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Scientology is better than Christianity

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A little quiz to start of with. Was it Scientology or Christianity to which this statement referred:

[T]hey “direct themselves to the weak, the unbalanced, the immature, the rootless, and the mentally or emotionally unstable,” and that their “authoritarian principles … are a potential menace … to the personality and well-being of those so deluded as to become its followers.”

Answer here (19th paragraph if the title doesn’t inform you). If you just found yourself hesitating, wondering, why?

Scientology is better than Christianity

Why? Because by a process of avoidance, a Scientologist has never tried to tell me to do anything or told me anything I do is evil. How refreshing. I’ve heard them talk – and while Scientology doesn’t seem sound (to say the least) at its base – its followers – think exercise guru and her acolytes – are pretty much extremely happy with themselves and their achievements and they exude positive energy.

Am I a Scientologist? No. Would I ever become one? Nope, unless under penalty of death and then I would, because all religion is anti-science fantasy fiction anyway – and it’s the closest to that ideal.

I am a questarian***.

From everything we’ve heard and read, was Jesus a better person than L. Ron Hubbard. A silly question – of course. However, the years, as time usually does, may have been kind to Jesus – and there have been a lot of people who had a personal interest in only saying good things about him.

Is Battlefield Earth really really good sci-fi? Yes.

That is, if you’re talking about the books – absolutely. L. Ron Hubbard could write.

Is there a long history of misery and brainwashing with Christianity? Yes. Violence unto others? Yes. (And I am quite familiar with its group-think cult aspects.)

Is there a shorter history of misery and brainwashing with Scientology. Yes. Violence unto others? No. (And I am quite familiar with its group-think cult aspects.)

Have people escaped Scientology calling it an evil, insidious lifestyle choice – mostly because they feel they’ve been duped and taken as fools? Yes.

Have more people escaped Christianity, calling it an evil, insidious lifestyle, (which often they were forced into as children) – mostly because they feel they’ve been duped? Yes.

Is Scientology more superficial than Christianity? Only in the respect that it doesn’t have such a rich history behind it. Great beauty has been done in the name of and inspired by Christianity’s symbolism in the arts of course.

By contrast, Scientology very much seems like a personal fulfillment program – art has been done by its followers – they just don’t claim it was done in its name.

Is Scientology creepy? Yes. If there were as many Scientologists as Christians – and as many Christians as Scientologists, then Christianity would be perceived as creepy.

None of this is to preclude that many followers of religion are, in fact, normal, functioning, productive members of society.

They are. They have their faith. Luckily I am out of the competitive part of life that so many followers feel they must take part in that insists their religion is better than others. Religion does not seem to be an equivelancy test for morality.

Germans are particularly hard on the Scientologists. Good.

This transcript of an IRC chat session is always informative, but mostly amusing.

*** I thought I was making up that word as I was asking a lot of question in this post, but I double-checked just before hitting publish and no and no.

My personal “inversion therapy” Web site is TempleStark.com

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About temple

Always been a writer, always maintained an interest in politics, how people communicate and fantasy worlds within photography and books. Previously wrote for Blogcritics back in 2005 and interested in exploring the issues and topics I'm interested - the changing landscape of entertainment. all from the POV of a creator first, consumer, second.
  • http://ideaplace.blogspot.com Randy Kirk

    Christianity is open source.

  • Nancy

    Dave, muchos gracias, sehr dank, and many thanks for this most invaluable website and posting. I agree with you: if the bums have to actually READ what is written, I’ll bet the laws get a lot shorter and more succinct very quickly; however, I do not underestimate the power of congress to totally ignore calls from the public to either do their work or clean up their acts without a major scandal forcing them to do so.

  • Nancy

    ????????!!!!!! This was supposed to post to Dave Nalle’s thread about making congress read the bills they pass. How did it get here????!!!!

  • Bennett

    Good one Temple. I’m not sure what comment #1 is all about. I thought open source was for software developers.

  • Al E. Oop

    An alternative to these aforementioned
    Religions/Cults is “Frisbetarianism”.

    While around as a mode of thought since
    the late 1920’s,it didn’t come to be the
    fully developed ideological & physical
    form of Spiritual fulfillment that it is
    now until 1964. This is when our leader
    “Whamm-O” made his first appearance on
    this earth. He took on the shape of a
    round brightly colored plastic disc who
    was likely to show up at parks, beaches,
    rock concerts & picnics. He was beloved
    by not only those on the road to finding
    spiritual enlightenment but also held an
    appeal to those unlikely to be on their
    vision quest including: Small children,
    Stoned Teenagers and the family dog.

