Actually, no it can't. Not unless one ignores the rate or percentage of addiction, and the rate or percentage of adverse consequences.
Yes, you can always find someone who goes off the deep ends with anything. What exactly does that prove? The fact that the people at the extreme end of different bell shaped curves may wind up the same tells you absolutely nothing about the shape of the curve.
yada, yada, yada
Kha Khan, I don't think that you have any idea of the TREMENDOUS differences between people - each person to the next. There are as many ways to look at things as there are people with viewpoints. THAT is something many people would benefit from noticing, acknowledging and understanding.
It is an amazingly diverse and multi-faceted universe, and you do yourself a disservice by so casually and summarily tossing all of these various practices into some barbage bin of "uselessness". But, THAT is common.
People get real gains from all sorts of things, including witchcraft, shamanism, crystal gazing, paganism, visualization, meditation, psychic healing, astrology, Christian prayer, Muslim prayer, a Baptist service, accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior, and MANY other things. The fact that you don't is YOUR problem. Yes, it is YOUR problem. The "psychology" of how and why people agree with, co-create and get results from various religions and practices is fascinating, to me.
Actually you seem to suffer from a liability many Earth humans suffer from. The inability to see anything outside of ones own grossly limited frame of reference.
Each Earth human has a very extremely limited set of experiences, especially considering the infinite possibilities that could have unfolded for any person in their life. Most people are VICTIMS of their severely limited set of personal experiences and resultant hugely limited viewpoint (possibly spreading back over many lifetimes - which really compounds the limitedness of the individual viewpoint). Most people are entirely unable to view anything from any other viewpoint other than their own. That is pretty funny, and quite strange, considering how many different viewpoints and sets of life experiences are walking around (billions, just on Earth)! Each one with this absolutely crazy notion that it, and only it (and whatever group it might be affiliated with) somehow has an "upper edge" on the truth and on what is going on. A legitimate spiritual path would understand and make THOSE TYPES OF IDEAS clear. It would encompass all else in an inclusive manner.
You can't "prove" any of this stuff. If a person says he or she is "in love", well he or she is! Subjectivity cannot be "proven" to anyone else. That IS a problem with it. But, the same is true for "wins and gains". I know people who talk to angels, who send prayers to ones Higher Self, who use pendulums to make decisions, and on and on. Each is a nice and even "intelligent" person. Each simply "sees" a different version of reality than me. WE ALL DO. And each gets wins and gains and benefits from things that I don't participate in. But, I accept them all! I don't judge them. I understand that there are an INFINITE number of ways to view anything! Mine is mine, but there is nothing "better" about it. Mine is just . . . . "different". But, there ARE an infinite number of ways to interact with reality. Subjectivity is unique and different to every conscious entity. Of course, all these different "isms" and "ologies" want to recruit you into THEIR way of looking at it (Christianity, Scientology, Mormonism, Materialism, Psychiatry, Sciencism, Satanism, Paganism, Communism, Liberalism, Conservatism, and on and on). These are all "pre-packaged" versions or ways to view some part of reality. At some level, you gotta "buy into them" - to some degree.
Who the fuck am I (or you) to tell someone else what is crazy or isn't? What, YOU are the current yardstick of sanity, sensibleness and "truth"? As I said earlier, you are free to believe whatever you want. That is fine with me. I don't think that any single viewpoint (human being) can or will ever "understand it all". It takes quad-zillions of viewpoints, each experiencing reality from one end to the other, from the very top of the universe to the bottom, from the tiniest aspect to the most largest, to get any sense of "truth". We each only see, and in a sense "create", a very tiny and small part. Any individual viewpoint, by its very nature, is stupendously LIMITED. Each of us, by our unique viewpoint and limited experiences, only "pulls out" a "tiny sliver" of a possibly reality from the Infinite reservoir of all possible alternatives. You only "see" a tiny, itty-bitty aspect of it. That is what each of us do. To assume one does otherwise, is, well, very dishonest, disingenuous, and quite arrogant. But then, there is no lack of these things on THIS planet!!!!!
An error in modern science is this dumbass notion of enforcing "objectivity" on everyone's personal "subjectivity". BOTH are factors. Your subjective reality will NEVER be anyone else's. THAT IS THE WAY IT IS. But, yours is somehow "right" or "better", just because you simply don't "understand" how the other guy views things? Sadly, THAT is how most people conduct their lives.
THAT is a major problem on Earth. People with limited, really severely limited, finite personal experiences, who want to silence, invalidate and crush anything that seems "uncomfortable" (different, unusual, foreign) to them. Or, some group wants to obtain a monopoly by encouraging only one finite set of opinions and beliefs, while discouraging, invalidating and suppressing other and divergent sets of opinions and beliefs (Scienotogy actively does this with "enemies"). Yes, MANY other "isms" and "ologies" have done and continue to do exactly the same type of typical Earth nonsense.
I welcome an evolving world and future where people can TRULY be free to think whatever one wants. Without this constant demand to see it in some other "better" way. Without some group of fanatics going after you because you choose to see and talk about it differently than they do. A Muslim "fatwa" against some "heretic" is not much different than "an SP declare" against a Scientology Church dissident. Both involve cases where one small-minded group tries to silence and destroy the views of another because it simply disagrees with what you are saying about them. I welcome a "free market place" of ideas, where anyone can express whatever they choose, without manipulation, shenanigans and deceit, and where all ideas can either stand or fall on their own merit - as determined by the people. But then, too many elitist types (including Scientology) firmly believe that the people are too dumb to make up their own minds. Sadly, there is more than a little truth to THAT! But, that does not and should not ever justify the manipulation, shenanigans and deceit by one group on others.
I actually am amazed contacting and seeing how others view things differently. Each, of them, in a very real sense, is simply a different possible version of myself! While not there yet, I am getting closer to truly seeing all others as myself - to transcend the "separation" barrier of individual human consciousness.
Each conscious entity starts by first, LOOKING OUT from a different unique place, and then second, experiences a different set of unique events and situations. None of them, when each is viewed as a limited isolated package of "viewpoint/experiences", are the whole picture. All taken TOGETHER gets closer to the whole picture. I suspect that if one were able to envelop, pervade and take into and unto oneself ALL unique viewpoints, then THAT might approach a legitimate view and understanding of "reality". But I suspect that, in this case, the whole, is in some very real way, much GREATER than the sum of its parts.
"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." - Bertrand Russell