ZOMG WTF BBQ
We always knew it to be true. So they admit it now? Great. Wait till we got a load of chantards in here.
A Scientology spokesman has confirmed that Scientologists believe that mankind's problems stem from brainwashed alien soul remnants created millions of years ago by genocidal alien overlord Xenu. The admission follows years of attempts to dismiss the story, first leaked by defectors, as anti-church propaganda. In an interview …
Bonkers, but hardly much more bonkers than most of the competing religions. I'm an atheist - I'm thus allowed to chortle at this sort of stuff. But anyone else out there who is not an atheist should suppress their sniggering and look at how their beliefs appear to me. Likely just as barking.
Isn't it from one of his original stories?
Hubbard was an author, and decided it was be better to set up a religion rather than receiving a few cents on the word.
And he was sort of right, nowadays it is groups, and there is power in a group. That's is why this anonymous thing are not so different to the Scientologists. A lot of hollywood are in Scientology, and a lot of people are in Catholicism, quite a few pagans, a lot of Hindu, few into Jedi, then there are the agnostics, and the atheists, Mouslims, Republicans, Democrats it is just a shared belief forming a group.
there is one thing the Co$ hasn't realized yet. Its me, I'm Xenu and I'm back. Sofar i helped write the apache webserver, parts of the Linux kernel and oh, remember the wine/water thingy. That was me too. How that got misrepresented in this other book is a whole different question as i was turning beer to piss at the pub around the corner from el regs office.
Christians believe that a giant white dude with a beard created the universe in six days, that his son (who was born to a virgin) turned a tuna sandwich into food for 5000 people, and that he had the powers of Dr Manhattan regarding the whole water-wine thing.
Seriously... Stop wailing on religion. This is a Tech news website, not theology classes for 11 year olds.
My imaginary friend is better than yours.
So I will fight you, discredit you theories and come up with my own.
My new religion will be called Branology*
It will cost you only $350 to reach BT3. And my only commandment is thou shalt not gamble because it's discretionary spending, the same as religious offerings.
*brane and bulk obviously, not the improvement of digestive transit
Alot of people will come out and say this story is not any weirder than some of the stories from other religions, and they are definitely right.
The real question is, why have top Scientologists always denied this story? Is there a reason they do not want people interested in Scientology to find out about this ? All the other religions don't seem to make a secret out of it.
I wish I had a dollar for everytime I saw a Scientologist deny this story.
There's lots of historical evidence that Moses, Jesus and Muhammad etc. were real and great leaders of people, just like Joan of Arc, Ghandi, Martin Luther King etc. Jesus was, though, the son of Joseph and the *maiden* Mary - the original Hebrew of Isiah is very clear on that point AFAIR: the "Virgin Mary" nonesense was made up by Luke decades later.
All super-natural dieties are just figments of the Flying Spaghetti Monster's imagination of course.
Back to Scientology: this is excellent news. Now reporters all over can dig out vids of top Scientologiest denying Xenu and ask why lying is part of their religion :-)
So the history of religion is a secret? is that so they can milk their poor saps for every penny?
Lets get things right. L Ron Hubbard was a fiction writer, and not a very good one either, which is why his writings make no sense (and therefore attract the looney element).
According to the Scientology lot, I have these problems. I like to think i dont, and i am more than happy with my existence, without resorting to listening to religious waffle of any kind.
I am now just waiting for mssr cruise and travola to kick my door down and give me a damn good auditing.....
given the social climate in the US over the last couple of decades is it any wonder this sort of stuff flourishes in a society which treats agnosticism/atheism as somehow aberrant.
"OK, fundamentalist Christianity hasn't worked out for me because I can't figger out why they totally ignore the words of Jesus but I have to believe in something otherwise I'm just a baby-killing liberal. Ooh this looks good - Scientology".
"anyone else out there who is not an atheist should suppress their sniggering and look at how their beliefs appear to me. Likely just as barking"
What I find curious is how atheists or agnostics consider themselves to be above others with a religious belief, which in itself is an ironic display of belonging to their own 'belief'.
Actually, I don't find it curious, more a pathetic illustration of how people still try to place themselves on rungs of importance.
It's all in the exegesis (as empirical evidence is patently lacking). Consider "brainwashed" - what exactly is/has been brainwashed - the "alien", the "soul", or the "remnants"? Do aliens have souls? Is a soul a manifold; if not, how can it have remanents? And so on.
And how many $cientologists can dance on a couch (in a TV studio in prime time)?
You see the truth is not so simple. To err is human, to really fubar things you need a computer. To spout total crap takes rare and humongous talent. (Which BTW is why the Jesuits used to grab it when it was 5).
Atheists don't have a belief *system*. There's a crucial difference - there's really no direct comparison to be made between organised religion and atheism which isn't organised in any real sense. It's a very wearying argument. To be honest it's no wonder atheists get a bit smug when people insist on parading their ignorance around.
