Scientologists convicted of fraud

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Re: Scientologists convicted of fraud

Postby podbaydoor » Thu Oct 29, 2009 3:24 pm UTC

I'm not defending religion, Scientology or Christianity. I'm an atheist, I think all of it is a giant fraud from the get-go. And yes, I've read the literature (I did a reporting project on 4chan, Anonymous, and Scientology back when the protests started) and yes, Scientology has done a lot of evil shit and it should probably go away. But I don't know that I can declare that it's not a "real" religion just because I don't like it. The standards seem to be kind of arbitrary.

I think it's kind of interesting that just because Christianity has been around for 2000 years and it's been the default for much of the Western World for nearly as long, we think that's what a religion "should" look like, and Scientology hasn't been around as long and doesn't look like that so we dismiss it as a "true" religion. What about Islam and Buddhism and Hinduism, it appears that age is the only thing that separates them from cults - and remember, in early days a lot of them were cults themselves, including Christianity.

And I think if you start with indulgences and go through "God, gold and glory" and keep going with faith healers and televangelists, you've got a very, very long intimately entangled history of fraud in Christianity perpetrated by some of its biggest players. Sure, the extortion might not be built into what's accepted as the basic tenets of Christianity and maybe the founders were sincere in their poverty - but ask someone who's sent money to a televangelist and they'll probably tell you the money gospel is the true religion, same way a sincere Scientologist will tell you it's the true religion.

How do you even define a "true" religion, anyway? A bunch of people who sincerely believe in it? Lots of people sincerely believe in Scientology.
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tenet |ˈtenit|
noun
a principle or belief, esp. one of the main principles of a religion or philosophy : the tenets of classical liberalism.
tenant |ˈtenənt|
noun
a person who occupies land or property rented from a landlord.

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Re: Scientologists convicted of fraud

Postby Darkscull » Thu Oct 29, 2009 3:29 pm UTC

podbaydoor wrote:I'm not defending religion, Scientology or Christianity. I'm an atheist, I think all of it is a giant fraud from the get-go.

I think it's kind of interesting, though, that just because Christianity has been around for 2000 years and it's been the default for much of the Western World for nearly as long, we think that's what a religion "should" look like, and Scientology hasn't been around as long and doesn't look like that so we dismiss it as a "true" religion.

And I think if you start with indulgences and go through "God, gold and glory" and keep going with faith healers and televangelists, you've got a very, very long intimately entangled history of fraud in Christianity perpetrated by some of its biggest players. Sure, the extortion might not be built into what's accepted as the basic tenets of Christianity and maybe the founders were sincere in their poverty - but ask someone who's sent money to a televangelist and they'll probably tell you the money gospel is the true religion, same way a sincere Scientologist will tell you it's the true religion.


It doesn't matter about the history. It is completely irrelevant.
Only a few stupid people criticise christianity for the crusades still, after all.

It doesn't even matter too much whether it counts as a religion or not.
The problem is that it gets away with ILLEGAL things due to it's stature as a religion (as well as corruption and a few other things. see: organised crime), and runs itself as a for-profit organisation, yet claims benefits reserved for non-profit ones.
Anyone who still only criticises it based on "it was madeup in the 50/60s by a crap sci-fi author" is being silly, and actually helps scientology a bit by distracting from the real issues.
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Re: Scientologists convicted of fraud

Postby Telchar » Thu Oct 29, 2009 3:51 pm UTC

Spacemilk wrote:Once again, you are making ridiculously accusatory statements with no backing whatsoever. "Making up stories to compel people to submit to your authority"? Christianity makes "an effort to have you commit atrocities"? Shiiiit boy you could be a televangelist with the way you spin a tale without any common sense, logic, or evidence whatsoever.


I'm sorry, but the cheese was burning too hard. The only "evidence" cited this whole thread has been from the cite ScientologyLies.com. Really? Obviously you beat his no source with your no source, and then added what appears to be a biased source on top of it. You win, obviously.

On topic, it's difficult to argue that Christianity as a whole is just as bad, because Christianity as a whole isn't a unified organization like Scientology. I think one could argue the Catholic church is a far worse organization, being that it takes charitable donations and uses them to hide sexual abusive priests. I think you could also successfully argue that most mega churches are as bad as Scientology. While donating is technically voluntary, it's kept track of, and so it's not really voluntary. In addition, the kinds of personalities these churches are targeted at makes them that much more sinister.

Now, are they worse than Scientology? I don't know that we have an objective metric to measure "worse." Which is why the above quote is hysterical.
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Re: Scientologists convicted of fraud

Postby podbaydoor » Thu Oct 29, 2009 4:03 pm UTC

Telchar wrote:Now, are they worse than Scientology? I don't know that we have an objective metric to measure "worse."

