Religious Superiority

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Krumple
 
Reply Sun 17 May, 2009 10:11 pm
@weidersenmeier,
Quote:
Jonah can live in the belly of a whale because the significance of the story is not a matter of historical record, but instead rests in the story's didactic virtue.
You say that now but there were times and still are (depending on who you ask) people who believe that the events in the bible are not metaphorical but actual references to historical happenings.

Many creationists still today try to profess that the Noah flood fable is a true event but it's clearly not. And if it were metaphorical it has some oddly unnecessary information placed into the story for it to give the over all message, obey god or he will kill you and the millions surrounding you by drowning you without escape.

You really think everyone has adopted the whole metaphorical or the bible was never meant to be taken literally point of view? Maybe for you, you don't but many still do...

So yeah, the lid is blown off, and I never claimed science can prove everything the bible says is inaccurate but it surely has pointed out lots of it is just outdated bronze age points of view on the world.
 
Aphoric
 
Reply Sun 17 May, 2009 10:24 pm
@weidersenmeier,
your first question: different religions hold some conflicting ideas and too many people are too alienated and insecure to think for themselves about it, so they just pick one, or none, and generally stick to it.

2nd: I used to be and atheist, and I would still judge all the time what was "right" or not. Though religion often encourages or enables this, I wouldn't say it's the source.

3rd: well, that' question is too general. what do you consider proof?

on a separate note, I don't have to know any scientologists to know that Scientology is just a ******* scam. It's a religion where the ONLY way you can advance in your faith is by paying for it. Whether they're right or not, forcing someone to buy their faith is criminal.
 
Bones-O
 
Reply Mon 18 May, 2009 06:26 am
@Didymos Thomas,
DT - Almost all of your post comes down to stating over and over: If you don't believe the Bible is literally true, you can still be a Christian but if you don't believe everything Hubbard says is literally true, you can't be a Scientologist, i.e. you've simply restated your claim three or four times in response to the question of its validity. SO my response is: See above!

As far as the alien stuff, yeah it's balls-to-the-wall stupid. Let's compare.

Christians believe their bodies are inhabited by a non-coporeal being called a soul that, when the body dies, if that person is chosen, will travel to a place outside the physical Universe to be with its leader and kind.

Scientologists believe that their bodies are inhabited by a non-corporal being called a thetan that, when the body dies, if that person is chosen, will travel to a place inside the physical Universe to be with its leader and kind.

Crazy huh? So let's say some person takes that as true, and is a member of the church, and believes in telepathy but doesn't believe, say, Battlefield Earth is literal truth, they're not a Scientologist. To that, I can only reply that by the same token someone who believes the above about the soul but does not believe in Noah and his ark is not a Christian. Unless you actually have an argument to substantiate this, I'll just keep tossing it back.


DT wrote:
No, Scientology is an openly, blatantly racist ideology...

Actually, no, one of the core creeds of Scientology is that all people or all races, colours and creeds are born with equal rights. You attack the man, not the beliefs, and yet personal beliefs are the issue here. In your biased extrapolation of events, the Christians are like you - they don't take the Bible literally true - while the Scientologist is how you want him to be - someone who does take the space opera to be literally true and, where a conflict arises between Scientological creed and Hubbard's own personal take on things, will adopt the worse of the two. It's quite a rationalisation, and still unjustified... just stated, and restated, and restated, and...
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Mon 18 May, 2009 10:13 am
@Bones-O,
Krumple wrote:
You say that now but there were times and still are (depending on who you ask) people who believe that the events in the bible are not metaphorical but actual references to historical happenings.


Yes, it is true that some Christians believe that every narrative and claim in the Bible is literally true, without contradiction, and a perfectly accurate historical record (Biblical Inerrancy). But that is not the point. In Christian theology, the thesis that the Bible is literally true, without contradiction, and a perfectly accurate history is mostly a modern development: a reaction to the emergence of Higher Criticism in the 1850's when theologians and scholars in Britain first began applying methods of literary criticism to the Bible. Biblical inerrancy blossomed and gained a great deal of popularity until the turn of the century with events like the Scopes Trial, which pushed the movement underground only to reemerge as a considerable force in the 60's in response to the growing cultural permissiveness on matters like abortion and gay marriage.

My point: while the Bible can be read as inerrant, this practice is historically rare and not inherent to the Christian religion. In Scientology, on the other hand, the belief that the legend are literally true and historically accurate is an inherent belief, and a person who does not believe the legend to be literally true and historically accurate is not a Scientologist.

Krumple wrote:
Many creationists still today try to profess that the Noah flood fable is a true event but it's clearly not. And if it were metaphorical it has some oddly unnecessary information placed into the story for it to give the over all message, obey god or he will kill you and the millions surrounding you by drowning you without escape.


And what is this "oddly unnecessary information"? The authors of the Books of Moses did not have the pleasure of adapting Hemingway's prose techniques.

Krumple wrote:
You really think everyone has adopted the whole metaphorical or the bible was never meant to be taken literally point of view? Maybe for you, you don't but many still do...


No, I am aware that a significant minority of American Christians believe the Bible to be literally true. It is my opinion that certain parts of the Bible were attempts at creating an historical record and that other parts are clearly didactic legends passed on for their instructional value, that these two sorts of Biblical content are easily distinguished, and that the historical record contained within the Bible is often colored with clearly didactic metaphor.

Krumple wrote:
So yeah, the lid is blown off, and I never claimed science can prove everything the bible says is inaccurate but it surely has pointed out lots of it is just outdated bronze age points of view on the world.


First, when religious beliefs become outdated they are either altered or dropped. That is the way religion evolves, the way religion changes over time as the condition of man changes over time.

Second, unless we take a purely literal reading of the Bible, science cannot disprove anything in the Bible any more than science can "disprove" Dante's Divine Comedy, or Milton's Paradise Lost. Science is simply not equipped to prove or disprove literature.

Aphoric wrote:

[Scientology is] a religion where the ONLY way you can advance in your faith is by paying for it. Whether they're right or not, forcing someone to buy their faith is criminal.


This is probably the most important piece of information yet mentioned. I would argue that this doctrine is enough for us to deny Scientology the label of "religion" in the first place. Even if we do call Scientology a religion, this practice is enough to make Scientology inherently worse than other religions.

