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View Diary: Scientology: A Religion, but a Threat to Mental Health? (291 comments)

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  •  Nails on the head here. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ZenTrainer, ZhenRen, worldlotus, fuzzyguy

    It always amuses me especially when American Christians (among the most critical of Scientology) go off on their anti-Scientology rants. (Not saying the diarist is, I'm just talking about in general).

    At least Xenu has some character. Jesus is boring. A magic carpenter? Changing water to wine? I'm pretty sure Transmute Water is a level 1 cleric spell.

    The most interesting thing he did was flip tables, and we have memes that do it better.

    Christianity is just jealous that Scientology has Tom Cruise and better production values. I suggest attaching lasers to Jesus and maybe giving him a super Saiyan form or a giant robot or something.

    This is a classic example of "My shitty fake god can beat up your shitty fake god" shit that gave us the Crusades, the Salem Witch Trials, and the Native American genocide.

    Most if not all religions are cults and threats to mental health. I don't have a problem with the ones that keep to themselves, but I mean seriously?

    This is America, you have the right to believe in whatever ridiculous thing you want. You start pushing it on other people though, and especially if you start making laws that revolve around your delusion - that is where the problems come into play.

    Worrying about Scientology is a waste of time. Scientology doesn't have jack-shit for power in this country except milking a few movie stars out of their money.

    We have Christians that are tearing our country apart though, stopping scientific research (stem cell), harming women (abortion/contraception), and attacking civil rights (gay rights, marriage equality).

    All Scientology did to us was this:

    Christianity gave us this:

    •  Better production values? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rubyr, tommymet

      You. Have got. To be joking!  

    •  Addendum: (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ZenTrainer, Brit, ZhenRen, worldlotus, fuzzyguy

      To be clear, I'm not defending Scientology. I think what they do is stupid an harmful.

      I'm just saying if Scientology is a single case of the flu, Christianity is the epidemic of the Black Plague.

      A Christian attacking Scientology is like a serial killer chastising a thief who shot a person during a bank robbery.

      •  I am not a christian (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mahakali overdrive

        or a member of any other religious group, and I see that it does an enormous amount of harm -- and in fact, is paving the way for the ability of all kinds of authoritarian religious movements to get away with abuse that is much worse than many of us can possibly imagine under the rubric of the 1st amendment.

      •  I was born and raised Catholic. (15+ / 0-)

        Participation in catholicism is voluntary.  Donating money is voluntary.  There is no church policy stating that those who do not can not continue.  The Catholic church makes bibles available for free to anyone who wants one.  Anyone can read catholic teachings without fear of lawsuits.  ANyone can say what they want about Catholicism without being labelled as enemies who must, according to an actual church policy, be destroyed by any means necessary.  Anyone can criticise the Catholic church without concern.

        In fact, as someone born and rasied catholic, I can believe more or less what I like.  I don't believe the bible is fact and I certainly don't agree with the CHurch's "official" positions regarding women priests, celibate priests, abortion, birth control, etc, etc, etc.  Guess what, I can walk up to any priests and say as much and they will nod and maybe share their own opinions.  No attempt to destroy me or my family.  No attempt to hire PIs to stalk me.  No getting peopel to show up at my work to make false, defamatory claims against me and get me fired.

        Anyone can walk in off the street, enter a catholic church and participate/learn as much as they want whenever they want.  No lies, sales pitches or secrets.

        Sorry, but to argue that all religions are the same as Scientology is just intellectual dishonesty and false logic.

        •  Exactly. Your points are excellent. (7+ / 0-)

          Scientology is a world apart.

          "Southern nights have you ever felt a southern night?" Allen Toussaint ~~Remember the Gulf of Mexico~~

          by rubyr on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 11:51:25 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Amen. (9+ / 0-)

          It's actually kind of funny to see some of the comments here trying to equate scientology with real religions.  Obviously the point of many such comments is to grind an ax about religion; the scientology discussion is just a pretext.

          •  Yeah, it seems possible that that is exactly (6+ / 0-)

            what is transpiring. It results in a sideways defense of Scientology and that is tragic. The actions of Scientology need to be exposed and intelligently discussed without distractions.

