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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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.


It’s your seat. No, I insist.

October 9, 2008

Today I have mostly been noticing how people will not sit down in a seat on the tube. Someone will get off at a stop and about 7 or 8 people will eye up the seat but no one will sit down in it. I attribute this to all these people being English or having lived in England far too long. It’s a kind of politeness that isn’t really people being polite, it’s people just not wanting to feel guilty for having taken a seat. It’s the exact opposite of what I’ve described before when people will position themselves really close to seats so they can get them.

You can see these people from a mile off, the ones who huddle around the doors peaking in for a clue as to which would be the most profitable way to run. I can only imagine they’re bankers or go getters, not very bright but with the kind of enthusiasm and determination needed in our cut throat world to get ahead. These are not the people who get guilty for taking a seat that someone else might be better off with. When these guilty ridden people somehow manage to occupy the space besides the seats you get this guilty standoff until either another seat becomes available, at which point both seats will usually become occupied, or, a go getter jumps in and steals the seat leaving all the sheepish commuters a bit annoyed at their lack of haste.


Solving my daily commute woes

October 8, 2008

Everyone has a frustrating journey in to work, or, that’s what we assume when we have a frustrating journey in to work. I’m sure that someone who works on a gorgeous island in the middle of a fantastic sea doesn’t have a frustrating time getting out of their comfy bed and walking down the beach every morning. This, however, is neither here nor there. The fact of the matter is, when commuting to work in a train or car you need to find ways to amuse yourself and bring your mood up.

Normally I’m quite good at keeping my mood up, I see grumpy commuters, people getting in eachothers way, and I amuse myself and their distress. I use their misery to help lift my spirits, which sounds terribly nasty but if I could lift their spirits as well, I would. However, this hasn’t been working of late because I’ve been reading on the way to work and my commute has just changed to a busier route. As a result of the busier route I often move to let people onto the train which means I can’t read my book. Such sacrifices are rarely rewarded with very much, but other people will persist on making it so that they can read, but so that you (me) cannot. Because of this I have to find other ways to keep my spirits up during the morning commute and today I realised I should write daily posts about various things that happen on my daily commute, behaviour and realisations about how people act.

This then, is my first observation. There are very few people who will actually reward you for being kind and generous on the London tube. Be weary about giving up your seat, something I do, as people will position themselves so as to get seats before anyone else, or look especially grumpy. I have noticed this more of older women, who I would happily give up my seat for, but when they walk right up beside people sitting down in a brisk fashion and suddenly look grumpy and tired I feel like I’m being manipulated or made to feel guilty.

If you demand my seat, you’re not getting it. If you feel you have a right to my seat, you probably don’t. It infuriates me that people think they have to have a seat. This displays itself in middle aged men (they won’t demand my seat, but they do position themselves so as to get seats) who have most probably been sat down all day in front of a computer and will sit down when they get home in front of a tv no doubt. What really brought this to my attention was when a (probably beggar) got on the train, and, looking look he was uncomfortable asked for some middle aged mans seat. I am unaware of the exact conversation, but the guy sitting down replied with “so do I”.

I appear to have disappeared into a black hole of digression and with that I will stop, safe in the knowledge that people on the London Tube, during the rush hour, are selfish and ungrateful swine (and apparently the plural of swine, is swine).


Writing Rules from PickTheBrain

October 1, 2008

I find it very hard to write every day, I have so many things I want to do and I always end up doing something which, at the end of the day, is probably a waste of time. I do spend a lot more time now than I used to reading and learning about various things, but I haven’t learnt French, which I have been meaning to for a good three years now and I’m not the accomplished writer or artist that I wish I was.

It begs the question, why am I not. I read a hell of a lot of Personal Development blogs, or used to, and I get spurts of enthusiasm and fervor towards writing, art, production, and all those things I’d love to be a master at. Yet, I always lose the flow.

At present I’m reading Godel, Bach, Escher, An Eternal Golden Braid, which is very interesting and I’ve already learnt a lot more about music composition than I have in most of my life. I should write about it, even if there is no one but me who would appriciate my interest. I don’t though and opening up my blog reader just now I came across another blog from PickTheBrain, a brilliant blog about Personal Development, on writing. Now, I present this blog and I’m going to try and take it’s words on and keep to what I say.

The post titled 12 and a half Writing Rules is just some points about writing, and I’m going to go over them and maybe write a bit about them.