So this is pretty much what I was trying to say, but I put a lot of blah blah blah around it.
tenet |ˈtenit|
noun
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Re: Scientologists convicted of fraud

Postby Ixtellor » Thu Oct 29, 2009 4:05 pm UTC

I looked up a lot of definitions of religion and Scientology meets them all.
Some typical criteria in the many religions:

Belief in a higher power.
A worldview.
Rituals.
A set of beliefs/ethics/principles.
Common attitudes concerning a person, place, object or system of supernatural thought.

http://www.religioustolerance.org/rel_defn.htm
Using a composite definition the above site defined religion as:
"Religion is any specific system of belief about deity, often involving rituals, a code of ethics, a philosophy of life, and a worldview"

The history of religion is irrelavant. Its conceivable the Christian faith started with some sort of noble intentions, presumbely to explain unexplainable phenom. But its safe to there are many ignoble aspects to the religion today.

Lets assume Scientology is a total fraud - I believe this as well.
At its peak, Scientology had an income predicted at about $2 million per week. This puts them at the same level as the Copelands - a corrupt Christian prosperity gospel preacher and his wife.
Oral Roberts, Falwell, Swagarts, Hagee, and all the others make FAR more money off of suckers.

Spacemilk wrote:You're comparing televangelists, who have the power of words and nothing more, to actual members of the Church of Scientology, whose teachings and practices have amounted to physical, emotional, and psychological abuse of their fellow members. If you are seriously seeing a parallel, then I can't help you.


I think your on crack if you don't believe many many many Christians administer physical, emotional, and psychological abuse of their members.

Just 2 weeks ago, 2 Christians were killed in a "Spiritual Warrior" Training program. How many scientologists have been killed recently by their church? http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,563541,00.html

I don't have to go to the crusades to find evidence that Christians teach unholy, evil, psychological horrors to their followers.

Spacemilk wrote:"Oh Bill, I noticed you haven't quite made up the $3000 required for the next course in Scientology. Don't you want to advance and become a better person?" Or, "Hey Bill, I heard you got a raise... why don't you apply ALL THAT MONEY to your next course?"


How is this different than "Oh Bill, give me 8 million dollars or God is going to Kill Oral Roberts, you don't want Oral Roberts to die do you?" <----- This really happened.
Or
"Hey Bill, if you give us your life savings God will heal your wife's cancer"

Spacemilk wrote:I lol'd! Go look up some stats on how much it takes to advance each level in Scientology, and then do a quick rough calc on the approximate per capita amount swindled by Scientology... this is easy stuff to find out, so you really shouldn't be making statements like this, at all.


It costs about $300,000 dollars to complete scientology.
There are about 55,000 Scientologists in the world today. The chruch claims there are 3.5 million members, but their math doesn't add up. They reported that they administered 1.3 million hours of auditing in their peak year. That amounts to 20 mins per member. A typical audit lasts for several hours, so this means that even if they have 3.5 million members, only a small fraction are paying for the service.

Again, they have never made more money than the Copelands -- just one small evangalist.
Scientology can't even come close to the amount of money swindled from Christians.

Lastly... who cares.

Scientologist "Give me $3000"
Moron "Ok"
Scientologist "Don't you feel better now?"
Moron "Um.. Yes"

Christian "Give me $200 dollars"
Moron "Ok"
Christian "Don't you feel better now?
Moron "Yes"
Christian "Gay people are evil"
Moron "Um... ok I'll make the 'God kills all F*gs' sign!"
Christian "Don't forget to vote against prop 8!"



Ixtellor

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Re: Scientologists convicted of fraud

Postby Plasma Man » Thu Oct 29, 2009 4:27 pm UTC

Please stop equating Christianity with "you must kill gays / muslims / whoever". You know what one of the big commandments in Christianity is? It is "Thou shalt not kill".

Now, on topic. This thread has been quite helpful for working out what might be a workable definition of a religion. I would suggest that to be a religion and qualify for tax breaks etc., you should meet the following criteria:
1) The standard religion definition: A codified set of beliefs and practices relating to spirituality.
2) A certain number of adherents, probably based on a fraction of the population of the country (so if you want to make up your own religion, go ahead. Unless you can get others to follow you, it doesn't count).
3) Success / progression of an individual or individuals is not reliant on material contributions.
4) No verifiable claims, unless these are of such a nature that an independent body can verify them (rules out faith healing, could allow claims of increased sense of well-being).

