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Religion

“Religion” is a word I object to. It covers way too much to mean anything, really. It covers Christianity which is (mostly, Calvin can take a hike) fundamentally based upon free-will. It includes Islam which is a totally deterministic faith based on the absolute control of Allah. It includes Asian belief systems that don’t even have a god. It includes (it is often claimed) atheism. It includes Hinduism that has millions of gods. It can even include the ramblings of Hitler, Marx, Carson, Gore or Hubbard.

Religions are like cities in the rural USA. You don’t need a royal charter, you just call it yourself and put up a sign which states the place’s name, population and elevation above mean sea-level. It don’t make it a city though, not in the real sense of “city”. Manchester, MS is not a city the way Manchester, England is and I’m sure that while the inhabitants of the former have great civic pride and care for their little town they, if you ask them nicely, would say that they live in a small town without the usual civic trappings: the international airport, the universities, the sports teams that are known half a world away…

Similarly calling your scam a religion doesn’t make it so. Religions have been started by fine and noble people. Even the guy who sentenced Christ to death had no problem with him, personally, and I have heard little criticism of Buddha. They have also been started by the demented, the thoroughly unhinged and, of course, absolute charlatans. I have no idea if a great many religious characters were deranged or just on the make. It’s easier to figure out the closer their lifetime was to the modern-day. Rasputin was clearly a charlatan and almost certainly completely unhinged as well. G I Gurdjieff was quite clearly a con-artiste of the first water. Such conclusions are harder to make about earlier religious types: there is less evidence.

The Church of Scientology though, was founded by L Ron Hubbard, very much within living memory. It is therefore utterly fiskable. I could do this but the Southpark guys have already done a number on it:

It’s all “true”. Next time you see a Tom Cruise movie just remember the trans-galactic DC-8s and that he, as an “Operating Thetan”, believes that utter hogwash. Hubbard was a dreadful Sci-Fi author in an era when, even if you were good, it paid peanuts. Philip K Dick got hooked on whiz and went raving mad because he had to write all the time to make a living. Hubbard had a cuter scheme…

“Science fiction editor and author Sam Moscowitz tells of the occasion when Hubbard spoke before the Eastern Science Fiction Association in Newark, New Jersey in 1947: `Hubbard spoke … I don’t recall his exact words; but in effect, he told us that writing science fiction for about a penny a word was no way to make a living. If you really want to make a million, he said, the quickest way is to start your own religion.’”

- that’s from here.

Hubbard wasn’t demented. He wasn’t mentally ill and I actually don’t think he started a cult, exactly, even though his methods were essentially the same. He was a failed author who became a con-man.

Christ was tortured and killed for his religion. Hubbard did it purely to make money. How can the two things be called the same thing? Scientology is a balls-out racket. It is a scam. Scientology’s auditing process (and this is where the cultic, once your in, your in, for the duration thing comes-up – doesn’t the mafia work like that too?) means revealing your deepest secrets, regrets and sins to the “church”. Unlike the Catholics who rigourously enforce the confidentiality of the confessional the Scientologists will, if you ever threaten to leave, use it against you.

Everyone has things that they would destroy them if they were publicised. I once orchestrated a coup in a small African country from a base in an extinct volcano with the aid of a lot of fit-birds in 1960′s specs and very short lab coats, holding clipboards for no apparent reason, whilst I stroked my Persian cat. That should never be revealed. Oh, bugger! Like all Bond villians I give it away towards the end.

That, as my bijecting of the Set of Felis catus, domiciled in a certain African city, with the set of Natural Numbers colleague posted just below, it is therefore obscene to drag a fifteen year old (or anyone) before the beak for slagging off what any reasonable person would regard as organized crime. My (limited) understanding of English law is that it ain’t a libel if it’s true and to call Scientology for what it is is therefore fine. It’s great that a fifteen year old was prepared to protest on this score. It gives me hope for the younger generation.

But, as Pilate said to Christ, “What is truth?”

Proper religions, whatever that means, but for practical purposes, I guess, I mean the major historical faiths that don’t want me dead or enslaved, must be subject to criticism and rational debate. If not, they aren’t rational and should be junked. The modern world. The world of antibiotics and Kylie’s ass and powered flight is predicated on us being able to debate, argue and protest. It started with Copernicus challenging dogma and Martin Luther nailing a thesis to a door. It started with the printing press and people reading scripture for themselves.

Dragging a brave kid into court on the spurious charge of having an opinion (and incidentally calling a bunch of cunts, a bunch of cunts) is repugnant beyond belief.