Bones-O! wrote:
DT - Almost all of your post comes down to stating over and over: If you don't believe the Bible is literally true, you can still be a Christian but if you don't believe everything Hubbard says is literally true, you can't be a Scientologist, i.e. you've simply restated your claim three or four times in response to the question of its validity. SO my response is: See above!


Such as what above? The Burroughs example? A man who joined and subsequently left Scientology because he became critical of the tradition and then ignited a flame war in Rolling Stone with Scientology supporters? This was not a man who, as you claim, was a Scientologist yet never believed in Hubbard's teaching, this was a man who tried Scientology and later left Scientology due to the doubts he developed while a member.

Yes, I restate my opinion. And when I do so I also include reasons for my disagreement with you. In response, you give Burroughs as an example of someone who can be a Scientologist while denying certain core Scientology beliefs. As it turns out, Burroughs is not such an example. As I argued earlier, even if you do find a person who claims to be a Scientologist who simultaneously denies core Scientology beliefs, despite the individual's claim, the individual clearly does not believe in the ideology invented by Hubbard - if someone does not believe in Hubbard's ideology of Scientology, the person is not a Scientologist.

Bones-O! wrote:
As far as the alien stuff, yeah it's balls-to-the-wall stupid. Let's compare.


Compare what? The silly absurd beliefs of some Christians to the silly absurd beliefs of all Scientologists? That's beside the point. Scientology necessarily advances unscientific concepts as accurate science; in Christianity, however, there is no such inherent claim.

Bones-O! wrote:
Christians believe their bodies are inhabited by a non-coporeal being called a soul that, when the body dies, if that person is chosen, will travel to a place outside the physical Universe to be with its leader and kind.

Scientologists believe that their bodies are inhabited by a non-corporal being called a thetan that, when the body dies, if that person is chosen, will travel to a place inside the physical Universe to be with its leader and kind.


Now ask yourself: what is the difference between these two beliefs? In Scientology, the claims are always advanced as science. In Christianity, on the other hand, the claim are only sometimes advanced as science, and even then those people making such scientific claims from the spiritual teachings are in the minority, whereas in Scientology those people advancing such claims as science by all.

Bones-O! wrote:
So let's say some person takes that as true, and is a member of the church, and believes in telepathy but doesn't believe, say, Battlefield Earth is literal truth, they're not a Scientologist. To that, I can only reply that by the same token someone who believes the above about the soul but does not believe in Noah and his ark is not a Christian. Unless you actually have an argument to substantiate this, I'll just keep tossing it back.


Hubbard wrote Battlefield Earth as fiction and asserted that he wrote the book as a professional science fiction novelist. The book is intended by the author to be fiction, whereas Dianetics is advanced as non-fiction, as science.

Further, as a matter of doctrine in most Churches, there is no compulsion to read the Bible as historically accurate, as scientifically possible. As a matter of Church doctrine, Christians need not believe that Jonah really lived inside of a whale. In Scientology, however, the basic premise is accepting the practices and beliefs outlined in Hubbard's Dianetics and later Scientology writings as literally true, and scientifically accurate.

Bones-O! wrote:
Actually, no, one of the core creeds of Scientology is that all people or all races, colours and creeds are born with equal rights.


There is something called cognitive dissonance whereby a person may honestly make a claim yet simultaneously believe something that contradicts their honest claim.

Bones-O! wrote:
You attack the man, not the beliefs, and yet personal beliefs are the issue here. In your biased extrapolation of events, the Christians are like you - they don't take the Bible literally true - while the Scientologist is how you want him to be - someone who does take the space opera to be literally true and, where a conflict arises between Scientological creed and Hubbard's own personal take on things, will adopt the worse of the two. It's quite a rationalisation, and still unjustified... just stated, and restated, and restated, and...


Seriously:
Can the Church Deny It? | RACISM | Scientology Racism

I never claimed that all Christians are like me: instead I claimed that it is possible and common for Christians to not read the Bible as literally true, that it is common for Christians to doubt and deny the Bible as perfect historical record, that it is common for Christians to refrain from confusing spiritual beliefs with science and advancing spiritual beliefs as science.

If providing arguments is merely restating and restating I really cannot imagine what else you could expect when having a discsion like this one.
 
Bones-O
 
Reply Mon 18 May, 2009 01:00 pm
@weidersenmeier,
Didymos Thomas wrote:
Such as what above? The Burroughs example? A man who joined and subsequently left Scientology because he became critical of the tradition and then ignited a flame war in Rolling Stone with Scientology supporters? This was not a man who, as you claim, was a Scientologist yet never believed in Hubbard's teaching, this was a man who tried Scientology and later left Scientology due to the doubts he developed while a member.

Not true, according to Burroughs. He maintains he always had nothing but contempt for Hubbard while he was a scientologist. The doubts he ultimately left for were doubts that Scientology was what it claimed, not new doubts of Hubbard's credulance.
But no, the point I was refering to you was that you can't simply pick and choose who classifies as a member of a particular religion to suit your argument, unless you're happy for me just to retort: "Only people who believe the Bible is literally true are Christians" in your own manner. It's not a valid argument.
Didymos Thomas wrote:

Compare what? The silly absurd beliefs of some Christians to the silly absurd beliefs of all Scientologists? That's beside the point. Scientology necessarily advances unscientific concepts as accurate science; in Christianity, however, there is no such inherent claim.

Yeah, didn't I say that like 20 posts ago? That Scientology presents itself as science, which is not, is much better grounds for dismissing it than the absurdity of Scientologists beliefs, which are no more absurd than Christians'. Take, for example:
Christians believe they are non-corporeal beings inhabiting a corporeal body until they are taken to another place outside the physical universe.
Scientologists believe they are non-corporeal beings inhabiting a corporeal body until they are taken to another place inside the physical universe.
If you believe you are thetan, you are a Scientologist. If you believe you have a soul, in the Christian sense, you're a Christian. You can no more be Christian and believe you don't have a soul than be a Scientologist and believe you're not a thetan. From an outside view, I'm not seeing that one belief is any more absurd than the other.
Didymos Thomas wrote:
Further, as a matter of doctrine in most Churches, there is no compulsion to read the Bible as historically accurate, as scientifically possible. As a matter of Church doctrine, Christians need not believe that Jonah really lived inside of a whale. In Scientology, however, the basic premise is accepting the practices and beliefs outlined in Hubbard's Dianetics and later Scientology writings as literally true, and scientifically accurate.