I'm sure there would be a loophole or two there, but I think it's not a bad start.
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Re: Scientologists convicted of fraud

Postby Ixtellor » Thu Oct 29, 2009 4:35 pm UTC

Plasma Man wrote:3) Success / progression of an individual or individuals is not reliant on material contributions.


I guess Islam is out. They require that you be charitable. To not be charitable - giving up material possessions - makes you a bad Muslim.

It also seems like all the major faeri... er I mean religions require sacrifice and giving money is a form of sacrifice.


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Re: Scientologists convicted of fraud

Postby Jessica » Thu Oct 29, 2009 4:39 pm UTC

Being charitable is not the same as paying to be a member.
One is a voluntary donation which can be given or not, the other is a required donation to be a member of the religion.
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Re: Scientologists convicted of fraud

Postby Grop » Thu Oct 29, 2009 4:51 pm UTC

Also being charitable isn't something that can be monitored and enforced by an authority.

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Re: Scientologists convicted of fraud

Postby Heisenberg » Thu Oct 29, 2009 5:09 pm UTC

Grop wrote:Also being charitable isn't something that can be monitored and enforced by an authority.

Unless you're the government.

Ixtellor, the following assumptions are false:
1) Televangelists are a representative sample of Christianity.
2) Everything that televangelists say is a fundamental tenet of Christianity.
3) Hatred of gays is a fundamental tenet of Christianity (though, this is totally off-topic).
4) Charity is a requirement of Christianity.

None of those are true. In fact, charitable giving is voluntary, generally not compelled by some sort of exchange. Services are free, and do not require $300,000 to join. (Citing a single example to the contrary will not change the general approach of Christianity.)

Really, the issue here is that according to the law cited above, France is a nanny state. I'm sure France could also make a case against televangelists to "protect the individual." In America, we allow both Scientology and Televangelists because when it comes to a belief system, you're free to do as you please.
Edit:
the French state sees its duty less in protecting religion from state interference than in protecting the individual from interference by religion.
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Re: Scientologists convicted of fraud

Postby Chen » Thu Oct 29, 2009 5:11 pm UTC

I fail to see why requiring money (or whatever material sacrifice) from your constituents, somehow makes you "not a religion". For someone who doesn't believe, there are TONS of arbitrary religious rules. Just because it involves money why does it suddenly become different?

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Re: Scientologists convicted of fraud

Postby kinigget » Thu Oct 29, 2009 5:18 pm UTC

that's ignoring a whole lot of other things, things that have even been covered in this thread already.

what makes scientology "not a religion" is not the fact that it requires donations from it's members, it's the fact that at it's core, scientology is built as an alternative to psychology. It's a belief system only in the way that any kind of pseudoscience can be considered a belief system.

I hope this was helpful.
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Re: Scientologists convicted of fraud

Postby Chen » Thu Oct 29, 2009 5:26 pm UTC

kinigget wrote:that's ignoring a whole lot of other things, things that have even been covered in this thread already.

what makes scientology "not a religion" is not the fact that it requires donations from it's members, it's the fact that at it's core, scientology is built as an alternative to psychology. It's a belief system only in the way that any kind of pseudoscience can be considered a belief system.

I hope this was helpful.


Couldn't a very similar argument be made for something like Buddhism?

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Re: Scientologists convicted of fraud

Postby Izawwlgood » Thu Oct 29, 2009 5:39 pm UTC

I know the norm here is to read the OP (or sometimes just the title) of a thread, maybe look at a post or two, and then toss your two cents in, but did any of you arguing one way or the other even look at the list of court cases the Church of Scientology has been involved in that Leadgolem posted on page one? You are trying to draw connections between Christianity and Scientology, and you should be drawing links between Scientology and Heavens Gate. There is a clear and distinct difference between religion and Scientology, and efforts to draw them as equivalents are factually demonstrating your cynicism, which is fine, but doing religion a disservice. Whether or not religion 'deserves' said disservice isn't for me to say.

To quip though, Scientology is a pyramid scheme hiding behind the tax breaks of a religion. The principal cause of Christianity is not to funnel money upward, and any posturing or proclamations that the Vatican stands as proof that it does, fails to recognize the massive amount of charity work Christianity commits to. Show me the local Scientology mission in Africa, or the last time Scientologists sponsored a soup kitchen. But that point is still moot; No modern, non-fundamentalist faith, aside from Scientology, has tried to murder or coerce it's membership as par for the course for trying to leave the fold,
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Re: Scientologists convicted of fraud

Postby Chen » Thu Oct 29, 2009 5:48 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote: There is a clear and distinct difference between religion and Scientology, and efforts to draw them as equivalents are factually demonstrating your cynicism, which is fine, but doing religion a disservice. Whether or not religion 'deserves' said disservice isn't for me to say.