See also: 'theory' does not always mean 'hypothesis'.
And yea, the great prophet Mousehammed did squeak : "Go forth my furry bretheren and multiply. Eat of the cheese that falls from heaven and those bits of food you find behind the cooker. Trust ye not the cats for they are servants of the evil one, Tom. Live as I have taught and one day ye might join the great one 'Jerry' in the big hole in the sky."
Yes, as you pointed out Bonkers and Wacky and no worse that other religions BUT... the difference other religions are up for discussion. You may scoff at Jesus' miracles but you have the right to read and comment on the material it is drawn form.
You cant do this with Scientology. Its seems to me its sole purpose is to brainwash people into releasing their money so that the higher members of the order can benefit. (Ok some other religions do this too at time)
In an age of growing mental health , the traditional religions can bring structure and assistance to people existance. I too am an atheist but with the exception of the actions of the extremes nutters, I tolerate religions. However, I dont see any value to Scientology.
I'm sticking with the Flying Spaghetti Monster. It's more believable, we can wear pirate outfits and claim to be green, and we get beer volcanoes and stripper factories in our heaven. All for a net outlay of... um... <takes boots off to count> about $350k less than those gullible twonks pay.
For the record, I don't hate them (although I don't expect a little thing like truth or accuracy to get in the way of a Scientologist diatribe), I just disapprove of the secrecy and cult-like behaviour because Religion should be "open source", even if it's just to allow everyone else to examine the source code and realise they could do better.
I too am an atheist and think that the idea of Xenu is no more ridiculous than Jesus, Allah, or anything else. However the difference is that Scientology is not a benign religion trying to just eek by and do their thing. They are a powerful, litigious bully that uses bait-and-switch methods to trick people into joining their "self-help" group, only to later tell them it's actually about aliens.
That is how they treat their "parishioners", and they treat their 'enemies' even worse. Not on my watch.
Before you laugh at Scientology, take a look at your own religion.
Mormonism is tripe.
Islam - hahahahahaha
Hinduism - elephants holding up the planet? 6-armed gods?
As for Christianity, Jesus may indeed have existed in real life, but according to the New Testament, he had little to say that hadn't alreayd been said before and all of the myths of his prowess were a reenactment of legends from millenia prior to this. Now explain burning bushes, 40 day floods and an Ark large enough to hold the animals, plague, talking snakes and Adam losing a rib.
Seriously folks, it's all bunkum. Wake up and move into the 21st century without the tooth fairy, Santa and the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Well, perhaps the latter http://www.venganza.org
If the scienos had said, "yes, that's what we believe and, yes, those are our sacred screeds [all the OT nonsense], got a problem with that?", the world would have given a collective yawn and wandered away looking for something else in the way of titillation.
But, aha!, they didn't. Rather like the Mormons who have a very strange theology that isn't, as far as I know, written down anywhere, but is only taught via skits comprising their temple rites, and who break out in hives when the subject is brought up.
I can only conclude that the scienos are embarrassed by their xenu-beliefs; or, to be more precise, that those in charge are embarrassed. Which leads in turn to the conclusion that the higher-ups in scientology know it's all a pack of lies and nonsense intended only to separate the suckers from their hard-earned money.
At least the Mormons have a regular changing of the guard at the highest levels, unlike scientology, which seems to be run as the private fiefdom of an individual.
Speaking as an atheist, I absolutely have a belief system. However, it is based on my own set of morals, the golden rule of do unto others as you would have done to you (a rule penned thousands of years prior to the arrival of Jesus, BTW) and trying to work hard, appreciate those around me and enjoy my life for what it is.
You are correct that there is no set of rules for an athiest to follow - we're not a flock, rather we're free agents. Our rules are individual and self-imposed.
I could have told you this 15+ years ago and long before that South Park episode. Mind you I do know two former Scientologists and could tell all kinds of horror stories about the behaviour of their so called church.
Here's one you might not know yet... If you try to leave then they threaten that you, your family and your friends will all die of cancer within 12 months. Due to the brainwashing they have already done on you this seems possible and prevents many from leaving.
The reason this is tech news is the long running battle (at least 20 years) between Scientology and the net at large, starting with the alt.* groups in the late 80s to the latest kidiwinks on 4chan, via a few takedown orders to dutch ISPs. All in the name of preventing the information they've now admitted to.
Also it's only a religion in the US - the remaining 96% of the planet has them filed under "C" (for cranks, shurely). So forgive me if wail away.
I meant we don't have a shared belief system. Everyone has their own belief system, even if they try to overwrite it with an out-of-the-box one that's shared with a group of others. Atheists have lovely bespoke ones that are constantly being revised and updated. Or they should, at least.