This is in danger of becoming an essay. I will therefore wind it up. When an “artist” stuck a crucifix in a urinal and photographed it, calling it “Piss Christ”, he upset Christians. Fine, I can understand them being a bit annoyed. They, though, never uttered blood-curdling threats or used either personal or judicial violence against the guy. I am I right in saying that “religions” which are dubiously founded are the first to resort to violence?

The actions of the Police are actually worse than that. They are an outrageous, systematic, betrayal of the traditions of English Common-Law, the Rennaisance, The Reformation and The Enlightenment. They are a betrayal of civilization.

23 Comments

  1. Gabriel says:

    Very good post, right up until the last line. The historical legacies and nature of the Renaissance and Reformation (Calvin take a hike? Luther believed in pre-destination too you know) are complex to say the least, but I could live with that. However, to treat the enlightenment and common law as if they were in some way allied phenomena is at best tendentious and, at worst, just plain vanilla wrong.

  2. WalterBoswell says:

    The teenager you mention refused to remove the word “cult” from his placard and used a quote – wait for it – from an 1984 high court ruling from Mr Justice Latey, in which he described the Church of Scientology as a “cult” which was “corrupt, sinister and dangerous”.

    1984 – It’s so fitting a year to merit a mention in this terribly sordid affair.

    But riddle me this. When those bearded Neanderthals took offence at the Mo’Toons episode and shuffled about with signs that read “Europe is the cancer Islam is the answer” and “behead those who blah blah blah” and other such things, surely their printed sentiments would fall under the same Public Order Act of 1986, Section 5 which was used to silence (or attempt to silence) this young man?

  3. anonymous says:

    We are Anonymous.
    We are Legion.
    Scientology will fall, count on it.

  4. The charge against the teenager is that he breached section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986, which makes it an offence to display “any writing, sign or other visible representation which is threatening, abusive or insulting, within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress thereby”. I.e. the police apparently believe someone was being harassed, alarmed or distressed by the placard in question which read “Scientology is not a religion, it is a dangerous cult”. They apparently made this statement tp “The Register”:

    “City of London police had received complaints about demonstrators using the words ‘cult’ and ‘Scientology kills’ during protests against the Church of Scientology on Saturday 10 May.

    Following advice from the Crown Prosecution Service some demonstrators were warned verbally and in writing that their signs breached section five of the Public Order Act 1986.

    One demonstrator, a juvenile, continued to display a placard despite police warnings and was reported for an offence under section five. A file on the case will be sent to the CPS.”

    See: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/05/20/city_london_scientology_protest_summons/

    Such is the state of freedom of speech and the right to peaceful protest in modern Britain…

  5. Nick M says:

    Walter,

    I have pondered that a lot. Then I pulled out Occam’s razor. I gave up attempting to riddle it. I think it is this simple. Intelligent UK teens don’t kill people. Muslims do.

    They don’t scare me* but they scare our lords and masters shitless because they have some sort of weird connextion with them.

    It’s not a conspiracy – I don’t exactly buy the whole Eurabia thing – it is a confluence of interests and methodologies. Both Islamists and “liberal” fascists want to control every aspect of everyone’s lives.

    *In the ‘stan a bit back a couple of Royal Marines strapped themselves to the stub wings of a British Army Apache Gunship (riding literally two feet above Hellfire) and flew back to retrieve the body of their fallen comrade, Cpl Hull. We cannot fail with folk like that. Not against a bunch of dark-age barbarians. We never leave a guy behind (and do extraordinary things to ensure that – that must have been one hell of a ride). They whip women who have been raped. Our technological and economic superiotity is undisputed. Don’t doubt our moral superiority either. The only way we can lose is if we doubt that. I don’t. The likes of Brown can go fuck themselves.

  6. CountingCats says:

    However, to treat the enlightenment and common law as if they were in some way allied phenomena is at best tendentious and, at worst, just plain vanilla wrong.

    They are allied phenomenon in as much as they are building blocks in what is best and admirable in our civilisation. Even if there is no causal relationship between them (and I think a case can be made that there is) the events in the UK/Anglosphere and in the non common law jurisdictions over the last twenty/thirty years have acted to damage the benefits of both.

  7. CountingCats says:

    bijecting of the Set of Felis catus, domiciled in a certain African city, with the set of Natural Numbers

    Now that was convoluted.

