Religion Black and White

Queenmab321

Patron Meritorious
So, on the drive home from work yesterday I listened to a series of short clips taken from Hubbard lectures that are posted on Youtube under the title "Hubbard shows us the Matrix" (At least some of these clips are introduced as excerpts taken from the Phoenix Lectures). Hubbard's statements are wildly ridiculous and outlandish. He goes on and on about events on the "time track" that are supposed to have occurred millions of years ago, about space invasions and crazy pseudoscientific theories that are transparently ludicrous. Nevertheless, one can plainly hear in the background the tittering agreement of the audience. These people were utterly smitten with Hubbard, and were apparently willing to take his rambling, barely coherent, preposterous nonsense for indisputable fact. So, what the fuck IS that? It certainly looks like the thrall of religious devotion. If it's not that, then what is it?
 

ClearedSP

Patron with Honors
At any rate, the question, as I see it, is this: what is it about a given set of beliefs that renders it religious? I suspect it has something to do with the proximity of the adopted belief system to the core values that inform and shape the believer's sense of identity.

That's a trait, but not unique to religion, being swept up in a political or social movement, or in science, might do much the same.

Religion does have some distinctive traits, though. The most obvious being, empirically unverifiable beliefs about one or more deities, spirits, or other immortal forms of consciousness. Causation will usually be attributed to the immortal consciousness(es). There will be teachings about what happens when humans die. Acts will be defined as right or wrong either because the spirits say so, or based on conformity with (alleged) universal laws; Ṛta and karma bind even the gods. There will be rituals, practices, and holidays.

This is a beginning, but to take it further, there needs to be a context. Like, if we're talking philosophically, historically, or as social scientists, we might accept a group as religious, even if the IRS wouldn't dream of giving them tax exempt status. The IRS says they can't be heavily political, or funnel piles of cash/benefits to their leadership, and "the organization’s purposes and activities may not be illegal or violate fundamental public policy." I can't find any sign of FLDS organizations with 501(c)(3) status. No Thuggee Church, or tax-exempt temple prostitution.

Since I live in the US, where the IRS is nearly the sole arbiter of what constitutes religion, and where there is really no effing chance that churches will be taxed in my lifetime, I have to conclude that scientology is not a religion, and that it was granted 501(c)(3) status due to extortion induced error. The CoS went into court, not once but twice, claiming that fair gaming people was legally untouchable, since it was a core religious belief of scientologists. This is essentially proof, in their own words, that they can never honestly meet the legal criteria for religion in the US. Core beliefs violate fundamental public policy.

So if you're over at your best friend's house, and you're smoking a joint and waxing philosophical, sure, scientology's a religion, just like being a Trotskyite, or attending Landmark Education, or swooning over Ayn Rand. Maybe nationalism's a religion. Maybe my marriage can be a religion. (No thanks, that last hit was plenty.) If it can be, does that mean that all of my descendants can live tax free forever?

And at that point, you've come full circle. In theory, almost anything can be a religion. From a pragmatic, political perspective, very few beliefs (if any) should be singled out for the special privileges that come with that label.
 

La La Lou Lou

Crusader
So, on the drive home from work yesterday I listened to a series of short clips taken from Hubbard lectures that are posted on Youtube under the title "Hubbard shows us the Matrix" (At least some of these clips are introduced as excerpts taken from the Phoenix Lectures). Hubbard's statements are wildly ridiculous and outlandish. He goes on and on about events on the "time track" that are supposed to have occurred millions of years ago, about space invasions and crazy pseudoscientific theories that are transparently ludicrous. Nevertheless, one can plainly hear in the background the tittering agreement of the audience. These people were utterly smitten with Hubbard, and were apparently willing to take his rambling, barely coherent, preposterous nonsense for indisputable fact. So, what the fuck IS that? It certainly looks like the thrall of religious devotion. If it's not that, then what is it?

Personality cult leader. That's all, belief in someone's rightness despite the evidence, god we were so dumb! The good thing is that there are lots of other stupid people around.:unsure:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lv3hELsUNDk
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sqfAwYZDezU
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4dd90Sc1Cms
 

Lucretia

Patron with Honors
Yes I do agree with you on almost everything. The one thing I differ on, and I have a feeling you'll agree is that I certainly wouldn't want Hitler worship or Hubbard worship to be given the tax free status they would like.
Perhaps we should just ban worship of anyone beginning with'H'.:eyeroll:

Yes:hysterical: But what about the poor old Hindus?

Really, I don't know why religions have any tax free status at all. People meeting on Sundays and having a good old sing along and a bit of hellfire and brimstone chucked at them for solidarity enforcement is no justification for tax exemption. You might as well make the local book reading club tax exempt. The charities of religions are another matter however, and if they can be demonstrated to be truly non-profit beneficent organizations, then they deserve all the help the government can give them. Especially as they are doing what the government should be doing for its underprivileged in the first place and are an incredibly cheap option with volunteer labour etc. I suspect that this business of tax exemption for religions is merely an historical hangover from the time when religious bodies were truly charitable organizations, or at least the religious and charitable arms could not be differentiated from each other. These days, bodies like St Vincent de Paul and other charitable arms of religions seem to be financially distinct, and should be given tax free status independent of the religion they sprouted from.
 
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Lucretia

Patron with Honors
If mother Theresa, after years of study of Das Kapital etc had taken over from uncle Jo (Stalin) there may well have been less people dying from slave labour, or maybe not as that's pure speculation.

