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Scientology Critic Arrested After 6 Years 1046

Posted by Hemos
from the running-to-standstill dept.
destinyland writes "Friday police arrested 64-year-old Keith Henson. In 2000 after picketing a Scientology complex, he was arrested as a threat because of a joke Usenet post about "Tom Cruise Missiles." He fled to Canada after being found guilty of "interfering" with a religion, and spent the next 6 years living as a fugitive. Besides being a digital encryption and free speech advocate, he's one of the original Burr-Brown/Texas Instruments researchers and a co-founder of the Space Colony movement."
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Scientology Critic Arrested After 6 Years

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  • Here is my hope... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 05, 2007 @12:42PM (#17890816)
    That, at the end of the day, Scientology will be laughed out of court, and this guy set free. Think SCO vs IBM.

    One can dream, of course. Scientology is well-known for legally attacking any and all critics. They are the biggest bullies you have ever heard of, even worse than most Fundamentalists.
  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn.gmail@com> on Monday February 05, 2007 @12:43PM (#17890828) Journal
    Personally, I've only become aware of this case via this article. If all he did was post that on a forum to cause all this trouble with Scientology, I sure feel sorry for him. But if a California court found him guilty of any wrong, then I think he should serve his time. I don't think "interfering with a church" should constitute a long sentence though. I feel I am missing a large part of the story here or that this article was written omitting tactics Mr. Henson used agains Scientology. I can't judge until all the facts are in but I am aware that people with a lot of money can make strange charges stick.

    If you want to support Keith Henson, there is a donation fund set up for his defense fees [extropy.org].

    I personally hate Scientology but they are a religion and must be respected as one. If they can convince chumps to give them money, there's nothing I can do to stop that.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 05, 2007 @12:45PM (#17890864)
    I didn't know that interfering with a religion was a crime. Could any lawyers provide some details about this law and what constitutes breaking it?

    Thanks.
  • by otacon (445694) on Monday February 05, 2007 @12:49PM (#17890912)
    Isn't satire and other kinds of humor covered under the first amendment? and Wow how are you not supposed to make fun of scientology...it's such an easy target...all that stuff about Xenu and aliens being sent here 75 million years ago...it's a humorist's dream
  • by thelexx (237096) on Monday February 05, 2007 @12:53PM (#17890970)
    "I personally hate Scientology but they are a religion and must be respected as one."

    Not necessarily. From http://home.snafu.de/tilman/krasel/germany/ [snafu.de]:

    "The German Federal Government maintains that Scientology is an organization which has primarily economical interests. This idea has been reinforced by a ruling of the Federal Labour court (which is not connected to the government in any way). After having reviewed several Scientology books, the judges concluded that Scientology is not a religion, but a commercial enterprise.

      Furthermore, the German government maintains that Scientology tries to distribute its ideas as widely as possible, ideally leading to a society where humans life together according to Scientology rules. A closer look at Hubbard's writings shows that this is not desirable since Scientology is structured in a totalitarian, anti-democratic fashion."

    There is an entire faq on the Germany v Scientology thing: http://home.snafu.de/tilman/faq-you/germany.txt [snafu.de]
  • by oohshiny (998054) on Monday February 05, 2007 @12:57PM (#17891064)
    Granted, the scientologists are deeply confused and potentially dangerous. And, yes, I think people should be able to criticize them harshly, just one like should be able to criticize any other religion harshly.

    But cryonics, extropianism, Drexler-style nanotechnology? This guy is pretty high on the nut-o-meter as well. It's not quite the same level as thetans, but not far off either.
  • by cprael (215426) on Monday February 05, 2007 @01:02PM (#17891128)
    Having dealt with Mr. Hanson in the past few years, he has my earnest hope that he gets better advice this time 'round, and LISTENS to it. No small part of this tragedy comes from Keith's own choices.
  • by Sique (173459) on Monday February 05, 2007 @01:05PM (#17891196) Homepage
    So at least for Austria and Germany, there are only a few small religious groups which are "legitimate". Most larger churches (e.g. catholics, lutherans, reformed churches) have a contract with the government which then collects the church membership fee for them with the normal taxes. You can only stop your automatic church payments by officially declaring you are no longer member of this church.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 05, 2007 @01:10PM (#17891302)
    Q. What's the difference between a cult and a religion?

