Author Topic: Why it’s so hard to beat Scientology  (Read 7853 times)

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QuestEon

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Why it’s so hard to beat Scientology
« on: March 30, 2015, 02:12:37 PM »
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I see lots of interesting parallels here between Scientology and that other group...

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“I mean, if you go to a Christian or a Jew or a Muslim and ask them what do you believe, they can basically describe the most important parts of their religion in a minute or two,” Tony Ortega, who started covering Scientology in 1995 when he was at the Phoenix New Times, says at one point in “Going Clear.” “Well, what does a Scientologist believe? You need to be a Scientologist for seven or eight years, and in for a couple hundred thousand dollars before you finally learn this backstory of Xenu the Galactic Overlord. Now, if you were told that on day one, how many people would join?


Why it’s so hard to beat Scientology
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X

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Re: Why it’s so hard to beat Scientology
« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2015, 02:45:17 PM »
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Stefan MolyXenu ! :P

mikef

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Re: Why it’s so hard to beat Scientology
« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2015, 11:44:12 PM »
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But there’s a difference between convincing people outside of Scientology — including the Internal Revenue Service — that the church is a confidence scheme rather than a genuine religious organization

Is there such a thing as a genuine religious organisation?  What makes God or Allah and all those silly stories, eg. Noah, any less ridiculous than Xenu?

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Showing non-believers videos of Scientology convocations, or explaining L. Ron Hubbard’s theories of the origins of the universe, might help with the former goal. The latter, though, requires something entirely different from us: understanding. Instead of mocking Scientology rituals or Tom Cruise or John Travolta’s testimonials, it demands that we understand why those things might be meaningful to church members.

If you had no understanding of what church was, had never seen one before in your life, and looked at it for the first time as an adult, I think it would look pretty weird.  Eating the body and drinking the blood of a dead guy?  Yeah, I know it's not real, but still, pretty weird. 
« Last Edit: March 30, 2015, 11:54:32 PM by mikef »

eternal bias

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Re: Why it’s so hard to beat Scientology
« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2015, 01:51:21 AM »
+2
 
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Instead of mocking Scientology rituals or Tom Cruise or John Travolta’s testimonials, it demands that we understand why those things might be meaningful to church members.

What a dumb article.

It was HL Mencken that once said, "One horse-laugh is worth ten-thousand syllogisms” meaning it's much easier to destroy a dumb ideology by laughing at it then trying to understand it by using it's own ridiculous logic.

That's why those old TruShibes videos were so great because they made a mockery of him instead of taking him seriously.  Taking Scientology seriously and trying to empathize with it's victims only puts it in a better light.  When South Park went full out and mocked it mercilessly ten years ago it completely neutered the entire Scientology movement for a generation.

QuestEon

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Re: Why it’s so hard to beat Scientology
« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2015, 09:37:30 AM »
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But there’s a difference between convincing people outside of Scientology — including the Internal Revenue Service — that the church is a confidence scheme rather than a genuine religious organization

Is there such a thing as a genuine religious organisation?  What makes God or Allah and all those silly stories, eg. Noah, any less ridiculous than Xenu?

My point of view is that whether or not one believes in the Jesus myth, for example, doesn't obviate the fact that spirituality has been the basis for some of mankind's most profound philosophical thinking. So, I'm a little reluctant to dismiss the "silly stories" out-of-hand.

Religious groups, being man-made, are a little more difficult to parse. But I still believe that one can draw a distinction between cults such as Roman Catholicism and destructive cults such as Scientology. In the former case, it is entirely possible that being a member of such a cult can have a benign or even beneficial effect on the member. I think that's what the author meant by "genuine." I'm not sure I would have used that term.
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QuestEon

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Re: Why it’s so hard to beat Scientology
« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2015, 10:00:47 AM »
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@eternal bias and Dr. Elvis H. Christ--

I submit that what you're talking about isn't what the article (which I think was mostly spot on) was talking about.

The article isn't focused on inoculating non-believers against becoming believers (in which case humor and exposing hypocrisy can work pretty well). It's about the very difficult challenge of helping believers become unbelievers.

Taking Scientology seriously and trying to empathize with it's victims only puts it in a better light.

I agree. The above statement, taken in total, is a probably a recipe for driving someone deeper into a destructive cult. But, again, I didn't see where the article said one should take Scientology seriously. I certainly don't think the author does.