What is this clear difference? I'm in no way arguing scientology is a GOOD religion, but it seems like the criticisms are simply towards how bad it is. They seem to qualify as a religion under the definitions that Ixtellor posted (or any number of other definitions really, since religion is fairly vague). Their beliefs may in fact be bad, or even illegal, but I still fail to see how it is therefore not a religion.

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Re: Scientologists convicted of fraud

Postby kinigget » Thu Oct 29, 2009 6:33 pm UTC

actually chen, to answer your question about Buddhism, I think that you could make the same argument about Buddhism. To the best of my knowledge, and it is quite possible that I'm wrong, Buddhism is considered more of a philosophy than a religion, even though it has some of the same elements.
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Re: Scientologists convicted of fraud

Postby Darkscull » Thu Oct 29, 2009 6:38 pm UTC

Chen wrote:They seem to qualify as a religion under the definitions that Ixtellor posted (or any number of other definitions really, since religion is fairly vague). Their beliefs may in fact be bad, or even illegal, but I still fail to see how it is therefore not a religion.


Hardly.
Lets look through them:
Ixtellor wrote:Belief in a higher power.

Wrong.
Nowhere in any scientology texts is a higher power mentioned. They give lipservice to 'God' in some of their frontline propaganda in strong christian areas, but emphasise the sciencey bits when in other areas (for example the celebrity centres).

Rituals.

Not really.
The closest thing to rituals I can think of in scientology is the E-meter sessions, but they aren't quite what I'd call rituals, and they are similar to things in various 'self-help' regimes or fad mental health kicks.

A worldview.
A set of beliefs/ethics/principles.
Common attitudes concerning a person, place, object or system of supernatural thought.


Without the higher power bit, these lose quite a bit of their connection with religion.
Religions provide worldviews, yes, but then so do different schools of sociology/psychology/philosophy. Even popular culture. Several conspiracy theories are wide-ranging enough to be considered worldviews, and all of what I've mentioned relies on faith rather than evidence.
A set of beliefs fits with what I just said.
Ethics and principles are a bit more tricky. Scientology technically has a set of ethics, albeit a horrible one (essentially furthering scientology's aims is good behaviour, not doing so is bad, and anything else doesn't matter), but I wouldn't say they have principles (except maybe making as much and spending as little money as possible). But again without the supernatural element, the connection with religion fades fast.

I think one problem here may be people getting their information only from the church of scientology itself, rather than also looking at the testimony of ex-members and at leaked documents.
Remember that if what the critics of the organisation say is true, then everything scientology says is aimed to pull the wool over your eyes.
That doesn't mean the critics are definitely right, but it does mean you shouldn't trust the 'official' sources without question.
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Re: Scientologists convicted of fraud

Postby Heisenberg » Thu Oct 29, 2009 7:15 pm UTC

kinigget wrote:actually chen, to answer your question about Buddhism, I think that you could make the same argument about Buddhism. To the best of my knowledge, and it is quite possible that I'm wrong, Buddhism is considered more of a philosophy than a religion, even though it has some of the same elements.

If they sold Enlightenment for 3 easy payments of $39.95, I'm sure the French courts would go after them, as well.

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Re: Scientologists convicted of fraud

Postby kinigget » Thu Oct 29, 2009 7:50 pm UTC

well, yeah, I'm not sure where I said anything that sounded like I was saying that wouldn't happen, unless I got confused about what chen was asking, which is possible.
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Re: Scientologists convicted of fraud

Postby Ixtellor » Thu Oct 29, 2009 7:59 pm UTC

Darkscull wrote:Wrong.
Nowhere in any scientology texts is a higher power mentioned. They give lipservice to 'God' in some of their frontline propaganda in strong christian areas, but emphasise the sciencey bits when in other areas (for example the celebrity centres).


Do you know what your talking about?
Scientology has an associated mythology that its adherents hold to reflect religious truth. In Scientology, this mythology revolves around the thetan, believed to be the individualized expression of the cosmic source, or life force, named after the Greek letter theta (θ) The thetan is thought to be the true identity of a person – an intrinsically good, omniscient, non-material core capable of unlimited creativity.


Darkscull wrote:Not really.
The closest thing to rituals I can think of in scientology is the E-meter sessions, but they aren't quite what I'd call rituals, and they are similar to things in various 'self-help' regimes or fad mental health kicks.


Who cares what you would call them, what do Scientologist call them?
Look up the definition of ritual and they meet it.

