Monday, May 25, 2009

Kettle, pot?

I noticed this little story on the BBC feed today, it's about a religion called Scientology which was founded in the USA in the 50's by a science fiction writer called L. Ron Hubbard, it is a truly bizarre organisation and has always struck me as more of a business venture to exploit the gullible than claiming anything in particular, although there is some heavyweight science fiction mythology going on in there if what I read is true.

The story centres around an upcoming case to be fought in France about whether or not Scientology committed fraud by extracting monies from a woman under false pretences, making false promises and applying undue psychological pressure on her. You can check the story out here but it got me thinking, I wondered how the French court could believe that a trial like this would not set a precedent for all organised religions particularly Christianity and Islam, if you examine the charges you quickly see similarities in behaviour and a familiar pattern emerging the only real difference being that the more established churches are, well, simply more established.

Look at the charges and see if you could make the same claims against say, the Catholic Church (although all the Abrahamic dogmas would be similar).

Extorting monies by making false promises
Scientology claimed that this woman had mental problems and charged her for lessons, books and medicines, Scientology is a very rich organisations with huge resources. The state of mental health of this woman can and probably will be checked by proper medical authorities, although no doubt the representatives of Scientology will claim that the kind of problems they detect cannot be tested for nor proven since they reside "below the conciousness level, exerting a hidden influence".

Catholicism claims that we are all born sinners and must repent by applying their particular cure which involves among other things donating monies to that organisation, ideally for your entire life. The Catholic Church is a very rich organisation with huge resources. The physical state that they claim all humans are in and the cure that they offer is not falsifiable by science and there is no evidence for it whatsoever. Not a single human has ever in over 2000 years actually proven (by any means) that their particular "cure" for sin is true or that the concept of sin is even valid in the first place.

Mental Pressure
Scientology is accused of applying undue mental pressure in order to extort money from this woman, presumably they told her that their cure was the only cure and therefore compelled her to make payments for it. However she was an adult and could at any time validate the claims made by evaluating evidence freely available on the internet and elsewhere regarding the efficacy of cures and treatments claimed by the Scientology organisation, she would have found the organisation to be a source of ridicule by the vast majority of real scientists.

Catholicism also applies mental pressure on people; however it typically does it to small children rather than adults who are obviously easier to convince and less prone to making waves by critically examining evidence; clearly small children do not possess the rational faculties that adults do. This indoctrination is reinforced throughout the life of the person in the church, and any attempt at rational enquiry about the validity of the concepts presented is claimed to be evil and discourages by the leaders of the Church. A state of dilemma and guilt are propagated regarding original sin and hell, children are told to follow Catholic dogma or risk suffering eternal torture by burning. They also claim that the only way to avoid this punishment for being born is to follow their dogma and presumably support the organisation by giving it money.

So, will this trial set the stage for the outlawing of all religion from France, I doubt it, but it is interesting never the less to look at the striking similarities between the techniques that religions use to suck in the gullible and to hold them in their clutches with un-knowable and dubious "science".


Elizabeth said...

Another fantastic post. You should submit that somewhere, if there are any printed magazines/newspapers left that take submissions. :)

I enjoy the way your mind works, especially with the incisive comments you put on my blog.

Elizabeth said...

You are my hero! That stuff you say to Marty in my blog is wonderful. Thanks & I'm learning so much from you and OJ.

Steve Borthwick said...

Thanks for your kind words E

Marty is a hard one to figure out isn't he, round and round and such a poor listener, anyway it's all good humoured (I hope?) you wouldn't want one voice to dominate, that would be boring.