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View Poll Results: Do you consider Scientology to be a cult?
YES 96 96.00%
NO 4 4.00%
Voters: 100. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 03-26-2013, 02:37 PM
 
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I saw this graph and couldn't help but wonder if people here would think of Scientology as a cult or a normal religion? Why or why not?
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Old 03-26-2013, 02:50 PM
 
Location: Northeastern US
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The generic definition of "cult" is virtually the same as "religion". So in that sense, they're all cults. But "cult" is used derisively by the orthodox to classify a belief-system that is particularly obnoxious to them, as "certainly not us". In my days as an evangelical, I was taught that the technical definition is that they have to in some way deny some "fundamental of the faith", most especially that there is some way to be "saved" other than through faith in Christ and/or that there is some holy book other than or in addition to the Bible. Hence we regarded Mormonism (Book of Mormon in addition to if not before the Bible; salvation not by faith in Christ alone) as a cult; we certainly regarded Scientology as a cult as they don't have the Bible as a source book.

To this day I scratch my head when people lump, e.g., Mormons and JWs in with Christianity, as they do little more than borrow or cherry pick a few things from Christian dogma; it seems ill-informed at best to suggest they are part of Christianity in any meaningful way. But I doubt anyone would disagree that Scientology is a thing unto itself. Thetans, Dianetics, and so forth sprang whole out of the mind of L. Ron Hubbard and I give him points for originality ... he made it all up himself and borrowed from no one, near as I can tell, unless you count other SciFi authors.

I suppose you mean the term more in the sense of "particularly out there on the fringe" and in that sense I think they have it nailed.
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Old 03-26-2013, 03:18 PM
 
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First of all, that diagram is bullocks. It basically presupposes that the person who believes it is a rationalist. Hate to break it to the "free thought" crowd, but there are indeed other schools of thought out there besides rationalism and/or positivism. I am an existentialist, so the whole "but that isn't rational" whine doesn't impress me. Rationalism is just as much a slave-thought mentality as any religious fundamentalism.

As for $cientology, it is a cult not because of the beliefs, but because of the secrecy and the corruption within its ranks. No religion has secret Mythologies available only to the upper-ups...the closest thing would be a handful of mystery cults of antiquity. Gnosticism was not like that, despite what some say today, as the Mythologies were readily available and they were just as evangelistic as the proto-orthodox church.

In $cientology, one has to pay thousands of dollars to learn the story of "Xenu" and aliens and volcanoes. In Christianity, they tell you the story of Genesis on day one.

In $cientology, you have to pay more money to advance further into the religion. I have never heard of their being a required payment to go from first communion to confirmation. I have never heard of a Buddhist temple charging for the precepts. Every real religion is more than willing to accommodate less privileged believers, but $cientology isn't.

And then there is the classic hallmark of a cult, the "shunning" of those who disobey the cult's doctrines and disagree with it. And yes, some Christians would do that but that is no official policy of any Christian church with the exception of the Amish, who are very close to a cult, I agree. Also the Baha'i use to shun, but they don't officially practice that anymore.

So scientolgy is indeed a cult, and a dangerous one at that...and spare me, SPARE ME the old "all religions are cults" line that you would expect from a whiny emo kid. If there is no mind control, no shunning, no "us vs them" mentality and no requirement to break off from family and the outside world, no dictates of financial contribution (tithing is guidelined, not demanded on pain of being forced out) and no unquestionable leader, it is not a cult.

I have heard some Dawkin's Witnesses actually sit there and argue that Wicca, in which the believer is their own priest and expected to write their own holy book (book of shadows) is a cult



And all the while they ignore the "Dear Leader" pictures of Dawkins on his website and don't question his teachings Pot, meet kettle.
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Old 03-26-2013, 03:28 PM
 
Location: Hyrule
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Naw, they are all the same to me. I always find it funny to see other religious people who that think theirs is the real deal and not odd, but someone else is on the wrong path. It looks the same from where I stand actually.
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Old 03-26-2013, 03:31 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mordant View Post
The generic definition of "cult" is virtually the same as "religion". So in that sense, they're all cults.



