Scientology – my main problem

August 2, 2009

It’s been a while since I’ve written or even thought about Scientology, but just today I read a post over on My Scientology Blog, which was actually the response to some questions asked by a reader. One line really jumped out at me when I read it and it was the following:

The tools we have in Scientology don’t require belief in order to work.

My main problem with Scientology has always been that it categorizes itself as a religion and yet claims that you do not need to believe anything to be a part of it. So, how can it be a religion when we get the definition of religion from any dictionary it always contains the aspect of belief.

Religion:

1. beliefs and worship: people’s beliefs and opinions concerning the existence, nature, and worship of a deity or deities, and divine involvement in the universe and human life

2. system: an institutionalized or personal system of beliefs and practices relating to the divine

3. personal beliefs or values: a set of strongly-held beliefs, values, and attitudes that somebody lives by

From Encarta Dictionary.

If Scientology was openly a Self-Help system, a set of products for bettering yourself, or even agreed that it’s comparable to Psychology and Psychiatry I wouldn’t have any qualm with it. The rub comes with it claiming it’s a religion, by this definition Science is a religion and so pharmaceutical companies are religious entities.

I just have to sort out a set of questions I can pose to a Scientology that will make them contradict themselves.

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Scientology, Tommy Davis and the Confederation (Xenu)

March 16, 2009

This interview with Tommy Davis one of Scientologies most aggressive higher ups is going to create quite a stir. It clearly shows Tommy Davis admitting the Xenu story of Scientology as true and that the reason so many people have been stopped from publishing it is because they don’t want other people to display their core beliefs, and perhaps screw them. In a ‘what is true for you is true for you’ belief system, if you try and publish something or change it you’re ostracized or perhaps worse.

What’s more, with this interview we clearly see Tommy Davis defending his belief by going on the offensive and saying that the interviewer is:

“What you’re doing right now and what it is you’re saying to me is an intent to ridicule religious beliefs. That’s really what we’re talking about. And you’re just forwarding an agenda of hate.”

I don’t think anyone is actually trying to ridicule any religious belief with this interview, what is happening, and what Scientology needs to understand about this is that people want to understand Scientology. They want, on the face of it, it all to be spelled out, so that we can either accept you, or leave you be. If we can’t do that then we’ll always be curious, and end up being what most Scientologists I’ve come across who I’ve spoken to about this called ‘Bigots’.

I’ve come into contact (over the internet) with a fair few Scientologists who are well spoken, kind, generous, aren’t advocates and won’t shun you if you happen to disagree with their belief. I’m happy to say I’ll like Scientologists, so long as they can give me the fair and square, x and y of what their religion is, without any of the “ok, you don’t agree, what’s true for you is true for you” or “you’re just a religious bigot, stop your hate crimes”.

What I really see coming from this interview is an interesting openness in future about what Scientology is and where it’s going. Hopefully some good can come from this from all sides of the Tetrahedron.


Comment – Pez

March 3, 2009

I’ve been meaning to reply to this comment by Pez (www.scientologytoday.org) for quite some time now as I still have some stuff to say on it and Scientology still interests me quite a bit. Pez’s comments are in Italics and mine are in standard type.

Picking apart what you perceive as contradictions in the religious beliefs of the Scientology system is as pointless as doing the same thing to Christianity, which is also filled with apparent contradictions.

I totally agree with this however, I feel that there is a lot of point in doing this, I’m currently looking to buy my own flat and I’m not going to jump in to a deal before I know about it, likewise, I’m not going to jump in and say something is founded and solid unless I truely feel it is. I pick apart Christianity and any other religion I happen to become interested in and I see lots of contradictions in Christianity and other belief systems. I in fact just finished reading a book which really shed light on some of the contradictions and ambiguity of Jewdaism and Christianity and where it can lead (Biblically posts 1, 2).

Although Scientology’s core tenets do indeed speak of us all being immortal spiritual beings, it is still possible to call yourself a Scientologist by believing in OTHER portions of its doctrine while still not going along with the entire Thetan concept. Many Christians pick and choose parts of the Bible they like, but ignore others. Unlike other religions, Scientology has a built-in allowance for this, and says “what is true is what is true for YOU.”

It appears that what you’re saying is that anyone can call themselves a Scientologist if they have heard about Scientology, there not being any definitive meaning to being a Scientologist. A Christian may pick and choose parts of the bible, but at the end of it they believe in Jesus,  God and the Holy Ghost. From what you say it seems like Scientology has none of these attributes if I do not have to believe anything that is written in the core of Scientology to be a Scientologist. It brings up a very clear question though, what does one have to resign themselves to to become clear? Clear is a state where one is free of what Hubbard called Engrams, which are unwanted experiences (Clear).

If you are genuinely serious about understanding Scientology better, I urge you to read the book “A New Slant On Life” which can be found for free in many libraries (although the Anonymous vandals at marcab.org are calling for people to steal them from libraries) or very cheap on eBay. I think it provides the best introduction to Scientology besides watching the videos on the main Scientology website.

I shall certainly try and find a copy of ‘A New Slant On Life’ and blog about my experience of it here. I have watched many videos on the Scientology website and I’m sad to say it seems like it’s coming across more as self-help than any serious religion for peoples wellbeing.

What makes Scientology a religion, why isn’t it just a self help program? I think is one of the main reasons I have such a hard time understanding Scientology. You do not have to believe in any kind of spirit, no god(s), in fact, you do not have to believe in anything to be a Scientologist. Finally, if ‘what is true is what is true for you’ then why are people rejected from the society for ‘squirrelling’ and believing slight differences in the writings ( see FreeZoners )?

