Scientologists convicted of fraud

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Re: Scientologists convicted of fraud

Postby gmalivuk » Fri Oct 30, 2009 2:51 pm UTC

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

One could fill libraries with what you don't understand about Scientology.

Or at least an entire thread in N&A, anyway.

(Asking the same question, after it's been answered each time, just makes you look stupid and/or illiterate, btw.)
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Re: Scientologists convicted of fraud

Postby Ixtellor » Fri Oct 30, 2009 3:51 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
Ixtellor wrote:I suppose what I don't understand is why people are singling out Scientology.

One could fill libraries with what you don't understand about Scientology.

Or at least an entire thread in N&A, anyway.

(Asking the same question, after it's been answered each time, just makes you look stupid and/or illiterate, btw.)


If you reread the entire thread it becomes obvious I know more about Scientology than any other poster here.
I found out membership, money, objectives, rituals, and most importantly..

Showed how Leadgolems list of 'pending crimes' was utter bullshit.

Everyone else has made the quality of contributions of "They are bad".

There only crime.. stealing money. Nothing about hiding pedophiles, attacking gay rights, killing their members, etc.

My theory is you have a preconceived notion about who was saying intelligent things in this post, not based on content, but your own bias. You did exactly what all the other poster did " your dumb its soo obvious" without actually proving anything.
I think its evident you didn't bother to read any of the posts and just jumped in to be snarky.

Scientology is like the retarded cousin of Evangelicalism - minus the manslaughter, rape, and gay bashing.


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Re: Scientologists convicted of fraud

Postby Izawwlgood » Fri Oct 30, 2009 4:25 pm UTC

To make another comparison to your claims then;

Joe and Rob are both really into sandwiches. Joe likes roast beef and Rob likes ham. Are both of them sandwich eaters? Sure! But what if I told you Joe likes stuffing sandwiches down the throats of puppies, until they suffocate and die. Would you blame Rob for killing puppies too then? After all, he likes sandwiches as well.

The difference, again, isn't that one is or isn't a religion, but that one is a religion that people have bent to awful things, and the other is a religion based on doing awful things to people.
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Re: Scientologists convicted of fraud

Postby podbaydoor » Fri Oct 30, 2009 8:35 pm 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 agree with that. So I guess the argument is over for me.
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Re: Scientologists convicted of fraud

Postby dedalus » Fri Oct 30, 2009 11:51 pm UTC

Ixtellor, you seem to be intent on making all your arguments based upon figures, but statistically you need to stop looking at absolutes and start looking at percentages. If you take a percentage of Christian leaders who have their PRIMARY aim extortion and blackmail, it's a relatively small figure. I would say less then 10%. Scientology would have a figure there up around 90-100%. Since there are that many more Christians then Scientologists, sure, the overall revenue might be greater, but it's practically impossible for Scientology to ever beat that figure with the number of suckers they extract money from now. The main point is that overall, Christianity, whilst not a very good thing in itself (I'm against organised religion as a whole), isn't just about cash. There's a few idiots who are just about cash, and they're one of the reasons why Christianity is a bad thing (because they can manipulate it). But scientology started out with bad intentions. The policy of every one of its leaders involves manipulation and extortion of people they can pull off the streets. Christianity, hell, it doesn't come close.
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Re: Scientologists convicted of fraud

Postby Aikanaro » Mon Nov 02, 2009 4:11 pm UTC

Late getting to this, but yar, it sounds like mainly Christianity is worse than Scientology by reason of there being more of us.
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Re: Scientologists convicted of fraud

Postby Dauric » Mon Nov 02, 2009 4:28 pm UTC

The problem in these arguments is the difficulty in evaluating parity between 'crimes'. How many dollars of embezzled Scientologist money is equivalent to the Catholic Church's cover-up of pedophile priests, relocation of said priests to new locales unaware of the reason, and the subsequently preventable child abuse? Is there a depreciation of value over time, perhaps tied to inflation, that attaches to the protestant burning of 'witches' in Salem? Do priceless statues of Buddha blown to smithereens in the name of (extremist) Muslim ideological purity have to be evaluated compared to Scientologist embezzlement only after currency exchange is taken in to account? Exactly what is the multiplier to the absolute currency value to measure the loss in ethics and decency per event, per person involved, and does it scale for number of people in the group and duration of the organization's existence (and if it does scale, which way)?