    His philosophy,a most simple one: Enjoy
    Me and Enjoy Life!!! For when you must
    leave this mortal coil your soul will be
    trapped upon the roof forever.

  • http://spaces.msn.com/members/dorksandlosers Tan Hoang

    I think almost all religions have some idea of good and bad. If I chose to follow another religion (used to be Christian), then I would choose Taoism because of its emphasis on the yin and the yang (balance in life). That to me makes more sense.

  • http://www.templestark.com Temple Stark

    Al. E Oop – yep?

    I don’t understand comment 1 either?

    I csan throw around “more open” for a little whle.

    If he’s saying well, it’s like open source projects where the only connection is the computer, well perhaps.

    But Christian “factions” make the religion even less about any secure base, doesn’t it? In fact, it rapidly becomes “It is what you want it to be.”

  • http://www.landofthefreehomeofthebrave.org/wp/ Margaret Romao Toigo

    “Open source” means that a computer program’s source code is available to everyone.

    Some aspects of Scientologist wisdom are secret and are only revealed to Scientologists after they have reached a certain level of enlightenment.

  • http://www.lisamcpherson.org/ wydok

    Scientology does have a history of violence. Ever hear of Lisa McPherson?

  • http://www.templestark.com Temple Stark

    No – but that’s 1.

    Crusades? 150 million or so.

    Your serve.

  • HW Saxton

    Actually there has been a few “tell-all”
    books about “Scientology” written by an
    ex-member that are supposed to be none
    too flattering. I’ve never read any but
    I’m sure they can found easily enough if
    someone cared enough to look. Of course,
    it will be a little hard to top such an
    event as The Spanish Inquisition (which
    no one expects)and the rest of the fun
    times had by all on the crusades.LOL.

  • HW Saxton

    This should read: “there have” not”has”.

  • http://gratefuldread.net Natalie Davis

    “a Scientologist has never tried to tell me to do anything or told me anything I do is evil.”

    Brooke Shields might beg to differ.

    But this was a very interesting piece. I am not into Scientology, but it’s interesting that people feel they can discuss it in ways they would never think to discuss Judaism or Christian sects. For whatever reason,it’s cool by many to dismiss Scientologists and Jehovah’s Witnesses, which irks me to no end. This article offered something different, and I appreciate it, Mr. Stark. Thanks.

  • http://www.lermanet.com Ida Camburn

    I thought perhaps this was an informative blog until I read Gordon Melton used as a legitimate consultant. He is the one that went with his buddy
    Lewis to Japan to let Japan know they were wrong in criticizing the Aum group that killed so many with poison gas.
    Suggest you use Dr. Stephen Kent’s works -He is not an apologist for Scientology.

  • http://www.mondoirlando.com Aaron, Duke De Mondo

    wonderful stuff Temple, and a voice of reason, which is always nice.

    And let me tell you, any religion that spawns Battlefield Earth – The Motion Picture can only be some sort of super-religion of some kind.

    What a remarkably brilliant piece of shit that film was.

  • http://www.biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    Temple, you never cease to amaze me. I loved this piece.

    I’m not a fan of Scientology but I did enjoy Battlefield Earth and I agree that L. Ron Hubbard was quite a sci-fi writer. I put him on the level of Frank Herbert who is my all time favorite sci-fi author.

    I’m with Ms. Davis on the ‘irk’ factor. I honestly believe that there is something of value contained in every religion. Perhaps that is the result of my Unitarian studies.

    I’m looking forward to your next focus.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    >>Why? Because by a process of avoidance, a Scientologist has never tried to tell me to do anything or told me anything I do is evil<<

    This would be mainly because Scientology doesn’t believe that evil exists. The religion/philosophy is entirely amoral, deriving as it does from the hedonistic philosophy of Aleister Crowley and being a cousin to contemporary Satanism. There is no good and evil to scientology, only what advances you and what holds you back.

    Dave

  • http://sussfr.blogspot.com Matthew T. Sussman

    “Wrong. My religion’s better than yours.” -anyone who has ever lived

  • http://victorplenty.blogspot.com Victor Plenty

    Many people’s religions are better than mine.

  • http://blogcritics.org/archives/2004/08/03/232849.php Rodney Welch

    “Crusades? 150 million or so.”