Don't be silly girl. Of course they do. Either they have no beliefs - in which case they are brain dead. Or their beliefs are transient and logically disconnected from each other, so that none of them imply or are implied by any other of their "beliefs" - in which case they are almost brain dead (c.f. the so-called after-life experiences of bliss and glowing tunnels). Or they have a matrix of beliefs just like ordinary people do. The fact that they may never comprehend or articulate or codify or axiomatize the extent or the bases of that matrix is no reason to deny them the ability to think systematically. That's just an ethnocentric prejudice.
"A core doctrine of Scientology belief is that freeing the human body of attachment to alien soul remnants, or Thetans, created by Xenu when he kidnapped millions and brought them to earth for a fiery execution, is key to achieving spiritual progress and relief from worries."
That has since been MODified and Corrected [Core erected] to Deliver ..... A core doctrine of Scientology belief is that freeing the human brain and its imaginanations of attachment to alien soul remnants, or Thetans, created by Xenu when he kidnapped millions and brought them to earth for a fiery execution, is key to achieving spiritual progress and relief from worries...... for the Higher Elevated Lauded Levels which Provide Controls in Core Universal Beliefs.
"Scientologists pay an estimated $350,000 to reach OT III." Wow .... Of that would I have no Knowledge. HELL, of course, is Priceless, and QuITe whether Worth every Red Cent for All that IT Returns in Life is an Enigma to Ponder for Solution and Resolution in the Riddle of the Mystery in ITs Key Code Algorithm.
"Atheists don't have a belief *system* ..."
except for a belief that they don't have a belief system.
No disrespect meant, but atheists have a theory that there is no god and religious folks have a theory that there is a god.
One of the groups is gonna be wrong, since you cannot prove the non-existence of something, and you're gonna have great trouble proving that a god exists (If you find him under a sofa, then he's not exactly omniscient).
If you're gonna pick a side, you've got to believe one theory is right.
Let me put my popcorn down
im gonna have to have a crack at it now !
As for religion there normally isnt anything wrong with it at all
Unless ... (of course i was going to say that )
Its taken to an extreme.
almost every single society global has created a religion.
I dont believe that there is nothing there, i hope there is something there.
I raise my children in a christian belief system because i feel it will teach them good morals
I will also teach my children not to suicide bomb everybody who disbelieves
Waiting for the day when an atheist suicide bombs for people not beiliving in atheism :D
Only icon with a question mark please just ignore the letters I and T.
Im really not sure what my point is but im sure there is one :)
But it's not a direct opposition by definition, even though it can be oppositional - atheism just means you don't have a religion, essentially. It can be a default position, if you've just never found much about the whole God lark that appeals to you. You can be pretty neutral about it - it's just an absence of belief. Atheists are not a group - they're just the people left over after you take away the theists, and they range from the totally unconcerned to the rantingly radical and unhelpful.
It does bother me that there's an assumption that if you don't have religion, you must have something that occupies that role in your life, and it must be of equal size and shape and just as ready for a big barney to decide who's right. Some people just aren't fussed either way, and if they were pressed they'd have to describe themselves as 'atheist' in the same sense that people who aren't fussed about shagging are 'asexual'.
That's not picking a side - that's choosing not to pick a side at all.
Do you release that "maiden" is just the older English equivalent of the more recent Latin borrowing "virgin"? We'd probably still be using it today if Latin hadn't been the language of the church and hence the language used to describe Mary. You might also note the Shakespearean term "maidenhead" for the concept of "virginity" and the physical structure now called the "hymen".
Besides, Isaiah wrote his stuff circa 800 years before the Roman occupation of Canaan as described in the New Testament, so what has he got to do with it?
Pardon me, but your ignorance is showing. The "virgin birth" means that Jesus was Mary's first born child. That's all it means.
Perhaps you're thinking of "The Immaculate Conception," which is a myth invented by the church at a much later date.
Not that any of that has anything to do with much of anything, but it'd be nice if you had your pseudo facts straight.
Paris, because some day she may have a virgin birth too, but we already know that her virginity is a thing of the past, just like Jesus, Mary and Joseph.
...is the "Organized" part.
Only in an organization, do you need a hierarchy, support structure, funding, followers in sufficient number to raise the appropriate funding...and then, of course, you need to "defend your turf", lest the "others" lure your followers to their heretical beliefs (along with their donations). It all goes downhill from there.
Believe what you want. Just don't hurt anyone else.
...Peace, Love and Linux
I think that what I should have said was I get smug (often masking frustration) when theists can't see that atheism is qualitatively different to theism. That was the ignorance I meant, not implying that theism == ignorance.
That said, religion and theism confuse the hell out of me - I just can't get my head around the idea of believing in something like that, so I probably frustrate the hell out of believers. I also probably frustrate them by my refusal to accept something that I can see no evidence for whatsoever.
