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Scientology Injunction Denied Against "Anonymous" 486

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the much-gnashing-of-teeth dept.
Anonymous writes "A circuit court judge has denied the Church of Scientology's second request for an injunction against protests by the internet group "Anonymous." The Church sought to prevent Anonymous from protesting on the birthday of the Church's leader, the late Ron L. Hubbard. The petition filed by the Church listed twenty-six individuals allegedly affiliated with Anonymous, but "accidentally" included others who merely work near the location of the first protests held in February and did not participate in them, such as a Starbucks employee. Furthermore, the Church failed to show that any of those listed actually committed any wrongdoing."
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Scientology Injunction Denied Against "Anonymous"

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 15, 2008 @03:52AM (#22758204)
    Scientology is a cult, pure and simple. I always thought it would be a fascinating exercise to research the lobbying efforts that got them tax-free status in the US and Canada.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 15, 2008 @04:06AM (#22758260)
    So wear a Burqua or a Hijab or whatever it's called... the masks the insecure muslims make their women wear so they can pretend it's still the 8th century. American law enforcement is so terrified of offending the delicate sensibilities of the muslims they'd NEVER enforce the law against wearing masks in public.
  • Touched a nerve? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by H0p313ss (811249) on Saturday March 15, 2008 @04:06AM (#22758262)

    An "injunction against protests"? In the US? Wow! They must have really touched a nerve. Keep it up!

    Of course CoS had any sense at all they'd just ignore the whole thing until it blows over... but I'm counting on CoS to blow it way out of proportion. Which is exactly what Anonymous wants.

    This could be an interesting showdown, especially if the protests continue to be disciplined and, well... funny!

  • by Kierthos (225954) on Saturday March 15, 2008 @04:19AM (#22758314) Homepage
    Actually, I would say that the Church of Scientology is both less plausible of a religion then those you mentioned, and less of an actual religion (and more of a business).

    Bypassing the obvious science fiction elements of Scientology, there is this simple fact.

    You have to pay (out the nose) to be a member in good standing in the Church of Scientology. While other religions have practices of tithing and/or charities, they are not required in order to progress in the understanding of the faith.

    In Scientology, you have to pay to take the courses that ultimately give you the Xenu/volcanic explosions/thetans story. You have to pay many thousands of dollars before you get access to this "knowledge".

    Show me the secret books of the Bible or the Qu'ran that only the followers who have ponied up tens of thousands of dollars get to see. You can't. There aren't any such books.

    IMAO, Scientology is at best, a business designed to empty the wallets of the gullible. At worst, it is a scam and an extortion campaign.
  • by quokkapox (847798) <quokkapox@gmail.com> on Saturday March 15, 2008 @04:24AM (#22758324)

    Except "these people" haven't done anything to directly harm me or my family or friends.

    I'm more concerned about the fundamentalist Christianists and Islamists (yes, in that order, at least here in the U.S.).

    Most people know the Scientologists are nuts. But most "moderate" religious people tolerate the extremists among their ranks.

  • by Gordonjcp (186804) on Saturday March 15, 2008 @04:29AM (#22758354) Homepage
    Hey folks... if you bother to read the article it explains how Scientologists are getting death threats from this group.

    Good. The CoS is known to be involved in murder, torture and sexual abuse. Forget "non-violent" protest, get stuck in there.

    Photograph them. Follow them. Follow them home and photograph them entering and leaving their houses. Keep shouting "Murderer!" at them, if you can. Harass them. Make their lives hell.

    Don't waste your time griefing in Sadville, do it In Real Life. Make the CoS thoroughly miserable.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 15, 2008 @04:38AM (#22758394)

    Most people know the Scientologists are nuts. But most "moderate" religious people tolerate the extremists among their ranks.

    Yuo Fail. Most don't. Most Muslims (at least, two with whom I work) don't want to murder me. Most Christians (I work with dozens of them) deplore Fred Phelps and his ilk. Teh J00z? Couple of them at my office. They don't eat pork, they do drink wine. Buddhists? They think all us Abrahamic folks are a little strange, but if that's our way of following the Path, then we're entitled to it.