    My own random unscientific check of Internet sources indicates that the death toll from the Crusades ranged between 1 million and 5 million, and the world population between 1100 and 1300 veered between 300 and 450 million people.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Even 1 million people seems pretty high for the Crusades. They took place in an era when armies were very small by modern standards. The crusader armies were usually a few thousand men, and they didn’t (with a couple of exceptions) massacre civilian populations in huge numbers. Saladin at his height had about 50,000 men under his command and that was an inconceivably enormous army for the time. Every chronicler remarked on the incredible size of that army. And he could only keep it together for a limited period of time.

    Medieval armies just didn’t have the logistical resources to maintain themselves at a large size for an extended period of time. They had to live off the land or very limited resources they could transport with them, and in the Crusades the lines of supply were incredibly long and depended on risky routes of transport and unreliable allies like the Venetians.

    To get close to even 1 million casualties for the Crusades you’d have to include all of them, including the sack of Constantinople, which hardly really counts since it was Christians against Christians, and you’d have to include incedental deaths from starvation and disease.

    If you want to lay a big death count on Christianity, look at the history of colonialism in south and central America or the 30 years war in Europe.

    Dave

  • http://www.morethings.com/senate Al Barger
  • http://www.templestark.com Temple Stark

    You guys are playing the numbers games. 150 million I deliberately chose high because I knew someone would say, “It’s only ….” (See last sentence about “Religion does not seem to be an equivelancy test for morality.”

    Your own equivelancty test on numbers of killed proved that.

    And if you read the piece there is no defense of Scientology.

    As much as it may surprise I have posted elsewhere that I am not anti-religion in the slightest unless it enters – and repeatedly violates – my life.

    It never has.

    I grew up without a belief in God, except a while in Theosophy as a child and a Sunday school class in Alaska put on me by my Mother’s boyfriend at the time. All I remember there was that people were given big candy bars for answering questions correctly. And I remember that though I had barely cracked open a Bible I got quite the collection of candy – enough so I stopped answering.

    Further religion can absolutely do some good – and scientology was the example I chose.

  • http://worsethanmybite.blogspot.com/ Nicolette Rivers

    **The religion/philosophy is entirely amoral, deriving as it does from the hedonistic philosophy of Aleister Crowley and being a cousin to contemporary Satanism.**

    Crowley’s Thoth was a quite interesting take on The Tarot though.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    That I can agree wtih, Nicolette. Very stylized and quirky.

    Dave

  • http://www.templestark.com Temple Stark

    Oh – and Silas, I almost made the same Frank Herbert comparison.

    My next focus may be stuck pigs so definitely not as interesting.

  • http://blogcritics.org/archives/2004/08/03/232849.php Rodney Welch

    In other words, you’re talking out of your asshole — as you have been through the entire article.

  • http://www.templestark.com Temple Stark

    No, Frank Herbert is definitely better Rodney.

    Can you let the rest of in on what you’re talking about in your comment?

  • http://blogcritics.org/archives/2004/08/03/232849.php Rodney Welch

    About your numbers. You want to say everything and nothing at the same time. You don’t know anything and have nothing to say. Your article is a waste of time. Commenting on it, even more so. Sorry I bothered. This is just one of those cases where you wish an article could be blessed with an editor — where there had been some intercessor to say: “Rewrite this, don’t use bullshit numbers, and don’t send it back to me until you have something to add to the discussion besides juvenile bullshit.”

  • http://www.templestark.com Temple Stark

    Well if I had used the correct numbers than I would not have been able to watch people try and guess themselves and say Christianity is not THAT because it has “only killed 1 million” or so in the Crusades.

    There’s a lot more to the post than that, though. It is far from juvenile or BS. I don’t post something like this lightly.

    Would you rather I defend the Pope?

  • http://ideaplace.blogspot.com Randy Kirk

    For anyone who lived or lives anywhere near the UCLA campus for the last 35 years, the methods and approach of scientology are not very honest. The proselatizers lure their unsuspecting victims into testing where they will find out why they are so lonely or put upon. If they “buy” into the program they “spend” huge amounts to a “learn” the secret methods.

    In Christianity, the proselatizers use a a range of approaches depending on the personality of the individual. Christ said “meet them where they are.” Some do exploit the weaknesses of the targets, but in my experience, most just explain what the gospel is and how it will impact your life. The info is free and “open source.” You can choose to tithe or pay a buck if you wish.

