Thursday, January 24, 2008

Why be so hard on Scientology and not those other religions?

Recently I've seen a lot of stores on Reddit about various ways Scientology sucks and about how Anonymous declared a war on Scientology. It seems like bashing Scientology is pretty popular, at least among a certain demographic.

Scientology bashing seems to make sense. They seem have some really weird and unreasonable beliefs which might not even make good science fiction. Also, the church seems to be very litigious. It seems they also seriously financially exploit their faithful followers. However, Scientology doesn't seem to be exceptionally crazy or bad compared to other religions.

For example consider Christianity. There are lots of weird and harmful things there. Even the core idea is weird. Why would God need to send his son to be sacrificed in order for sins to be forgiven? Then there are missionaries who try to help people but in the process convert them to Christianity. People complain about Scientology going after drug addicts and criminals, but going after indigenous cultures is even worse. Let's not forget that many Christian organizations go after drug addicts and criminals too. Many Christian organizations also fight against equal rights for homosexuals and abortion rights. Many are even against condoms even though overpopulation and sexually transmitted diseases are major problems.

For another example consider Islam. I know less about it so I can't criticize it in as much detail. It's pretty obvious that some sects are against women's rights, even to the point of condoning honour killing. Some condone violence, such as going after the "infidels". (I'm not saying that all violence is bad. Some cases, such as the Palestinian Intifada, it might be justified.) Some sects barbarically punish people, and in some cases even rape victims. Then there's the ridiculous reaction to what they perceive is blasphemy, such as with Salman Rushdie and the Muhammad cartoons.

So how come people are going after Scientology but not after other religions?

I guess one issue is that Scientology seems to be a unified organization while most other religions are fragmented into various sects. If you point out something bad and claim it is a property of the religion, people will tell you it's just those particular sects. Even if the problem (like for example the Christian attitudes on homosexuality) exists in most sects, people still claim it's not an overall problem with the religion. Yes, there have been attacks on the worst sects (such as the Taliban and Westboro Baptist Church). However, so much shit from various religions gets tolerated and even protected.

I wonder if Scientology gets attacked just because they're new and small. That seems unfair, like bullying. Also, Christianity got attacked early on and that might have actually helped them grow. I also wonder if Christianity is maybe protected by residual internalized Christianity that's even in those who have rejected it. After being brought up in an environment with lots of Christian stimuli, it may have of worked its way deep into many people, so that they can't really see it as a weird, foreign and harmful cult like Scientology.


Rick Sparks said...

Most religion is insidiously abhorrent, and only a few of the adherents are downright evil. Scientology is a money-making scheme written by a mediocre science-fiction author, disguised as the meaning of life, and bent on suing and/or harassing anyone who disagrees with and/or rejects their teachings.

That's why.

Anonymous said...

I agree that there is a troubling bullying vibe on reddit with scientology at the moment.

It looks like you can now unquestioningly attack it because it is the 'evil other'

If the organisation is breaking the law in some way, that is a matter for the authorities.

Contrast this with teenagers (and adults who should know better) making mocking wisecracks in reddit comments.

ERS said...

Actually, dishonor killings are pre-Islamic and un-Islamic. They have more to do with tribalism and culture than with faith.

Doesn't make them any less troubling, though.

Ellen R. Sheeley, Author
"Reclaiming Honor in Jordan"

Tom said...

I criticize all religions equally. But the ones that have more illogical claims get bashed more and Scientology is pretty bad in the illogical department.

Anonymous said...

Start small, and work your way up.

Karen said...

Murder committed in the name of religion is "taking God's name in vain," and more abhorrent than cursing.

On the other hand, I haven't seen any reports of Scientologists beheading anyone who won't convert...

Karen Tintori, author
Unto the Daughters: The Legacy of an Honor Killing in a Sicilian-American Family