Interestingly, I was listening to an interview of an Australian nun who had been part of mother Theresa's practice in India. She said that the organization was riddled with arbitrary ideology, and that some sufferers would be helped, but others on a whim would not. This nun could not reconcile the cruelty she witnessed at mother Theresa's hand with her desire to help. It ultimately resulted in the nun renouncing her religion.

Even the best of us.......sigh.
 
I am referring to Scientology Inc.

Each instance of "the practice of Scientology independent" of the "Church" would have to be examined and evaluated.

To not repeat the commercial, deceptive, manipulative, and abusive practices of the "Church" would require severe "cherry picking," and the result would be a subject that, if one were to be honest, would no longer be Scientology.

If someone wishes to cherry pick a few (benign) things from Scientology, and use these as the basis for a group, I would have no objection to that.

i would recommend weeding a few malign items.

i am an HSDC, CLIV and HGDS auditor. i find the entire body of what was then CLIV auditing and training materials to be almost entirely gentle and wholesome. i also found that those materials were not well understood in their entirety. at that time life repair was primarily 2wc and in fact nobody knew jack about how to do 2wc. i've had nearly forty years to think about it and drawing on the materials i figured out much about how to do a 2wc and realize that there is no end to what can be done with it. the subsequent grades are almost entirely rote procedure at their core. but 2wc is not. 2wc is essentially an art based on a technology much the same as the frescoes in the sistene chapel are based on the technology of applying pigment to wet plaster. the technology of frescoes can be mastered by almost anyone; the art of producing a fresco which needn't be immediately wallpapered is accessible to most people who are intent upon the task
 

kate8024

-deleted-
Several people are saying something like "Scientology is not a religion because the Church of Scientology has done x and y and z." or about how the IRS decides what is a religion and so forth. But I think this is incorrect because Scientology is a religion and the church of scientology is (according to the IRS) a religious organization and those are two different things. The IRS only regulates the second one.

Scientology is never taxed or not-taxed because it is a concept or a set of beliefs and practices, not an organization.

The Church of Scientology might like to think of itself as the sole authority over the practice of the religion of Scientology but that is simply not the case.

The bad things the church has done _should_ call into question whether the church of scientology can continue to operate as a religious organization - but this should not call into question whether Scientology as a belief system is a religion.
 

Claire Swazey

Spokeshole, fence sitter
Is it a floorwax or a dessert topping?

This question used to be asked quasi facetiously on a.r.s. Because Scn purports to be so many different things. IMO, they do that to try to make lots of converts.

But things in life are not that simple and even though the motives of Hubbard and the present day organization were and are a million light years from pure, well, Scn truly is a lot of different things.

If a- I won't call her/him a member or an adherent (could be an FZer, could be a churchie, could be...) Scn enthusiast considers that he or she is practicing it as a religion, then that person is practicing it as a religion.

If, for that person, it's not a religion-but, rather, a self help thing- then that's what it is as far as that person's concerned.

It is definitely not a trap to think this way and no offense, but, I personally am not about to adopt criteria because Veda or anyone else has indicated that one must do so.
 

La La Lou Lou

Crusader
Yes:hysterical: But what about the poor old Hindus?

Really, I don't know why religions have any tax free status at all. People meeting on Sundays and having a good old sing along and a bit of hellfire and brimstone chucked at them for solidarity enforcement is no justification for tax exemption. You might as well make the local book reading club tax exempt. The charities of religions are another matter however, and if they can be demonstrated to be truly non-profit beneficent organizations, then they deserve all the help the government can give them. Especially as they are doing what the government should be doing for its underprivileged in the first place and are an incredibly cheap option with volunteer labour etc. I suspect that this business of tax exemption for religions is merely an historical hangover from the time when religious bodies were truly charitable organizations, or at least the religious and charitable arms could not be differentiated from each other. These days, bodies like St Vincent de Paul and other charitable arms of religions seem to be financially distinct, and should be given tax free status independent of the religion they sprouted from.

Hindus are mostly safe as they worship gods who mostly don't start with an H. Hanuman would loose out though, no monkey god, but there's plenty of others.

Charities are not churches that's a good point.
 
back in the day the subject was ALWAYS presented as "an applied religious philosophy"

in my estimation at the time i thought it was a no brainer that it was fit to be considered a religion and it's organization accorded status as a church

that's still true...

however the organization apparently is ruled by an oligarchy composed of snidely whiplash, phineas t. barnum, ilse koch, attila the nun, gyro t. gearloose, benito mussolini and j fred muggs

these need to be replaced by alfred e. neuman, gregory peck, buckminster fuller, florence nightingale, the green lantern, mother theresa and redi kilowatt
 

La La Lou Lou

Crusader
Interestingly, I was listening to an interview of an Australian nun who had been part of mother Theresa's practice in India. She said that the organization was riddled with arbitrary ideology, and that some sufferers would be helped, but others on a whim would not. This nun could not reconcile the cruelty she witnessed at mother Theresa's hand with her desire to help. It ultimately resulted in the nun renouncing her religion.

Even the best of us.......sigh.

I heard that she helped a few people in ways that could be very questionable, cutting their suffering time down, as they were dying, but I have no evidence and no idea if she was really doing that to help or not, if she did.

People are people and we all have faults, no one is perfect, even saints fart sometimes, or get crabby when they're tired.
 
I heard that she helped a few people in ways that could be very questionable, cutting their suffering time down, as they were dying, but I have no evidence and no idea if she was really doing that to help or not, if she did.

People are people and we all have faults, no one is perfect, even saints fart sometimes, or get crabby when they're tired.

ok...

so scratch mother theresa...

how about either nick the greek or lou gehrig?
 
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