Scientology asserts that people have hidden abilities which have not yet been fully realized.It is believed that increased spiritual awareness and physical benefits are accomplished through counseling sessions referred to as auditing.Through auditing, it is said that people can solve their problems and free themselves of engrams.This restores them to their natural condition as thetans and enables them to be at cause in their daily lives, responding rationally and creatively to life events rather than reacting to them under the direction of stored engrams


Wow that sounds a lot like a religious ritual.

I am going to stop now....

But it sounds like your making the lame attempt to prove Christianity is a religion and Scientology is not.

You are going to fail. At best you will make a series of ad hoc logical fallacies and end up with a definition so narrow most classic religions won't meet it.


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Re: Scientologists convicted of fraud

Postby Izawwlgood » Thu Oct 29, 2009 8:07 pm UTC

Go look up the 'philosophy' of Scientology's teachings. Take particular note of how the teachings all tie into the forfeiture of a believers funds.

Seriously, to reiterate: Scientology fee's are NOT tithings, or donations, or charities. It's a pyramid scheme. It's 'pay this amount of money to take a class to get to the next level'. It's a step shadier then indulgences, because at least those were tied to a belief system (i.e., a corrupt belief system made it possible for the greedy to exploit believers); Scientology is a belief system centered around the yoinking of funds (i.e., a corrupt belief system designed around exploiting believers. Say what you will about the Church or organized religion, but the fact is there are, perhaps buried, notions of humanism and altruism. You will not find those values espoused in Scientology.

Ixtellor, I understand the devils advocate role you are playing here and your points are demonstrative of the lose definitions we hold, particularly how 'accepted' religions are the norm, but the fact is you are blatantly ignoring empirical evidence of the various exploits of Scientology.
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Re: Scientologists convicted of fraud

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Oct 29, 2009 8:42 pm UTC

kinigget wrote:it is quite possible that I'm wrong, Buddhism is considered more of a philosophy than a religion

You are wrong. Buddhism is only considered that way by people who don't know religious Buddhists, in my experience.

But in any case, yeah, I think people in this thread arguing that Scientology is right in the same category as other religions are just being willfully obtuse. There might be *sects* of other religions that engage in the same cult-like practices and illegal activity and fraud as the CoS, but those practices are not intrinsic parts of the greater religions from which those sects sprang.

You might be a "bad" Muslim if you're not charitable, but 1) You're still a Muslim and you still get to find out what Muslims believe and 2) Charity is given to people who need it, not to the mosque. If one of the pillars of Islam was that you had to give alms to your local mosque in order to even be given a copy of the Qu'ran, then you might have a bit of a point.
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Re: Scientologists convicted of fraud

Postby Cryopyre » Thu Oct 29, 2009 9:17 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:But in any case, yeah, I think people in this thread arguing that Scientology is right in the same category as other religions are just being willfully obtuse. There might be *sects* of other religions that engage in the same cult-like practices and illegal activity and fraud as the CoS, but those practices are not intrinsic parts of the greater religions from which those sects sprang.


I see Scientology beginning in the same manner of Christianity. It started out as a major source of political and economic power and that was the church's primary function, now it has dissolved into a number of sects. The same future may be held for Scientology, will Scientology only be considered a religion until after it has fractured? Was Christianity not a religion prior to the fracturing?
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Re: Scientologists convicted of fraud

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Oct 29, 2009 9:59 pm UTC

Cryopyre wrote:I see Scientology beginning in the same manner of Christianity.

Then you don't understand Scientology, don't understand early Christianity, or both.
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Re: Scientologists convicted of fraud

Postby Gelsamel » Thu Oct 29, 2009 11:02 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
kinigget wrote:it is quite possible that I'm wrong, Buddhism is considered more of a philosophy than a religion

You are wrong. Buddhism is only considered that way by people who don't know religious Buddhists, in my experience.


For any definition of religion for which the set of beliefs must include a believe in a higher power Buddhism does not suffice. You can be an all encompassing atheist (as in, with regards to all definitions of "God" you are atheist) and also be Buddhist. Just like you can believe in healing crystals and be an all encompassing atheist. Of course, a Buddhist can also be theistic and a Buddhist, but that is typically unrelated to their Buddhism.

Under a different definition "Religion" or just colloquial use of the word it may certainly be considered such.

Other things which distinguish Buddhism from other religions is that it does not claim it is "The only way" not does it condemn other religions. It's mostly a spiritual philosophy about how to avoid ignorance and how to stop suffering in the world.

Edit: Added more.
"Give up here?"
- > No
"Do you accept defeat?"
- > No
"Do you think games are silly little things?"
- > No
"Is it all pointless?"
- > No
"Do you admit there is no meaning to this world?"
- > No

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Re: Scientologists convicted of fraud

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Oct 29, 2009 11:15 pm UTC

Gelsamel wrote:For any definition of religion for which the set of beliefs must include a believe in a higher power Buddhism does not suffice.

