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abnegation
October 27th, 2011, 07:13 AM
For the love of God don't argue, debate (http://www.differencebetween.com/difference-between-argument-and-debate/). Alright?
When you think of Scientology, you think, evil cult. However, think about it, it's not easy to define. Technically the Rastafarian group can be defined as either a cult or a religion. Arguments range from Scientology being a falsified religion that was all made up to make money, or you can assume that it is not false as its own religion.

Is Scientology a religion with genuine beliefs and faith, but just more out there and struggles to prove its own claims, or do you feel it is a cult completely created to formulate money, or otherwise?

Note: No opinion has been included in this post, simply include your own, and let the discussion roll from there.

Esper
October 27th, 2011, 07:56 AM
I think it's a cult, and a religion, and a business. It's a cult because it's new, and all new religions have to prove themselves in the eyes of the public. It's a religion because they have a belief system (whatever it is) and people follow it. But it's also a business because it's not a particularly generous organization and asks a lot of its followers up to and including large sums of money. I don't mean that as a criticism of Scientology specifically, but of all religions that ask for inordinate amounts of money in the first place. I feel that money taints religion. The more money is involved the more I'm willing to believe it's doing something unethical.

Sodom
October 27th, 2011, 08:36 PM
Honestly I find that "religion" and "cult" are synonymous, which means that Scientology would fall into both categories for me. It receives a lot more hate than the other religions because it has a lot less shame in showing how ridiculous it is, and its origins are much more modern which removes the element of "this could be true" to which the other religions so desperately cling.

The one place where I think Scientology does differ from most religions is that the purpose of its creation in modern times means that the motive behind it was far more likely to be money. I personally believe the older religions were designed as a way to control the masses when the population was too infant to know any better, and while necessity has grown their interest in money dramatically over time, Scientology is far more likely to have been created for the purpose of money specifically, which makes it all the more soulless and cult-like.

I think it'd be really interesting if we had a Scientologist among us as a PC member, I'd be fascinated to see what they had to say.

FreakyLocz14
October 27th, 2011, 08:37 PM
I think that one considers a religion is a personal spiritual decision. Who am I to judge someone else's religious beliefs? I wouldn't like them calling my religion a cult.

abnegation
October 29th, 2011, 08:26 AM
Honestly I find that "religion" and "cult" are synonymous, which means that Scientology would fall into both categories for me. Impossible. In the strict terminology religions and cults are different things entirely, despite my personal belief that religion is a non-existent possibility. But anyway, the characteristics of a cult differ quite differently to that of a religion. A cult displays excessively zealous and unquestioning commitment to its leader and (whether he is alive or dead) regards his belief system, ideology, and practices as the Truth, as law. But this is not found in religions such as Christianity which doesn't have a leader (the Pope isn't a leader despite contrary belief). Islam doesn't have one either, and so on. Not to mention there isn't a law in Christianity, and if you're going to argue that Islam has Sharia law, it doesn't, certain countries undertake it, it's not mandatory for all Muslims to undertake. So that alone, provides evidence that there is a pretty large difference between a cult and a religion.


It receives a lot more hate than the other religions because it has a lot less shame in showing how ridiculous it is, and its origins are much more modern which removes the element of "this could be true" to which the other religions so desperately cling.Not to sound offensive to any religion, but how does the belief in a bridge to freedom by spiritual and moral development differ from any other religion? The aesthetics as to how this is done and the origin of the teachings are all that is different between them, it's still about as believable as a God creating the universe in 7 days when you consider it.

The fact that it's modern doesn't have any bearing on how well it is believed either. It has millions of followers, which is a point that all major religions reached, except they reached this point hundreds of years ago, just because it's modern does not mean that its development is different from the other major religions. What you're seeing right now is the same development and reception that religions like Christianity would have undergone during their origin too, just in a modern setting. People would have argued the clarity and possibility of other religions when they began also, much like we do with Scientology now, there's no reason why in 120 years Scientology won't be the biggest religion on the planet, despite how ridiculous their beliefs may sound to you.