Reasonable people can have reasonable differences of opinion on these, they're not measured by absolutes. If they were we wouldn't have religions, we'd have economists specializing in "Ethical Economies".
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Re: Scientologists convicted of fraud

Postby Darkscull » Mon Nov 02, 2009 5:10 pm UTC

Dauric wrote:The problem in these arguments is the difficulty in evaluating parity between 'crimes'. How many dollars of embezzled Scientologist money is equivalent to the Catholic Church's cover-up of pedophile priests, relocation of said priests to new locales unaware of the reason, and the subsequently preventable child abuse? Is there a depreciation of value over time, perhaps tied to inflation, that attaches to the protestant burning of 'witches' in Salem? Do priceless statues of Buddha blown to smithereens in the name of (extremist) Muslim ideological purity have to be evaluated compared to Scientologist embezzlement only after currency exchange is taken in to account? Exactly what is the multiplier to the absolute currency value to measure the loss in ethics and decency per event, per person involved, and does it scale for number of people in the group and duration of the organization's existence (and if it does scale, which way)?

Reasonable people can have reasonable differences of opinion on these, they're not measured by absolutes. If they were we wouldn't have religions, we'd have economists specializing in "Ethical Economies".


The thing is, embezzlement is just the tip of the iceberg.
The list of allegations against scientology include:
Murder,
Manslaughter through criminal neglect,
False imprisonment,
Harrassment,
Blackmail,
The list goes on.

All of those except the first two are done systematically and are large parts of the organisation behind the scenes.
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Re: Scientologists convicted of fraud

Postby Dauric » Mon Nov 02, 2009 5:29 pm UTC

Darkscull wrote:
Dauric wrote:The problem in these arguments is the difficulty in evaluating parity between 'crimes'. How many dollars of embezzled Scientologist money is equivalent to the Catholic Church's cover-up of pedophile priests, relocation of said priests to new locales unaware of the reason, and the subsequently preventable child abuse? Is there a depreciation of value over time, perhaps tied to inflation, that attaches to the protestant burning of 'witches' in Salem? Do priceless statues of Buddha blown to smithereens in the name of (extremist) Muslim ideological purity have to be evaluated compared to Scientologist embezzlement only after currency exchange is taken in to account? Exactly what is the multiplier to the absolute currency value to measure the loss in ethics and decency per event, per person involved, and does it scale for number of people in the group and duration of the organization's existence (and if it does scale, which way)?

Reasonable people can have reasonable differences of opinion on these, they're not measured by absolutes. If they were we wouldn't have religions, we'd have economists specializing in "Ethical Economies".


The thing is, embezzlement is just the tip of the iceberg.
The list of allegations against scientology include:
Murder,
Manslaughter through criminal neglect,
False imprisonment,
Harrassment,
Blackmail,
The list goes on.

All of those except the first two are done systematically and are large parts of the organisation behind the scenes.


We can make similar lists for most every other religion in the world and none of them come out looking good in the end (Organized religions and harassment so often go hand in hand), and the value/time is not an absolute either depending on whom you speak to. Most everything on that list can be attributed to most major religions at one time or another often far more recently than one initially imagines, and their lists go on as well. I'm not saying that scientologists are a wonderful bunch of guys, if anything far from it. What I am saying is that in this case making X>Y or X<Y assertions are just as intangible as the existence or nonexistence of God.
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Re: Scientologists convicted of fraud

Postby kinigget » Mon Nov 02, 2009 6:19 pm UTC

the most important words in the post above mine " at one time or another".

seriously, non-religious as I am, it still annoys me that people take things that religious groups did hundreds or thousands of years in the past and use these examples to say that religion always has been and always will be evil. Those were (in most cases) fringe cases then and non-existent now. And even now, as bad as some religious groups can be, the ones that actually do terrible things are not representative of their respective religions as a whole.

Yes, organized religion can be used for evil, this does not, however, make organized religion itself evil.

The point about equivalency is a valid one however, it is impossible to equate one set of terrible things to another. they're both terrible, that's about all you can say. Which makes me wonder why you're bringing up the "other religions do bad things too!" argument, it's not terribly relevant to anything, and feels like a half-hearted defense of Scientology, except you keep saying that you're not defending them, so what are going on about anyway?
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Re: Scientologists convicted of fraud

Postby Dauric » Mon Nov 02, 2009 6:52 pm UTC

kinigget wrote:the most important words in the post above mine " at one time or another".

seriously, non-religious as I am, it still annoys me that people take things that religious groups did hundreds or thousands of years in the past and use these examples to say that religion always has been and always will be evil. Those were (in most cases) fringe cases then and non-existent now. And even now, as bad as some religious groups can be, the ones that actually do terrible things are not representative of their respective religions as a whole.