Not really. Most of these writings are made available as one moves up the ladder - so, no, you do not even have to know about everything Hubbard wrote to be a Scientologist, let alone believe it is true. As to whether Scientologists believe what they are presented with as factual truth more than Christians do, again you state but have not shown this. There are denominations more fundamentalist than the mainstream church, others less so. The difference is, the church has a creed of religious tolerance, so doesn't tend to get so upset about people not towing the main line. But this is irrelevant. In personal belief, I maintain I need believe a particular teaching of the church of Scientology no more than I need believe women's rights are a bigger threat to humanity than climate change if I'm a Christian. Your view of Scientologists as mindless and unquestioning is a stereotype derived from religious intolerance, and your view of the absurdity of essential core beliefs is hypocritical.

Didymos Thomas wrote:
I never claimed that all Christians are like me...

Good. But your position seemed to be that Christians attacking Scientological beliefs are justified because Scientological beliefs are stupid. If you accept that the Christians' beliefs may be no less stupid, we're slowly aligning.
Didymos Thomas wrote:
If providing arguments is merely restating and restating I really cannot imagine what else you could expect when having a discsion like this one.

You haven't provided an argument for why you can stand up and say 'I believe that nothing absurd in the Bible is literally true, and may still call myself a Christian' on the one hand and 'Anyone who does not believe in the literal truth of all absurd elements of Scientology may not call themselves a Scientologist' on the other. You just keep saying that it's true, like you get to decide where the bar lies for categorising everyone's personal beliefs to fit your argument without any justification.
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Mon 18 May, 2009 02:16 pm
@Bones-O,
Bones-O! wrote:
Not true, according to Burroughs. He maintains he always had nothing but contempt for Hubbard while he was a scientologist. The doubts he ultimately left for were doubts that Scientology was what it claimed, not new doubts of Hubbard's credulance.


What is the difference between leaving "for... doubts that Scientology was what it claimed" and leaving "Scientology due to the doubts he developed while a member"?

When do you imagine he developed those doubts? Prior to joining the organization?

Bones-O! wrote:
But no, the point I was refering to you was that you can't simply pick and choose who classifies as a member of a particular religion to suit your argument, unless you're happy for me just to retort: "Only people who believe the Bible is literally true are Christians" in your own manner. It's not a valid argument.


Or, unless I explain why people are and are not accurately classified as a member of a particular religion. For example, a person is not a Buddhist unless they have at least taken refuge in the Three Jewels. Why? Because this is the traditional doctrine of the religion.

Christianity is more complicated due to the religion's history and the wide variety of beliefs held by people who are by consensus agreed to be Christians. Essentially, a Christian is someone who primarily turns to the teachings attributed to Jesus for scripture.

Because we have the fundamental texts of Scientology as written by the organization's founder, we can know exactly the beliefs of Scientology. A person who rejects some beliefs of Scientology is not a Scientologist because they disagree with the organization's founder and teacher.

Bones-O! wrote:
Yeah, didn't I say that like 20 posts ago? That Scientology presents itself as science, which is not, is much better grounds for dismissing it than the absurdity of Scientologists beliefs, which are no more absurd than Christians'.


We agree that Scientology should be dismissed for, if nothing else, the fact that it inaccurately presents itself as science.

However, you are also missing another relevant difference between Christianity and Scientology. Even though it is possible for a Christian to advance certain claims made in the Bible as science, this practice is not inherent to Christianity. Advancing certain Biblical accounts as science is just as silly as advancing Scientology as science, but this is something that Christianity does not typically do.

Bones-O! wrote:
From an outside view, I'm not seeing that one belief is any more absurd than the other.


Because you do not consider the difference in the nature of the Scientology claims as compared to the nature of the Christian claims. The Scientology claims are presented as science, the Christian claims are not presented as science except by minority fringe groups.

Bones-O! wrote:
Not really. Most of these writings are made available as one moves up the ladder - so, no, you do not even have to know about everything Hubbard wrote to be a Scientologist, let alone believe it is true.


So you are trying to argue that a person can be a Scientologist and simultaneously disagree with Scientology doctrine? What could possibly make a person a Scientologist other than their agreement with Scientology doctrine?

Bones-O! wrote:
As to whether Scientologists believe what they are presented with as factual truth more than Christians do, again you state but have not shown this.


Not factually, but literally true. And I have explained this.

In Christian theology, Biblical innerancy developed in the 1850's in response to Higher Criticism. Biblical innerancy is therefore a modern development in Christianity, which means that Christians prior to the emergence of Biblical innerancy did not accept such a doctrine. That's a large number of Christians. I explained that in America today Biblical literalism is a minority opinion - you do not have to believe me, you can look up the polls with a quick google search.

Bones-O! wrote:
Your view of Scientologists as mindless and unquestioning is a stereotype derived from religious intolerance, and your view of the absurdity of essential core beliefs is hypocritical.


I never said that Scientologists are "mindless and unquestioning", I simply said that Scientologists believe in Scientology.

Bones-O! wrote:
Good. But your position seemed to be that Christians attacking Scientological beliefs are justified because Scientological beliefs are stupid. If you accept that the Christians' beliefs may be no less stupid, we're slowly aligning.


They key word being may. Yes, Christians may believe things as absurd as Scientologists, they may even believe things more absurd than Scientologists. My point is simple: typically, generally, Christians do not hold beliefs as absurd as Scientology.

Bones-O! wrote:
You haven't provided an argument for why you can stand up and say 'I believe that nothing absurd in the Bible is literally true, and may still call myself a Christian' on the one hand


Because I still fit the basic criteria that unites people of all times and places under the label 'Christian': we all turn to the teachings of Jesus more than any other source for spiritual guidance. Any other belief, even the belief that Jesus is an historic figure, is not universal among Christians. Look this stuff up if you do not believe me, and feel free to prod with questions: the most diverse Christian beliefs existed during the earliest days of Christianity. My argument does not employ minor modern variations of Christianity, but instead the earliest of Christian beliefs and practices.