1: If you write every day, you get better at writing every day.
I shall have to write something on here every day, a minimum of 1,000 words, and seeing as how NaNoWriMo is coming up that will help with that. I really feel like getting an eeepc will help with this, and I want an eeepc.

2:If it’s boring to you, it’s boring to your reader.
Generally anything I write about is somethign I find interesting, if I find myself writing something that I think is boring I will just write about how I find it boring, which in itself, for me, is quite interesting.

3: Get a writing routine and stick to it.
This is really hard for me as I generally like to relax when I get home and I have time now and then during the day when I can write out a few hundred words on this or that. It would be ideal to use the time I spend commuting (not very far) to write, which is what the eeepc would be used for. However, I spend this time at the moment reading and I don’t want to give up that time as I’m a very slow reader and having an hour or two a day to read is really essential for me.

I have been planning to have a weekly planner for food, so many it’s time I had a plan for my evenings. This type of scenario always reminds me of the Red Dwarf Episode where one of the characters (Rimmer) has to revise for his exams. He spends a long time creating a revision timetable, but because it takes him so long it doesn’t fit his timescale, so he creates a smaller one for the smaller timescale and ends up not having enough time to revise.

4:Poetry does NOT have to rhyme. Poetry does not NOT have to rhyme.
I think what this means is that you do not have to conform, a story can be short or long, you can write about a graveyard or just one gravestone, but just write. If things don’t quite fit you can always come back to them at a later date and revise them.

5:Resist stereotypes, in real life and in your writing.
It’s this stage where it doesn’t really apply to me at the moment because I write so little, but is now becoming more advise for the future.

6:Writers read. Writers read a lot. Writers read all the time.
With Stephen King suggesting writers should read 6 hours a day, I’m a little put off, I can’t read six hours a day, I just don’t have the concentration or time to. I do, however, read a lot, in comparison to how much I used to read just four years ago (which is none). But I do also read a lot of blogs, which are very relevant to the stuff I would like to be writing about, so I can keep up to date in the fields I find interesting and would like to write about.

7: Make lists of your favorite words and books and places and things.
This is something I should probably do anyway. Quite recently I’ve become very fond of writing lists and just scratchign out random stuff about where I am and what I’m doing. I try and keep a notebook with me at all times so I can scrawl down something if I htink of it. This would also boost my vocab, which, no doubt, if you have read any of the other articles, is sparce, at best.

8:There doesn.t always have to be a moral to the story.
Something I probably have a problem with, reading too much into everything, as I do, I feel that every story should have undertones, and thought put into it, but, as the point says, sometimes, a story is just a story. (I also need to work on my grammar).

9:Always bring your notebook. Always bring a spare pen.
See previous.
I am however, looking for a certain type of notebook that doens’t get sold here in the UK, I will make a post about it at some point because I would very much like to find a reseller here in the UK.

10:Go for walks. Dance. Pull weeds. Do the dishes. Write about it.
I do all (apart from the weeds and walks) but I don’t write about it, which is what I hope to achieve here and on my other journal. Famous last words my internal dialog says.

11:Don.t settle on just one style. Try something new!
This I will take on board and do during my further writing.

12:Learn to tell both sides of the story
Same as 11.

1/2:Stop looking at this poster. Write something!
Well, I’ve been writing, so I guess I pass here.

Well, I hope that was as enjoyable for you to read as it was for me to write, now, I better get back to work so I can write for leasure and not work.


Boosting ones mood

September 17, 2008

This is in my series of reading all the blog posts I’ve been meaning to read for ages and making short comments on them.

There was a post a while ago on Pick The Brain (here), a brilliant blog I read with motivational posts and things like 9 Ways to Boost your Mood which is the post I’ll be talking about.

As of late I’ve been in some very foul moods because of the situation someone very dear to me is in and because of this things have been a bit tense at certain moments. If there’s a way to boost my mood then I want to try it when I’m in these situations. Unfortunatley it’s often the case that when in one of these moods none of the 9 ways to boost my mood come to mind. It just so happens that all of the 9 ways are very simply a way to take your mind off what’s causing you to be in a bad mood. Watching a tv show or taking a bath generally shifts your focus from the bad mood thing to relaxing or escapism. Doing some cleaning is very theraputic mostly, in my opinion, because it distracts the mind and allows it to clear itself.