    A. About a thousand years.


    All religions turn into pyramid schemes of a kind. Compulsory donations and "tithes" for the Church are common throughout religious history.

    Scientology is a particularly interesting religion because we can see for certain that it is false and founded entirely on lies. Independent records about L. Ron Hubbard exist - you can read about his life before Scientology as a con-man, bigamist and benefit cheat.

    We cannot easily prove that older religions are also founded on lies, but the fact that their followers behave in exactly the same way as Scientology cultists suggests that it is impossible to distinguish between a "true" religion and a false one.
  • Re:Hmmm (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 05, 2007 @01:37PM (#17891794)
  • Re:Scary (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AndroidCat (229562) on Monday February 05, 2007 @01:41PM (#17891864) Homepage
    Odd thing about that jury, since the case, no one has been able to verify that these people actually exist.
  • Re:hm (Score:2, Interesting)

    by AndroidCat (229562) on Monday February 05, 2007 @01:44PM (#17891932) Homepage
    Scientology didn't even do their standard Fair Game defamation page on Stan [primus.ca], I'm shocked!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 05, 2007 @01:57PM (#17892174)
    "Scientology is an organization which has primarily economical interests"

    I think you are confusing the religion "scientology" with the organization "The Church of Scientology". Yes, the Church of scientology is just exploiting people but you have to understand that there are two different scientologists: Churchies and freezoners. Freezoners generally despise the church and probably know more about its criminal activities than you do and they practice scientology outside of the church. They don't charge crazy amounts of money like the church does and they also practice the original scientology, not the altered version used in the church today. Freezoners don't go around suing everybody or trying to establish absolute obedience. So again, the religion and the organization are two different things. There is such a thing as scientologists that don't belong to the church, you just don't hear about them much. They tend to keep pretty quite since they are heavily attacked by the church - now that is REAL religious persecution.
  • Re:All we need now (Score:1, Interesting)

    by azakem (924479) on Monday February 05, 2007 @02:06PM (#17892340)

    we are all born curious
    Fixed it for you. If you were to remove a child from his parents at birth and withold that child from human contact for the rest of his natural life, sooner or later he would begin to wonder whether life had a "point", and what happened at the end. While this wouldn't necessarily imply inquiry into the existence of a monotheistic style higher power, a foray into the super-natural seems likely. It is incorrect to say a person is born anything other than curious; conclusions to these questions would only come from experience, and verification would come only upon death.

    But your first point was right - atheism is a religion :) Funny you mention that. See my sig.
    To cite dictionary.com, one possible definiton of religion is "a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, esp. when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs." Therefore, in a sense, the belief that there is no cause, nature or purpose to the universe still falls under the definition of a religion. Granted, this closely mirrors the "is zero a number" debate, but it is not unreasonable to classify aethism as a religion itself.
  • by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Monday February 05, 2007 @02:11PM (#17892458)

    Freedom of religion should not be extended to religions that are clearly made up.

    Freedom of religion is simply a horrible concept. People should have freedom of belief, and freedom of expression. Whether or not what you choose to believe in or advocate is called a religion by anyone should be irrelevant.

    Similarly, the reasonable practice of religion (for example, by gathering for collective worship) is generally covered by other established freedoms, such as movement and association.

    This being the case, the expression "freedom of religion" is usually used as an excuse, an implicit claim to more rights than someone else has, or to have one's own wishes valued more highly than another's. Following a certain religion does not earn you those rights, any more than someone following a different religion (or no religion) has those rights at your expense.