The one place where I think Scientology does differ from most religions is that the purpose of its creation in modern times means that the motive behind it was far more likely to be money. I personally believe the older religions were designed as a way to control the masses when the population was too infant to know any better, and while necessity has grown their interest in money dramatically over time, Scientology is far more likely to have been created for the purpose of money specifically, which makes it all the more soulless and cult-like.I agree with you on some things here, but nowhere in Scientology does it say that it's a money making organisation. It has less money than the Catholic Church, meaning that claiming that their finances relate to how "cult like" they may be, can be applied to other Churches too, so it doesn't make them more of a cult. Yes, there is fees to be a Scientologist, however, there's fees for other major religions also. If your country is defined as a Catholic/Christian country, a percentage of your taxes will go into the up keep of that Church, meaning that your money is still going into it, yet with Scientology, you actually have the choice as to fall into it and start paying, but if you're secular and live in a Catholic country, you're involuntarily paying those fees.

However if you think that starting a religion to control the masses means that your religion differs from one that is simply driven to make money; you'd be mistaken. If you want to control the masses, what exactly is it you want to control? What matters most? In both current times and older times; finances, class, obedience.

I think it'd be really interesting if we had a Scientologist among us as a PC member, I'd be fascinated to see what they had to say.Yes, wouldn't that be something. ;]

I think that one considers a religion is a personal spiritual decision. Who am I to judge someone else's religious beliefs? I wouldn't like them calling my religion a cult.Well, there's actually standards as to what is called a religion, and what is called a cult. If someone mistakingly or purposefully called your religion a cult, it's not necessarily a bad thing.

Too many negative connotations are associated with cults, you might want to think about the fact that there are plenty of respected beliefs and practices amongst cults. Just because they're not a religion does not mean they're out there to cause trouble. However, my main point is that religions and cults are two different things and there is very rarely a broad line that the group would be on, which is called an NRM; a new religious movement. Which is what the Rastafarian religion falls under primarily.

Atomic Pirate
November 8th, 2011, 02:17 PM
In all technicality, it is a religion, but it is incredibly odd, and followers are sparse. The whole belief that they follow is incredibly convoluted and unrealistic. I have to say that it isn't a good religion, per se, but it is a religion anyway.

Sodom
November 10th, 2011, 04:12 AM
Damn, I got ninja'd twice. Oh well, I guess that happens when you wait over a week to reply to a thread out of sheer laziness :P

Impossible. In the strict terminology religions and cults are different things entirely, despite my personal belief that religion is a non-existent possibility. But anyway, the characteristics of a cult differ quite differently to that of a religion. A cult displays excessively zealous and unquestioning commitment to its leader and (whether he is alive or dead) regards his belief system, ideology, and practices as the Truth, as law. But this is not found in religions such as Christianity which doesn't have a leader (the Pope isn't a leader despite contrary belief). Islam doesn't have one either, and so on. Not to mention there isn't a law in Christianity, and if you're going to argue that Islam has Sharia law, it doesn't, certain countries undertake it, it's not mandatory for all Muslims to undertake. So that alone, provides evidence that there is a pretty large difference between a cult and a religion.
The only difference between a religion and a cult that I can see from what you've said (as well as from what I've already observed) is the level of enthusiasm and austerity. Both exhibit "unquestioning commitment to their leaders (even if there is no tangible leader in the case of religion, the deity itself I believe would more than suffice) and regard their belief system, ideology and practices as the truth and as law." One need only see The Bible and the Ten Commandments (which are what committed Christians are meant to follow as law) to see examples of this in a religious context. Of course, people who identify as religious don't necessarily follow the laws of a religion, which is indicative that the only varying factor between cults and religions the level of zealousness, which is of course heightened to achieve cult status.