    When it comes to tolerating extremism, the Scilons [slashdot.org] are right up there with the asshats from Afghanistan.

    The Scilons can go right ahead and believe in the Xenu story. It's not much weirder than the creation myths of any real religion. All Anonymous is asking is that they stop trying to kill the people who think differently. No violence, no coercion, and why does their God need a battalion of copyright lawyers anyway?

  • by code601 (862671) on Saturday March 15, 2008 @04:41AM (#22758402)
    Can someone spent a few seconds and explain the need for the masks and hiding your identity during the protest? Thanks
  • by LaskoVortex (1153471) on Saturday March 15, 2008 @04:43AM (#22758404)
    Your point is taken, but aren't belly rolls revered [charlotte.nc.us] there?
  • by someone1234 (830754) on Saturday March 15, 2008 @04:51AM (#22758432)
    And they usually don't apply lie-detectors on you.
  • by ortholattice (175065) on Saturday March 15, 2008 @04:52AM (#22758434)

    Except "these people" haven't done anything to directly harm me or my family or friends.

    You've heard it before: "First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out - because I was not a Socialist. ..."

    I'm more concerned about the fundamentalist Christians and Islamists (yes, in that order, at least here in the U.S.).

    And these should be protested and exposed just as vigorously. Especially the first, since they have voted into office the current leaders who are destroying our economy and our country's future with this inane war, if they haven't already done so. Oh, and our privacy and freedom too, while we're at it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 15, 2008 @04:53AM (#22758436)
    Except, and here's the thing some of you are failing to grasp: Scientology, at its core, is abusive. It's structure is such that it systematically strips its followers of their free will, and thus their cash.

    I'm a god-hating atheist too, but as much as I dislike traditional religions (for different reasons) the abuses of Scientology, in this day and age, are almost as bad as the Inquisition in its day. The difference is that, again, in this day and age, we can do something about it.

    Just saying "it's just as bad, oh well" is a lazy cop out.

    Besides, this isn't about their beliefs, this is about the abuses they perpetrate. The "fair game" policy, the special tax exempt status, the disconnection policy, all of that stuff adds up. They're worse than you think, especially if you're still at the "meh, they're silly" stage. They're much, much worse.

    Yes, fundamentalism is bad, we're all aware of that. But most fundies aren't near as bad (when all aspects are considered) as the CoS. I'll concede that those that kill for their religion are more reprehensible -- but then again so would most regular people who are in those religions. In the CoS, Hubbard's way is the only way. It's an enitre religion of fundies who want to "clear the planet" -- and this includes you, by the way.
  • by Threni (635302) on Saturday March 15, 2008 @05:03AM (#22758460)
    > I'm more concerned about the fundamentalist Christianists and Islamists (yes, in that order, at least here in the U.S.).

    I'm more concerned about street crime than global warming, but that doesn't mean we should do nothing about global warming. Or does worrying about Islamists (whatever the hell that means) take all your spare time?

    > But most "moderate" religious people tolerate the extremists among their ranks.

    You're full of shit.
  • by Oligonicella (659917) on Saturday March 15, 2008 @05:10AM (#22758484)
    I'll bet neither have the fundie Christians or Islamists done anything directly to harm you and yours. "Nuts" and murder, extortion, false accusations, kidnapping and other activities are worlds apart.
  • by Dan541 (1032000) on Saturday March 15, 2008 @05:14AM (#22758492) Homepage

    I think masks are now illegal. Scientology would just sue you as John Mask instead of John Doe.
    Huh? If masks are illegal then muslim veils must also be illegal since its a form of mask.

    ~Dan
  • Re:IRL raids (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 15, 2008 @06:00AM (#22758576)
    Actually, it is quite OK to mock the scientology "religion". It's even allowed to ridicule Christianity and Jesus.
    There is nothing magical about religion that makes it exempt from attack and ridicule.

    It is NOT good that you can't attack something because it is a "religion" and would ONLY for that reason deserve respect. People's deeply held beliefs are not OK just because they are deeply held beliefs, they can just as well be ridiculous, and wrong. The fact that you ridicule them isn't even necessarily respectless, not challenging people's delusions, and leaving them with these ridiculous beliefs can be much more respectless.