    One can readily extend this argument to anti-discrimination legislation. Why should it be necessary to prohibit discrimination on explicit criteria? If something is important enough to protect in this way, why not simply require that any decision be made based only on information relevant to the matter at hand?

  • by JediTux (747874) on Monday February 05, 2007 @02:28PM (#17892732)
    I had the pleasure of working in a cubicle next to Keith from 2003 until he fled back to US in 2005. He is one of the most interesting characters I have met in long time. He is very likable and really easy to get along with. It boggles my mind how any religion like Scientology is able to strong arm so many law enforcement officials as well as misuse international courts in the manner that they have with Keith. Although he likes to poke the lion, so to speak, he stands up for what he believes in. It's unfortunate that the law has finally caught up to him and I can only hope that he returns to being a free man instead of a fugitive in the near future.
  • by SnowZero (92219) on Monday February 05, 2007 @02:34PM (#17892840)

    Never argued otherwise.
    Of course; I was just adding to your post.

    Sounds like, from some of the other comments, that the conviction probably had less to do with hate speech laws and more to do with stalking, trespassing, or restraining orders, though.
    Nonviolent protest for a cause you believe in is a noble pursuit, but you have to be willing to accept the legal risks. If there are people sympathetic to your plight, serving time in jail will only strengthen your cause. For example, MLK always faced up to punishment, he didn't run away. He also never died in jail, despite a comparatively much more dangerous situation.

    Of course, if you went over the line and broke several laws which people consider reasonable (e.g. stalking, etc), nobody is going to support you much. Hard to know in this case, since he didn't actually let the legal avenue play itself out.
  • Re:Scary (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jcr (53032) <.jcr. .at. .mac.com.> on Monday February 05, 2007 @02:35PM (#17892854) Journal
    The 12 people on the jury never got to hear Keith's defense. Basically, he was prohibited from even telling them why he was picketing. That so-called "trial" was an absolute farce.

    -jcr

  • by 91degrees (207121) on Monday February 05, 2007 @02:41PM (#17892962) Journal
    Freedom of religion should not be extended to religions that are clearly made up.

    Yes it should! Simple because it's not possible to make any disitinction between a real religion and a made up one.

    What it should not do is permit religions priviledges. I should be as free to interfere with the running of a religious institution as I am to interfere with the running of Starbucks (Which I can do to an extent, but quite rightly only within certain limits).

    Some religion. Despite my being a libertarian, I think the Germans are right on this one. It's not a religion. It's a subversive organization that needs to be monitored by the state because it has been known to use force and criminal behavior to advance its agenda, which is not even remotely religious.

    True. But the US constitution doesn't allow the US to determine what is and isn't a religion on a case by case basis. The German constitution clearly isn't so specific.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 05, 2007 @03:04PM (#17893376)
    It is my understanding that Mr. Henson received one or more threats on his life from representatives of Scientology, Inc. to the effect that if he went to jail in Riverside County, he wouldn't get out alive. I believe that was the real motivation behind his flight from the USA.

    Scn, Inc. has, as one of its more then 200 front groups, a prison 'ministry' called Criminon.
  • Re:Scary (Score:0, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 05, 2007 @03:55PM (#17894120)

    I'll say up front that I've taken Dianetics and Scientology courses, read a number of books, and have my own experiences.

    The article says The jury rejected Henson's claim that he was exercising his First Amendment right to criticize a dangerous cult, and convicted him of interfering with a religion, one of three counts against him.

    One one side the DA said that "He had been engaged in other odd behavior -- chasing down buses, taking down license plate numbers." "Schwarz, who prosecuted the case, said that Henson also followed people he knew to be Scientologists from their homes to Golden Era Studios: "He would hang over the fence and yell at them and do other weird behavior."