Many forms of Buddhism have not one but multiple supernatural gods. They may not be in charge of Creation or Judgment or the other big things Monotheistic deities do, and there isn't a supreme being in most forms of Buddhism, but that's a far cry from saying all forms of Buddhism can accommodate complete atheism. (Also, note that I said "most forms" just there; the Lotus Sutra has Buddha telling folks that he has always and will always continue to exist to help them toward nirvana. Which sounds pretty godlike to me...)
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Re: Scientologists convicted of fraud

Postby podbaydoor » Thu Oct 29, 2009 11:57 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:But in any case, yeah, I think people in this thread arguing that Scientology is right in the same category as other religions are just being willfully obtuse. There might be *sects* of other religions that engage in the same cult-like practices and illegal activity and fraud as the CoS, but those practices are not intrinsic parts of the greater religions from which those sects sprang.

So these sects are less "valid" than the greater religions they came from?
tenet |ˈtenit|
noun
a principle or belief, esp. one of the main principles of a religion or philosophy : the tenets of classical liberalism.
tenant |ˈtenənt|
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Re: Scientologists convicted of fraud

Postby gmalivuk » Fri Oct 30, 2009 12:42 am UTC

Who said jack shit about validity? They are, however, far more cultish and far more dangerous to their members and to those with the misfortune to get too close.

But validity is irrelevant. The truth value of what someone believes is independent of how nice it would be if it were true, or how helpful or harmful that belief is to the person who holds it or to people who don't. It doesn't matter to how much comfort or how much fear the belief creates or instills. It isn't particularly relevant to the social ramifications of the belief.

And so while I agree that Scientology is no more false than other religions, it *is* more harmful and more criminal, and therefore it is reasonable to treat it more harshly.
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Re: Scientologists convicted of fraud

Postby Gelsamel » Fri Oct 30, 2009 1:05 am UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
Gelsamel wrote:For any definition of religion for which the set of beliefs must include a believe in a higher power Buddhism does not suffice.

Many forms of Buddhism have not one but multiple supernatural gods.


I know that there are a few variations which celebrates a God or Gods and one or two which celebrate Buddha as divine... however that is by far the minority from my understanding. The only time I know of the majority of Buddhism specifically using the concept of God is as a metaphor for self improvement and ethical/moral 'goodness'. Spiritual sure, but hardly what I'd personally call religious.

The only other use I know of is with reference to the Devas which are not really gods in the traditional sense. They're typically just "more powerful entities" rather than "divine" or "righteous" and the Devas are still struggling like any other Buddhist to achieve Nirvana and Buddha is a teacher to both these "Gods" and people. In this sense "Gods" really only refers to supernatural beings... I'm not about to call new age spiritualism a religion because they posit the existence of ghosts who are more powerful than humans but still suffer and need help like any other person.

Since there is no real theological component to any of these particular points (God used as a metaphor/God used to refer to spiritual beings) you could easily be atheist and Buddhist. Although I admit I was wrong to say an all encompassing atheist since you could define "God" as that Keyboard you're typing on, or... as spiritual beings... Still I meant in any theological sense of 'God'.

Buddhism is mostly about achieving enlightenment through an ethical and moral philosophy to release yourself from the endless suffering of Samara (Death and Rebirth cycle). There are no pledges of fealty or worship (well, except for the few which worship Buddha), no claims to truth or rejections of other religions (you could certainly be a Christian Buddhist). For these reasons and more I would not personally call the majority of Buddhist variations a religion.

Edit: Fix Quote.

Edit: Aaaand typos.
"Give up here?"
- > No
"Do you accept defeat?"
- > No
"Do you think games are silly little things?"
- > No
"Is it all pointless?"
- > No
"Do you admit there is no meaning to this world?"
- > No

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Re: Scientologists convicted of fraud

Postby Cryopyre » Fri Oct 30, 2009 2:42 am UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
Cryopyre wrote:I see Scientology beginning in the same manner of Christianity.

Then you don't understand Scientology, don't understand early Christianity, or both.