Yes, organized religion can be used for evil, this does not, however, make organized religion itself evil.

The point about equivalency is a valid one however, it is impossible to equate one set of terrible things to another. they're both terrible, that's about all you can say. Which makes me wonder why you're bringing up the "other religions do bad things too!" argument, it's not terribly relevant to anything, and feels like a half-hearted defense of Scientology, except you keep saying that you're not defending them, so what are going on about anyway?


Note that most of this thread has been attempting to make the absolute comparison that one is worse than the other. My point is that the comparison they're making is not one that you can attach static values to and compare. You can't even take "At one time or another" as any kind of measurement, because there's no agreement on the "deflationary" value of ethical lapses over time. Do those murdered by the Spanish Inquisition in the name of the Catholic Pope have less comparative value hundreds of years later, or do they take on more given the potential of their unborn descendants? And then you have to argue the value of a single human life and people are still killing one-another over that one. Philosophers and theologians argue about this kind of stuff and we have no answers on which to base actual measurements to make conclusive evaluations.

I'm not addressing the 'good' or 'ill' of organized religions in comparison to the unaffiliated faithful, or those unconcerned with the topic at all. If this seems a half-hearted defense of any side, consider that the argument is heavily weighted to the anti-scientologist, and my argument is that the weight given to both sides is irrelevant. As stated:
The point about equivalency is a valid one however, it is impossible to equate one set of terrible things to another. they're both terrible, that's about all you can say.
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Re: Scientologists convicted of fraud

Postby dedalus » Tue Nov 03, 2009 10:53 am UTC

Dauric, again, statistics. Yes, Christianity has done terrible terrible things. But if you got a numerical measure of 'evil' and divided that by the number of Christians then it'd be much smaller then if you did the same for Scientology. If you don't do a percentile analysis like this, you can extend it to saying that any single serial killer, rapist or anything else of the such is less worse then the church because the church has done similar things on a larger scale (and indeed you could group a lot of them together and still say the group is less evil). I hardly think you're going to make that assumption, but the example stands to make a point about why we can't compare absolute values between a very large and a very small organisation.
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Re: Scientologists convicted of fraud

Postby Ixtellor » Tue Nov 03, 2009 1:26 pm UTC

1) Its obvious most people don't read. Leadgolems list of 'crimes' was debunked.
2) I don't think anyone is defending Scientology, they are horrible.
3) No one has posted a shread of evidence that scientology is only about making money. Do you really thing Tom Cruise joined to make money, is that why he stays in it, because he's at the top of the pyramid... or is he a true believer?

4) Stop making the strawman argument that we have to look back in history to compare the evilness of Christianity Scientology.
Clearly no one is reading, so I guess they glossed over the part where I mentioned Christians killed 2 people 13 days ago.

dedalus wrote:But if you got a numerical measure of 'evil' and divided that by the number of Christians then it'd be much smaller then if you did the same for Scientology.


Really?
Here get these numbers:
Number of Christians who think being gay is icky, is a straight ticket to eternal hellfire, and spend money trying to defeat any and all gay rights.


Ixtellor

P.S. I would write more but I have to go plan how to teach little kids about fisting, condom use, and the difference between tops and bottoms. (At least according to a Christian pamplet about teachers and their pro-homosexual agenda)
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Re: Scientologists convicted of fraud

Postby dedalus » Tue Nov 03, 2009 1:42 pm UTC

Ixtellor, just holding this belief doesn't make them evil; stupid and bigoted perhaps, but there's a difference. And on top of that, you don't seem to be comparing this to Christianity on a wholescale. Once again, the logic you use to push this argument is exactly the same as me claiming that Christianity is worse then the Manson family. And they're not. There are plenty of Christian idiots out there, but they're actually a minority, in much the same way that extremist Muslims are a minority (that's why they're extremists).

If you're going to make a comparison between Christianity and Scientology, which you seem to be doing (if not you're just thread-jacking) then you have to both balance out the bad that bad Christians do with the good that good Christians do (and the same for Scientology, but I'm pretty sure that Scientology doesn't much care for giving to the poor), AND balance it out across the entire religion. So taking the quantitative value of 'good/evil' of the average Christian... Oh and simply believing that gay people will burn and hell isn't as bad as kidnapping and extortion. Like, ok... both are bad, both need to be removed. But fuck, get some kind of relativity in here.
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Re: Scientologists convicted of fraud

Postby Ixtellor » Tue Nov 03, 2009 2:03 pm UTC

dedalus wrote:Oh and simply believing that gay people will burn and hell isn't as bad as kidnapping and extortion


What % of Scientologists kidnap and extort people?
What % of Christians vote to deny gay people rights?