    On the other side freehensons website says things like "What kind of Alice-in-Wonderland Court is it that allows organized criminals to sit in the prosecutor's chair bringing charges against the honest citizens, in which a heavily-armed cult has Mafia lawyers direct the activities of the District Attorney?"

    Which sounds more weird to me. These days DA's don't get away with what probably would have been criminal negligence. At least not for very long.

    As I said, I've taken a number of courses myself, and if anything it is all against anything even resembling brainwashing. In fact it is not acceptable for the church to evaluate things for people. You are supposed to make up your own mind.

    Most of my best friends are Scientologists. I feel it has made me a better person. My parents certainly thought so (and they have not done any Scientology). I never saw anything about some Xenu, which if at all true may have been a fictional story Ron wrote. He was very prolific.

    Tolerance of others and honesty is what I found some of the first things they tought. How to be able to communicate better and more freely with others and things like that. Its big on following up study with practical drills, which are a lot of fun!

    Some of these things may seem odd if you don't understand why you do it, but they have been very effective once you do them as it says to. People become a lot more aware and conscious about their environment.

    So in all I find it pretty odd to see the rabid comments on some sites, which are so totally not what my experience has been. I know some of the lawsuits the church did where not received well, but it is very protective of its stuff. Actually, I found it to be very similar to open source.

    Both are interested in recognizing source, have a team of attorneys to defend their principles as some seem too eager to take advantage of them, wants people to be free to do what they want (legally of course).

    Both are growing rapidly because of the quality of their technology. Workability is a word I hear often. (I did read about some people who had infiltrated the church and had set themselves up to reap financial gaines by taking partial control of the church. But they were found out and left.) Some time ago even the IRS, who had tried to find evidence of wrong doing for _decades_ (with help from the FBI no less) announced they had been wrong.

    Some people in Germany had started a campaign to try to stop Scientology there. But after a long investigation they reversed the lower court ruling and apologised. Apparently the boys behind it had some nice skeletons in their own closets and did not want to be found out. (I'm from Europe and have friends over there.)

    What I do see is how people tend to be really fast on attacking things they don't understand. Afraid of rocking status quo, or the boogie man.

    Having traveled and lived across Europe, Africa and the US for years, I've seen good and evil in man. By my observations Scientology has never done anything but try to stop evil, and gotten the brunt for it. Lawsuits have not helped, but the church feels very strongly about defending it's rights, as is evident.

  • Unfortunate... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Synchis (191050) on Monday February 05, 2007 @03:56PM (#17894140) Homepage Journal
    Its unfortunate that Keith has finally been arrested. While he was in Canada, I worked closely with him on a few R&D projects. He was a good guy who always had an interesting story to tell. He fought very hard to get political refugee status from the Canadian Gov't while he was here, and was eventually denied after about a 3 year struggle. He left on his own terms, returning to the US in his own time, claiming that if he was escorted properly across the border, he would be a dead man.

    In all the time that Keith spent in Canada, he was never once left alone by the cult of Scientology. I was involved with one incident with a P.I. that was following him, and there were numerous other occasions that I had heard about from him.

    He was a good friend, always willing to stick his head out for ya. I sure do miss him now, and sincerely hope that nothing terrible happens to him now that he's been arrested.
  • by fyngyrz (762201) * on Monday February 05, 2007 @04:00PM (#17894192) Homepage Journal
    Unfortunately the California law enforcement and judicial branches have been infiltrated by Co$ members

    Has the infiltration of scientologists risen to the level of the infiltration of Christians, in your estimation?

    Or is there some reason you would present to support the idea that the infiltration of one religion is of more concern than of another?

    As far as I can see, the problems for society and its citizens are similar in nature, if not in scope, with regard to any religious person who, in your words, "infiltrates" the justice system. But I am curious as to your take on the matter.

  • by vakuona (788200) on Monday February 05, 2007 @04:46PM (#17894830)
    If anyone has infiltrated the systems, it's the atheists and the non Christian. Just to be pedantic.