Spokespeople for Scientology often try to hammer home the point that they have a great deal in common with other religions. But now we get this from Davis:
"For you ... as somebody who is not a Scientologist to talk to me about what my beliefs are or to ask me to explain any core religious belief, that's an offensive concept. Nobody should ever be asked to do that. "
This is in stark contrast to the proselytising nature of pretty much any other religion I'd care to mention. Frequently you can't get them to shut up about their beliefs.
I wonder if he's more worried that his belief in a prehistoric alien race shipped to Earth in a fleet of DC-8s is now open to ridicule, or that its disclosure endangers his revenue stream?
If people wish to believe in a creator being because they're scared of death I have no problem with it as long as it doesn't directly impact on my life. Start haranguing me with your belief system whilst I'm minding my own business and I will get annoyed and will tell you so in no uncertain terms. Start invading countries and costing me money indirectly in taxes because "God told me to" and I will again make my displeasure known.
Keep the bullshit in Latin so the mugus cannot understand it. Release doctored versions of Josephus's Jewish Antiquities for people prepared to learn ancient Greek to check the revised version of history.
That should keep the money rolling in for a few centuries. After all, it has worked before.
"A handwritten document summarising the Xenu story, in Hubbard's own handwriting, has also turned up, it adds."
He found a use for that story idea that his publisher rejected after all. :p
I once got a chance to skim through the slush pile of unsolicited stories sent to a SF publisher and I only remember one that was as stupid as the Xenu story.
Atheist believe there is no god, christians believe there is a god.
So pretty equal, innit?
Ooh, I forgot:
... and a holy ghost, and a holy communion, heaven and hell (if you chose the correct denomination), forgiveness for all your sins (if pop says it's OK) ...
But then, christianity seems mostly benign those days, pseudoscientology leans a bit harder on its disciples.
" "Atheists don't have a belief *system* ..."
except for a belief that they don't have a belief system.
No disrespect meant, but atheists have a theory that there is no god and religious folks have a theory that there is a god."
You don't need to have a theory against something that there is no evidence for. I don't have a theory that there isn't really a holdall containing a pair of Hitler's underpants lying on the surface of Pluto. Why should I? A theory is only required to explain something. If some pictures came back from a passing space probe with of a swastika-emblazoned bag on farthest (planet/planetoid - delete as applicable), *then* I'd probably start coming up with a theory of no-hitler-pants-on-pluto, but you've got to have some observed phenomena to explain in the first place.
that in Christianity you spend can spend exactly £0.00 and get enlightened which I believe what Islam charges, hinduism charges etc etc for the other versions of enlightenment
Athiesm charges you £0.00 and you can make up you own road to being happy and not have to spend years studying a book
Scientology is different.... every stage of their pathway to happiness , they charge you for it.... repeatedly and again and again
Which is why its a load of old *******
Me? I'm a cockroach... which means after the coming nuclear war I'll be the one still living
Ethnocentric prejudice (@Luther)? That's the old cultural relativism argument which severely tests Anthropology - can someone from culture A objectively interpret culture B?
I sat in an Anthropology tutorial, with my very Christian mate, who argued that creationism was a belief system, and so was evolution by natural selection. We agreed to disagree, though not before I asked her if the world was flat, in typically constructive fashion. The thing was that everyone else on the course agreed with her, and not a single one of them had the faintest inkling about science.
There are two different cultures in today's homogenised world, I tell you: those who get science, and those who don't.
"I handed my life over to Scientology, paid 350k, and all I got was a lousy story"
Nevertheless, at least with Scientology it is perfectly clear that their business is a money extracting scheme involving the mental submission of their believers. On the other hand, I don't care what other folks do as long as they leave me alone with it and no one gets seriously hurt — or killed. Damn, now that is another one where Scientology clearly wins against a lot of other religions... head starts to spin...
Just practice the kindness, folks.
PS: I want a V for Vendetta icon
Theists have beliefs that they hold despite all evidence to the contrary. They call this faith.
Atheists choose theories that fit the evidence they have. They think of this as not being a gullible 419 target.
If new evidence contradicts a theory or belief, the atheists change their theories. Theists change the evidence.
"The very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common. Instead of altering their views to fit the facts, they alter the facts to fit their views ... which can be very uncomfortable if you happen to be one of the facts that needs altering." -- Doctor Who
"O course there's a God" he replied, and my faith was restored for I knew Santa would never lie.
For those of you who are not entirely up to speed on the 'History' of Science Fiction..
It all started as drunken bet at a Sci-Fi convention between the late L Ron H and another writer. one Larry Niven of 'Ringworld' fame. Sadly the specifics of the arguement that led up to this challenge have evapourated into the mists of time like the methanol of cheap bourbon.