However, if one is genuinely interested in helping a destructive cult's current victims, empathy is a pretty good place to start. It's about taking the member seriously, even if he or she is clinging to a belief system that seems pretty unbelievable.
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mikef

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Re: Why it’s so hard to beat Scientology
« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2015, 09:47:50 PM »
+1

My point of view is that whether or not one believes in the Jesus myth, for example, doesn't obviate the fact that spirituality has been the basis for some of mankind's most profound philosophical thinking. So, I'm a little reluctant to dismiss the "silly stories" out-of-hand.

Religious groups, being man-made, are a little more difficult to parse. But I still believe that one can draw a distinction between cults such as Roman Catholicism and destructive cults such as Scientology. In the former case, it is entirely possible that being a member of such a cult can have a benign or even beneficial effect on the member. I think that's what the author meant by "genuine." I'm not sure I would have used that term.

Well, my point is, and let me know if I'm straying off topic here, I don't personally think I am, I just think I'm approaching it from a different angle.  Anyway, I used to be suspicious of many of the parents here.  I know that my own very problematic upbringing, which looked relatively normal to outsiders had been a huge factor in my decisions regarding places like FDR and I wondered how people in relatively stable families could end in the DeFOO situation.  Then I began to think about this whole phenomenon on a deeper level.  Aren't we all kind of somewhat trained to believe this way?  Whether you like the state or not, the reality is that it is a myth and it requires the instruction of children in certain ways in order for it to take in their mind.  The same has been done for religion throughout history, and is of course one of the prime concerns of cults in general.  So maybe the real problem is that a great many people are primed for cults.

Now to the question of religions not being destructive.  Well, I kind of disagree with that.  I think they can be very destructive.  Depending on how deep one goes into it, many people end up using it as a crutch.  And there are countless examples of those in power in religions abusing people in different ways.  I don't know exactly what characterises a "destructive" cult but the differences between FDR and the major religions to me seems only one of scale.  Not everyone who encounters and is involved in FDR has a particularly negative experience and some good does come out of it for some people.  So what makes something destructive?   My father was Roman-Catholic and when I rejected the church in my teens, he showed where his loyalty was.  And our relationship never really recovered.  I call that destructive.

You say spirituality has been the basis for some of mankind's best philosophical thinking to which I would counter, for the vast majority of human existence it has been very dangerous not to be religious.  Look at Galileo.  Look at the Inquisitions and Crusades.  Even today in many regions people are looked down on for being atheist.  As well, much of the wealth that would enable such thinking was abrogated towards churches in those days in much the same way that science is largely government-funded today.  I really don't see much deep-thinking coming from the religious community of today to support the idea that they may have been necessary for this philosophical thinking.  If this is what you were implying..

So, to sum up, while I accept FDR has been a highly-problematic cult, I'm not particularly concerned with it in general any more.  For me it's symptomatic of wider problems, and if the wider problems aren't addressed, well, we can just play whack-a-mole with these cults until the end of time.  Maybe the wider problem can't be addressed, maybe it is a part of human nature, although personally I suspect not.   My own interest lies in exploring ideas of personality disorders like narcissism and co-dependency and I use the lens of FDR through which to do this.  I'm curious as to why they seem so widespread and if anything can be done about it.  For me, cults like FDR just seem to be filling a demand at the moment, kind of like how drug dealers fill a demand for illegal drugs.  Not a perfect analogy but I think you might get what I'm driving at.  Where is the demand coming from is the real question I'm interested in.

Marc Moïni

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Re: Why it’s so hard to beat Scientology
« Reply #7 on: April 02, 2015, 06:01:25 AM »
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For me it's symptomatic of wider problems, and if the wider problems aren't addressed, well, we can just play whack-a-mole with these cults until the end of time.

That's how I see this too, and so far I'm satisfied with the explanation and remedy for these wider problems that I found in Marshall Rosenberg's work. Learning to notice how I feel instead of struggling to keep up an appearance of cool control has been scary and very painful at times, and then when I'm sad or afraid or angry it's been difficult to figure out exactly what I'm missing that makes me feel that way, but I've been at it 4 years now and it's like I'm finally out in daylight instead of crawling in a cold damp cave. So I suggest you watch some of Rosenberg's videos, I hope you'll find what you didn't find at FDR.
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Patrick Leonard

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Re: Why it’s so hard to beat Scientology
« Reply #8 on: April 05, 2015, 01:56:35 PM »
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Scientology: The science that pyramids are magic beacons for aliens to land on earth.

Archaeologist: "Whoa man look at these pyramids. They've got like some sort of alien voodoo. Holy Hurr? Oh mAH GAWD I gOt A REVoLATION! They're like.... not built just by men, but aliens leading men. WHOAAAAH MAN!"
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Howe's it going man?
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