Not to sound offensive to any religion, but how does the belief in a bridge to freedom by spiritual and moral development differ from any other religion? The aesthetics as to how this is done and the origin of the teachings are all that is different between them, it's still about as believable as a God creating the universe in 7 days when you consider it.
I completely agree, it's all equally ridiculous. What I was referring to when I said that they have 'less shame about showing how ridiculous they are' is that they seem to own up to it more. They draw attention to it. There is a media circus that surrounds the Church of Scientology with the celebrities who have fallen into it that creates a gimick that could have almost been seen by somebody with a more skeptical mind as marketable.

The fact that it's modern doesn't have any bearing on how well it is believed either. It has millions of followers, which is a point that all major religions reached, except they reached this point hundreds of years ago, just because it's modern does not mean that its development is different from the other major religions. What you're seeing right now is the same development and reception that religions like Christianity would have undergone during their origin too, just in a modern setting. People would have argued the clarity and possibility of other religions when they began also, much like we do with Scientology now, there's no reason why in 120 years Scientology won't be the biggest religion on the planet, despite how ridiculous their beliefs may sound to you.
Times have changed. While I accept your idea that older religions would have received similar resistance at their conception, that doesn't equate to the current. We live in a technological age where everybody has been made more aware of what goes on in the world around them. This means that we have been able to see exactly where Scientology originated, something that would have been much easier to cloak had it seen its genesis at an earlier point in time. It is common knowledge that Scientology came from L Ron Hubbard (who could be seen as a cult leader) and its development is easily documentable. I do think this, combined with the fact that this is a new religion developed at what is known to be a later and more advanced stage in the human race, would have an impact upon its believability.

I agree with you on some things here, but nowhere in Scientology does it say that it's a money making organisation. It has less money than the Catholic Church, meaning that claiming that their finances relate to how "cult like" they may be, can be applied to other Churches too, so it doesn't make them more of a cult.
I think you would be hard-pressed to find a cult or a religion that will willingly admit that it is even in part a money-making endeavour, so if we're debating based solely on what they will voluntarily divulge, then I guess I have no grounds of argument here. However, I do believe that in any debate there should be some element of common sense. No organisation could attain as much money as a religion manages to attain without making it a goal at least in part.

However if you think that starting a religion to control the masses means that your religion differs from one that is simply driven to make money; you'd be mistaken. If you want to control the masses, what exactly is it you want to control? What matters most? In both current times and older times; finances, class, obedience.
I completely agree on this point lol, though I was more referring to the control of people through fear of a deity.

The whole belief that they follow is incredibly convoluted and unrealistic.
I wouldn't look to any religion as a yardstick for what is clear or realistic.

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Another point that I forgot to bring up in my first post is the tiered system of learning within Scientology. One has to work at the religion and learn the laws and truths in order to achieve an official higher rank within the religion that grants you deeper access within. I think this bodes in favour of cult rather than religion, if only in the levels of commitment and zealousness that this practice of ranking denotes. It also suggests a deeper level of organisation where one is working to get closer to the levels of understanding that the leader possesses. This is not found in religions, at least not to this organised and official extent.

Esper
November 10th, 2011, 09:28 AM
Another point that I forgot to bring up in my first post is the tiered system of learning within Scientology. One has to work at the religion and learn the laws and truths in order to achieve an official higher rank within the religion that grants you deeper access within. I think this bodes in favour of cult rather than religion, if only in the levels of commitment and zealousness that this practice of ranking denotes. It also suggests a deeper level of organisation where one is working to get closer to the levels of understanding that the leader possesses. This is not found in religions, at least not to this organised and official extent.
What you're describing is, I believe, called a "cult of mystery" where the higher one rises within the religion or cult the closer to truth they supposedly get and the more knowledge they receive. It was a more common thing in the past, like in ancient Greek, Roman, and Near-East religions. It was probably more acceptable to say that truth is reserved for a select few back then since today lots of people would be put off by such an idea.

I'm not entirely sure, but I believe there were some Christian sects that were set up this way, like the Gnostics. I'd expect most religions had similar variations at one time or another.

But anyway, I'd agree that this kind of secrecy leans more toward cult than religion on the whole.