Since you don't read anything... go fact check your whole "Scientologists are always murdering, kidnapping, imprisoning people" argument.

People keep reporting this bullshit with no proof. Hold yourself to a higher fucking standard please. You tell me, what fucking percent of Scientologists kidnap people. Your endless non-factual arguments are getting old.

There is no difference between Scientology and Christianity. They are both religions and both are seeking to control you.

To try and make some lame attempt that one is a 'good' religion and the other is a 'bad' religion is self delusional.
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Re: Scientologists convicted of fraud

Postby gmalivuk » Tue Nov 03, 2009 5:26 pm UTC

Ixtellor wrote:There is no difference between Scientology and Christianity.

And thus Ixtellor proves, after several pages, that he is a dick and also apparently can't read. I vote we ignore him.
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Re: Scientologists convicted of fraud

Postby Ixtellor » Tue Nov 03, 2009 5:32 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
Ixtellor wrote:There is no difference between Scientology and Christianity.

And thus Ixtellor proves, after several pages, that he is a dick and also apparently can't read. I vote we ignore him.


Speaking of not reading, I guess you missed all the parts where the only person to contribute any stats, numbers, or Scientology convictions for criminal crimes... was me.

I know, I know... you dont' read my posts. You have a preconceived false perception and rather that read the facts you just go with your gut instinct that I must be wrong. Its ok, I am used to you contibuting jack shit to any thread where I am involved and use it only as a vehicle to make personal attacks based on your own ill conceived bias. Nothing new to see here, you pop in, ignore every post and call me a dick or asshole.

But don't fret, I assume you have enough cred with the natives to win your Dickhead proposal.

Ixtellor

P.S. What contribution exactly did you make to the thread... other than give a few of your fellow dickheads a woody with all your personal attacks? (This is called aggressive aggresive)
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Re: Scientologists convicted of fraud

Postby The Great Hippo » Tue Nov 03, 2009 5:48 pm UTC

Ixtellor wrote:Speaking of not reading, I guess you missed all the parts where the only person to contribute any stats, numbers, or Scientology convictions for criminal crimes... was me.

I know, I know... you dont' read my posts. You have a preconceived false perception and rather that read the facts you just go with your gut instinct that I must be wrong. Its ok, I am used to you contibuting jack shit to any thread where I am involved and use it only as a vehicle to make personal attacks based on your own ill conceived bias. Nothing new to see here, you pop in, ignore every post and call me a dick or asshole.
Christianity is a loosely organized system of beliefs centered around the supposition that Jesus is the Son of God and by accepting him as your savior, you will find glory in the hereafter. There are many Christians who think that all the other Christians are insane.

Scientology is a tightly organized system of beliefs centered around an organization - a regimented structure with a hierarchy, requirements for joining, dues for its members, etc. There ar not many Scientologists who think that all other Scientologists are insane.

A much better example for your comparison would be the Catholic Church.
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Re: Scientologists convicted of fraud

Postby gmalivuk » Tue Nov 03, 2009 5:53 pm UTC

The Catholic Church when it had way more control over its members than it does today.
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Re: Scientologists convicted of fraud

Postby The Great Hippo » Tue Nov 03, 2009 5:56 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:The Catholic Church when it had way more control over its members than it does today.
I was actually going to point out - Scientology actually does look a lot like the early Catholic Church, back when excommunication was a political tool to convince rulers to do what you wanted them to do (not that the Catholic Church doesn't use excommunication for political leverage anymore - but there's a lot less it can accomplish, now).

But, also: One of the reasons we parse Scientology as so bad is simply because they're so blatantly a money-making institution. We can look at something like the Catholic Church and understand how those inside of it - all the way up to the Pope - can really believe in this stuff. It has an immense amount of historical momentum. If it's a scam, it's a scam that's managed to scam itself. Similarly, I'm sure there are a multitude of Scientologists in Scientology who believe the party-line... But at the top? Miscaviage (sp?) knows it's a scam. Anyone who reads more than a few paragraphs on its founding father knows its a scam. Hell, it's founding father pretty much said that it's a scam. People hate it because it's so goddamn fucking obvious--and, for better or worse, obvious targets are easy targets.

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Re: Scientologists convicted of fraud

Postby Spacemilk » Tue Nov 03, 2009 6:00 pm UTC

Ixtellor wrote:
dedalus wrote:Oh and simply believing that gay people will burn and hell isn't as bad as kidnapping and extortion


What % of Scientologists kidnap and extort people?
What % of Christians vote to deny gay people rights?