    In addition, Christians the world around are giving up huge amount of time, energy, money, and other resources to help folks with no hope of compensation other than future heavenly treasure and current blessings. Haven’t heard that scientology is doing any of that.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    >>Well if I had used the correct numbers than I would not have been able to watch people try and guess themselves and say Christianity is not THAT because it has “only killed 1 million” or so in the Crusades.<<

    So you deliberately posted a bogus number so when people came along to correct you then you’d be able to accuse them of ‘defending’ Christianity? Did you ever consider that some of us just might not like to see ridiculous figures being circulated?

    [This part edited out]

    Dave

  • http://sussfr.blogspot.com Matthew T. Sussman

    One little statement about one religion being better than another sparked such an emotional thread?

    Hard. To. Believe.

    And just to sweeten the pot and stir it (hey, Temple added the ingredients, I’m just the wooden spoon), I’ll godwin the thread by saying the Crusades were 1/6 as bloody as the Holocaust.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Well don’t forget that according to some – mostly John Birchers – Hitler was a closet Catholic and was exterminating Jews under orders from the Pope.

    Dave

  • http://worsethanmybite.blogspot.com/ Nicolette Rivers

    “In Christianity, the proselatizers use a a range of approaches depending on the personality of the individual. Christ said “meet them where they are.” Some do exploit the weaknesses of the targets, but in my experience, most just explain what the gospel is and how it will impact your life. The info is free and “open source.” You can choose to tithe or pay a buck if you wish.”

    So why, when you came here, did you use none of the above, but instead pissed off everyone by not gauging the mood of the board?

  • Valerie

    There are plenty more than Lisa, please see here.

    http://www.scientology-kills.org/dead/dead.htm

  • http://www.templestark.com Temple Stark

    By the way just before anoyne get’s too lost, the 150 million figure was not in the original post.

  • http://ideaplace.blogspot.com Randy Kirk

    NICOLETTE,

    I agree that my first post on porn was out there for this group. I had created that post for my site ideaplace.blogspot a while back. The main subject, changing social mores resulting from internet porn was, I thought, quite interesting, no matter what your political or religious persuasion. I did not reread it to note that it was written with a largely Christian audience in mind.

    I hope that I have been more sensitive to this board since.

  • Evan

    I just can’t believe you’re still here.

  • http://www.templestark.com Temple Stark

    But glad you are. One of those who realizes that thinking outside the box is a good thing.

  • http://jcb.pentex-net.com John Bambenek

    I like my box.

  • Les Izmore

    Then you should stay in it Bumber-Neck.
    And mail yourself to Iraq you patriot.

  • http://www.morethings.com/senate Al Barger

    Let’s see if we can find common ground. I’ll make like John McCain and Lindsey Graham, and help reach some common ground here.

    First of all, I think we can all agree that Temple Stark is a dirty no-good sonofabitch unfit for Decent Society. No one’s arguing otherwise.

    Also, there’s no reasonable argument against his basic claim that Christians have done a lot, lot more killing and other bad things than the Scientologists. I put the Scientologis on my “Invalid BS” belief systems list. Their organization gets pretty heavy handed, and perhaps sometimes outright thuggish in dealing with their opponents.

    Nonetheless, the Scientologists have at worst some few retail level cases of thuggishness. Christianity has been at least the front for a LOT of killing, historically. A hell of a lot more than Scientologists, certainly.

    Scientologists have done far less harm in the world than the Christians. That’s a fair argument in their defense. Then again, Scientologists have done far less GOOD in the world than Christians.

    Also, in fairness, Christian groups operating today generally are not bloody abusers at all. Very few of the more egregious offenses commited in the name of Christianity involve people now living.

  • http://www.iamcorrect.com Lono

    that is why I am an athiest

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Al, your post points up the silliness of comparing the two. Scientologists have been around for a couple of generations. Christians have been around for a couple of millenia.

    Just to speculate, imagine if the amoral, out for yourself philosophy of Scientology had come to dominate the Roman Empire in the first few centuries AD – I think it would have fit in pretty well. If that had happened, what would its history have been like compared to Christianity 2000 years down the road?

    Dave

  • http://sussfr.blogspot.com Matthew T. Sussman

    I’ve read this so many times and tried to understand it before I posted, and after many attempts, the myriad hypothetical questions just bogged me down. Maybe it’s because I have never seen Battlefield Earth (and am not really an avid fan of sci-fi movies) nor will I rent it for the sole purposes of being a dedicated Blogcritic, if that’s what it comes down to. But if it weren’t for the assertive headline, I’d have no idea what Temple was saying.

