I'm kind of disappointed that my post turned into this over-inflated debate over Christianity and Scientology....
Yeah mate, sorry... we haven't really got over the first hurdle yet. But to me the conversation thus far has illustrated to some extent the kind of thinking that your OP complains about. For the sake of argument, I've been playing Devil's advocate a little :devilish:. Come on, scientology is
stupid. That much is self-evident. But my approach has been 'Let's pretend we don't know this - now prove it is.' Or at least, prove it is more so than others appear to me. Just goes to show... it's not that easy.
Moreover, DT and I shouldn't really be on this forum, although I am a young philosopher insofar as my days of philosophy are young. I'll back out - I'm pretty sure DT's not interested in taking this to another forum.
I'll just end with one note though: Having a religion does entail rejecting all other religions, and the further away from yours that religion is, the more swiftly it is rejected. If you were open to the ideas of other religions, in what state would that leave yours? A doubtful state, I'd say. The means by which you reject other religions is fairly arbitrary. Faith doesn't rest on verifiable knowledge - you can't show another set of beliefs to be wrong and yours right. You can attack other aspects of the religion intelligently (Scientology is based on fraud, for instance, and behaves like a coven of witches), or you can just go with sticks and stones. None are especially compelling when appraising someone's personal beliefs. But the very existence of other beliefs is a threat to a believer... it undermines their
view of reality and no-one is comfortable with that. When you have more than one hugely popular religion (e.g. Christianity and Islam), you either get bloodshed or you just have to ignore each other's views. But a minority religion, especially one as fundamentally dubious as Scientology, is an easy target for validating your own beliefs by persecuting anothers.
By way of illustration (this 'note' is turning into an essay - I apologise again), I was in mainland Tanzania last year and my liason told me that the mainland is 50% Christian and 50% Muslim, and everyone gets along. By contrast, Zanzibar is 10% Christian and 90% Muslim and there are endless skirmishes. Make of that what you will.