I’ve had to remove commenting because of the large amount of spam this post has been getting.


Biblical No2

February 14, 2009

It seems that there are very few who follow religion to the letter and maybe that’s either the point or just a good thing. I certainly wouldn’t like today’s society if we all followed a literal translation of the Torah, be it an ‘Eye for an Eye’ or that you’re not meant to touch someone who is unclean. It would be a very frustrating way to live.

The thing about not touching someone who is unclean applies to both men and women and has to do with menstruation and shedding ones seed (male ejaculation). You’re not meant to touch a woman for seven days after she has menstruated which makes daily work a hard task. Just think about the last time you touched a woman in any way (hug, handshake, handing them something) and the chances of them having menstruated in the last seven days. Further, a male who has ejaculated in the last day is considered unclean, making touching most men probably a risky business. The punishment for this is that you are then unclean, presumably a sinner untill your next prayer when you are cleansed.

The Samaritans, the kind loving guys who appear in the parable of the good Samaritan, still live in Israel although there are only about 700 of them. They hold very strict literalist views on cleanliness and the female menstruation cycle. For seven days each month the females of the household have what is endearingly referred to as a ‘holiday from housework’. They have their own room with tv and refrigerator, they are not allowed really to interact with the men of the house except to help them prepare meals. This brings up another point actually, that men aren’t allowed to sit or touch anything that an unclean person has touched. So if the women of the Samaritans touch something, the men are not allowed to touch it. This is why they are not allowed to come out of their room and the men have to do everything.

What really intrigues me here, other than the fact that they have these bizarre rituals, is that the Samaritans of today put emphasis on this being a holiday for the women. It isn’t repression, even if it was at some point. It is now liberation.

The most powerful part of the story of the good Samaritan is that the Samaritan helps a Judean and the two hated each other. It tells us that even if you hate your neighbour for one thing, if he’s hurt and alone, you should help. The Samaritans have their own Bible and in fact their own Ten Commandments with just one difference: one of the commandments is to build an altar on Mount Garizim. It’s facinating to think that if we were all Samaritans then instead of having hundreds of people at the Wailing Wall every day you’d have hundreds of people not so far away at Mount Garizim. Every Passover the head male of each household of the Samaritans sacrifices a goat. Again, if we were all Samaritans then there would, every Passover, be hundreds maybe thousands of goat sacrifices but at Mount Garizim.

There’s a facinating thing about Jewish people and sacrifice which I will talk about in more depth next post.


Biblically No.1

February 8, 2009

I’m currently reading A.J.Jacobs, The Year of Living Biblically and I’m also trying to improve my memory. The latter of the two is inspiried by the very sad and unfortunate situation that Terry Pratchett is currently in. For those who don’t know, and I’m pretty sure that everyone does know, but Terry Pratchett recently found out that he has Alzheimers and if you’re interested there’s a really rather good show he’s doing about his search for a cure. Go check it out on iPlayer.

Anyway, I want to write down some stuff about the bible thing I’m reading, interesting stuff, useless facts that you will no doubt never need, but if you find yourself in the odd situation of being on the crystal maze maybe you’ll thank me.

Fact One:
There are 613 Commandments in the bible and that doesn’t include all of the suggestions and parables that are written. These 613 were all given to Moses on top of the mountain which is why he was up there for forty days. Most of these are the Oral Laws which were given by Moses to the Israelites who gave them to their sons and daughters, etcetera. Not all Jews believe in these Oral laws, there is a sect of Jewdaism who call themselves the Karaites who do not believe in the Oral law and only what is written in the bible. Whereas other jewish people follow the Rabbis interpretations of these Oral Laws.

Examples of this are laws like not mixing Wool and Linen, which is very specific and easy to follow, however there are other laws like ‘an Eye for an Eye’ which is where Jewish people need interpretation from the Rabbis. It’s said that it doesn’t actually mean to take and Eye for and Eye, but instead ‘cash for an eye’, typically the attacker pays the victim the monetary value of an eye. Then there are weird laws like ‘You are not to boil a young goat in the milk of it’s mother’ which if you take literally seems very hard to break and almost stupid to state. However, the interpretation of this by Rabbis gives the Jewish people the law whereby they can’t mix milk and meat, thus, no cheeseburgers.

It’s an interesting area and one which is trackled a lot in this book. One of my favourite parts so far is where the author tries to follow the law about not making a graven image of anything on the earth or in the sea. Taken literally it means that when his son askes him to create a Car out of play-doe he instead creates a circle, when asked to create Nemo (becuase his son is a good little protoconsumer) he creates an oval.

It does however get him into trouble now and again, there are a few pages dedicated to how he reacts to touching women. It says in the bible that you are not to touch a woman who is going through her cycle for a week afterwards. This means that he can refrain and pull back from shaking hands and hugging women with the excuse that he might be committing a sin.

More to come, when I remember perhaps.


Comment – Jay

September 10, 2008

This is a comment by a Scientologist to directly answer my questions and I’m very thankful for that, it’s not very often you get this kind of response and because of that I feel it right to go through it very closely. Italics will denote what Jay has written, and my response and comments will be in regular type.

Before I begin I would like to say a quick thank you to Jay for taking the time to respond.

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Comment – Chuck

September 9, 2008

I am unsure how best to reply to comments but I have recently had two quite long comments on my postQ&A to Scientology Poster and I want to reply to them so that others can get to the comment and then read my reply. Here you’ll find a link to Chuck’s comment followed by a response.

The comments and response follow the more tag (I hope this bit works).

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