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Finally a decisive strike against the cult
Posted: 08 December 2007 11:43 AM   [ Ignore ]  
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Just read this article on CNN, it seems Germany is going ahead with completely banning the organization of Scientology in the country, with the motivation that it is in conflict with the constitution.
I’ve been waiting for a move like this for a long time, lets hope that the German example is picked up.

http://edition.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/europe/12/07/germany.scientology.ap/index.html

I also expect Scientology to fiercely combat this move with the argument that it is an infringement on freedom of speech or freedom of religion, and that is bullshit. Scientology is a cult that has obvious destructive impact on peoples lives, I don’t see banning it any stranger than banning narcotics.

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Posted: 08 December 2007 12:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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Hopefully, they’ll ban Islam as well.
It is no less destructive, rather, it is even more so.

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Posted: 08 December 2007 12:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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Thats actually an interesting perspective. I love to think about how we get desensitized to moral flaws and worldly problems that existed before we concluded that they were problems. Let me give an example.

Smoking. Most people of today, even those who smoke know its bad, basically we take a small concentrated mass of numerous chemical substances, the combined reactions of all of them almost incalculable, we set this mass on fire and inhale the chemical smoke.
There is no way smoking is going to be banned, the only way it will disappear is the day everyone realizes that its a bad idea and stops on their own. But this is an interesting perspective because lets use the same principle but put it on something new.
Lets say that I market a donut, containing the exact same chemicals as cigarettes, I sell them in special stores only to people above 18, and I make big labels on the packages saying they are deadly. You think any western government would let me do this? Of course not, the media would jump on me right away, the papers would be filled with the news about a local man trying to sell toxic pastries, I would be shut down and most likely jailed or fined for attempted poisoning.

Its the exact same principle as cigarettes the only difference is that cigarettes were already here when we discovered the whole reality of the repercussions.

The same can be said for certain faiths really. There is as pointed out here really no difference between Scientology and Islam in terms of destructiveness. Most of us would not have a problem banning Scientology though as a cult, but very few would think it is right to ban Islam. The only real answer is that Islam was here before we came to the realization that these things are bad.

We are indeed blinded by our own subjectivity.

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Posted: 08 December 2007 02:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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Unbeliever - 08 December 2007 05:30 PM

Thats actually an interesting perspective. I love to think about how we get desensitized to moral flaws and worldly problems that existed before we concluded that they were problems. Let me give an example.

Smoking. Most people of today, even those who smoke know its bad, basically we take a small concentrated mass of numerous chemical substances, the combined reactions of all of them almost incalculable, we set this mass on fire and inhale the chemical smoke.
There is no way smoking is going to be banned, the only way it will disappear is the day everyone realizes that its a bad idea and stops on their own. But this is an interesting perspective because lets use the same principle but put it on something new.
Lets say that I market a donut, containing the exact same chemicals as cigarettes, I sell them in special stores only to people above 18, and I make big labels on the packages saying they are deadly. You think any western government would let me do this? Of course not, the media would jump on me right away, the papers would be filled with the news about a local man trying to sell toxic pastries, I would be shut down and most likely jailed or fined for attempted poisoning.

Its the exact same principle as cigarettes the only difference is that cigarettes were already here when we discovered the whole reality of the repercussions.

The same can be said for certain faiths really. There is as pointed out here really no difference between Scientology and Islam in terms of destructiveness. Most of us would not have a problem banning Scientology though as a cult, but very few would think it is right to ban Islam. The only real answer is that Islam was here before we came to the realization that these things are bad.

We are indeed blinded by our own subjectivity.

Quite true.

However, more sinister is the treacherous usage of the catch-word “tolerance” in desensitizing the public from, outright condemnation of those elements in Islam that deserve such condemnation.

Another tactic is to say, yeah stoning of women is very bad, but that is not the “essence of Islam”.
As it happens, why should we assume in the first place that paying the zakat and other innocuous practices within Islam constitutes its “essence”?