However the upshot of it was that to claim a victory one of them had to found thier own religion.
Faith will move mountains, all it takes is every pilgrim to take a teaspoon of dirt home.
Paris...because I'd take her home
I was always under the impression that agnostics were the ones on the fence, no current belief in God but open to change should the situation or evidence that they were wrong arise - burning bushes, quests for grails, that kind of thing.
Whereas atheists fundamentally (ouch) disbelieve in the existence of God and would not change from that position even if the Big Guy* appeared in front of them with all his little wizards.
I think what most people commenting here really are, are humanists: "a rationalistic system of thought attaching prime importance to human rather than divine or supernatural matters" (source: OED)
No idea what I am, although I do believe in the healing powers of beer and pizza if that helps.
*Or Gal, or Evil Alien Overlord - whatever.
If I submit some remark on religion, and always get a platform for denigrating others in return, it's not unreasonable that someone would think there was a common "system" for this wondrous transformation...
Happily, and surprisingly, this wasn't the case today; there were posts from people who are actually secure in themselves/their beliefs, and don't feel the need to comment on how infinitely superior they are since they belong to "group A" rather than "group B". But skimming the comments, I couldn't help but notice the number of directed posts, letting those who might be religious know that they are all equally daft - a bit surprising as I could not find the smug religious poster they seemed to be targeting. hmm... This is bound to lead to some people's perceptions being colored just a tinge of red (with a bit of confusion added to the mix as they probably wonder "what triggered this attack??") So while your posts were as objective and rational as ever, I think given the context (the highly repetitive context), a bit of confusion is not only understandable, but to be expected.
"No disrespect meant, but atheists have a theory that there is no god and religious folks have a theory that there is a god."
Actually they don't, by and large. Unless you define me assuming that you, in the absence of any evidence to the contrary, can't fly as the same as you beliving that you can fly.
We're born without any belief in gods and simply remaining in that state is not really equivalent to moving to a state where we believe some folkstory or other that our parents told us. Unless you're a intellectually bankrupt fool who is desperate to point the finger at others in a shallow attempt to distract attention from the fact that you in fact do believe nonsense without any supporting evidence, for example.
>>"It does bother me that there's an assumption that if you don't have religion, you must have something that occupies that role in your life, and it must be of equal size and shape..."
And one side to that is that it's pretty clear that a great many supposed believers don't have that much of a hole that religion is filling either.
There are people who call themselves believers if pushed, but their token belief doesn't really extend much further than liking to think there might be a heaven when they're dead, and maybe saying a little prayer if they find themselves in deep shit, yet instantly forgetting that if things turn out OK.
Even though most have stopped going, there are still people who attend a church because their other half pushes them to do, it or their parents make them, they go through all the motions, and always have done, yet they don't really have significantly more belief than the token believers. If *they* had a hole, religion should clearly be filling it.
Yet despite that, the evangelistic believers will use themselves as a model of everyone else, and assume that everyone must have a god[s]-shaped hole just as large as their own, and that people are somehow defective if that hole isn't being filled by the right god.
I suppose there's always the excuse that the token believers "Just haven't been touched by [deity] yet!", but that would rather suggest a pretty bone-idle deity, which isn't much interested even in many people who are ripe for the touching, and which is happy for them to have their deity-sized hole left unfilled.
"What I find curious is how atheists or agnostics consider themselves to be above others with a religious belief, which in itself is an ironic display of belonging to their own 'belief'."
I'd like to speak on behalf of agnostics, somehow you've confused us with atheists. Sure, American dictionaries have over the last 15 years merged the two definitions, but in the rest of the world agnostics and atheists have two entirely separate viewpoints.
As an agnostic I do not deny anyone's beliefs. Everyone is entitled to believe what they like, even if it is a little far-fetched like Scientology. I am open to the possibility that there is an element of truth in the religious beliefs of others, partly because there is insufficient evidence to prove or disprove such beliefs. I would quite happily accept the existence of the Christian 'God' or winged faeries if I have first-hand experience demonstrating that either of those examples exist.
I'm not going to mock someone for their beliefs - they might be right. Furthermore, if someone were to mock my personal beliefs, I wouldn't like it, so I have no intention of inflicting exactly that discomfort on others.
If there is any essence to a "holier than thou" attitude from agnostics then it is derived from our willingness to accept that anything is possible, we just need to experience it first-hand in order to be convinced. In the meanwhile we wish that everyone else could accept our viewpoint, that is to be open to the possibility that we might be wrong, and a willingness to improve our perception of the possibilities of this universe by learning from first-hand observations.