For example: no major Church accepts reincarnation, yet reincarnation was a popular belief among early Christians who found support for this belief in the teachings attributed to Jesus.

Bones-O! wrote:
and 'Anyone who does not believe in the literal truth of all absurd elements of Scientology may not call themselves a Scientologist' on the other.


We have Hubbard's teachings. Hubbard invented Scientology. A person who believe Hubbard's teachings on Scientology is a Scientologist, while someone who does not believe that which is taught by Scientology is not a Scientologist.

If I invent a religion X and state that religion X has two core beliefs, and you only believe one of those core beliefs while disagreeing with the other, then to call yourself a member or practitioner of religion X is inaccurate because you do not believe the beliefs of religion X only some of the beliefs.
 
Bones-O
 
Reply Mon 18 May, 2009 04:07 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas wrote:
What is the difference between leaving "for... doubts that Scientology was what it claimed" and leaving "Scientology due to the doubts he developed while a member"? When do you imagine he developed those doubts? Prior to joining the organization?

My example of Burroughs was someone who was a Scientologist without ever believing in everything Scientology said. His doubts about Hubbard were a constant.

Didymos Thomas wrote:
Essentially, a Christian is someone who primarily turns to the teachings attributed to Jesus for scripture.

A Christian is more than this. A Christian is someone who believes Christ was the son of a woman and a supreme extra-terrestrial being which created the material world, who could heal the sick by touch and was the saviour of all man, who took our sins upon us and died on the cross 2000 years ago but rose again to live on in a non-corporeal world from where he offers us salvation so we can live in his world for eternity rather than a different non-corporeal world where a bad non-corporeal being causes us a lot of pain after we're dead, despite the fact that our nerve endings are still in our dead bodies in a box underground, or else have been incinerated. Oh, and he's coming back. That's basically the crux of core Christian belief, taken to be the absolute truth. Saying you're a Christian, but think he probably wasn't the son of God, and probably didn't rise after death, and probably isn't coming back is to give yourself a misnomer.

Didymos Thomas wrote:
Because we have the fundamental texts of Scientology as written by the organization's founder, we can know exactly the beliefs of Scientology. A person who rejects some beliefs of Scientology is not a Scientologist because they disagree with the organization's founder and teacher.

This is no different to looking at the Bible and saying we know exactly the beliefs of Christians, including men in whales, even if your point were true (which is unlikely, since much of Scientological texts aren't available anywhere except inside the highest levels of the church).

The (more) fanciful parts of the Bible are a mythology. Scientology too has a mythology: this mythology is said to represent religious truths, not factual ones. There is no difference here, so long as we are speaking of the mythological aspects of Scientology, which is most of the intergalactic stuff. Believing all of the mythology is not, to my knowledge nor anything you've brought forth to justify your claim to the contrary, what makes you a scientologist. What makes you a Scientologist? Officially... paying the church does. But personally, a belief that we are non-corporeal beings trapped in a corporeal world, that we are gods who have forgotten how to be gods, that we are reborn again and again, that we have painful experiences that can be eliminated by talking about them (i.e. belief and practise of dianetics), that social problems are due to breakdown in communication, emotion and conception of reality, that we have powers beyond the known laws of nature (e.g. telepathy) and there exists technology to tap it. If you pretty much believe the above, or most of it, then you are a Scientologist (personally). You don't cease to be a Scientologist because a guy on a philosophy forum says you don't pass his criteria, nor are you obliged to believe everything in the space opera is literal truth in order to be recognised as one.


Didymos Thomas wrote:
However, you are also missing another relevant difference between Christianity and Scientology. Even though it is possible for a Christian to advance certain claims made in the Bible as science, this practice is not inherent to Christianity. Advancing certain Biblical accounts as science is just as silly as advancing Scientology as science, but this is something that Christianity does not typically do.

Well, again, on the forum of personal belief I doubt the typical scientologist advances much as science. One would assume one must at least be a pretend scientist to do so.

Didymos Thomas wrote:

Because you do not consider the difference in the nature of the Scientology claims as compared to the nature of the Christian claims. The Scientology claims are presented as science, the Christian claims are not presented as science except by minority fringe groups.

I didn't consider the presentation of science at all except as grounds for dismissing Scientology - you've brought this one up as a weakened argument on the presentation of truth, scientific or otherwise, all of which is still redundant to the question in hand which is a matter of personal belief.

Didymos Thomas wrote:

So you are trying to argue that a person can be a Scientologist and simultaneously disagree with Scientology doctrine? What could possibly make a person a Scientologist other than their agreement with Scientology doctrine?

See above.

Didymos Thomas wrote:

Not factually, but literally true. And I have explained this.

No, seriously dude, you have not.

Didymos Thomas wrote:
I explained that in America today Biblical literalism is a minority opinion - you do not have to believe me, you can look up the polls with a quick google search.

I did. 1/3 say it's literally true. What are the figures for people believing in the space opera to support your argument?

Didymos Thomas wrote:

They key word being may. Yes, Christians may believe things as absurd as Scientologists, they may even believe things more absurd than Scientologists. My point is simple: typically, generally, Christians do not hold beliefs as absurd as Scientology.

Well, as per my above summary of Christianity, this is still arguable. We're used to Christian belief - it's absurdity has ceased to amaze us - but it isn't any less absurd compared to core Scientological belief.

So... let's look at the figures. The thread author is an American. One third of Americans believe the Bible is literally true. Four Americans were claiming Scientological belief is stupid. Now we've at least agreed that these Christians may have held absurd beliefs, given the above isn't it likely that at least one of them did? I mean, the one-third spoken of take the Bible to be literally true - there is doubtless a high proportion who don't take the whole Bible literally but still believe some very absurd things. So given that, it's pretty likely that among those four anti-Scientologists, there were one or two hypocrites.

Didymos Thomas wrote:

We have Hubbard's teachings. Hubbard invented Scientology. A person who believe Hubbard's teachings on Scientology is a Scientologist, while someone who does not believe that which is taught by Scientology is not a Scientologist.