I HAVE GOT to stay away from the religion forum. No one would go on the science forum and say "all scientists are mad scientists". No one would go on the politics forum and say "all ideologies are totalitarian" But the religion forum? Yep, all religions are cults, all Gods are make believe (including the metaphorically ones which were never believed to be literal) and blah blah "insert ignorant comment here". No other forum has so many people talking about something they know ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about.

There are clear differences between cults and religion. Here is a helpful link that took all of thirty seconds on google to find:
Cult Hotline and Clinic

And if cults have charismatic leaders...well that means






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Old 03-26-2013, 03:38 PM
 
6,351 posts, read 9,978,608 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PoppySead View Post
Naw, they are all the same to me. I always find it funny to see other religious people who that think theirs is the real deal and not odd, but someone else is on the wrong path. It looks the same from where I stand actually.

Where you stand is obviously as someone who has never studied religion.

Christianity has a thing called "universalism" (lowercase "U", not to be confused with Universalism, as in Unitarian Universalism) which means that all religions are one. It is also a core concept of Hinduism, Buddhism, the Bahais, and Sikhism. Judaism teaches that the Covenant is between the Jews and God and makes no claims that other groups could not have a different covenant with God. Islam teaches that all "people of the book", i.e., followers of pre-Islamic religions that worship the creator, will be judged by God based on their merits. Deism, Taoism, new paganism and indigenous religions make no claim to absolutism and Gnosticism teaches that learned understanding, not following, is the path to liberation.

The only religions that lack this and think they are the "one true religion" is fundamentalist Christianity and hardcore atheism, who I call "Dawkin's Witnesses".
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Old 03-26-2013, 04:04 PM
 
Location: Northeastern US
19,999 posts, read 13,475,998 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by victorianpunk View Post

I HAVE GOT to stay away from the religion forum. No one would go on the science forum and say "all scientists are mad scientists". No one would go on the politics forum and say "all ideologies are totalitarian" But the religion forum? Yep, all religions are cults, all Gods are make believe (including the metaphorically ones which were never believed to be literal) and blah blah "insert ignorant comment here". No other forum has so many people talking about something they know ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about.
As a former and fairly ardent theist, I know quite a bit about it. I was simply stating that if you look up "cult" in dictionary.com or any other such source, what comes back is hard to distinguish from religion. The top definition is "a particular system of religious worship".

I then proceeded to point out that there are definitions in popular use that are rather different from that, and then all but agreed with how they apply to Scientology. So don't get your knickers in a twist. I would not use the term "cult" in its pejorative sense about the corner Presbyterian church with its harmless bake sales, particularly when there is such a stark contrast with Scientology. It's possible we'd disagree to what extent the more mundane Christian sects do or do not practice mind control, shunning or other strong arm tactics, however unofficially; but we'd agree that there are a few orders of magnitude between the typical moribund local church and Scientology.
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Old 03-26-2013, 04:11 PM
 
9,689 posts, read 10,015,913 times
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Here is what the living God through Lord Jesus quicken to here of His view of these ideas ... From the bible in Matthew 24: 23-26..... ``then if any man will say to you Look here is Christ, or there , believe it not...For there will arise false Christ, and false prophets , and will show great signs and wonders , even to deceive the very elect of God ...Look I have told you before ...Where if they will say to you Look he is in the desert, go not there, look he is in the secret chambers, believe it not ...``.........See the Living God creator Lord Jesus Spirits sees this thread of this forum and believes the Spirit of the false prophet at work undermining truth ... So if you got a problem with Jesus message , go tell Jesus ...
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Old 03-26-2013, 04:33 PM
 
Location: Shanghai
588 posts, read 796,311 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by logline View Post
I saw this graph and couldn't help but wonder if people here would think of Scientology as a cult or a normal religion? Why or why not?
It's a strange cult unless a member becomes a presidential candidate for the GOP. In that case, it is a perfectly acceptable religion.
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Old 03-26-2013, 07:02 PM
 
Location: Victoria, BC.
33,536 posts, read 37,140,220 times
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"One person's cult is another's religion; all religions begin life as cults. An alternative definition is that a cult is a religion which you happen to dislike." Anthony Campbell
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