An ideology is no better than its worst contained element.
Which means that Islam is as evil as having the death penalty for apostasy.

It is morally irrelevant if a murderer also happens to help old ladies across streets when he is in a good mood, he is as bad as any other murderer.

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Posted: 08 December 2007 03:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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arildno - 08 December 2007 07:31 PM

However, more sinister is the treacherous usage of the catch-word “tolerance” in desensitizing the public from, outright condemnation of those elements in Islam that deserve such condemnation.

Another tactic is to say, yeah stoning of women is very bad, but that is not the “essence of Islam”.
As it happens, why should we assume in the first place that paying the zakat and other innocuous practices within Islam constitutes its “essence”?

An ideology is no better than its worst contained element.
Which means that Islam is as evil as having the death penalty for apostasy.

The funny thing is just how often we have to make those exceptions:
A death sentence for converting.
A death sentence for naming a bear after a classmate who shares the name of the prophet
200 lashes for a rape victim.
A possible death sentence for a victim of homosexual rape.
Calls for the death of writers and artist.
Suicide bombers.
Etc, etc, etc..…
How can people constantly claim that these aren’t the actions of the true believer, but of a small number of radicals?

But, this thread is supposed to be about Scientology. I must agree with Unbeliever. Scientology is the new kid on the block, so it gets more scrutiny than older, more established faiths that get respect mainly because they are so old.

If you the book by the originator of my nom de plume, “On the True Doctrine,” you can see that when Christianity was the newbie faith, it was attacked precisely because it was an “innovation.”

If Scientology were to last for a thousand years, people would be shocked that anyone was against it. “It’s been around for so long,” they will say, “so there must be something to it.”

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Posted: 08 December 2007 04:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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I would like to emphasize that I applaud Germany’s move to ban Scientology.
It is a predatory cult, a criminal cancer in our society.

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Posted: 09 December 2007 09:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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While no fan of Scientology, I am at a loss to see how banning it is going to have any long term positive effect.

Not exactly the freedom of thought I’m normally supporting. Is the German government so afraid of Scientology that it can’t combat it in the arena of public opinion and has to resort to an outright ban?

This strikes me as an admission of defeat in the war of ideas.

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Posted: 09 December 2007 09:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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It would be if it were a mere war of thought, Scientology is a brainwashing cult, a totalitarian movement. Its not being banned because of the ideology, its being banned for the way it practices it and the things that happens behind the smokescreen.

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Posted: 09 December 2007 10:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
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Ah yes, the government must save the poor, muddled people from themselves.

This way lies fascism, Unbeliever.

Incidentally, Germany does have a bit of a track record in this department.

ADDENDUM: I’m not trying to give Scientology a free pass here. If the issues are methods of indoctrination, buying political influence or other questionable practices - then those things certainly need to be addressed in a direct fashion. Attempting to “ban” the entire organization, though, gives it a rallying point and a legitimacy it should not have.

[ Edited: 10 December 2007 04:57 AM by mpbrockman]
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Posted: 10 December 2007 06:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
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I disagree, Scientology got as much in common with a criminal organization as with a religion. A group that not only uses psychological tools to break people and to take their money but actually have a record of trying to subdue the democratic system in certain places should be dealt with like any other group that breaks the law. If you were selling phony insurance you would get persecuted.
The only mistake made in respect to this “church” is that some countries did go ahead and give it legitimacy by letting it be categorized as a religion.

Incidentally, Germany does have a bit of a track record in this department.


Really that was a very cheap shot, and completely unnecessary, not to mention grossly unfair to the German people.

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Posted: 10 December 2007 07:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
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The Nazi party is forbidden in Germany and Austria, as organizations having a criminal ideology INCOMPATIBLE WITH democratic ideals.

This is NOT against democratic ideals, rather it is protective of them by banning those virus ideologies aimed at destroying democracy as such.

A system has the moral right to forbid organizations aiming at the system’s destruction, otherwise, one is saying morality is the same as committing suicide.