    And as Dave (#45) said, comparing the two religions is gonna be a tall order any day of the week. Taking that further, how can you contrast current Christianity from current Judiasm or Islam? They all ascend from Abraham, and the whole Jesus thing had something to do with it (so I’m told by Mel Gibson), and they all seem to have this fascination with the “Holy Land” and it’s concidentally the same place. OK, so some religions have historical similarities. But how can you put a rating on one movement being “better” than another, and live to tell about it?

    The point of religion wasn’t to be attractive and powerful so that the pollers would rank them high in the AP poll or for J.D. Power and Associates to hand them the Customer Satisfaction award for Most Reliable Religion.

    The point of religion is very complex and beyond what I want to get into at 4 in the morning, but suffice to say there’s nothing constructive out of saying “x religion is better than y,” even though we all do it.

    I don’t know much about Scientology but I am interested in learning about it since it’s a new, popular (maybe faddish?) way of life. But knowing the description about any/all religions beyond trite comparisons will help me as a man of faith find the beauty in a religion in which I do not believe.

    But I will compare comments on this thread, and mine is better than all of yours combined, and it has nothing to do with how many people were killed as a result of my writing (which, officials tell me, is only 16 people, maybe 17 at best).

  • http://sussfr.blogspot.com Matthew T. Sussman

    I’ve read this so many times and tried to understand it before I posted, and after many attempts, the myriad hypothetical questions just bogged me down. Maybe it’s because I have never seen Battlefield Earth (and am not really an avid fan of sci-fi movies) nor will I rent it for the sole purposes of being a dedicated Blogcritic, if that’s what it comes down to. But if it weren’t for the assertive headline, I’d have no idea what Temple was saying.

    And as Dave (#45) said, comparing the two religions is gonna be a tall order any day of the week. Taking that further, how can you contrast current Christianity from current Judiasm or Islam? They all ascend from Abraham, and the whole Jesus thing had something to do with it (so I’m told by Mel Gibson), and they all seem to have this fascination with the “Holy Land” and it’s concidentally the same place. OK, so some religions have historical similarities. But how can you put a rating on one movement being “better” than another, and live to tell about it?

    The point of religion wasn’t to be attractive and powerful so that the pollers would rank them high in the AP poll or for J.D. Power and Associates to hand them the Customer Satisfaction award for Most Reliable Religion.

    The point of religion is very complex and beyond what I want to get into at 4 in the morning, but suffice to say there’s nothing constructive out of saying “x religion is better than y,” even though we all do it.

    I don’t know much about Scientology but I am interested in learning about it since it’s a new, popular (maybe faddish?) way of life. But knowing the description about any/all religions beyond trite comparisons will help me as a man of faith find the beauty in a religion in which I do not believe.

    But I will compare comments on this thread, and mine is better than all of yours combined, and it has nothing to do with how many people were killed as a result of my writing (which, officials tell me, is only 16 people, maybe 17 at best).

  • http://www.biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    First of all, I think we can all agree that Temple Stark is a dirty no-good sonofabitch unfit for Decent Society. No one’s arguing otherwise.

    Sorry, Al. I’ll argue otherwise.

    Also, there’s no reasonable argument against his basic claim that Christians have done a lot, lot more killing and other bad things than the Scientologists. I put the Scientologist on my “Invalid BS” belief systems list. Their organization gets pretty heavy handed, and perhaps sometimes outright thuggish in dealing with their opponents.

    Gee, the same can be said for Christians, especially after Constantine gave Christianity preferred religious status. What really gets to me is why these ‘followers of Christ’ are called Christians. The majority subscribe to the fanatical rantings of St. Paul, mankind’s original self-loathing homosexual.

    Nonetheless, the Scientologists have at worst some few retail level cases of thuggishness. Christianity has been at least the front for a LOT of killing, historically. A hell of a lot more than Scientologists, certainly.

    Scientologists have done far less harm in the world than the Christians. That’s a fair argument in their defense. Then again, Scientologists have done far less GOOD in the world than Christians.

    I’ll submit that you are on the money here.

    Also, in fairness, Christian groups operating today generally are not bloody abusers at all. Very few of the more egregious offenses committed in the name of Christianity involve people now living.

    Bloody abusers? Perhaps not. Now they use character assassination, economics and emotional blackmail as their primary tools.