Fine, and someone who does not believe that which is taught by the Bible is not a Christian. I'm just gonna keep saying it until you back up this argument.

Didymos Thomas wrote:
If I invent a religion X and state that religion X has two core beliefs, and you only believe one of those core beliefs while disagreeing with the other, then to call yourself a member or practitioner of religion X is inaccurate because you do not believe the beliefs of religion X only some of the beliefs.

Oh, what an illustrative argument, a religion with only two core beliefs so that if you doubt one, you doubt 50%. Not persuasive, especially since a) the most absurd elements of scientology are outside its core beliefs; and b) the core beliefs of Christianity, I argue, are as absurd as (if not more than) Scientology's.

I'm glad, though, we're seeing the necessity to believe everything Scientological as literal truth whittled down to core beliefs.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Mon 18 May, 2009 05:16 pm
@weidersenmeier,
Scientology relies on freedom of expression laws in much the same way as the sex industry, and to similar moral effect.
 
Krumple
 
Reply Mon 18 May, 2009 06:35 pm
@weidersenmeier,
Quote:
First, when religious beliefs become outdated they are either altered or dropped. That is the way religion evolves, the way religion changes over time as the condition of man changes over time.
Glad you say it like this. It points out that religion is subjective and not a truth in of itself. Also points out other aspects like religion is a creation of man and not a divine creation by some other being who people like to refer to as a god. Since it must evolve to suit man then it is obvious it has flaws which require correction from time to time.

Quote:

Second, unless we take a purely literal reading of the Bible, science cannot disprove anything in the Bible any more than science can "disprove" Dante's Divine Comedy, or Milton's Paradise Lost. Science is simply not equipped to prove or disprove literature.
Once again, I'm impressed you mention it like this. I will completely give you this argument. But I must add that the bible is indeed literature, the kind that is man made and origin is man derived. If it were influenced or created by some being in which people would like to refer to as a god then it would be far more compelling, easier to read and put together far better. It should be placed in the Novel section of any bookstore if it should even qualify for a book at all...
 
salima
 
Reply Tue 19 May, 2009 08:04 pm
@weidersenmeier,
i am thinking religions, and you can include scientology even though i dont, were all created by people to be used as a means of controlling others. jesus did not create christianity either-it developed around him. ron hubbard created scientology. so?

all formal religions contain defects and contradictions...and you can also bend them to fit whatever you want to believe and call yourself followers or adherents. why people must choose one and say 'i am so and so' is beyond me. why do people always look for labels to put on themselves?

---------- Post added at 07:35 AM ---------- Previous post was at 07:34 AM ----------

by the way, great discussion guys-really enjoying it!
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Tue 19 May, 2009 11:27 pm
@weidersenmeier,
Hey I've got an idea! We should design a 'Religion Sucks Because...' form. Then we could have handy checkboxes, such as 'Abuses children', 'starts wars', 'encourages superstition', 'preaches dogma' and so on - probably we could get away with 10-20 of them - then, when you sign in, instead of giving the usual argument, you can just check the box! Any selection! And then, even better, over time we would get a Top Ten Reasons Why Religion Sucks list, kind of a User Poll List.

Whatdyathink?
 
salima
 
Reply Wed 20 May, 2009 08:53 am
@jeeprs,
jeeprs wrote:
Hey I've got an idea! We should design a 'Religion Sucks Because...' form. Then we could have handy checkboxes, such as 'Abuses children', 'starts wars', 'encourages superstition', 'preaches dogma' and so on - probably we could get away with 10-20 of them - then, when you sign in, instead of giving the usual argument, you can just check the box! Any selection! And then, even better, over time we would get a Top Ten Reasons Why Religion Sucks list, kind of a User Poll List.

Whatdyathink?


pretty funny!

sure some people are able to use religion to achieve discipline in their lives or structure, some reach their own further understanding of life and their own mindworld, some gain comfort, hope, etc. but a lot of people have become brainwashed with it and some people also have ended up entrapped in guilt because of the teachings of misguided religious leaders.

ok, so it isnt the only thing in the world that sucks. but it has been a major source of conflict and continues to be, used by people who dont have a clue what spirituality is specifically for the purpose of gaining power over others.
 
weidersenmeier
 
Reply Wed 20 May, 2009 03:35 pm
@weidersenmeier,
I've just one quick question.

Bones-O!, Didymos Thomas, are you aware that this is the Young Philosophers forum? From the looks of your profiles you're quite older than seventeen. (please correct me if I'm mistaken)

I enjoy your passion for debating this and all, but when I came to the Young Philosphers Forum of Philosophyforum.com, I expected to chat with a bunch of kids my age about this kind of stuff- not have to sift through pages and pages of posts to find a concise point about a few questions I asked.

In all honesty, it doesn't really matter I guess. I'm just throwing it out there.
 
salima
 
Reply Wed 20 May, 2009 08:03 pm
@weidersenmeier,
weidersenmeier wrote:
I've just one quick question.

Bones-O!, Didymos Thomas, are you aware that this is the Young Philosophers forum? From the looks of your profiles you're quite older than seventeen. (please correct me if I'm mistaken)

I enjoy your passion for debating this and all, but when I came to the Young Philosphers Forum of Philosophyforum.com, I expected to chat with a bunch of kids my age about this kind of stuff- not have to sift through pages and pages of posts to find a concise point about a few questions I asked.

In all honesty, it doesn't really matter I guess. I'm just throwing it out there.


thanks for bringing that up-Surprised
i was wondering about that also. i just came here to see what young people are thinking, and i realized that a lot of the people posting couldnt possibly be that young. as i got drawn into the conversation i was unable to resist posting myself. but i had begun to wonder shouldnt there be some rule about the age limit for this forum. i was going to look it up in the 'rules' but havent got to it yet.
 
jaffabeast
 
Reply Wed 20 May, 2009 08:39 pm
@Bones-O,
Ok so the question is about discrediting personal faiths whilst coming from your own position. Admitingly Scientology is not a good example to defend, with its insular nature towards any mankind outside its walls but faith is important, to make the leaps necessary to fill the gaps in our knowledge, of the bigger picture we all have for ourselves. We're all guilty of having faith in something, wether it's science, religion or other. So you can't question somebodies faith but you can question their actions, especially if they act like a cult. By the way this is my first post, I hope it's well received
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Thu 21 May, 2009 06:10 am
@Bones-O,
Bones-O! wrote:
My example of Burroughs was someone who was a Scientologist without ever believing in everything Scientology said. His doubts about Hubbard were a constant.