Pssst: Except CoS did work to deny gay people rights, that's why this news story (as a single example) has been all over the fucking internet for the past week.

Edit: Here's some more for you. Although a CoS spokesman is quoted in the article as saying that the CoS churches supporting Prop 8 did not actually support it and were listed as doing so incorrectly, there's an interesting little quote in this article: "Davis’ words seem to contradict the writings of church founder and science fiction novelist L. Ron Hubbard, who decreed that gays should be "disposed of quietly and without sorrow.""
Ixtellor wrote:Since you don't read anything... go fact check your whole "Scientologists are always murdering, kidnapping, imprisoning people" argument.

Hilariously ironic, considering the quote of yours I have above.
The Great Hippo wrote:A much better example for your comparison would be the Catholic Church.

Gmal ninja'd me on this, but the Catholic Church from 300-400 years ago or so (in the age of the Inquisition, indulgence selling, suppression and outright interference in science) would be a correct comparison. That version of the Catholic Church is a great example of what Scientology became the dominant world religion.

The present day Catholic Church shares no similarities with Scientology, except for maybe a relatively rigid hierarchy in comparison with Christian churches.
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Re: Scientologists convicted of fraud

Postby Ixtellor » Tue Nov 03, 2009 6:17 pm UTC

Spacemilk wrote:Pssst: Except CoS did work to deny gay people rights, that's why this news story (as a single example) has been all over the fucking internet for the past week.


So Haggis leaving the chruch, not because they supported prop 8, but because they were silent on the issue = the whole church is against gay rights?

Did you read this line from your 2nd link:

I don’t want any misunderstanding. The church supports civil rights for everybody, regardless of sexual orientation, race, color or creed. We are a minority, too; we understand what it’s like to be persecuted, so to the extent that anything prohibits or inhibits on civil rights, we don’t agree with it.... Church of Scientology San Diego had been put on a list of churches that supported Proposition 8 out in California. It was incorrectly included and named when it should have never been on the list to begin with


Sounds like more of a pro-gay marriage organization to me. I had no idea and assumed they had no stance, but apparently they do support gay rights.

Spacemilk wrote:The present day Catholic Church shares no similarities with Scientology, except for maybe a relatively rigid hierarchy in comparison with Christian churches.


I concur. Which is why I keep mentioning modern day Evangelicals... you know over 30% of all Christians in America. The people who pay money to rich preachers so they don't get cancer,vote against gay people, and vote for Republicans?

Question:Do you feel that your links proved Scientology is against Gay marriage?

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Re: Scientologists convicted of fraud

Postby The Great Hippo » Tue Nov 03, 2009 6:24 pm UTC

Spacemilk wrote:Edit: Here's some more for you. Although a CoS spokesman is quoted in the article as saying that the CoS churches supporting Prop 8 did not actually support it and were listed as doing so incorrectly, there's an interesting little quote in this article: "Davis’ words seem to contradict the writings of church founder and science fiction novelist L. Ron Hubbard, who decreed that gays should be "disposed of quietly and without sorrow.""
Hilariously, one of the biggest problems with Scientology has been its founder himself. They've been forced into the position of having to retool and popularize a religion founded by a con-man with intense, deep issues concerning homophobia, racism, and pharmacology (not that psychiatrists can't be evil as fuck, but the notion that antidepressants and their friends are evil under all circumstances isn't very helpful to those who need antidepressants).
Ixtellor wrote:I concur. Which is why I keep mentioning modern day Evangelicals... you know over 30% of all Christians in America. The people who pay money to rich preachers so they don't get cancer,vote against gay people, and vote for Republicans?
Right, and that's a very poor comparison. Evangelicals aren't beholden to a larger 'Evangelical Authority' like Scientology is; Scientology is a centralized, organized movement with a distinct hierarchy - the evangelical culture in America is more like a series of loose alliances and friendships with generally congruent aims.
Ixtellor wrote:Sounds like more of a pro-gay marriage organization to me. I had no idea and assumed they had no stance, but apparently they do support gay rights.
Do I qualify as pro-gay by remaining silent on the issue of gay marriage? Because that's what Scientology is doing.

You'll also notice that the statement you quoted is actually a non-statement. "We support civil rights for everyone!" - Yes, that's the same line the anti-marriage crowd uses. No where in that statement is "Gays deserve the right to be married". Only "Gays don't deserve to be denied civil rights". Which is a very easy position to have.

I am quite capable of saying "Gays don't deserve to be denied civil rights" and "But marriage isn't a civil right" in the same breath. I imagine it's not much of a stretch for Scientology, either.