            "Southern nights have you ever felt a southern night?" Allen Toussaint ~~Remember the Gulf of Mexico~~

            by rubyr on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 12:13:40 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  It's so easy sometimes! (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Brit, fuzzyguy, ZenTrainer

              As mentioned above, what we have here is a classic "my god is better than your god" scenario.

              It's okay to attack someone else's stupid religion, but when they attack yours, oh then that's a bit of a problem.

              No one is saying Scientology isn't a problem. But look at modern American law, look at the gay rights struggle, look at how women are under attack.

              This is Christian fueled crap. Pretending it's not isn't going to make it go away.

              •  Christian fueled crap. (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                rubyr, timewarp, Alexandre, Timaeus

                I agree it is Christian fueled.  The difference is that Christians are free and able to disagree - even vocally, loudly and publicly - without fear of vicious personal attacks from the Church and being excommunicated and losing your family and friends.  Further, Scientology often controls the bank accounts of many members and if you leave and are vocal about the problems of the Church (or even that it doesn't work as advertised) then the Church will keep all your money.  Speaking against the church is a risk not just of shattered families and a destroyed life, but being kicked out,homeless and penniless.

                This is literally Scientology Church policy.  Official policy!  Not just the work of a few bad apples.  KSW as Mr. Cruise famously said...keeping scientology working.  Meanwhile, anyone in Christianity is free to disagree and there are many who do.  Only the most extreme right-wing Christains, I would bet, use religion as an excuse to justify their own ignorance and hatred.

                So no, there is no comparison even using your example of the dangers of extremist right wing Christians.

                •  Rosencrantz, that hair isn't going to exist if you (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  ZenTrainer

                  split it finer.

                  Yes, Christians are a larger group, and there are subdivisions within the parent religion.

                  But if you join a group of your own free will, you own their rep.

                  And when someone meets the most basic of requirements for the Christian religion: accepting that Jesus Christ exists, he is lord and savior, and is the son of the Christian God.

                  That's Christianity.

                  I get that you don't like what some of your fellow Christians do, and I agree with you on that, but they are your people and are a part of your group.

                  And you don't get to decide to kick them out. You don't get to decide that they don't believe Jesus is their lord and savior, because they do.

                  And for whatever horrible thing they are doing at the time, I'm sure they believe that either A) Jesus wants them to do it, or B) He'll forgive them.

                  Apparently he does that a lot.

                  For everything.

                  •  You completely miss the point. (5+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Wee Mama, tommymet, bevenro, Alexandre, Timaeus

                    The point is one can be a member of a religion and still believe/say what they want.  One can NOT be part of scientology and have that same freedom.  Hence the difference.  I can agree or disagree without fear of reprisal...scientologists can not.    And it's not the work of a few crazies, we are talking about official policies here.  If the pope passes an official church doctrine saying people must bash gays and molest children, then maybe you would have a point.  But that isn't the case.  Again, unlike scientology where NOTHING can be done that goes against official church policy.  EVER.  You do so and you are either punished by the church or kicked out and declared an enemy.

                    How is that splitting hairs in any way shape or form?  

                    The rest of what you say is meaningless for a number of reasons.  Just because some people claim to be Christian and absolutely believe Jesus wants them to do something is irrelevant.  You may as well be saying all muslims are terrorists because a few crazy extremists speak for everyone.

                  •  so because I'm Jewish I support the stoning of (3+ / 0-)

                    adulterers?

                    I support settlement building in Israel?

                    You have a very monolithic view of religion which is wholly inaccurate...(sure, it's true for some, but not most)

              •  I don't see how Scientology is a religion, based (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                rubyr, Timaeus

                on its content. It's a form of psychology that uses technology and has a very odd back story. But it doesn't talk about God, it doesn't make transcendent claims or any of the things that are usually considered part of religions. It is more like Buddhism, which many of its practitioners consider a philosophy and a practice rather than a religion for similar reasons.



                Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

                by Wee Mama on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 01:46:45 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I recommend that with some dread, (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Wee Mama

                  because Buddhism is, of course, a very deep and very venerable true religion.  I would be reluctant to compare it to the criminal hoax of scientology.