You did not answer my question.

Bones-O! wrote:
A Christian is more than this.


Do you find any irony in the fact that when I make similar claims you lambaste them for being unsubstantiated only to go on to practice precisely what you criticized?

Bones-O! wrote:
A Christian is someone who believes Christ was the son of a woman and a supreme extra-terrestrial being


First, using the adjective extra-terrestrial toward God is not germane to Christianity. I am not aware of a single significant body of Christians who believe that God is not of this world.

Second, not all Christians accept the Catholic dogma of the virgin birth, immaculate conception. Take, for example, this famous German theologian who is clearly a Christian:
Uta Ranke-Heinemann - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Bones-O! wrote:
so we can live in his world for eternity rather than a different non-corporeal world where a bad non-corporeal being causes us a lot of pain after we're dead,


In other words, Hell. With a little bit of looking around you might have been able to found at least one sufficient counter-example such as this:
Unity Church - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Bones-O! wrote:
Oh, and he's coming back.


A notion based on the Book f Revelations. However, you will have to recognize that there was a substantial Christian community prior to this book ever being written. Therefore, the beliefs derived from this book are not necessary beliefs for being a Christian.

Bones-O! wrote:
That's basically the crux of core Christian belief, taken to be the absolute truth.


I will let Jesus disagree with you on this claim:

From Matthew 22:

34Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36"Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?"

37Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'[b] 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'[c] 40All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

Loving God and loving one's neighbor as one's self are the "crux of core Christian belief", not some amalgamation of dogmas developed centuries after Jesus taught.

Bones-O! wrote:
Saying you're a Christian, but think he probably wasn't the son of God, and probably didn't rise after death, and probably isn't coming back is to give yourself a misnomer.


I will agree with you on the son of God claim: Jesus was the son of God and taught us all to pray to "Our Father who art in Heaven".

As for rising after death, again, it is well documented among people who are clearly Christians (educated theologians and so forth) that this belief need not be understood as literally true and that the story can be read as a metaphor.

As for Jesus' return at the end of days, again, this concept was introduced well after Christianity emerged as a major spiritual movement, thus, one need not believe such a thing in order to be a Christian any more than one must believe the Trinity in order to be a Christian.

Bones-O! wrote:
This is no different to looking at the Bible and saying we know exactly the beliefs of Christians, including men in whales, even if your point were true (which is unlikely, since much of Scientological texts aren't available anywhere except inside the highest levels of the church).


It is different because the Bible is not one book: the Bible as we know it was not compiled until long after the establishment of Christianity. Further, there are and have been a wide variety of Bibles used by different denominations. There is no The Bible, but instead many Bibles.

Bones-O! wrote:
The (more) fanciful parts of the Bible are a mythology. Scientology too has a mythology: this mythology is said to represent religious truths, not factual ones. There is no difference here, so long as we are speaking of the mythological aspects of Scientology, which is most of the intergalactic stuff. Believing all of the mythology is not, to my knowledge nor anything you've brought forth to justify your claim to the contrary, what makes you a scientologist.


The difference between the Bible's mythology and the supposed mythology of Scientology is the presentation. Hubbard wrote science fiction which he himself saw as distinct from his writings regarding Scientology. Had Hubbard delivered his Scientology stories as an aspect of his science fiction I would agree with you. However, to my knowledge, he did no such thing. I could be wrong.

Bones-O! wrote:
What makes you a Scientologist? Officially... paying the church does. But personally, a belief that we are non-corporeal beings trapped in a corporeal world, that we are gods who have forgotten how to be gods, that we are reborn again and again, that we have painful experiences that can be eliminated by talking about them (i.e. belief and practise of dianetics), that social problems are due to breakdown in communication, emotion and conception of reality, that we have powers beyond the known laws of nature (e.g. telepathy) and there exists technology to tap it. If you pretty much believe the above, or most of it, then you are a Scientologist (personally). You don't cease to be a Scientologist because a guy on a philosophy forum says you don't pass his criteria, nor are you obliged to believe everything in the space opera is literal truth in order to be recognised as one.


As I have said before: a Scientologist is someone who believe in Scientology. That has been my only claim regarding what is and what is not a Scientologist. If you believe the organization's teachings, you are one, if not, you are not one. It's pretty simple.

Bones-O! wrote:
Well, again, on the forum of personal belief I doubt the typical scientologist advances much as science. One would assume one must at least be a pretend scientist to do so.


Then your assumption would be false. Have you not seen Christians, who are not scientists nor pretend scientists, advance their interpretation of scripture as scientific fact? Scopes Trial is pretty famous for this. Bryan was no scientist, nor did he pretend to be one.

Bones-O! wrote:
I didn't consider the presentation of science at all except as grounds for dismissing Scientology - you've brought this one up as a weakened argument on the presentation of truth, scientific or otherwise, all of which is still redundant to the question in hand which is a matter of personal belief.


I is not a "weakened" argument, it is an entirely different argument.

Bones-O! wrote:
See above.


Bones-O! wrote:
No, seriously dude, you have not.


An interesting response when I go through the trouble of, once again, giving explanation. Higher Criticism and so forth...

Bones-O! wrote:
I did. 1/3 say it's literally true. What are the figures for people believing in the space opera to support your argument?


As I explained, such a demonstration is unnecessary. Recall: Scientology is the "religious" organization founded and defined by Hubbard. Unlike Christianity, Scientology is a monolithic belief system based upon Hubbard's writings. Hubbard did not present his space opera as fiction, therefore, for Scientology, the space opera is not fiction.

Bones-O! wrote:
Well, as per my above summary of Christianity, this is still arguable. We're used to Christian belief - it's absurdity has ceased to amaze us - but it isn't any less absurd compared to core Scientological belief.


Then we will have to hash out the various deficiencies in your summary of Christianity.