    And before you ask, yes, I'm a religious man, and I wouldn't mind at all if you mocked and attacked my religion.
    I'm not Christian, but I don't see much reason to attack Christianity as a whole. I do occasionally challenge some denominations and churches, or just single people's interpretation.
    Scientology on the other hand, I mock completely. You can say dianetics is the basics of the religion, and the church is a seperate thing. I don't thing I have to tell you why I attack the church. So that leaves dianetics. I see no reason I couldn't mock it, it's just pseudoscientific psychological nonsense. It's a lot of stupid ideas and conclusions mixed with some interesting ideas. It's not worthy of respect just because it's claimed to be religious.

    (I claim this post is a basic religious text of my religion, it represents my deeply held religious beliefs. It was directly inspired by God and therefor it's content is unchallengable religious dogma, and absolute TRUTH. You cannot deny it.)
  • by Kierthos (225954) on Saturday March 15, 2008 @06:01AM (#22758580) Homepage
    You miss my point. Yes, there may be books that only the Pope is allowed to read.

    Those books are not "required" to be a good Catholic.

    The Church of Scientology has a carefully organized series of classes that are required (and increasingly expensive) in order to progress through the ranks of the church laity (any person not a member of the clergy).

    You have to spend many thousands of dollars in the Church of Scientology before you learn about Xenu or what thetans "really are".

    How much money do you have to spend to read the Bible?
  • by Whiteox (919863) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <hcetscth>> on Saturday March 15, 2008 @06:07AM (#22758602) Journal

    I'm a god-hating atheist too,
    How in God's name can you be a god-hating atheist?
    You can't hate God if you're an atheist, because if you're an atheist, then you shouldn't believe in God in the first place.

    Goodbye. Hand you card in on the way out...
  • by nickspoon (1070240) on Saturday March 15, 2008 @06:10AM (#22758610)

    No. Non-violent, lawful protest is the best way to go about it. If you start harassing members of the CoS personally, you are no better than they are and, more importantly, you would lose an important defence in court: that you have the right to peaceful protest. If that's all you are doing, legally they can't touch you.

    As soon as you start harassing them, you lose that important benefit. This is why the protests were strictly peaceful and calm. If anything, a peaceful protest hurts them more because there's nothing they can do about it, and it looks to the world like the Scientologists are unable to defend their "Church"'s system from a bunch of people from the internet.

  • by Kierthos (225954) on Saturday March 15, 2008 @06:20AM (#22758638) Homepage
    But the laity in the Catholic church does not have to read those to understand the Catholic dogma. They aren't required texts in the same manner that the OT courses in the Church of Scientology are. And the CoS charges many thousands of dollars for those classes before you can officially learn about Xenu and so forth.
  • by jimicus (737525) on Saturday March 15, 2008 @06:26AM (#22758650)
    Photograph them. Follow them. Follow them home and photograph them entering and leaving their houses. Keep shouting "Murderer!" at them, if you can. Harass them. Make their lives hell.

    For every one person you can find to do this, the CoS can find five who have many more years experience of behaving like this and getting away with it. And the people who the CoS find won't stop at following you home and photographing you.
  • Re:IRL raids (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rucs_hack (784150) on Saturday March 15, 2008 @06:47AM (#22758678)
    Eventually the Scilons can't keep it up and it'll collapse.

    You can't know much about how religions work then..

    Did you know for example that it now appears that early Christians, far from being blamed for Rome burning, weren't even considered relevant, and many 'confessed' and were punished simply in order to obtain their martyrdom?
    This was a big deal for them, since it meant all sorts of rewards and stuff in heaven. Apparently the Roman administration weren't at all keen, but a confession is a confession, so they were executed.