    After all, why would some atheists have ever allowed people to write "In God we Trust" on their notes.
  • Re:Hmmm (Score:3, Interesting)

    by btempleton (149110) on Monday February 05, 2007 @06:25PM (#17896424) Homepage
    Keith Henson has been involved in a long battle with the Scientologists which got very emotional and at times he has done irrational things, but nothing approaching becoming a physical danger to scientologists to my knowledge. Keith didn't have much knowledge of Scientology before he took up this charge, he mostly got into it when he saw them attempting to silence other critics, particularly on the net. THe more he learned the deeper he got.

    What he alleges are serious charges. Effectively that Scientology is not a religion, but more a confidence trick (or even organized criminal enterprise) masquerading as a religion. He further alleges they have significant untoward influence over goverment officials and courts in their strongholds, such as Clearwater and Riverside. He says he has been threatened that once he is in jail there they will arrange his death.

    These are very serious charges. Since it is fairly easy to imagine a confidence trick masquerading as a religion, a court should consider arguments for this allegation in any case allocating religious rights to the alleged religion. Since corruption of officials does take place, accusations of such corruption should be considered with care, with appeal to external jurisdictions not likely to be subject to such corruption. I'm not saying that anybody should be able to willy nilly complain of religion or con-games, but if there is any credible evidence, it should be presented and considered.

    Nobody flees their country and leaves their family behind over a short jail term from a misdemeanor conviction. Keith believes the threat to be real, and deserves the chance to present his evidence to an unbiased jury.
  • Re:Scary (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Valdrax (32670) on Monday February 05, 2007 @06:54PM (#17896952)
    I'm not in the least contesting the idea that Scientologists aren't loony to their very core; I'm just curious why you seem to think that Scientologists are worse than Christians somehow. Most of the differences I can think of leave the Christians as the worse offenders.

    Two points.

    1) You're probably unaware of the offenses of Scientologists. They're relatively obscure.
    2) There are a LOT more Christians and the religion has had a LOT longer time to have offenses committed in its name.

    Combining these two means that you don't really have a good concept of the relative densities of craziness in the two religions. The larger a population is, the greater the violent fringe that can exist. Every major religion in existence has had its share of bloodshed, but that's not the fault of religion per se so much as the natural human tendency to form groups and to think less of people not in your group. Since Christianity is larger and more established, it has a greater capacity to harbor a lunatic fringe. That does not reflect necessarily on the relative merits of the core beliefs of the two faiths.

    Don't recall any Scientologists blowing up any abortion clinics, for instance, nor can I think of them trying to tell me, a non-believer - or worse, getting a law put in place that coerces me - such that I can't marry two willing people.

    While there isn't any solid evidence of murders committed in the name of Scientology, there is a long history of intimidation, harassment, and property damage in defense of the religion. (There is evidence for negligent death, but no first-degree murder.) The religion is relatively young, so it's hard to say whether that's a matter of time or not.

    However, there is a marked difference in the canonical stance on violence towards outsiders between mainstream Christianity and mainstream Scientology. Scientology views those who interfere with Scientology to be fair game. [xenu.net] That is to say that there's no moral laws protecting the enemies of Scientology and no sanction of any activities taken to harm them. Christianity, at its core, states that you should love your enemy. [biblegateway.com] Few Christians are capable of holding themselves to that standard, but the difference in what you're supposed to do is marked.

    As for attempting to force their morality on others, Scientology simply hasn't had the power to enforce its views on outsiders due to a lack of critical mass. What makes you think they'd be different from any other segment of society bound by a common code of behavior?

    They have, however, lobbied for broad government powers to enforce copyright because they protect their inner secrets with copyright law and have been responsible for a number of DMCA takedown notices. They were notable advocates for the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act and the DMCA itself.
  • by MBraynard (653724) on Monday February 05, 2007 @06:59PM (#17897028) Journal
    Very much the opposite in the US.