  8. Roger says:

    In Section 5 the third available defence is that “the conduct was reasonable”. This kid’s case won’t go to trial. The Crown Prosecutor will know that it is reasonable to assert that Scientology is a cult and will also know that Justice Latey, in the High Court, said,

    “Scientology is both immoral and socially obnoxious…
    It is corrupt sinister and dangerous. It is corrupt because it is based on lies and deceit and has its real objective money and power for Mr. Hubbard… It is sinister because it indulges in infamous practices both to its adherents who do not toe the line unquestionably and to those who criticize it or oppose it. It is dangerous because it is out to capture people and to indoctrinate and brainwash them so they become the unquestioning captives and tools of the cult, withdrawn from ordinary thought, living, and relationships with others.”

    They will know that it will be very difficult indeed to mount a case where such evidence will be brought. The kid probably has a case for false arrest, in fact.

  9. Gordon says:

    So what is to be the next target on the police tick list? “Hitler was a Nazii” no doubt.
    I suppose this kind of nonsense must deflect the attention of the authorities from their failure to eliminate the violent criminal from our streets.

  10. Nick M says:

    This is where it will end:

    The logical outcome of any kind of “religous niceness laws” is to criminalize the preacher who says from his pulpit that the only way to eternal life is through Christ.

    Clearly, that is discriminatory to Hindus, Jews, Pastafarians, Muslims, Pagans, Satanists, Discordians…

    And their preachers will all be in the same prison wing for being discrimanatory against some permuation of the above laundry list.

    It would be like the Salem witch trials all over again and at some point people are going to just get fed-up with it because ultimately all such laws end-up criminalizing everyone.

    Cats,
    Well, that’s elementary Cantorian set-theory for you.

  11. CountingCats says:

    And their preachers will all be in the same prison wing for being discrimanatory

    No they won’t, because the shits who rule us only care if WASPs say anything. They don’t apply the law equally and give a free pass to any and everyone else, regardless of the violence they advocate.
    If the law were applied equally, then Iqbal Sacranie would have been banged up for incitement to murder twenty years ago, instead of knighted.

  12. NickM says:

    I regard the knighthood of Iqbal Sacranie to be an utter disgrace.

    But I’m not sure I agree otherwise. All manner of sorts can indulge in grievance theatre. I can see much of the left tearing it’s self to shreds over the total irreconcilibility of gay “rights” and muslim “rights”. Much as RESPECT has done.

    Remember pagans, prisons and twigs?

  13. Andrew Duffin says:

    Unfortunately, you’re wrong about English law.

    It can be a libel even if it’s true.

    Outrageous but correct. Hence the semi-neutered state of much of our MSM. If you say bad things about rich people, even true bad things, you may get taken to the cleaners. Mohammed Fayed is good at this, so was the late “Cap’n” Bob Maxwell – he who stole the Mirror Group’s pension funds even before Gordon Brown got to them. Other examples will spring to mind.

  14. RAB says:

    I’m having a bit of trouble with the sequence of events here, and I am beginning to smell something fishy.

    Following advice from the Crown Prosecution Service

    Now this is a saturday right?
    All CPS offices are closed on a Saturday.
    So how did the officers policing the demonstration manage to liase with the CPS in real time to come up with this draconian “Advice” ?

  15. CountingCats says:

    So how did the officers policing the demonstration manage to liase with the CPS in real time to come up with this draconian “Advice” ?

    Post hoc justification in order to cover their badly exposed arses maybe?

  16. Sunfish says:

    Maybe the CPS gave some Chief Inspector their super-secret on-call number?

    It could have been a planned event. I know that, if we know that something weird is going to happen a few days ahead of time, we’ll usually talk to the city attorney or the district attorney as part of planning.

    Or maybe someone’s lying. Call me crazy to suggest that one.

  17. Now Glasgow’s police are telling people not to use the word “cult”:

    http://jameshammerton.blogspot.com/2008/05/glasgow-anti-scientology-protestors.html

  18. [...] calling Scientology a “cult” on a demo placard, NickM examines the origins of the “corrupt, sinister and dangerous” cult (although the embedded video in Nick’s post detailing Scientologists’ beliefs has been [...]

  19. Lola Allen says:

    Southpark is quite funny but some of the scenes maybe a bit too morbid even for adults.;,’

  20. In reality, no single religion could guarantee us a place in Heaven. In the end, what matters is how we a treat other people.`;*

  21. actually it doesn’t matter what Religion you may have, as long as you treat the other person right.~:,

  22. religion is a good thing since this is our only connection to a higher being*,.

  23. Roof Helmet · says:

    when you want sarcasm, then Southpark is perfect for you :

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