                  But I definitely agree with this:

                  I don't see how Scientology is a religion, based (1+ / 0-)

                  on its content. It's a form of psychology that uses technology and has a very odd back story. But it doesn't talk about God, it doesn't make transcendent claims or any of the things that are usually considered part of religions.

                  There is a museum in Washington, gosh, I can't remember where, that has a lot of oriental treasures. There's a last room that is very large, partially a garden, filled with very ancient Buddhist statues and artifacts.  The room just absolutely rings with spirit, with divinity, with the supernatural.  It's what I sometimes call a "loud silence."  It shakes the soul, at least if one is sensitive to the mystic as I am.  Poor me that I can't remember the name of that incredible place.

                  I'm a Christian. Never going to change. But I also have found a lot of comfort and inspiration and intellectual challenge in Buddhism.  One of my best friends from college converted from a Protestant denomination to Buddhism, and I was Best Man at his wedding.  I respect them.

                  •  I have a deep respect for most forms of Buddhism (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Timaeus

                    and yes, it is a spiritual practice of great antiquity and much wisdom. In its roots though it began as a middle way out of theologies. It is only in some of the later, derivative forms such as Tibetan Buddhism and Pure Land Buddhism that something approaching divine beings play an important role. The Buddha precisely declined any divinity for himself. This is a decent discussion of whether it is appropriate to call it a religion.

                    Zen practice is common enough among Episcopalians that some jokingly call themselves Buddapalians; they borrow the practices of Buddhism but keep their own theology.



                    Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

                    by Wee Mama on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 05:29:15 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  It's called the Freer Gallery of Art, part of the (0+ / 0-)

                    Smithsonian.  Worth seeing!!!

              •  I disagree. My fear and loathing regarding (4+ / 0-)

                Scientology have zero to do with any other religion. Period. I just think that if we could stay on topic on the GOS, we would all learn more. Thus, for people who believe as you do, I think you should go off and write a diary comparing Scientology and the Christian religions and leave the discussion of Scientology as a discussion about Scientology.

                "Southern nights have you ever felt a southern night?" Allen Toussaint ~~Remember the Gulf of Mexico~~

                by rubyr on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 02:04:14 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  There are millions of Christians who don't (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Timaeus

                support the doctrines you've outlined.  You can choose.

        •  Defending the Catholic Church? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ZenTrainer

          Seriously?

          So they are less litigious.

          Their history of oppression and violence is unmatched.

          I mean, nowadays they mostly stick to molesting children and attacking women, and less random butchering of other humans who disagree. But that's still terrible and awful.

          If you want to have an actual debate, that's fine.

          But you're going to have to learn some history before you make accusations of "intellectual dishonesty" and "false logic." Try the closest mirror for those two attributes.

          •  I stand by my comments. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            tommymet

            First off, it is intellectually dishonest to use problems of religion from hundreds of years ago to excuse problems of Scientology today.  May as well try to excuse modern slavery because it was normal practice long ago.   Sorry, but that logic does not fly.

            Second, you didn't seem to read anything I've said if all you came away with is "so they're less litigious".  You want to talk about child molestation which is absolutely fair, but despite Church action trying to cover it up...there is no Church policy that says priests can and should molest children.  There is no official Church doctrine saying that such actions should be covered up or that anyone who disagrees and speaks out against child molestation should be excommunicated from the Church and declared an enemy and "fair game" for other parisioners to destroy by any means necessary.

            I'm not even sure what you refer to when it comes to attacking women and "less random butchering of other humans who disagree".  Maybe you could clarify this point for me.

            Scientology's ills aren't just random acts.  They aren't just the actions of a few overzealous extremists.  They are official church policy.  It is how members MUST behave if they hope to continue in the "religion", keep their family/friends, and avoid being labelled an "SP" to be destroyed themselves.

            So I stand by my comments.  If you honestly believe the modern Catholic Church, or any mainstream religion, is the same as Scientology, you either know little to nothing about Scientology or you are being intellectually dishonest for some unknown reason.