Sarah, I think your posit is pretty accurate except that you fail to recognize that not only are there "weak" atheists (people who just don't know/care/bother with one or more deities), but there are also "weak" theists. A weak theist would have some sort of internalized belief in some deity or deities, however it would not affect their daily lives. In a sense, this means that if you don't have a religion, the lack thereof must occupy at least as much of your daily life as someone with a religion - ie none of it. A weak theist position can also be a default position, since, in many cases, one hears about some deity or another before one really has the capability to analyze - the act of analysis changes any position from default to non-default. In many cases weak theists and weak atheists are also agnostic: if pressed they would indicate that the existence, or lack thereof, of one or more deities is unprovable.
Strong atheists, like strong theists, are a whole different breed. Though sometimes also agnostic, these are the types that spend some significant portion of their daily lives devoted to their religious (not necessarily shared) belief system. The vocal members of these groups are the ones who call everyone ignorant for their obviously foolish ideas, etc. The less voracious of these (on both sides) can be very good people, but they do, even the atheist side, have a belief system - this is not a "default" position to take.
That being said, as far as I can tell the CoS don't see Xenu as a deity, proper, but rather an alien. If that is the case (and they have no other deities), then, technically, they would be atheists... and strong ones at that.
"There's lots of historical evidence that Moses, Jesus and Muhammad etc. were real and great leaders of people, just like Joan of Arc, Ghandi, Martin Luther King etc."
Actually there's not really any creditable historical evidence for Jesus existing. It doesn't make the teachings any less useful/inspired unless you're really hung up on literalism.
While we're at it, there is good evidence that Joan of Arc was really 'Jeanne Darc' but her surname was changed to d'Arc as it sounded more aristocratic. By later writers I hasten to add.
something like founding The Grand Order of Nihilists isn't it? Or is it Proof of nihism?
for all the historical evidence of Jesus et al crowd, read Frank Herbert's Dune as that's what it's all about, a hero who is just a normal (although exceptional) man who is made into Messiah by a downtrodden and persecuted people (sound familiar)? Then his teachings end up corrupted and result in Jihad.....hmmmmm
so i always thought of myself as 'non-religious' because i don't follow any religion. they mostly do not add up and i reject religion because of the inflexibility (mainly) and intolerance. and the death, suffering and destruction in it's name.
but i do believe there is some sort of 'source' god thing, and spirit. and that there is really so much more out there than we could possibly know. since i am learning each day, my personal unique beliefs system is always changing.
anyway, my point is that you cannot label me and put me in a group. i have beliefs that always change.
these 'define the group name' discussion would be pointless, but they're not because they're funny.. hehehe.
oh, and i've heard scientology is not just a load of nonsense but that they're a rich and dangerous lot... scared? NOT !
@AC 17:11 to paraphrase: "virgin" just means "first" - thanks for that, and you may be right, but the collective church has since definitely equated it with Immaculate Conception and the idea that Jesus is *literally* the son of a beardy God. Which is not too far from Xenu.
@Andy B - I didn't know the Jeanne Darc thing (you learn a lot here at el reg :-) and it's certainly plausible - and similar to the history of Jesus and writings in the bible. The point is that it's the *ideas* that are important, not the book they're written in or who said them. But try saying the bible is just a bunch of stories to a strong Christian, or questioning the history of the Qur'an!
Strength of belief exists on a graded scale and the names of them seem to get confused in a number of discussions, so here's my bash at sorting them out:
Strong theist: there is only one God(s) (and that's my God(s)!) who created all things. He/they will smite you with eternal torment if you don't believe and our relgious texts are literal and cannot be questioned! Now get down on your knees and PRAY!!!
Theist (Gnostic?): There definitely is a God who should be worshipped (even if you haven't been touched by one yet), though many religions have plenty useful things to say and all Gods are just the one anyway (though I have a sneaking suspiscion it's my one) so can't we all just agree with that and be happy?
Weak theist: I'm pretty sure there's something out there, but I don't know what. After all, this can't be all there is can it?
Agnostic: err, dunno really, haven't thought about it....
Weak atheist: There's no proof of a god so I don't believe, but there's no proof against it either so, yeah, whatever dude.
Strong atheist: There's no proof an god (and, for goodness sake, just one little hint would do) and it's not possible to prove the non-existance of a thing, but the evidence against it is so overwhelming that please, for the love of humanity, please grow up and stop believing in super-natural imaginary friends so you can open your eyes and take in the complex beauty of the real world and universe and the capabilities of animal and human kind!
I'm a strong atheist (if you hadn't guessed :-) so definitely don't have any beliefs in the super-natural. I do have one axiom for living though: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" - also known as: "what goes around comes around" or "Karma" - and it seems that everything else can be pretty much derived from that. Despite this being shared with numerous other people, including one commenter, it is *not* a belief or religion!
I may also make assertions like "I think the the opposite of Faith is Curiosity" and find questioning things a useful way of improving life for all, but, again, this is just a way of life and not a belief or religion. Here's a good question for you: what's the difference between a belief and a religous belief? When you answer that fully you'll understand why religion, and the belief in gods, makes strong atheists so angry.