    The point is, religions, even really stupid ones, thrive on the kind of treatment that would make normal folk think twice about carrying on.
  • Re:IRL raids (Score:4, Insightful)

    by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Saturday March 15, 2008 @06:55AM (#22758702) Homepage Journal

    The point is, religions, even really stupid ones,
    Please give me a list of the really "smart" ones, the ones based on truth and integrity, rather than lies, superstition and greed.
  • Re:IRL raids (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Saturday March 15, 2008 @06:58AM (#22758710) Homepage Journal

    It would not be cool to protest Christianity,
    And exactly why not?
  • Re:IRL raids (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rucs_hack (784150) on Saturday March 15, 2008 @07:03AM (#22758718)
    Please give me a list of the really "smart" ones, the ones based on truth and integrity, rather than lies, superstition and greed.

    You got me..

    Actually, note that I said really stupid ones. My default position is that all religions are stupid, or at the very least anachronistic in modern times. They served their purpose in prehistory (holding Egypt together for several millennia), but we just don't need such social control systems any more.

    They persist because they give some people a means to power which otherwise they would not have, while to others they give a framework within which they can at least claim to understand the world/universe.
    Both reasons provide more than enough motivation to disregard the reality, i.e that they are worshiping an imaginary friend, whose proof of existence, even if it were true, is only available via a process of chinese whispers from thousands of years ago.

  • Re:IRL raids (Score:3, Insightful)

    by name*censored* (884880) on Saturday March 15, 2008 @07:43AM (#22758786)
    Religion also offer hope for people, especially regarding the afterlife. Also, most modern religions are based on the idea of charity/peace/social harmony/etc (some interpretations may vary from this). [/Devil's Advocate].

    On the flip side of the coin, religion is also a powerful method of control (as you pointed out). Atheists are probably the most important element, as they provide a strong, effective safeguard against any exploitation. For this reason, I think that in a perfect world, religion and atheism shouldn't be in conflict. Moderate religion requires atheists (and moderate sensible theists should realise this), and moderate atheists have no natural quandary** with religion - science doesn't merit it's claims on their popularity.


    ** If there weren't mitigating factors, such as socially/legally enforced one-size-fits-all morality. YMMV.
  • by Curtman (556920) on Saturday March 15, 2008 @08:12AM (#22758878)

    You can't hate God if you're an atheist


    You can hate the idea of God. It's offensive to me that we should worship a wrathful dictator, especially a fictional one who occasionally relays his wishes through a select few.
  • by Tom (822) on Saturday March 15, 2008 @08:17AM (#22758898) Homepage Journal

    I'll bet neither have the fundie Christians or Islamists done anything directly to harm you and yours.
    Then I'll speak for him and say the same, because they did to me. It's been a while, but let me tell you, xians and scientologists aren't half as different from each other as both would like.

    Or, as Bill Maher would say: I don't care what kind of crazy you are.
  • by metlin (258108) on Saturday March 15, 2008 @09:38AM (#22759154) Journal

    I'll bet neither have the fundie Christians or Islamists done anything directly to harm you and yours. "Nuts" and murder, extortion, false accusations, kidnapping and other activities are worlds apart.
    Yes, they have. They have passed laws that are keeping in with their religion that are offensive to my person. And their religious beliefs and actions are changing the landscape of this country, the world, and how nation-states view freedom and liberty. What's your point?

    "Nuts" and murder, extortion, false accusations, kidnapping and other activities are worlds apart.
    Would you rather prefer terrorist attacks, invading other nations in retaliation and killing hundreds of thousands, instead?

    Scientology is bad, but there are other religions that have been around a lot longer and are a lot more harmful to society and civilization as a whole.
  • Re:IRL raids (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Broken scope (973885) on Saturday March 15, 2008 @09:39AM (#22759162) Homepage
    No, Anons stated goal is the exposure/downfall of Scientology as a business. More specifically the church itself and the Religious technology center.