    In the US, money you pay for 'audits' to Scientology - essentially classes - are tax deductable. However, your tuition to a private Catholic or Jewish Day school is not. Go figure.

  • by freakmn (712872) on Monday February 05, 2007 @08:43PM (#17898426) Journal
    It is your choice to make. Like I said, the analogy isn't perfect. But you do introduce the concept of Pascal's Wager [wikipedia.org]. That is, weighing the possible benefits and consequences of a belief in God. In Pascal's eyes, the benefit of belief outweighs the investment needed to believe.

    In the train situation, I would likely move off the tracks, as the investment needed to move a few feet is worth saving my life, whether there is a train or not. If there is no train, then it really doesn't matter either way. Either I moved, and got out of the way for no reason, or I was stubborn and stayed in place. There may be a very small amount of pride gained or lost. Alternatively, if there is a train, then moving has a great benefit, and staying stubbornly has a great loss.

    Finally, it seems that you think that if you don't believe in God, then God cannot touch you, whether He exists or not. I find this to be like the child who covers his own eyes when he is caught with his hand in the cookie jar. He thinks that if he cannot see his parents, they cannot see him. If there is no God, then there's no threat, you're right. But if there is, do you honestly think that he won't bother with you because you don't believe in Him?
  • by Pikoro (844299) <init&init,sh> on Monday February 05, 2007 @09:28PM (#17898872) Homepage Journal
    Yes,

    I honestly believe that if I don't believe in god then it won't bother with me.

    We are not talking about something physical here. It's not like I'm saying if I don't believe in mosquitoes then they won't bother me. Remember, we are talking about something of which there is not one scrap of evidence. The bible was written BY men, FOR men, to CONTROL (wo)men.

    I really do have a hard time believing that "god" chose to manifest itself only during a few years like 2000 years ago. Something change between then and now? People are still people. Only technology has changed. The techonology we have now allows us to explain alot of the stuff that people of 2000 years ago didn't understand, hence they needed to look elsewhere for an explination.

    The bible is A good book. Not THE good book. It makes for some interesting reading, as nearly any collection of short stories does if you are interested in the genere of the collection.

    I am not saying that there aren't some good morals to be learned from the bible, but then again, there are alot of good things to learn from the Brothers Grimm as well.

    If there IS a god, and it chose to show itself to a few thousand people a couple of thousand years ago, then I believe that the choice has already been made. Obviously "modern" man isn't worth the trouble to this "god".

    If I die, and there DOES turn out to be a hell, I would welcome it, because it means that my conciousness lives on. The only thing that I fear about death is the cessation of concious thought. The thought that my memories, achievements, ideas, etc... just *poof* dissappear bothers the heck out of me.

    I will not, however, entertain any notion that after death, my conciousness "lives on". I call BS.

    Better than religion: Let's figure out a way to stop people from dying.
  • by Rick17JJ (744063) on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @12:39AM (#17900374)

    It is ironic how much bad publicity the church of Scientology has generated for itself by these repeated attempts to punish and silence Keith Henson. Like many Slashdot readers, I had barely heard of the church of Scientology. This discussion about the arrest of Keith Henson is my first real source of information about Scientologists. They may have won several battles in the court room against Keith Henson, but in doing so, lost several major battles for public opinion. Is publicity like this what they want people to know about their organization?

    Back in the 1970s, I was once a member of the L-5 society [wikipedia.org] but never attended any of their meetings. I just enjoyed reading about the ideas presented in their monthly newsletter. Keith Henson was a co-founder of that organization. I vaguely remember the name Keith Henson, but had never met him. L-5 Society members could probably be considered to be a bunch of overly optimistic technology enthusiasts who wanted to promote the idea of building self-sufficient cities in space [wikipedia.org] using existing technology. It was an intriguing vision of the future which never happened and probably won't happen within my lifetime. They were an idealistic bunch of engineers, scientists and, what we would now call geeks, who in their own way wanted to try to build a better world. So imagine my surprise at reading on Slashdot that Keith Henson was a Scientology critic who had just been arrested a few miles away from where I live here in the quiet little town of Prescott, Arizona.