Bones-O! wrote:
So... let's look at the figures. The thread author is an American. One third of Americans believe the Bible is literally true. Four Americans were claiming Scientological belief is stupid. Now we've at least agreed that these Christians may have held absurd beliefs, given the above isn't it likely that at least one of them did? I mean, the one-third spoken of take the Bible to be literally true - there is doubtless a high proportion who don't take the whole Bible literally but still believe some very absurd things. So given that, it's pretty likely that among those four anti-Scientologists, there were one or two hypocrites.


Your point being?

Bones-O! wrote:
Fine, and someone who does not believe that which is taught by the Bible is not a Christian. I'm just gonna keep saying it until you back up this argument.


And you would be incorrect. Again, Christianity pre-dates the Bible. Therefore, one need not believe anything in the Bible in order to be a Christian as there were Christians prior to the existence of the Bible.

Bones-O! wrote:
Oh, what an illustrative argument, a religion with only two core beliefs so that if you doubt one, you doubt 50%. Not persuasive, especially since a) the most absurd elements of scientology are outside its core beliefs; and b) the core beliefs of Christianity, I argue, are as absurd as (if not more than) Scientology's.


Then you have missed the point of my thought experiment.

The purpose was not to demonstrate the absurdity of any one organization, but instead to demonstrate that a person is X if and only if a person believe in the tenets of X.

Bones-O! wrote:
I'm glad, though, we're seeing the necessity to believe everything Scientological as literal truth whittled down to core beliefs.


Then you have nothing to be glad over. It is as was: whatever Hubbard presented as literal truth regarding Scientology.
 
Bones-O
 
Reply Thu 21 May, 2009 08:43 am
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas wrote:
You did not answer my question.

The point was whether being a scientologist means believing all scientological writings are 100% literal truth. This is not the case. If this doesn't answer your question, I don't see the relevance of the question.


Didymos Thomas wrote:
Do you find any irony in the fact that when I make similar claims you lambaste them for being unsubstantiated only to go on to practice precisely what you criticized?

Not at all. Your claim is that you can't be a scientologist unless you believe everything scientological is literal truth. I have not said this about Christianity, merely pointed out its core beliefs. So, no, I guess the irony is lost on me.

Didymos Thomas wrote:

First, using the adjective extra-terrestrial toward God is not germane to Christianity. I am not aware of a single significant body of Christians who believe that God is not of this world.

Not of this planet. That is the meaning of extra-terrestrial. Or was God born here before he created... here?

Didymos Thomas wrote:
Second, not all Christians accept the Catholic dogma of the virgin birth, immaculate conception... ...beliefs derived from this book are not necessary beliefs for being a Christian.

True, and relevant to an earlier point of mine: if you believe in the soul, the virgin birth, the salvation, the resurrection, but NOT the second coming, are you still not a Christian? This is why your two-belief system is irrelevant.

And this is pertinent to what I keep pointing out: there's a distinction the faith perpetuated by a particular organisation (e.g. Catholicism = believing in the virgin birth) and having personal faith. To be a Roman Cathloic, that is to be recognised as one, one must adhere to a certain dogma. To be a Christian can mean a lot of things, and not necessarily even subscribing to a particular organisation's views.

The same goes for Scientology. To belong to, say, the Church of Scientology, one must pay a subscription. That's a pretty low bar to be recognised by an institution as having faith. To belong to other scientology groups, the criteria are different: there are fundamentalist groups that hold all of Hubbard's writings to be literal truth, but this isn't the case even in Hubbard's Church (which is why you have denominations: differences in interpretation).

On the personal faith front, if you believe we are non-corporeal aliens from another galaxy who have forgotten what we are and what powers we possess, your are Scientologist, insofar as you have a scientological faith, even if you don't meet the criteria for a particular sect.

Your definition of Christian faith is personal, but your definition of Scientological faith is that of the most fundamentalist groups, i.e. not even that of the Church of Scientology. This is nothing more than stereotyping. Your definition of Scientology excludes anyone that destroys your argument, but what you have not shown (though you insist you have) is that your definition is apt.

Didymos Thomas wrote:

Loving God and loving one's neighbor as one's self are the "crux of core Christian belief", not some amalgamation of dogmas developed centuries after Jesus taught.


1. Thanks. This tells me that to be a Christian, all I have to do is love a divine creator and my neighbour. I don't even have to believe Christ existed. Doesn't seem like a complete belief system.

2. Christian faith is based on a few lines of the Bible? So can I take any lines? Or does one have to consider more than this?

Didymos Thomas wrote:
I will agree with you on the son of God claim: Jesus was the son of God and taught us all to pray to "Our Father who art in Heaven".


Thanks again. Now step outside your faith a second and see how that looks. Jesus was the son of a real woman and an imaginary deity. Already, to a non-Christian, that is absurd, just as people being imaginary ghosts from an imaginary galaxy must appear absurd to you. This is the point of my argument: it is easier to get along with Christian faith because we're used to it and it permeates not only society but history. Scientology is new and less well known, so its beliefs seem as bonkers as they are. But 'my bonkers beliefs are older than your bonkers beliefs' is not a justification. I don't mean this to be offensive to Christians, but it's difficult to illustrate that they are unjustified in dismissing other religions they see from the outside as 'stupid' without pointing out that, from the outside, Christian beliefs are also 'stupid', just better settled. And this is the problem: Christianity is old and Christianity is popular so it is, of course, impossible to get this point across to most Christians, and yet the OP seems to have recognised this on some level, that there's some element of hypocrisy at work here.

Didymos Thomas wrote:

The difference between the Bible's mythology and the supposed mythology of Scientology is the presentation. Hubbard wrote science fiction which he himself saw as distinct from his writings regarding Scientology. Had Hubbard delivered his Scientology stories as an aspect of his science fiction I would agree with you. However, to my knowledge, he did no such thing. I could be wrong.

Could be. Provide an example to discuss. The mythology of scientology is known as the space opera: it's very name suggests it is not meant to be taken literally (as does the name 'scientology' which seems to embrace that what is presented is not science, but alternative science, or pseudoscience (or BS)).