    They don't really give a damn if you want to believe in the bullshit. They just don't like how people have to pay to get to see the bullshit.
  • Re:IRL raids (Score:2, Insightful)

    by KDR_11k (778916) on Saturday March 15, 2008 @09:50AM (#22759200)
    Strange, the first thing that comes to my mind when reading "us vs them" is "Democrats and Republicans"...
  • Re:IRL raids (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fatalwall (873645) on Saturday March 15, 2008 @09:51AM (#22759206)
    I once used to agree with your view on religion as well. However your view lacks many other aspects that you really need to look at. Before you can throw religion to the curves maybe you should study religion a bit more from a sociology point of view. You will find that religion is not only empowering of the "leader" but empowering of the members. Check out the works of Weber. Yes it will be difficult to accept that religion is needed however that is where all the studies point.
  • by quokkapox (847798) <quokkapox@gmail.com> on Saturday March 15, 2008 @10:02AM (#22759252)

    I'll bet neither have the fundie Christians or Islamists done anything directly to harm you and yours.

    Yeah, I suppose preaching hatred against gays, so they get spit on or cursed at or their friends get beaten up on the street, that doesn't count as "direct" harm.

  • Re:IRL raids (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dfenstrate (202098) <dfenstrate@@@gmail...com> on Saturday March 15, 2008 @10:13AM (#22759326)
    Well, it wouldn't be 'cool' in the James Dean/rockstar sense because it's so utterly overdone. Yawn. Protest christianity. It's such an utterly safe and mundane practice that doing it means nothing.

    No christian churches label you an 'oppressive person' and send their office of special affairs after you. No christian churches will rile up their congregation over real or percieved insults. You won't see them screaming in the streets, holding signs that say 'death to those who insult christianity.'

    You won't even get punched by a believer if you stand in front of a church screaming jesus was a zombie.

    Protesting christianity is about as cool as yelling at the old dog laying in the corner because he dug a hole in the back yard. The offense you protest is barely worth mentioning and the dog isn't going to be affected by your protest enough to even get up.

    Now, is it 'cool' to protest christianity, as in 'okay'? Sure. There's just no point.
  • by rtb61 (674572) on Saturday March 15, 2008 @10:18AM (#22759354) Homepage
    Of course that was when the were only a few individuals actually actively opposed to their largely fraudulent and criminal behaviour. Now that the number of people that are actively working against the the activities of Co$, it's makes it much more difficult for them to engage in that costly and time consuming behaviour.

    The other major change is the internet for not only putting on public display their harassing and threatening tactics but also for offering the existing members and victims of that organisation an alternative.

    It is always important to reinforce the message that the activities are not against the law abiding members/victims of that organisation but against the organisers of the scam as well as those members that engage in criminal activities and knowingly support the duping of the innocent believers.

  • by stabiesoft (733417) on Saturday March 15, 2008 @10:30AM (#22759416) Homepage
    Personally, I'd like to see ALL religions lose their tax write off. They have all become soo political that I don't understand why the religion of ? should enjoy tax benefits when others pay. If the donors don't get to write it off, I suspect funding for all religions might drop like a rock. I also think the churches should have to pay prop taxes etc. Most these "dream" churches have millions of bucks in property, buildings and in the case of the mega's, planes, schools, etc. Let them pay like for profit. I can't tell the difference between non-profit/for-profit anymore except a couple of "praise god's".
  • Re:IRL raids (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Magic5Ball (188725) on Saturday March 15, 2008 @10:36AM (#22759434)
    As another poster states, Buddhism and many of the other Indian and Far East religions would be up there for integrity and non-greed. I would have said Taoism which has less legacy in the stack and enables somewhat more open implementation and criticism. Many of the tribal animism religious frameworks lack the interfaces to express greed.

    Depending on how one defines truth, lies or superstition, all of the major religions could be viewed as being deficient in the scientistic sense of cause and effect. I would argue that the sanctioned availability and relative accessibility of the entire runtime documentation set to the lay practitioner, combined with the freedom to implement appropriately localized versions without impediment from the issuing bureaucracy, would provide sufficient conditions for a religion to be considered truthful in practice.
  • Re:IRL raids (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Nimey (114278) on Saturday March 15, 2008 @10:46AM (#22759472) Homepage Journal
    Discordianism. WE at least know we're all full of shit, and revel in it.
  • Re:IRL raids (Score:5, Insightful)

    by thegnu (557446) <thegnu@gma i l . com> on Saturday March 15, 2008 @10:48AM (#22759488) Journal

    By the same vein, it's not cool even among Anons to insult Scientology itself - but the CHURCH of Scientology (as opposed to the Freezone)?