  • http://www.templestark.com Temple Stark

    I figured Al with a little in-site, off group intermingling humor there, however misplaced it’s OTP, therfore funny from him.

    Every word of his comment is true. :-)

  • http://rodneywelch.blogspot.com/ Rodney Welch

    Consider putting down the bottle when you type, Temple.

  • http://www.scnpl.org Rationalist

    Wherever, in the past, there have been governmental attacks on Scientology, they have come from governments, or officials, heavily influenced by the big money of their medical/psychiatry or drug industries. (Which is odd because Scientology specifically does *not* treat the insane.)

    Such governmental attacks are from 30 to ten years old, and have suffered reversals in a series of large and small court decisions in each such country.

    Given that, a logical person would conclude that anyone still hosting or posting such old news may not have done recent research, or is purposefully “cooking” the research to hide the recent widespread acceptances of the religion.

    Some reasons for these continuing acceptances include ongoing favorable research papers by neutral theologians who rank Scientology as a religion as valid as any other. See: http://www.cesnur.org/testi/se_scientology.htm .

    Additionally, per capita, [my personal observation, not yet confirmed by CESNUR or others} Scientoligsts fund and volunteer for more free social services to the disadvantaged than any other religion. Remember that I claim this as personal observation and said “per capita.” See many of these NON-proselytizing efforts at: http://www.able.org and at http://www.cchr.org .

    I personally believe the most socially therapeutic of these activities is Hubbard’s “The Way to Happiness” booklet and its programs. This is a *non*-religious moral code, based on common-sense ramifications of positive versus negative behavior that even the most foaming critics have not been able to criticize. It is used by public schools (Remember it’s completely non-religious), in court systems, and in prison rehabilitation programs.

    Some of its suggestions for living a happy life include:
    – Be temperate
    – Don’t be promiscuous
    – Love and help children
    – Honor and help your parents
    – Set a good example
    – Seek to live with the truth
    – Do not murder
    – Don’t do anything illegal
    – Do not harm a person of good will
    – Safeguard and improve your environment
    – Do not steal
    – Be worthy of trust
    – Fulfill your obligations
    – Be industrious
    – Be competent
    – Respect the religious beliefs of others
    – Try not to do things to others that you would not like them to do to you
    – Try to treat others as you would want them to treat you
    – Flourish and prosper

    Not once does author L. Ron Hubbard invoke any religious reason or commands from on high as reasons why one should follow these sensible suggestions for life. The text following each of these suggestions shows the positive (or negative) life-reasons why the behavior is wise (or unwise).

    For these reasons, Scientology continues to gain official and popular credence and Scientologists’ help is being requested by municipalities and other governments.

  • http://www.liveandgrow.org TruthNotRumors

    Dave has said here that Scientology does not believe evil exists. This is not true. I’m a Scientologist, been one for over twenty years. Several courses I’ve taken in Scientology speak directly about the existence of good and evil. There is a detailed course on Ethics that touches on this quite a bit.

    Dave has also called Scientology “amoral” and “out-for-yourself”. As a Scientologist who spent two weeks doing disaster relief in Indonesia this past January, I disagree. See http://www.volunteerministers.org or http://www.helpcommunity.org

  • Eric Olsen

    nice measured, thought-provoking post Temple, thanks!

  • joe dojo

    I find the whole notion of comparing mainstream religions with fringe wasp american religions rather entertaining.
    I suggest you do the same with those other “alternative american religions”. Are they also tax exempt? I wonder…

    http://www.creator.org

    or even more interesting :

    http://www.churchofhitler.com

  • http://www.templestark.com Temple Stark

    Did you read beyond the headline Joe D.? It goes in strange and wonderful .. .ahem .. directions.

  • http://www.biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    Joe D. raises an interesting question especially with regard to the tax exempt status of most churches. I think I’ll do some research and open up the floor for a real gun slinging debate.

  • http://selfaudit.blogspot.com Aaman

    In one sense, that is a key source of the separation of ‘church and state’, methinks

    Temple, good work – refrained from commenting thus far, but enjoyed the repartee nonetheless.