Thanks for that enlightening refutation! I'm not attempting to be ridiculously obtuse here, and I don't think my post was.
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Re: Scientologists convicted of fraud

Postby Izawwlgood » Fri Oct 30, 2009 3:19 am UTC

Cryopyre, gm was being flippant with your lack of understanding because you really should read a bit before commenting on something so profoundly incorrect. Very shorthand; Christianity stems from the teachings of a man who was believed to be a prophet, and the religion evolved through political needs as well as cultural ones, always reflections of it's founders teachings. Scientology stems from exploitation, and is loosely, vaguely, based on the bemused writings of a fairly popular pulp story teller who by his own admission believed religion to be the greatest means of swindling people (i.e., a religion bent on swindling people would be vastly more successful then a door to door salesman).

gmalivuk wrote:And so while I agree that Scientology is no more false than other religions, it *is* more harmful and more criminal, and therefore it is reasonable to treat it more harshly.


I think this is really important, gm is absolutely right here. No one here has pointed out the validity of Scientology's beliefs, just the ethics of their practices. People have all the right in the world to believe that our Venusian spirits will be reunited with Klaxor the thundergod when we die, or that the son of a carpenter was God's child and turned water to wine. Neither organization, be it the leadership or followers, have a right to murder and intimidate people, or deliberately extort vast sums of money from it's followers. Scientology, very differently from even the guilt we joke about that Catholicism imparts on it's followers, systematically psychologically breaks down, and picks apart it's memberships life, and reassembles them into broken, fearful, dependants that the CoS milks until they are quite literally incapable of continuing existing in society. This isn't fear mongering, this is based on the reports of the lucky few that have gotten away.

I'm serious, before you make these comparisons, LOOK AT THE LIST OF LEGAL DISPUTES THE CHURCH IS CURRENTLY INVOLVED IN ON PAGE 1 OF THIS THREAD AND READ A LITTLE BIT FOR YOURSELF. We are NOT attacking freedom of religion with these claims.
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Re: Scientologists convicted of fraud

Postby Cryopyre » Fri Oct 30, 2009 3:49 am UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:Cryopyre, gm was being flippant with your lack of understanding because you really should read a bit before commenting on something so profoundly incorrect. Very shorthand; Christianity stems from the teachings of a man who was believed to be a prophet, and the religion evolved through political needs as well as cultural ones, always reflections of it's founders teachings. Scientology stems from exploitation, and is loosely, vaguely, based on the bemused writings of a fairly popular pulp story teller who by his own admission believed religion to be the greatest means of swindling people (i.e., a religion bent on swindling people would be vastly more successful then a door to door salesman).


This is disputable, as Christ's motives are still in debate today. His execution was based not on the fact that he rivaled the Jewish church, but that he was a political rival to the Romans. He claimed to be a king, not a heavenly one, but an earthly one (as his scriptures refer to himself and the messiah separately). He was executed based on this fact, and it was part of the reason his execution was so brutal (nails versus ropes). Also his philosophy is based upon sacrifice of material goods ("It is easier for a camel...") and I find it difficult to believe that the early churches were not enjoying some of the donations for a more lavish lifestyle.

There are plenty of theologians who subscribe to this idea, and it is not a stretch.


But you are right of course, the real debate here is about the brutality of some of their acts. I would not disagree that this is heinous, and it deserves to be punished. I suppose there's nothing else I would really be willing to say here, as their actions in this regard are largely indefensible.
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Re: Scientologists convicted of fraud

Postby Chen » Fri Oct 30, 2009 11:50 am UTC

gmalivuk wrote:And so while I agree that Scientology is no more false than other religions, it *is* more harmful and more criminal, and therefore it is reasonable to treat it more harshly.


I can certainly agree with this. I was just more getting at the people who are continually refusing to qualify it as a religion. Its in pretty much absolutely no way a good religion, but by whatever vacuous definition we have of religion it seems to fall under it.

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Re: Scientologists convicted of fraud

Postby gmalivuk » Fri Oct 30, 2009 12:05 pm UTC

It's a cult. Inasmuch as those are religions, yes, it's a religion. But most people I'm arguing with aren't saying "but there are lots of religions". They're saying "but what makes Scientology any worse than those other religions?"
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Re: Scientologists convicted of fraud

Postby Ixtellor » Fri Oct 30, 2009 12:41 pm UTC

I suppose what I don't understand is why people are singling out Scientology.

The fact that someone made up storiest to steal your money is not new, it has been perfected 100X over by Christianity.
So rather that Hubbard just going the evangelical route to steal your money, he made up a totally new preprosterous lie to steal your money. I am actually thankful for this, because rather than limit himself to stealing your money he decided not to include the gay bashing, Muslim bashing, "god hates you because your poor" bashing and all the other evil indoctinational shit that Christians tell their practitioners.

The worst thing Scientologists have done is swindle a few hundred million from what is probably well under 1 million people.
They didn't spend $20 million making sure Prop 8 would eliminate equal rights.
They don't spend hundreds of millions per year attempting to bribe politicians to inact draconian laws.
They don't take a persons life savings then say "If only you had given more, God wouldn't have killed your kid with cancer"
They haven't murdered a single one of their followers in the past week.