    First off, Scientology isn't a Church. They charge admission, and they're a for-profit organization. They're not recognized as a real religion in Belgium, Russia, Canada, Greece, France, Germany, the United Kingdom. [wikipedia.org] It's respected here in the US because anyone with enough money to purchase a free ride gets one in this society. CoS have loads of power.

    I was talking about the Catholic Church with someone the other day, and they were arguing that you can't condemn the religion as a whole. I maintain, however, that if the Pope gets to tell you you're not Catholic, [wikipedia.org] it's organized enough to criticize as a whole.

    What I think you CAN'T criticize is an individual's drive for spiritual growth. If their religion involves slandering people and destroying their lives (CoS) or protecting child molestors [deliverusf...emovie.com] (Catholic Church), then please, criticize them. In other words, while the person's spiritual practice may be above reproach, the dogma is just a set of ideas and ideals just like any atheist would have. For example:

    (I'm not really picking sides, just giving examples)
    Religious - God says you should be nice to poor people
    Nonreligious - The best interest of humanity dictates you should be nice to poor people
    Religious - Abortion is wrong because God says so
    Nonreligious - Abortion is wrong because it's unnatural to kill your own progeny

    I think that what people call religious belief is just dogma. And atheists have dogma too. If dogma is above reproach, we are in a world of shit, my friend.
  • Re:IRL raids (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dfenstrate (202098) <dfenstrate@@@gmail...com> on Saturday March 15, 2008 @11:00AM (#22759528)
    They served their purpose in prehistory (holding Egypt together for several millennia), but we just don't need such social control systems any more.

    I'm not so sure about that. Without God, you must explain moral codes in practical terms. The most basic (lie, cheat, steal)are easy enough. Some of the less obviously explained moral codes are both very important and not easy to explain the practicality thereof. (Envy, gluttony, etc.)

    Humans are not fundamentally morally superior now as compared to 5,000 years ago. The only thing that has provably changed in that time is the societal indoctrination methods, and churches are the majority of those methods.

    Churches, God, and Sin are ways of imposing codes of behavior that have been show to be successful over several millennia. The concepts of 'God' and 'Sin' are necessary to impose these codes of behavior, because you can't argue with God and you better do what he tells you.

    If you were once again a child, or once again a teen, or once perhaps still are, how often do you recall arguing with your parents over some matter? That you were unconvinced by their stance?

    They had at least two decades more of life experience than you to learn life lessons, and perhaps you might remember they were correct much more often than they were wrong.

    But you still argued with them, because you didn't understand the value of their experience and you had to learn some of the same lessons the hard way, just as they did.

    Well, assigning the most basic of these life lessons as commandments from God, with whom you may not argue, and who will punish you eternally for consistently failing to obey him, removes them from the 'negotiable' list completely. Do not lie. Do not steal. Do not murder. Don't try to screw your neighbors wife. Don't make babies with someone you're not committed to. Don't be envious, etc.

    Any one of these things, when broken, will gain the perpetrator a momentary advantage that is plain for anyone to see. In the long run all are detrimental to both the perpetrator and the society around him. Convincing everyone that God would burn you in hell for eternity for doing any of them made folks decide that the momentary gain wasn't worth the fire.

    Much less obvious is the long term benefit to society when everyone obeys these rules. Both explaining the full logic of why that is so, and getting the student to accept your and societie's experience is a damn near impossible task with an empty slate of a child or a hormone-driven teenager.

    Further, there are countless adults who fail to grasp the utility of the religious rules and traditions we live by. If they are religious, they may yet follow the rules and their lives will be satisfactory, and their impact on society a net positive.

    If they are not religious, and do not accept that those traditions and rules exist for reasons they do not grasp, then they will behave as they see fit- leaving ruin in their wake, as lessons learned hundreds or thousands of years ago are tossed out as the baby with the bathwater.