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Re: Scientologists convicted of fraud

Postby gmalivuk » Tue Nov 03, 2009 6:27 pm UTC

And Islam teaches the equality of all believers...

Also, a question for Ixtellor: do you believe kidnapping is on par with voting against gay marriage? I agree that people who do either one are dicks, but there's still a rather big difference.
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Re: Scientologists convicted of fraud

Postby Ixtellor » Tue Nov 03, 2009 6:30 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:Only "Gays don't deserve to be denied civil rights". Which is a very easy position to have.
.


But radically different than schools for sexual identify conversion that Evangelicals love to open.

The Great Hippo wrote:They've been forced into the position of having to retool and popularize a religion founded by a con-man with intense, deep issues concerning homophobia, racism, and pharmacology


Sounds like a good description for all religions. (Perhaps not buddism, I dont' know what kind of revisionism they have done).

In 50 years all the Christian sects will have to defend their homophobic stances.

The Great Hippo wrote:Evangelicals aren't beholden to a larger 'Evangelical Authority'


Tell that to Oral Roberts, Jerry Falwell, etc etc.
Did you know that God speaks to them? Did you know that the smallest evangelical prosperity gospel preacher probably has 10X as many followers as Scientotlogy...

For those who don't read - There are about 55,000 Scientologists in the USA. There is one chruch in Dallas that has more


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Re: Scientologists convicted of fraud

Postby The Great Hippo » Tue Nov 03, 2009 6:37 pm UTC

Ixtellor wrote:But radically different than schools for sexual identify conversion that Evangelicals love to open.
How is defining homosexuality as an aberrant sexual perversion a denial of the civil rights of homosexuals? It's certainly a denial of their wants and desires - but the statement "I think your sexuality is amoral and wrong, and I'm going to try to convince you to change it" contains absolutely no infringement on your civil rights. If I kidnap you and take you to a conversion camp, then I'm infringing on your rights.
Ixtellor wrote:Sounds like a good description for all religions. (Perhaps not buddism, I dont' know what kind of revisionism they have done).
Citation needed for Islam, Catholicism, Christianity, and Judaism all being founded by con artists? And as far as we know, Jesus really didn't have an opinion on the whole homosexuality thing...
Ixtellor wrote:In 50 years all the Christian sects will have to defend their homophobic stances.
They're having to defend it right now.
Ixtellor wrote:Tell that to Oral Roberts, Jerry Falwell, etc etc.
Did you know that God speaks to them? Did you know that the smallest evangelical prosperity gospel preacher probably has 10X as many followers as Scientotlogy...

For those who don't read - There are about 55,000 Scientologists in the USA. There is one chruch in Dallas that has more.
The numbers of participants are irrelevant. You're dodging the fact that these are not organizations with clear, structured hierarchies, financial requirements for membership, etc. If I say "I'm an evangelical Christian!", I'm now an evangelical Christian. If I shoot you in the face, we can now say an evangelical Christian has shot you in the face. Scientology doesn't work that way - if I say "I'm a Scientologist!" and shoot you in the face, Scientology has a fair case to make that I'm not actually a Scientologist. This means we have a higher expectation concerning the behavior of individual Scientologists. We can also criticize Scientology policies (because they actually exist - it's not just some random thing Falwell said that some number of Christians might disagree with).

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Re: Scientologists convicted of fraud

Postby Ixtellor » Tue Nov 03, 2009 6:54 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:And Islam teaches the equality of all believers...

Also, a question for Ixtellor: do you believe kidnapping is on par with voting against gay marriage? I agree that people who do either one are dicks, but there's still a rather big difference.


I think its far worse. If scientology was promoting kidnapping I would declare them Nazis.

Which is why I read though all the links Leadgolem provided.
I went through the 5 or 6 and picked out the worst ones. What I found is that they were all civil law suits and that the few I followed all the way to their conclusions, resulted in dismissal of the cases.

It appeared that most of the lawsuits were people suing because they were mad about getting dupped out of their cash. And since the police had no interest in their cases, they filed revenge suits.

I don't care if a fool is parted from his money.


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Re: Scientologists convicted of fraud

Postby Heisenberg » Tue Nov 03, 2009 6:58 pm UTC

Ixtellor wrote:I don't care if a fool is parted from his money.
The law does. When you agree to pay someone for a service, and the service is lacking or non-existent, that's called fraud. When you wander into a building and listen to a guy talk about the evils of society, that's not fraud. If the guy is preaching hatred of gays, that's shitty, and you should probably leave. If he's one of many Christian leaders who support gay rights, then, I'm sure you'll find some other way to equate him with Scientology, ignoring the fundamental difference between Fraud and Not Fraud.