Didymos Thomas wrote:

As I have said before: a Scientologist is someone who believe in Scientology. That has been my only claim regarding what is and what is not a Scientologist. If you believe the organization's teachings, you are one, if not, you are not one. It's pretty simple.

Yes, and much more honest, but this is not your only claim. It is not sufficient to believe in the system overall, nor is it sufficient to merely believe in each truth presented, but one must take each truth as having literal meaning. THAT is what you've been saying all along and THAT is what I've been arguing against. In addition, there is more than one Scientological organisation, so by the organisation I assume you mean the Church. The Church recognises the faith of scientologists outside of that church. So, again, by your definition of a scientologist, I might equally define a Christian as one who believes the Roman Catholic Church's teachings, and render the term 'Christian' a misnomer for all others. That is, until you can finally justify your definitions.

Didymos Thomas wrote:

Then your assumption would be false. Have you not seen Christians, who are not scientists nor pretend scientists, advance their interpretation of scripture as scientific fact? Scopes Trial is pretty famous for this. Bryan was no scientist, nor did he pretend to be one.

Yeah, you're right. I have too much faith in people. :brickwall:

Didymos Thomas wrote:

I is not a "weakened" argument, it is an entirely different argument.

Then my apologies. I was thrown by its resemblance to a weaker version of your first argument. My bad, I'm sure.

Didymos Thomas wrote:

An interesting response when I go through the trouble of, once again, giving explanation. Higher Criticism and so forth...

No, read your own responses and highlight the evidence you've given that your definition of what it is to be a scientologist (on the level of personal faith) is anything more than your own personal opinion or definition to suit your argument. You have given no reference to any scientological sources, nor have you explained why personal scientological faith must believe all scientological writings to be literally true other than 'it just does'. Higher criticism would be most welcome from your end too.

Didymos Thomas wrote:

As I explained, such a demonstration is unnecessary. Recall: Scientology is the "religious" organization founded and defined by Hubbard. Unlike Christianity, Scientology is a monolithic belief system based upon Hubbard's writings. Hubbard did not present his space opera as fiction, therefore, for Scientology, the space opera is not fiction.

I didn't say it was, I said it was mythology. It is no more fiction than Christ's resurrection.

Didymos Thomas wrote:

Then we will have to hash out the various deficiencies in your summary of Christianity.

I believe you already started. Bear in mind I was following suit.

Didymos Thomas wrote:
Your point being?


My point being that of the OP: that it is not the place of someone of religious beliefs that appear absurd to someone outside that religion to attack another person's religious beliefs on the grounds of absurdity.

Didymos Thomas wrote:
And you would be incorrect. Again, Christianity pre-dates the Bible. Therefore, one need not believe anything in the Bible in order to be a Christian as there were Christians prior to the existence of the Bible.


True, however Christians today do not pre-date the Bible. Pre-Biblical Christians placed faith in verbally propagated stories and testimonies which were, ultimately, collected together, edited and named 'The Bible'. Since the Bible is now the basis of such verbal teachings, rather than more contemporanious sources, a Christian today, as per your argument, must believe the teachings of the Bible: they are not free to have any personal faith.

Didymos Thomas wrote:
Then you have missed the point of my thought experiment.

The purpose was not to demonstrate the absurdity of any one organization, but instead to demonstrate that a person is X if and only if a person believe in the tenets of X.


I figure I got the point too well. So to be a Christian one need believe all of the tenets of Christianity? Isn't that argument a bit of an own goal? Except, of course, we are free to decide which aspects of Christianity are tenets and which are decoration, right? So I'll extend that to Scientology too, me not being a hypocrite and all...

Didymos Thomas wrote:
Then you have nothing to be glad over. It is as was: whatever Hubbard presented as literal truth regarding Scientology.

But this too is an alteration of your original argument: we have moved from "whatever Hubbard wrote is literal truth" to "whatever Hubbard wrote as literal truth is literal truth". Within a particular organisation, I might accept that, though I believe there are differences between Hubbard and the Church now Hubbard is dead. Further, what Hubbard wrote as literal truth ("Dear Mom... all is well") and what Hubbard wrote as literal scientological truth still have to be differentiated. For instance, Hubbard's rantings about South Africans are not scientological truths.
 
weidersenmeier
 
Reply Thu 21 May, 2009 02:05 pm
@weidersenmeier,
I'm kind of disappointed that my post turned into this over-inflated debate over Christianity and Scientology....
 
Krumple
 
Reply Thu 21 May, 2009 02:17 pm
@weidersenmeier,
Quote:
I'm kind of disappointed that my post turned into this over-inflated debate over Christianity and Scientology....


As you should be... how dare you make a thread debating Christianity and Scientology. 8)
 
GoshisDead
 
Reply Thu 21 May, 2009 02:25 pm
@weidersenmeier,
Quote:
-Why are people (generally) attached completely to a religion, opposing all others?
-Is religion responsible for this sense of 'rightness', or was it simply all based on similar negative traits in their personalities?
-Are humans even capable of proving/disproving particular religious beliefs (God, the aliens, etc?)


Weider:
Religions tend to be homogenous in nature, excluding the beliefs of 'the other' either in doctrine or dogma. This is why attaching one's self to a religion tends to mean the ideological opposition of all others. Human "nature" or at least the human propencity to belong to a group also supports this, sharp dviding lines between the in group and outgroup are much easier to process for those who don't like fuzzy boundaries, which is most people.

A sense of rightness seems to be a human universal with the specifics of rightness codified by belief structures couched in institutions (or at least specialized community roles in the case of band and tribal level communities). Religions are not the only institutions that propose rightness. Education Systems, Governments, Clubs, etc... all have codified rightness. The underlying sense of what is right is almost always the same even among groups that seem diametrically opposed, take the abortion issue for example the underlying "universal" sense of right is in the preservation of the human standard of living, or life of either the fetus or the mother. The real dividing line, in my opinion, once all the rhetoric is thrown aside religious and otherwise, is that the definition of human and humanity is different. One group starts human standards of living in the womb the other doesn't, while trying to provide a continued or uninterupted standard of living for the mother.

Humans aren't able to prove any beliefs. If they could they would no longer be beliefs.

Cheers,
Russ
 
 

 
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