    So, allow me to try to summarize if you've made it this far:

    Religion is a way of passing down millennia of hard-learned lessons in a way that leaves no room for argument.
    I would go into the lessons besides 'don't lie, cheat, murder or steal', except you might argue with me about those topics, proving my point while convincing yourself I'm anachronistic.

    Western civilization lies atop a massive carefully-built structure of unnatural behaviors that enable the tremendous intellectual and material wealth we enjoy today.

    That behavioral structure is so carefully crafted and re-enforced that we forget that it is unnatural, and in forgetting that, we disparage the tools with which it was carefully built and must be maintained.

    We are not naturally better than folks 5,000 years ago. We are only better because of the methods our ancestors derived to make us internalize their hard-learned lessons early in life.

    Incidentally I do believe in God, but that doesn't prevent me from seeing the anthropology.
  • Re:IRL raids (Score:2, Insightful)

    by BlackCreek (1004083) on Saturday March 15, 2008 @11:21AM (#22759606)

    Funny; we have similar laws here in the Australian state of Victoria. Christians generally oppose them, largely because it has made it harder for them to state their reasonably-held opinions of Muslims.
    Do you know if anyone has had success prosecuting people in your state using this law? In the Netherlands people had failed to use it in the last 10 or 20 years (AFAIK).

    This experience has cemented the view in my mind that there's no such thing as "god-given" or "constitutional" rights; the only rights we have are the ones we make sure we keep.
    I couldn't agree more with this.

    Whenever I complain about lack of privacy in modern Europe, people have often said abuses like you describe would never happen, but if it did, OOOOHHH, there would be so much trouble, OOOOHHH, governments would fall OOOOHHH.

    Well, when it became public that all European financial transactions logs were being leaked to the US. There was not that much of a big deal, there was a judicial order for it to stop (from Belgium's supreme court), they didn't stop, a point from which the issue was said to move to a "legal grey area".

  • Re:Yay! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by utopianfiat (774016) on Saturday March 15, 2008 @11:37AM (#22759656) Journal
    Who modded this offtopic? You don't even realize how true it is.

    Are they even listening to themselves? Do they realize how stupid they sound? "A group known as Anonymous"- you mean that guy that had attributed to him poems, quotes, and the rickroll?
    Anonymous is Anonymous. Seriously. Say what you want about "lol *chan" but the truth is 'Anonymous' is not linked to 4chan. Anonymous itself is a person, who wishes to keep their identity hidden. "Anonymous", as a group, simply refers to the collective nature of people who wish to conceal their identities. THAT'S IT. IT WAS A JOKE. "Anonymous does not forgive!" IT'S FUNNY BECAUSE THE PERSON'S NAME CAME UP AS ANONYMOUS, NOT BECAUSE ANYONE WHO ASSOCIATES THEMSELVES WITH THIS GROUP IS UNFORGIVING. Christ, will these fuckers ever get it through their thick fucking heads that this isn't some terrorist group? This isn't some fucking Jihad against Scientology! It's a bunch of pissed off nerds who got a bunch of other nerds from around the world to protest a cult, THAT'S IT.
    The media are a bunch of fuckups.
  • Zen Buddhism (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Kupfernigk (1190345) on Saturday March 15, 2008 @11:41AM (#22759672)
    The one that teaches you not to take religious authorities for granted. The one that teaches you to learn to trust your own intuition. The one that rejects scriptures in favor of personal experience. The one whose focus on efficiency and minimalism contributed so much to the success of Japanese industry after WW2. The one which took the ideo of non-violence, and, realising that Japan's military class would not be deflected from war, created a cult of military honor in which it was wrong to kill women and children.

    Not the wacky California fake Zen, the real thing (which can be hard work). Greed is contrary to Zen. Lies are contrary to Zen. Superstition is contrary to Zen. Personal truth and integrity, and the search for direct perception of the core of things - that's Zen.

