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Finally a decisive strike against the cult
Posted: 10 December 2007 01:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]  
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[quote author=“mpbrockman” date=“1197339662]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.

Oh, so you have observations to back up your claims with now?

Forth with the evidence for that, please..

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Posted: 10 December 2007 04:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]  
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I could point to the general failure of bans on “religion” throughout history (when has that worked?), but the example I find most instructive is modern. Falun Gong - labeled a cult and banned in China now enjoys worldwide popularity and sympathy.

Never mind unsupported claims of healings and other fanciful nonsense. Never mind sarin in a subway. What has mattered is that they are now often seen as persecuted followers of a peaceful movement.

Banning Scientology shifts focus away from their loopy beliefs and gives the appearance of justification to their aggressive tactics by allowing them to paint themselves as aggrieved victims simply trying to defend their “faith” against an evil state. It’s playing right into their hands.

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Posted: 10 December 2007 04:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]  
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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.

Yeah I understand, and perhaps it will indeed in some situations have a negative effect from a tactical point of view. I do consider it the right action looking at it from a point of justification, that objectively its the right way to deal with groups that undermine democracy, although looking at it from a perspective of pure outcome it may at least initially have a negative impact. Sadly this is our own fault, with us I mean society in general. Scientology is going to pull the we are an oppressed religion card, which sadly only works because of the unwarranted tolerance factor, or the taboo of criticizing religion. I really wish more people like Sam Harris would educate the world on this issue of perspective because half of the problem with both Islam and Scientology is that we tip toe around them.
If this was not the case, they would get banned, they would cry saying they are oppressed and people would answer that they are a viscous cult and is getting just what they deserve.

On the other hand, even if this brings attention to Scientology its not a given that it will be good publicity for them. Even if it will bring up a question about religious persecution, it will also put the spot light on the cult opening for investigation and critical analysis as well to educate the public.

So I think the German government got every right and are doing the objectively right thing in this decision. I’m open to see how it pans out though in the long run. Who ends up gaining from it.

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Posted: 10 December 2007 07:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]  
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Unbeliever - 10 December 2007 09:56 PM

even if this brings attention to Scientology its not a given that it will be good publicity for them. Even if it will bring up a question about religious persecution, it will also put the spot light on the cult opening for investigation and critical analysis as well to educate the public.

So I think the German government got every right and are doing the objectively right thing in this decision. I’m open to see how it pans out though in the long run. Who ends up gaining from it.

I sincerely hope you’re right. It will indeed be interesting to watch, and I’m sure we’ll run into the issue again here on the forum.

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Posted: 11 December 2007 01:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]  
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mpbrockman - 10 December 2007 09:35 PM

I could point to the general failure of bans on “religion” throughout history (when has that worked?), but the example I find most instructive is modern. Falun Gong - labeled a cult and banned in China now enjoys worldwide popularity and sympathy.

Never mind unsupported claims of healings and other fanciful nonsense. Never mind sarin in a subway. What has mattered is that they are now often seen as persecuted followers of a peaceful movement.

Banning Scientology shifts focus away from their loopy beliefs and gives the appearance of justification to their aggressive tactics by allowing them to paint themselves as aggrieved victims simply trying to defend their “faith” against an evil state. It’s playing right into their hands.

Hmm..ever wondered why paganism “disappeared” from the ancient world?
Read how Martin of Tours, and other Christian fanatics burnt the holy groves and systematically suppressed pagan religions.

In Norway, the shamanistic religion was repressed by the Christians, causing it to die out.

I’m not saying any of these measures were moral, but they were damned effective, along with many similar religious repressions.

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Posted: 11 December 2007 10:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]  
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Good historical examples, Arildno.

I think the difference here, as I’ve trying to stress, lies in perception. Martin of Tours simply wasn’t dealing with an organization that could buy airtime. He could crush pagans with impunity not having to worry about their garnering sympathy by presenting themselves as an oppressed spiritual movement. Hence the Falun Gong analogy.

Whether Scientology is a religion or not (and I agree with you that it’s nonsense) seems less relevant to me than the perception of repression created by a governmental fiat. Add the fact that any ban based on constitutionality is likely to fail and I have difficulty seeing how this is a positive move for the German government. If they succeed they can be painted as oppressive, if they lose they are perceived as weak. No win.

See relevant article concerning likely failure of ban here:

http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,522348,00.html

As I said above, I sincerely hope I’m wrong - but I’m not optimistic.

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Posted: 12 December 2007 01:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]  
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We can at least agree upon that half-hearted measures, either banning or dialogue, will fail.

Not that I recommend Martin’s measures, but..

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