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Re: Scientologists convicted of fraud

Postby The Great Hippo » Tue Nov 03, 2009 6:59 pm UTC

Ixtellor wrote:I think its far worse. If scientology was promoting kidnapping I would declare them Nazis.
...uh, really?

Anyway, are you familiar with Operation Freakout, Operation Snow White, and the Fair Game policy? I'm surprised they haven't been mentioned in this thread, yet (or maybe they have, and I just missed them?).

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Re: Scientologists convicted of fraud

Postby Lareth » Tue Nov 03, 2009 7:06 pm UTC

Merriam-Webster:
Main Entry: fraud
Pronunciation: \ˈfrȯd\
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English fraude, from Anglo-French, from Latin fraud-, fraus
Date: 14th century
1 a : deceit, trickery; specifically : intentional perversion of truth in order to induce another to part with something of value or to surrender a legal right b : an act of deceiving or misrepresenting : trick


A legal definition, which is elaborated on here: http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/fraud
A false representation of a matter of fact—whether by words or by conduct, by false or misleading allegations, or by concealment of what should have been disclosed—that deceives and is intended to deceive another so that the individual will act upon it to her or his legal injury.


Until they start offering up evidence for heaven, all large christian organizations are guilty of fraud.

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Re: Scientologists convicted of fraud

Postby The Great Hippo » Tue Nov 03, 2009 7:12 pm UTC

Lareth wrote:
A false representation of a matter of fact—whether by words or by conduct, by false or misleading allegations, or by concealment of what should have been disclosed—that deceives and is intended to deceive another so that the individual will act upon it to her or his legal injury.


Until they start offering up evidence for heaven, all large christian organizations are guilty of fraud.
So your contention is that all large Christian organizations are actually run by fraudulent atheists?

Heh.

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Re: Scientologists convicted of fraud

Postby MoghLiechty2 » Tue Nov 03, 2009 7:23 pm UTC

Ixtellor wrote:
The Great Hippo wrote:Evangelicals aren't beholden to a larger 'Evangelical Authority'


Tell that to Oral Roberts, Jerry Falwell, etc etc.
Did you know that God speaks to them? Did you know that the smallest evangelical prosperity gospel preacher probably has 10X as many followers as Scientology...

Ixtellor, I am a prime example of why your reasoning is coming under such scrutiny. Me? I am, by all correct definitions, an Evangelical Christian. Oral Roberts and Jerry Falwell? I don't give a crap about. What does this not mean? That my local pastor is going to kick me out of Jesus time the next time we meet.

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Re: Scientologists convicted of fraud

Postby Dauric » Tue Nov 03, 2009 7:45 pm UTC

MoghLiechty2 wrote: That my local pastor is going to kick me out of Jesus time the next time we meet.


Strange yet awesome visual....
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Re: Scientologists convicted of fraud

Postby gmalivuk » Tue Nov 03, 2009 7:46 pm UTC

Lareth wrote:Until they start offering up evidence for heaven, all large christian organizations are guilty of fraud.

Until they start officially requiring that you pay money in order to get to heaven, you're guilty of being full of shit.

(And actually, I'm pretty sure that if you believe it yourself, it's not exactly fraud even if it is completely false. I'm not fully clear on the legalities of such things, though. Someone care to chime in with precedents or specific penal code or something?)
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Re: Scientologists convicted of fraud

Postby MoghLiechty2 » Tue Nov 03, 2009 8:01 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
Lareth wrote:Until they start offering up evidence for heaven, all large christian organizations are guilty of fraud.

...
And actually, I'm pretty sure that if you believe it yourself, it's not exactly fraud even if it is completely false.

And even if it were false, by what set of standards are we going to assign it falsehood? Lack of provability is simply the nature of the religious beast. The best you can do is assign religious belief some level of epistemic demerit, presumably according to your own epistemic standards.

The crux of the issue is that not everybody agrees with Lareth's epistemic standards.

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Re: Scientologists convicted of fraud

Postby Dauric » Tue Nov 03, 2009 8:18 pm UTC

Fraud or not every time I see images of the interior of the Vatican I have to wonder how many charitable works the raw value of gold, ivory, precious metals and stones would pay for today, I try not to think about what the added value of those objects as historical/collectibles would bring and what could be done with that money because that makes me angry. Of course that kind of ostentatious display of wealth by the church is one of many things that kicked off the reformation movement.