You don't have to stretch back to the Crusades to find the horrors Christians unleash on the world on a daily basis. Think I am exaggerating... (see Gay rights and the Christian Chruch).

This is a math/science forum.

Who is more likely to take swindle your money. Scientologists or Christians? What are the probabilities.


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Re: Scientologists convicted of fraud

Postby Izawwlgood » Fri Oct 30, 2009 1:00 pm UTC

Again, you should separate L. Ron Hubbard from the religion. Which points to you having not done even the most rudimentary research about Scientology. Like, even wiki'ing it.

Ixtellor wrote:The worst thing Scientologists have done is swindle a few hundred million from what is probably well under 1 million people.
They didn't spend $20 million making sure Prop 8 would eliminate equal rights.
They don't spend hundreds of millions per year attempting to bribe politicians to inact draconian laws.
They don't take a persons life savings then say "If only you had given more, God wouldn't have killed your kid with cancer"
They haven't murdered a single one of their followers in the past week.


Look. At. The. List. Of. Legal. Action. Pending. On. The. Website. leadgolem. Posted.
Every. Single. Point. You've. Just. Made. Is. False.

Ixtellor wrote:Who is more likely to take swindle your money. Scientologists or Christians? What are the probabilities.


The Scientologist. Hands down. Not even a chance of dispute.
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Re: Scientologists convicted of fraud

Postby Chen » Fri Oct 30, 2009 1:13 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:
Ixtellor wrote:Who is more likely to take swindle your money. Scientologists or Christians? What are the probabilities.


The Scientologist. Hands down. Not even a chance of dispute.


I'm glad that was well backed up there. In terms of statistics Ixtellor is probably right that more Christians will swindle more money from people overall. I suppose if we look at it as a % of the religious leaders in general it'd probably lean more towards Scientology.

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Re: Scientologists convicted of fraud

Postby Ixtellor » Fri Oct 30, 2009 1:33 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:Look. At. The. List. Of. Legal. Action. Pending. On. The. Website. leadgolem. Posted.
Every. Single. Point. You've. Just. Made. Is. False.


I did.

Did you notice that they are all civil suits...

Did not notice that that website was old as fuck, and that the first most shocking case I looked up has already been dismissed.?

That wasn't a list of trials pending, that was a list of people who sued Scientology and then had their cases dismissed.

The people who killed 2 Christians this week were arrested by the police.

Did you also notice that almost all the 'pending' suits (I put it in quotes because they are horriblely outdated and are no longer pending at this point) were suing for "emotional Distress"

I see a lot of lawsuits filed by morons who are unwilling to accept they are morons and got tricked into giving up large sums of money.
How is this any different than the millions and millions of Americans who send evangelicals money to buy gods good graces?

Did you read the and follow up on any of the cases or did you just look at the pretty colors?


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Re: Scientologists convicted of fraud

Postby The Reaper » Fri Oct 30, 2009 1:36 pm UTC

Chen wrote:
Izawwlgood wrote:
Ixtellor wrote:Who is more likely to take swindle your money. Scientologists or Christians? What are the probabilities.


The Scientologist. Hands down. Not even a chance of dispute.


I'm glad that was well backed up there. In terms of statistics Ixtellor is probably right that more Christians will swindle more money from people overall. I suppose if we look at it as a % of the religious leaders in general it'd probably lean more towards Scientology.
The chances that the average christian will try to swindle money from me vs the chance that the average scientologist will try to swindle money from me make it seem like the scientologist would be worse. Now, as far as church leadership is concerned, they'd both try to swindle money from me, but so would any other corporation or underfunded (read: not infinitely rich) group out there. Cept the skynet. They don't need my silly meatbag-monies. ALL HAIL THE SKYNET.

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Re: Scientologists convicted of fraud

Postby Ixtellor » Fri Oct 30, 2009 1:45 pm UTC

The Reaper wrote:The chances that the average christian will try to swindle money from me vs the chance that the average scientologist will try to swindle money from me make it seem like the scientologist would be worse. .


I agree.
But the odds of actually meeting a scientologist who will do that? (There are 55,000 of them in America)
The odds I turn on the TV and find a Christian promising me riches if I send my money to them?
The total amount of Americans hard earned money by Scientologists and Christians respectively?
My guess would be like Scientology: 100 million/year Christians: 5 billion/year (this is just off the top of my head)(Not including tithing, charitable donations, etc -- just hard core steal your money and buy mez a Rolls!)


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