inquiring about Oswald's role in the Kennedy assasination. Your attempt to cloud the issue at hand by demanding judicial proceedings as the only appropriate measure of Scientology's propriety is simply absurd.

I'd say that Scientology is a religion that is adhered to by hundreds of thousands of peope at least, if not millions. Oswald and Rose are individuals.


Simple question: do you believe a rational person can believe OJ is innocent?


Is this supposed to be a religious question? :p


Surely at some point we can point to the absurdly high mountain of evidence and say, as a matter of objective truth, this guy did it, courtroom antics notwithstanding.

Maybe you'd like to descrive objective truth in terms of religious groups and religious beliefs. I mean, one can declare that they have a monopoly on objective truth -- like yourself -- and then pontificate about the problematic nature of specific groups. Or one can say that there are courts that decide the legal rights for religions, people, organizations, etc.


The facts in the McPhereson case have been well-reported here. I need not reinvent the wheel.

No, all you need to do is demonstrate how a death by a religious adherent makes a religion inherently problematic. See edwino's next post for more on this. I think edwino does a pretty good job dealing with this.


How? In the same way that xenu.net does. By shedding light on what they actually do.


With appropriate spin, of course :)


The facts speak for themselves.


If you can dispute whether you were "yelling", I can dispute whether facts "speak".


Yeah, right. Next you'll be saying that the same can be said of the National Alliance's website as compared to the Wiesenthal Center or Nikzor.org.

I bet you get really pissed off by the ACLU, don't you?

JS Princeton
01-15-2004, 05:53 PM
Since you are so fond of court cases:

http://www.factnet.org/Scientology/Mary_Johnson.html


Not fond of court cases at all. As you have demonstrated, though, when one takes someone to court, even in Ireland, "brainwashing" is not a legally termed crime. It is a


Yes it is. They still do it. Sometimes they get caught. More often they get away with it. Since they are just trying to harass they win. Look at the Jesse Prince assualt case. The jurors said it was a frame-up. Yet those invovled run free.


Jesse Prince was hardly a martyr. He would intentionally go and follow Scientologists and CoS establishments ala anti-abortion activists. The legal mess he got himself is basically a result of his inability to behave like a calm and rational human being. For an example of an anti-scientologist who is calm and rational check out Don Lindsay (http://www.cs.colorado.edu/~lindsay/). He hasn't been taken to court by Scientology. He doesn't claim to be harassed. He's still critical of the religion.

Interesting, huh?


This is no Society of Friends I am familiar with. The fact that it puts "friends" in its name doesnot make it part of the SoF.


They're still quakers. Just becaue they aren't in your denomination doesn't mean they aren't quakers.


Yet overall Scientology has a massive record of criminal activities at a density that pales by comparison. E-Sabbath post a tiny fraction, I've posted others.


Scientology has a record, or people? Are you beginning to get my drift?


If people want to use the tenets of LRon, that's their business. But the CoS has harassed the so-called "freezoners". I could ignore the freezoners since they don't have a record like the CoS. Yet technically they use the same tenets.


Well, the "freezoner" controversy is extremely similar to the spats that have occurred between Catholics and Protestants, for example.


In and of itself, I could care less about the working of Scientology. However, the CoS is a criminal enterprise hiding behind the skirts of religion.


CoS may or may not be a criminal enterprise, but I think that's a matter for the courts.


The Amish are not acting as a criminal enterprise.


Says you. There are those who think they're collective scheming in some rural communities have driven up property values illegally.

Wrong. That was their excuse, and a lame one at that. It also brings the question of why a tax-free religion has copyrights to protect.


Why is it lame, first of all? And tax-free religions copyright lots of things. Any publication of the Catholic Church, for example, is protected by copyright laws. Please, apply your standards equally.


I loathe PR, but at his worst he was a piker compared to the CoS.


Explain how, exactly?

Warrant served under false pretenses. Computer damaged when they had no right to do so. Private correspondance from computer used in Dead agenting.

I disagree. The facts of the case as presented in court-documents seem to indicate that the warrant was served legally.


"In 1977, a government raid on the offices of the Church of Scientology uncovered considerable evidence of the organization's misdeeds, including a plot by Scientology to discredit CSICOP by forging CIA documents. The documents seized by the FBI described a plan to spread rumors that CSICOP was actually a front group for the CIA. (Source: Toronto Globe and Mail, January 25, 1980.) "


See my post later. It turns out that the "plot" was never carried out at all.


The raid was brought on by a CoS Private Investigator who made several false allegations about Prince. Anywhere else in the USA the police and courts would have at least looked for more before raiding.


You have proof for that? I highly doubt it.


Its epidemic at all such events, despite the bad publicity it garners. The CoS has not learned. Protests outside Catholic churchs (albeit mostly by Catholics) did not recieve this constant harassment TTBOMK.


Um, care to quantify this?


They hid the money, claimed they were bankrupt, yet hired tons of lawyers and PI's to harass Wollersheim. They used tactics that the court determined were illicit.


They PAID. What more do you want? The story is over.


Yeah, he stood outside one of their facilities with a sign. Oh, and was critical about the CoS. You got another story?


See above.


Nope. Read Hensons' account: http://www.operatingthetan.com/oakville-mall.txt


I have read so many stories like this that had nothing to with Scientology. How can you say the tactics of the police have anything to do with Scientology? That's completely specious, as far as I'm concerned.


They lied to the police and said he was a "dangerous fugitive" this was simply not true. The Toronto police got lied to, and have been pulling CYA since.


Correct me if I'm wrong, but he was a fugitive.

In any case, who is this "they"?


Again, I could care less about the religion.

I don't think it's possible. You seem to be really non-plussed by Scientology and therefore couldn't care less. But it's nice that you do care something for them, in any case.

ITs the criminal activities of the church that are a problem.

I agree completely.

They've gone well beyond any other church in that respect.

I disagree completely.

In other words: Freezoners I don't care about, the CoS is worrisome criminal enterprise.

Then, if they are worrying you as a citizen you have a right to seek legal action.

As far as you can tell is not very far. Most Clearwater police are not goons for the Cos, but some have taken steps that make one question who is pulling their strings.

This is also highly specious. One can make up conspiracy stories and wear tinfoil hats... or...


Because the courts said they must pay him several dozen times before they actually paid. The CoS played 3 card monte with the cash.


Believe me, if more people would simply work through the courts, the problematic parts of the organization would reform.


You first. Link have been provided for you in many occasions. You have chosen to ignore them or dismiss them.


Actually, I challenged you to quantify your claim. How do my claims require quantification? I'm simply saying that there are simple matter of problems existing everywhere in all religions. Since that is the case, then you treat them equally. That's all.