    Next up: Buddhism, the true human revolution

    then: The hogfather – his life and crimes

    and so on with all these small gods

  • http://selfaudit.blogspot.com Aaman

    Scientology’s clout is demonstrated in the ‘caving in’ of Readers’ Digest over the cover story piece on Tom Cruise – details

    With so much bad blood between them, how did Reader’s Digest land a rare sit-down with Scientology’s top celebrity spokesman? By caving in to a long list of bizarre demands. According to well-placed sources at the magazine, to ensure Cruise’s cooperation, the Digest’s reporter, Meg Grant, promised to give “Scientology issues” equal play in her profile of the star, and agreed to enroll in a one-day Church “immersion course.” Before the interview took place, our sources say, the magazine also agreed to submit its questions for Cruise to his Church handlers, who weeded out any queries they deemed inappropriate. But they were still not taking any chances. When the exclusive interview finally took place, one of Cruise’s handlers asked the star the list of pre-approved questions, as Grant recorded Cruise’s responses.

  • http://dumpsterbust.blogspot.com/ Eric Berlin

    Aaman — I question the sourcing of that story. Radar Online?

    If true, it would mean that Cruise has slipped pretty far well over to the dark side…

  • http://selfaudit.blogspot.com Aaman

    We report – you decide.

    The published article should be self-explanatory, whether it is soft and easy on TC, or not

  • Vern Halen

    Anyone who tries to defend Christianity or any other religion in a discussion or argument better prepare themselves for losing – religion can’t be defended by logic. In some ways, it’s the antithesis of logic. The last time I got into one of these discussions on blocritics we ended up discussing Heisenberg & quantum theory. Science used to discuss religion? Sure, why not. The whole discussion was getting pretty academic.

    Whatever. We’ve become a society that values its own intelligence so much we figure we can talk God down to our level (assuming there is one), or we can raise him up to be as high over us as we need Him/Her/It to be. Or reduce him to nothing. As valuable as these discussions are, I doubt anyone’s opinions ever change at the end of them. And that’s OK too. Be strong in your faith, or whatever it is you believe in.

    Yes, Christianity has had 2000 years to make a bad name for itself. However, some historians say it’s the only thing that held the Western world together, along with its soon acquired basis in Roman organization. Has it collapsed in the modern age, replaced by warmongering, TV, poverty, pornography, excess & greed, and perverted by those who try to wield power over others? I dunno. Guess it depends on how much peace & strength it brings you in your daily lives.

    I just figure if there’s only one God, then right now He’s laughing at all of us. No, He’d understand – He’d be laughing WITH us.

    Apologies to all – just a ramble that struck me pretty hard as I sat here.

  • http://www.biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    Anyone who tries to defend Christianity or any other religion in a discussion or argument better prepare themselves for losing – religion can’t be defended by logic. In some ways, it’s the antithesis of logic. The last time I got into one of these discussions on blocritics we ended up discussing Heisenberg & quantum theory. Science used to discuss religion? Sure, why not. The whole discussion was getting pretty academic…

    Interesting points, Vern. I remember when taking my college logic courses that my professor (who was a Franciscan priest) used to say that God and logic co-exist. I think that it is possible to defend God from the point of logic if one can arrive at a logical definition for “God.”

    Your post also made me recall my High School religion teacher. Sister Mary used to tell us that the Old Testament was full of symbols that were pertinent to the times in which the Scriptures were written. She used to impress upon us that an individual’s relationship with God was more important than an individual’s relationship to the Church. Suffice it to say, she was not at the school the following year and was never spoken of in the presence of other nuns. But we knew the score. She didn’t follow the party line and she was out.

  • Vern Halen

    And I knew a Sister Marie, apparently cut from the same cloth. A smaller world everyday.

  • http://www.templestark.com Temple Stark

    I’ve got the Reader’s Digest article right in front of me. What do you want to know? He gets asked about aliens.

    Matthew, my post was a lot of things. Primarily it was a post that pointed out there are a lot of people who say Scientlogy is evil and corrupting – but a lot of people said that about Christianity to.

    Why is one better than the other. I offered my personal preference – if FORCED on pain of death to make one, and then toured a little bit on the idea of the large amount of rationalizing people do to support their religion and their faith as “the best.”

    A man comes down from “space” from Heaven and lo, is the son of God.

    Oookaaay. ?!?

    Either that or 2000 plus years of history have molded a legend out of whole(y) cloth

  • Daniel P. Dubeau

    Temple Stark is [edited] who wants to lump Catholicism’s evils in with Protestantism like everybody else who wants to deny that which is axiomatic truth

  • http://www.templestark.com Temple Stark

    Wow what does that comment even mean? And where doe sit come from

    FYI ::: [simply a deluded fool]. Just so people know I wasn’t being called something I’m not. ;-).