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Posted: 10 December 2007 11:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]  
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Unbeliever - 10 December 2007 11:25 AM

I disagree, Scientology got as much in common with a criminal organization as with a religion. A group that not only uses psychological tools to break people and to take their money but actually have a record of trying to subdue the democratic system in certain places should be dealt with like any other group that breaks the law. If you were selling phony insurance you would get persecuted.
The only mistake made in respect to this “church” is that some countries did go ahead and give it legitimacy by letting it be categorized as a religion.

Incidentally, Germany does have a bit of a track record in this department.


Really that was a very cheap shot, and completely unnecessary, not to mention grossly unfair to the German people.

My last name is Brockman. I reserve the right to take such shots, and don’t need you to nobly defend my ancestors. I think you’re going to be hard pressed to explain how pointing out that Germany has a history with fascism is a cheap shot.

That said, we are going to have to disagree on tactics. I maintain that banning the organization is bad policy while prosecuting it into the ground for illegal activities would be far more effective and well within the proper scope of governmental powers. I think we agree on the desired end of seeing Scientology marginalized but I simply cannot give assent to doing so by administrative fiat.

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Posted: 10 December 2007 11:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]  
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arildno - 10 December 2007 12:46 PM

A system has the moral right to forbid organizations aiming at the system’s destruction, otherwise, one is saying morality is the same as committing suicide.

With a small amount of re-wording, your argument could be part of a Karl Rove speech delivered by GWB and aimed at atheists, liberals, civil libertarians et al.

I am somewhat sympathetic to the Nazi party ban simply because the Nazi atrocities are so recent, but the arguments you and Unbeliever are making reek of fear to me.

They sound like “We can’t compete with Scientology - they’re too strong and smart and play too dirty for us - oh please, oh please government step in and save us!”.

Apologies if that sounds belittling but I’m not hearing anything that’s convincing me that I’m off the mark here.

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Posted: 10 December 2007 12:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]  
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mpbrockman - 10 December 2007 04:52 PM
arildno - 10 December 2007 12:46 PM

A system has the moral right to forbid organizations aiming at the system’s destruction, otherwise, one is saying morality is the same as committing suicide.

With a small amount of re-wording, your argument could be part of a Karl Rove speech delivered by GWB and aimed at atheists, liberals, civil libertarians et al.

I am somewhat sympathetic to the Nazi party ban simply because the Nazi atrocities are so recent, but the arguments you and Unbeliever are making reek of fear to me.

They sound like “We can’t compete with Scientology - they’re too strong and smart and play too dirty for us - oh please, oh please government step in and save us!”.

Apologies if that sounds belittling but I’m not hearing anything that’s convincing me that I’m off the mark here.

Yawn.

In a democratic, individualistic society the base rule is the moral obligation UPON ALL to respect each and every action, thought and behaviour that are fully compatible with the respect for others’ life-choices.

The key word is compatibility with mutual respect.

It does NOT follow that those who violate that first moral obligation are to be treated in the same manner as those who don’t violate it.


That is why Karl Rove’s ideas are violations, since it is fully compatible with the principle of mutual respect to be an atheist and so on.
He is the violator, and is not to be respected. Nor GWB.

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Posted: 10 December 2007 12:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]  
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My last name is Brockman. I reserve the right to take such shots, and don’t need you to nobly defend my ancestors. I think you’re going to be hard pressed to explain how pointing out that Germany has a history with fascism is a cheap shot.

Your comment was phrased in such a way that it implied a sense of well Germany has had its share of totalitarianism, so its not that strange that we are seeing these traits again. I obviously hope that was not what you intended.
Actually I was not defending anyones ancestors nor do I think that ancestry gives any specific rights on what to say and when. What I objected to was a perceived comment directed at generalizing a population based on events of its ancestors.

I just thought of the comment as unnecessarily generalizing and suggestive.
Anyway, if this was a misinterpretation on my part I am happy to retract my statement.