    So far, I still don't know very much about the church of Scientology, but here is the general sense of what I have have learned today so far on Slashdot and the various links. The church of Scientology is allegedly a rich and vengeful religious cult. They apparently have lawyers who are ready to sue their critics. The church was founded by a science fiction author. People can be sued for excerpting their scriptures (are they copyrighted?). I don't know it that is a totally accurate picture or not, but that is the general impression that I get by following the news stories about Keith's arrest. If other readers are reacting the same way, then it looks like the church of Scientology may have won in court, but in doing so has generated lots of bad publicity. At least in that sense they have lost. They may have only turned Keith Henson into a martyr and symbol for the Scientology critics?

    I saw a link to the "Henson Legal Support Fund [extropy.org]" and my contribution check is now in the mail to help pay for his defense.

  • Re: Anonymous Coward (Score:3, Interesting)

    by the_REAL_sam (670858) on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @07:59AM (#17902720) Journal

    Perhaps you could read the list to yourself and explain why I need to believe in the LORD or FAIRYTALES about the RED SEA to do 2, 4, 6, 7, or 8?
    You don't. On the other hand, you do need to do 2, 4, 6, 7 and 8 in order to keep in line with the teachings of Christ, and to do them the right way you'll need to pray, and to pray it helps if you have the faith that the LORD will answer your prayers. You could pray without that faith, but i spent 15 years as an agnostic, and I really never felt an urge or interest in prayer until I had my eyes opened in a place full of demons.

    REASON is much more RELIABLE [than faith].
    Your argument contains a flawed assumption, since reason and faith are not at odds with one another.

    Well, I could ask you to explain some things; I've called a coin toss 15 times in a row. The odds of that are 1/2^15. One in 32768. Ok, fine, there are lottery winners in this world, but I knew I was going to get them all right. I've seen a double concentric rainbow all the way around the sun, at high noon when there wasn't a cloud in the sky. I saw the same phenomenon a second time 3 days later. I've seen miracles in daily life. My prayers have been answered on a consistent basis ever since I began praying. They have not been answered in a cheesy stereotypical "astrology column vaugeness" way; they've been answered in an unmistakable way.

    Life is filled with significance and a richness of meaning that could not be replaced by anything of this world. Prayer is answered in a wonderful way. To ignore that makes even less sense than ignoring a gold mine in your own back yard.

    FAITH can BLIND people and cause them do DUMB things
    The structure of your argument (aversion to "dumb things") suggests that you never drink alcohol, or do any drugs, or fall in love, or get spring fever, etc..?

    Some of the accomplishments of Christ, and/or of the prophets and/or of the LORD include: liberating the tribes of israel from slavery, raising the dead, healing lepers & the blind, feeding thousands of people with a single basket of loaves and fishes. Those things don't sound dumb to me. It's actually your statement that is completely backwards, since Jesus healed the blind with faith.

    5 requires a DEFINITION of IMMORALITIES, which I doubt we can AGREE ON
    Well, it sounds as if we agree that molesting is wrong. That's a good start, but it's not enough. The cities of sodom and gomorrha wouldn't have agreed on a definition either, but the LORD edified their mistake.

    If you're still sitting there denying the LORD's existance, well, I can ask the LORD to show you a sign, but, honestly, I don't control the LORD, and how/when He reveals Himself is His own decision to make. Your own attitude and reverence could be a deciding factor, but eventually you'll be sure the LORD exists. The main question you'll have, on that day, is what you were doing in between now and then.

"Mach was the greatest intellectual fraud in the last ten years." "What about X?" "I said `intellectual'." ;login, 9/1990

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