Strong Atheism and Zen Buddism, with its notion of constant questioning, probably have a lot in common, but I haven't done enough reading/thinking/asking questions to say for sure.
[El reg *so* needs a proper forum for this sort of discuss. C'mon vultures, just get the slashdot software installed :-]
becoming an omnitheist? That's someone who believes in Jesus, Muhammet, Microsoft, Zeus, Xenu, Krishna and every other God ever conceived, up to and particularly including the Flying Sphagetti Monster. Of course, you can't follow ALL the commandments all the time, but not even the most fervent monotheist can do that. It's all relative. Advantages of omnitheism include
So many religious holidays you hardly have to work at all
Backing of a horde of deities, saints and blessed ones for all occasions
Always having a local church/temple/mosque/sabbat just around the corner
Not being bothered by fanatics trying to convert you to their belief system
And above all; getting a choice of paradises when you pass on.
Bless you, my brothers and sisters in faith and/or faithlessness.
If you're going to accuse other people of ignorance, it's a good idea to get your own facts straight.
1. Ian Rogers represents a prominent strand of modern theological thought. The original Hebrew text of Isaiah uses a word that can equally well be translated 'virgin' or 'young woman'. Matthew and Luke are keen to present the birth of Jesus as the fulfillment of ancient prohecies and may have over-egged the pudding, so to speak.
2. The Immaculate Conception is sometimes (mistakenly) taken to be equivalent to virgin birth, but in fact is a purely RC doctrine that Mary was conceived free of original sin. Dating back to the 15th century, it became dogma only in the 19th.
Wikipedia has good articles on both these points.
We now return you to our regular programming.
"Atheist believe there is no god, christians believe there is a god. So pretty equal, innit?"
Er, no. Christians believe that there is a *particular* god and that they happen to be the leading authorities on Him and His preferences. That's not remotely equal.
I am an atheist, not because I believe I have some insight that others lack, but simply because "no god" is a better working hypothesis than any "particular god". The "no god" hypothesis leads me to prefer rules based on objective evidence rather than personal insights. The alternatives all seem to come unstuck when you bump into someone who personal insights differ from one's own.
I am not an agnostic, because I also believe that the "no god" working hypothesis is more intellectually honest than any "maybe" alternative. Agnosticism may win points with the philosophers, but in practice an agnostic either acts in accordance with a particular religion (perhaps the one they grew up with) or in accordance with the "no god" hypothesis. We might as well admit that, and define ourselves by our behaviour rather than the gloss we put on it.
If I drop a brick, I believe it will fall. Can I prove it? No. Would I be anything other than a complete twat if I hedged my bets on the matter? No. Agnostics are just atheists who haven't realised that the fence isn't wide enough to sit on.
Read my post again Sarah. It says 'beliefs'. As in, their refusal to believe perversely places them their own belief of not believing. It's not about being organised in that belief or following rules no matter how precise or vague they may be.
Whether people choose to believe in a God or a prophet or a sunflower I honestly don't care. And I struggle with your assertion about an assumption that to not have a belief means something must replace a void in your life. I've never encountered this.
The point about behaving so disrepectfully towards others because of one aspect of their life remains. Many Atheists are no more than ignorant, insulting fools in this respect, forgetting that their own basis for their opinion is a collection of assumptive theories. As mentioned before there is no absolute or empirical evidence to point to the existence of a higher being or whatever; similarly the answers brought by science remain only best guesses that, until they are proved otherwise, will be just that. A best guess. And yes, a bloody good set of guesses too. But Atheists should remember that instead of adopting an attitude of intellectual superiority as bad as the worst religous zealot. It's rank hypocrisy.
I think Thetan = dieties (or expression of the diety) in Scientology.
"In Scientology, this mythology revolves around the "thetan", believed to be the individualized expression of the cosmic source, or life force, named after the Greek letter theta (θ). The thetan is thought to be the true identity of a person – an intrinsically good, omniscient, non-material core capable of unlimited creativity.
In the primordial past, according to Scientologist teachings, thetans brought the material universe into being largely for their own pleasure. The universe is thought to have no independent reality, but to derive its apparent reality from the fact that most thetans agree it exists."
To everyone else, as far as religion in general +1 to critical thinkers, spreading misinformation sux. I'll listen as long as you think you bare some facts. Most religions say they are the "one." That probably means most are wrong. Many are out there praying to something that isn't there.
Unfortunately, the idea of atheism has been watered down somewhat over the years. True atheism is not "I don't want to believe that there's a God", which is about the bounds of what most self-professed atheists reach.
A /real/ atheist is a scholar not only of Christianity, but of all deity-based religions, who, after careful study, has come to the conclusion that there is no God.