They sound like “We can’t compete with Scientology - they’re too strong and smart and play too dirty for us - oh please, oh please government step in and save us!”.

Actually it has nothing to do with “we can’t compete with Scientology”. Thats a mere subjective interpretation.
Actually this is perhaps the only cult of global proportions that I feel this is a justified move against. And again, I could not care less for the doctrines of the group. I do however strongly object to a group that aims on infiltrating official positions in order to subjugate legal and democratic processes. The example of the Cult Awareness Network for example, in which CAN was the only real organization one could turn to with concerns and information regarding cults. Scientology drove the group bankrupt by a long campaign of character assassinations followed by basically spamming lawsuits. Then when CAN went down, Scientology quickly bought the logo and name and what you got then is the new Cult Awareness Network, helping people with problems with cults, and run by the church of Scientology.

This is a group that beats down any criticism trough harassment, character assassination and continuous stalking of people. Key people who have openly criticized it are harassed wherever they go, they are driven out of business, having their personal lives destroyed. Mainly because this is a cult which has a written policy stating that anyone who criticizes it is “fair-game” and can and should be “destroyed”.

This is a group that has a long history of attempts at infiltrating public systems in order to obtain information about people or to affect the system from within.

I am certainly not in favor of limiting freedom of speech in any sense, any bad idea can be fought with reason.
I do agree with the German decision to put “Islamic extremism”, Scientology and organized crime on the same plane though.
They are a totalitarian movement that has shown on more than one occasion that they would if they had the chance, bring the democratic and legal system of the western world down, call me cynical but I don’t think its worth to allow such organization on the base of principle. Then we are doing the same mistake as when we cave in for radical Islam out of political correctness.

The democratic and legal systems of most of the rich world are all wonderful systems, standing for tolerance and liberty. The goal is to tolerate different ideas, but those who strive to bring the system down have renounced their right to reap the benefits of the system.

[ Edited: 10 December 2007 12:41 PM by Unbeliever]
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Posted: 10 December 2007 01:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]  
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Unbeliever - 10 December 2007 05:39 PM

Actually this is perhaps the only cult of global proportions that I feel this is a justified move against. And again, I could not care less for the doctrines of the group. I do however strongly object to a group that aims on infiltrating official positions in order to subjugate legal and democratic processes. The example of the Cult Awareness Network for example, in which CAN was the only real organization one could turn to with concerns and information regarding cults. Scientology drove the group bankrupt by a long campaign of character assassinations followed by basically spamming lawsuits. Then when CAN went down, Scientology quickly bought the logo and name and what you got then is the new Cult Awareness Network, helping people with problems with cults, and run by the church of Scientology.

This is a group that beats down any criticism trough harassment, character assassination and continuous stalking of people. Key people who have openly criticized it are harassed wherever they go, they are driven out of business, having their personal lives destroyed. Mainly because this is a cult which has a written policy stating that anyone who criticizes it is “fair-game” and can and should be “destroyed”.

This is a group that has a long history of attempts at infiltrating public systems in order to obtain information about people or to affect the system from within.

I am certainly not in favor of limiting freedom of speech in any sense, any bad idea can be fought with reason.
I do agree with the German decision to put “Islamic extremism”, Scientology and organized crime on the same plane though.
They are a totalitarian movement that has shown on more than one occasion that they would if they had the chance, bring the democratic and legal system of the western world down, call me cynical but I don’t think its worth to allow such organization on the base of principle. Then we are doing the same mistake as when we cave in for radical Islam out of political correctness.

The democratic and legal systems of most of the rich world are all wonderful systems, standing for tolerance and liberty. The goal is to tolerate different ideas, but those who strive to bring the system down have renounced their right to reap the benefits of the system.

I agree with you on aims. I’m just calling into question the tactics. My observation is that generalized “bans” are less effective than a program of strong PR and aggressive prosecution against the criminal activities of Scientologists would be. I would seek to discredit, rather than ban.

[ Edited: 10 December 2007 01:31 PM by mpbrockman]
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