  • http://www.templestark.com Temple Stark

    Oh, wait. I thought this was from the Interview with a Scientologist thread.

    Now I’ll have to read my post again to see if I now feel more or less anti-cult or anti-Scientology or less on both accounts.

  • Wild Bill

    I am shocked to learn that a paid scribbler like mr. stark can\’t spell EQUIVALENCY correctly.

    \”equivelancy\”?

    No wonder the print press is dying. What are they teaching these kids in journalism school?

  • Morgan David

    Temple Stark is not in an enviable position. Generation X are turning out to be as massive a failure as their predecessors the Baby Boom. They can’t write or speak with the same clarity and precision that used to be a hallmark of a cultured and educated. This is the inevitable result of excessive television, pop muzak, Dr. Spock, high fructose corn syrup, and college liberal arts courses. Culture is being “down” with hip hopping whitey hating thugs and education is taking classes in The Religious Themes of the Matrix.

    Journalists today aren’t satisfied to be objective observers. When’s the last time you read or heard a news report that did not indicate, implicitly or explicity, a particular political bias?

    What ever happened to writing “just the facts, ma’am”?

    I knew people that went to journalism school and they all spoke the same garbage about “making a better world” like inductees into some sick religious cult.

  • Morgan David

    Temple Stark is not in an enviable position. Generation X are turning out to be as massive a failure as their predecessors the Baby Boom. They can’t write or speak with the same clarity and precision that used to be a hallmark of a cultured and educated person. This is the inevitable result of excessive television, pop muzak, Dr. Spock, high fructose corn syrup, and college liberal arts courses. Culture is being “down” with hip hopping whitey hating thugs and education is taking classes in The Religious Themes of the Matrix.

    Journalists today aren’t satisfied to be objective observers. When’s the last time you read or heard a news report that did not indicate, implicitly or explicity, a particular political bias?

    What ever happened to writing “just the facts, ma’am”?

    I knew people that went to journalism school and they all spoke the same garbage about “making a better world” like inductees into some sick religious cult.

  • http://paperfrigate.blogspot.com DrPat

    Unenviable though his position may be, you gotta love a man who can link a fake-fan Web site and the Dawkins/Dennett Brights blog in the same essay – let alone the same sentence!

    Add a link to the fantastic Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, and you’ve got a perfect frame for Scientology AND Christianity.

  • Morgan David

    Forgive me for not joining the Temple Stark Appreciation club, but trying to compare a religious cult to a religious denomination is ridiculous and proves that some bloggers have too much time on their hands and absolutely little to say of merit after a while.

    With so many subjects of vital world interest out there, it seems a bit trivial to discuss cultists who believe in the ravings of a hack sci fi writer.

  • http://www.templestark.com Temple Stark

    WHAT !?! But Daaavid, I had a T-shirt and pen with a furry eraser ready to ship out.

    From your first comment I couldn’t tell whether I was being critized or not, so thanks for the clarification. (And thanks Dr. Pat, wasn’t sure if anyone noticed the links)

    The comments on this and the Paul McCartney post I wrote are some of the best I’ve enjoyed in my time here. The other scientology thread was even better for the first 150 comments or so.

    David, the comparison is there. You don’t have to like it and I warmly accept you into my embrace and ask only that you seek peace within your own heart. Look to the volcanoes for guidance, they are signals from the ether world.

    (Am I sounding creepy cultish enough yet?)

  • Morgan David

    The viable comparison you claim exists between S. and C. seems dubious at best.

    btw, McCartney (Paul, not Stella) was relevant 30 years ago. Dewy eyed boomer nostalgia keeps Sir Paul around a lot longer than he needs to be. If I want to hear Fool on the Hill I can easily pop in MMT on my CD player. I don’t believe it is necessary to fight traffic, crowds, parking attendants, and concessionaires to appreciate an artist’s performance. At that point it’s no different than attending a southern baptist revival meeting and being swept up in the fervor. You are welcome to keep his latest studio material. When he records something as good as Ram or Band on the Run, then I’ll resume paying attention.

  • Morgan David

    It’s the creepiness factor I fear the least.

  • M G

    JEFF KATHREIN YOU ARE MY HERO….

  • M G

    SORRY JEFF, MY BAD..
    THE MESSAGE SHOULD BE
    AL BARGER ”YOU ARE MY HERO”