Simply saying "there is no God" from a position of complete ignorance is lazy and stupid.
... that many humans believe in some sort of deity because we as a species require a very long raising-up period (from birth to ~ 18 or so) during which there IS someone "out there" who knows if we've been naughty or nice and who has immense power over us (that would be mum(s) and/or dad(s)). The idea of a deity would then fit nicely into the bits of the mind primed to accept an omnipotent omniscient source of all reward (food, allowance) and punishment (the spanking hand, withholding of car keys).
"Agnostic: err, dunno really, haven't thought about it...."
- perhaps that is the position of a weak agnostic, i.e. "I don't know" or "I'm not taking sides"... but as with all the others, you can be a strong agnostic, which is to say "you cannot know".
One agnostic, Socrates, spent most of his time thinking about it.
A strong atheist has a definite position saying there is no god. I say, how can he know that? You cannot know.
Niven appears to have been in on the discussion but not "at a science fiction convention." They lived in Pasadena or nearby one another, and were acquainted. In general Hubbard was known as a blowhard and a marginal writer. A bet? Perhaps, but it wasn't the *result* of a bet. Hubbard wanted to make money and escape taxation. During that period, several others did create "churches" along various themes, mostly vaguely Eastern woo. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) was very skeptical and indeed attacked the Scientologists. For this reason, Hubbard bought a large boat, intending to escape extradition by remaining on the high seas. He finally got very ill and lived in hiding in Clearwater Florida for the remainder of his days, scuttling crabwise from house to house through hidden passages if the story is true. Clearwater is a bit like Utah in that speaking ill of the religion makes you persona non grata. Scientology is a family enterprise, a business if you will.
>>There's lots of historical evidence that Moses, Jesus and Muhammad etc. were real and great leaders of people.
Not true, outside of the (damn) bible there is no evidence of Moses.
All accounts of jesus are non contemparaneous, that is, all records were done after he was alive (not at the time), the fact that a man was crucified and came to life again was not in any records of the time is interesting in it's own right, the fact that other "miracles" by other "messiahs" were recorded at the time is also interesting, jesus probably did not exist, but someone like him may have done, why wasn't in the Roman records? (did the Romans hide everything? while keeping similar records about other people?) the fact that Bethlehem village did not exist at the time of Jesus's birth is also interesting.
Almost certainly existed, there is lots of non contradictory information about him allowing very accurate dates of his birth etc, he came from a well to do family which was also well documented.
But don't forget, Hitler existed and was a "great leader of people", doesn't mean it's a good thing.
"It all started as drunken bet at a Sci-Fi convention between the late L Ron H and another writer. one Larry Niven of 'Ringworld' fame. Sadly the specifics of the arguement that led up to this challenge have evapourated into the mists of time like the methanol of cheap bourbon.
However the upshot of it was that to claim a victory one of them had to found thier own religion."
Hey jon. Where did you come across that?
What if you are God? no company of your own kind, no-one to talk to, even the people you do talk to think they are hearing things, nothing to do and all eternity to do it in....I bet he spends most of his time watching MS progress bars and changing the estimated time for a laugh.
Just pray (ha!) that he hasn't got amazing lawyers, as the universe isn't under GPL and we are reverse engineering it for our own ends.
Can't resist pitching in here...
After a broad and focused religious education - (I grew up in the private education system) I was confirmed into the Church of England (set up primarily to avoid paying Peter's Pence / 1% of GDP to Rome and allow the monarch to shag at will). It wasn't till after I was confirmed that I really started thinking about it. From the Abrahamic religions with their inquisitions and crusades, and clannishness and cover-ups and tithes and a whole raft of other methods of controlling populaces, it became apparent that whatever the original message had been, it had been so perverted by self interest through the years that is was highly unlikely to hold much factual or moral merit. I then looked (though in less detail) at various other religions throughout the world including Hindu, Shinto, Buddhism, and some of the odder ones - Scientology, Voodoo, and paganism. To a greater or lesser extent all carried the same taints throughout their histories as the ones I'd been brought up with.
Eventually I decided that whilst it was likely that there is some "higher" power, allowing for the initial creation of the universe and so on, it would be supremely arrogant of me to force a shape on it or name to it.
The more I've considered the the observed evidence the more I come to suspect that said deity is not necessarily intelligent or even sentient, and though probably well meaning, unintentional in its actions.
My two pennies - allow it to shape your reasoning if you like - I don't care, but please try to think for yourself.
p.s. Any church that covers up rampant paedophilia by moving to culprits on as recently as in the last 20 years is on an equal par with Scientology.
1. Dont f*** with me and I wont f*** with you!
2. You can believe in what you like, I'll listen and pretend to be interested, just don't try to get me involved (see belief 1).
3. Dont ask me to die in the name of something you can't catagorically prove (see belief 1).