            But I am totally open to debate this which is why I give detailed examples supporting my position.

          •  HR for out-of-line and ill-informed attack. (0+ / 0-)

            and you have the audacity to ask for an 'actual debate'.

            You also have a lot to learn about religion.

          •  scratch that, I wont hide it. (0+ / 0-)

            But awful comment anyway.

          •  Catholic charities, Catholic world relief (0+ / 0-)

            provide a ready source of funds and hands to address the problems of poverty, disaster throughout the world. Big bucks, big impact.  See, this Jesus guy said "love one another". LRH, not so much.  Are there ANY Scientology charities?

        •  One exception I'd raise (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Brit, mahakali overdrive, ZenTrainer

          I don't see anything particularly voluntary about the participation when children are raised in it. We're indoctrinated before we have the skills to evaluate the religion.

          As for destroying people's lives, there are a few catholic politicians (Democrats) who might differ somewhat about the church's meddling in their lives.

          “Now, I can imagine the shocking headlines you’ll print tomorrow morning: 'More guns,' you’ll claim, 'are the NRA’s answer to everything!'" -- Wayne LaPierre

          by tytalus on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 02:17:49 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  I'm a Christian (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rubyr, DianeNYS, jlms qkw, Alexandre

        I don't think you have your facts straight, but I won't bother arguing because you'll just continue to insult me.

        Economics is a social *science*. Can we base future economic decisions on math?

        by blue aardvark on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 12:03:58 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  You are free to disagree on philosophy, (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ZenTrainer

          but my facts are solid. They are not negotiable.

          I mean, I can't prove there is no detached deist-esque master creature, god-like, maybe like something from Star Trek DS9 slumbering in the far reaches of space. It's obvious that man-made religions are a sham, but the possibility of a super being? Who knows?

          It seems extremely unlikely, but I bet people 500 years ago thought the concept of something like the internet a fevered madman's dream. So I keep an open mind. If we find a floating noodley space monster with reality-altering powers, maybe we can classify that as a god, and that'd be relatively accurate.

          But the bloodbaths that Christianity has caused are facts harder than Wolverine's skeleton and you don't need Holmes to find them. And as for the modern American Christian legal attacks? Those are well-covered here.

    •  Agree (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Prinny Squad, ZenTrainer

      Most major organized religions are manipulative of followers using various ensnaring methods, most are highly controlling and authoritarian, most are highly binding and enslaving rather than liberating, most use guilt and promises of spiritual rewards in return for financial contributions.

      And depending on the level of commitment of the follower, and where he/she has risen to in the hierarchical rungs, many of these faiths insidiously creep into every fiber of a person's life, controlling every inch of conscious existence bit by bit, until there is little if any autonomy left.

      Scientology is one of the most controlling and dominating of them all, but such organizations such as the Catholic Opus Dei are hardly better.

      Most of them employ cultic methods of entrapment, such as dire, existential threats if a follower leaves, spiritual punishment that will beset the unfaithful follower for eons, rewards for obedience through promoted status, coupled with loss of hierarchical status for disobedience, all of which can be personally devastating to the believer.

      And many of these methods dominate the follower to horrible degrees of manipulation. Devices such as the "double bind", a circular loop of "logic" that keeps the follower from questioning, are almost impossible for the followers to free themselves from.  For example, "doubts are a sign of [lower consciousness, lack of faith, lack of spiritual development, blah, blah, blah], and thus, the doubter will suffer [eternal hell, fall from grace, lower status, financial ruin, more karma, more incarnations, blah, blah, blah] and to remedy this the follower must [give money, volunteer work, pray more, meditate more, blah, blah , blah]. And most religions use variants of this.

      It seems to me that the difference is that the established religions get a pass for this simply due to public familiarity, while religions like Scientology are more scrutinized since they are high profile New Religious Movements.

      And I'm not impugning all religions in these statements, but most of the major ones use these devices.

      For that matter, I think we should beware of hierarchy, manipulation, and control mechanisms in any organization, not just in religious groups, but also other institutions, corporations, political groups, etc.

      "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

      by ZhenRen on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 12:13:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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