I think the thing that we can all agree on is that it's long since time that every religion stopped using the "It's our belief and you have to respect that" trope as a shield to hide behind when laws are broken. Whether it's as blatant as the Scientologist fraud-as-belief-system, or the passive-aggressive"He's a man of god so our church will punish him for his sins as we see fit, we don't need to report anything to secular authorities but will cooperate if they ever find out." that the Catholic Church used as an excuse for shuffling around pedophile priests, or the myriad of evangelicals that threaten or engage in acts of violence against whatever 'sinful' target of the week because the bible said so.
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Re: Scientologists convicted of fraud

Postby Spacemilk » Tue Nov 03, 2009 8:30 pm UTC

Dauric wrote:Fraud or not every time I see images of the interior of the Vatican I have to wonder how many charitable works the raw value of gold, ivory, precious metals and stones would pay for today, I try not to think about what the added value of those objects as historical/collectibles would bring and what could be done with that money because that makes me angry. Of course that kind of ostentatious display of wealth by the church is one of many things that kicked off the reformation movement.

You mean, like... what you have in a museum? 'Cause anyone can get in the Vatican and see those gorgeous historical items, just the same as you can get into a museum. You might argue that the value of the raw materials of historical items is greater than the intrinsic value of the whole... but I disagree. I'm no historian but the idea of melting down a ancient, beautiful work of art in order to get at a few ounces of gold leaf makes me feel slightly queasy. As far as selling them to private collectors - well, you could make that argument about all the museums of the world. And it'd be a really really stupid argument.

The "ostentatious displays of wealth" that kicked off the reformation was the fact that priests, bishops, and cardinals were living in huge houses with nice clothes and good food and they also happened to be landowners... by using money gained by "buying pardons", which Luther said should be free and granted by God. You might be getting mixed up with Frederick III of Saxonburg (read the Wiki article below) who essentially charged for people to see holy relics. That's completely different from what the Vatican does today, in more ways than one.

Cite 1: Wikipedia article.
Cite 2: Actual text of the 95 theses.
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Re: Scientologists convicted of fraud

Postby Dauric » Tue Nov 03, 2009 8:58 pm UTC

Spacemilk wrote:
Dauric wrote:Fraud or not every time I see images of the interior of the Vatican I have to wonder how many charitable works the raw value of gold, ivory, precious metals and stones would pay for today, I try not to think about what the added value of those objects as historical/collectibles would bring and what could be done with that money because that makes me angry. Of course that kind of ostentatious display of wealth by the church is one of many things that kicked off the reformation movement.

You mean, like... what you have in a museum? 'Cause anyone can get in the Vatican and see those gorgeous historical items, just the same as you can get into a museum.

Ahh but museums are not founded on ideals of charity and piety, they're founded on ideals of study and preservation.

You might argue that the value of the raw materials of historical items is greater than the intrinsic value of the whole... but I disagree. I'm no historian but the idea of melting down a ancient, beautiful work of art in order to get at a few ounces of gold leaf makes me feel slightly queasy.

No, I agree that such objects would be more valuable as is, which is why considering their value as more than raw materials it irritates yet more that -again- an organization (supposedly) based in charity and piety with the frequent claim that the poor are to be blessed by god, has at it's disposal a means by which to raise substantial amounts of money that could be used to build infrastructure desperately needed in the poorest parts of the world, and by doing so could do more to foster healing and peace (again, common themes of the faith) than relics behind glass.

I do not hold museums to the same expectation, they do not preach morality at me, and museums typically don't get involved in excommunicating government officials in foreign nations to effect their policy. I expect Museums to preserve historical artifacts with the money they get through endowments and donations, annd they generally do a good job of that.
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Re: Scientologists convicted of fraud

Postby Lareth » Tue Nov 03, 2009 9:29 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
Lareth wrote:Until they start offering up evidence for heaven, all large christian organizations are guilty of fraud.

Until they start officially requiring that you pay money in order to get to heaven, you're guilty of being full of shit.


"Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."
-Matthew 19:23-24 (New International Version)

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Re: Scientologists convicted of fraud

Postby Spacemilk » Tue Nov 03, 2009 9:38 pm UTC

Lareth wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:
Lareth wrote:Until they start offering up evidence for heaven, all large christian organizations are guilty of fraud.

Until they start officially requiring that you pay money in order to get to heaven, you're guilty of being full of shit.


"Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God, therefore all who are rich shall give their worldly possessions to representatives of the Catholic Church™ in order to obtain a ticket to heaven."
-Matthew 19:23-24 (New International Version)

S'ok, I fixed it for you to make the parallel actually work.
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