    I would also add the Episcopalians, the Reform Jews, the Sufis, the Quakers and the Unitarians, all of which have a history of attracting very intelligent people, but Zen was the first.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 15, 2008 @12:02PM (#22759760)
    Sure they have, and they continue to do so. The attack on science is just one obvious, current, relevant, example. Scientology is silly, to be sure, but the damage it does to humanity pales in comparison to Islam and Christianity. The AIDS in Africa/condom fiasco is yet another example. I know, various Christian groups have differing views, etc., but as long as they all choose to self-identify under the same banner, I'll choose to think of them as a cohesive group. The nastier folk in that community are sheltered by the nicer folk for this reason - see Sam Harris:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sam_Harris_(author)#Moderation [wikipedia.org]
  • by big_paul76 (1123489) on Saturday March 15, 2008 @12:26PM (#22759864)
    You been reading C.S. Lewis' "Mere Christianity"?

    The reason I ask is, 'cause you kinda make a similar argument.

    "I'm not so sure about that. Without God, you must explain moral codes in practical terms. The most basic (lie, cheat, steal)are easy enough. Some of the less obviously explained moral codes are both very important and not easy to explain the practicality thereof. (Envy, gluttony, etc.)"


    C'mon, this one's a no-brainer. Take the seven deadly sins for example.

    Every single one of them, you're probably better off not doing.

    So there's an "evolutionary advantage" to behaving a certain way. Those individuals who behave "ethically" generally have an advantage over those who don't. Now some of those situations are debatable, like, for example, in the short term, if we're in the middle of a famine, there's an (at least in the short-term) advantage to me if I steal your dinner.

    However, a community/population/tribe that behaves "ethically" has an ENORMOUS advantage over a tribe of sociopathic anarchists (for example). So those tribes that behave in a way that we'd call ethically, when they go to war with that hypothetical tribe of sociopathic anarchists they kick ass and take wallets.

    Nothing mysterious here, just natural selection/evolution. There's no reason to assume that religion is necessary for a society to develop an ethical code.

    "Humans are not fundamentally morally superior now as compared to 5,000 years ago. The only thing that has provably changed in that time is the societal indoctrination methods, and churches are the majority of those methods."


    Hold the train there, we might be "morally superior" to our ancestors from 3,000 years ago when armies would invade and slaughter entire populations (although I suspect that the residents of Dresden or Hiroshima or Fallujah might argue with you on that claim), how 'bout comparing ourselves to our pre-agriculture ancestors?

    Pre-agriculture societies generally tend to have values more similar to what we'd call today "democratic values" like equality and freedom and all that good stuff. Plus, they generally won't do things like let someone die for lack of medical care if somebody lacks funds the way we will today.

    I guess what I'm saying is, given the history of the 20th century, when 100 million humans were killed by other humans, (about 60% of them civilians to boot) you're on very shaky ground to assume that humans in our current form are "morally superior" to anything.
  • Re:IRL raids (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Saturday March 15, 2008 @01:12PM (#22760074) Journal

    Without God, you must explain moral codes in practical terms.

    No, you don't. You can easily have moral dogma without religious dogma. Didn't your parents ever tell you to do something "Because I said so!"

    At a certain point, you do, because the person will outgrow "what Momma said", but people can also outgrow "what God said." So you'll need to understand in practical terms, anyway.

    The most basic (lie, cheat, steal)are easy enough. Some of the less obviously explained moral codes are both very important and not easy to explain the practicality thereof. (Envy, gluttony, etc.)

    Envy and gluttony are easier to explain, I think, than lying, cheating, and stealing. Envy is just going to make you unhappy, or cause you to do something stupid, especially in the case of a woman, where there are plenty of women you could chase who aren't already in a relationship.

    Gluttony is even easier -- if you are a glutton, you'll become fat, and you probably don't want to be fat -- if only out of vanity.

    But what about lying? Or cheating? The only way this can work is if you can make a case for the Golden Rule, which is tricky. Since you seem to be talking about indoctrinating children, they're not going to get empathy until about age six or so.

    And stealing only works because of the possibility of jail time -- again, without the Golden Rule.

    Much less obvious is the long term benefit to society when everyone obeys these rules. Both explaining the full logic of why that is so, and getting the student to accept your and societie's experience is a damn near impossible task with an empty slate of a child or a hormone-driven teenager.

    Not at all. My parents did that to me, both as a child and as a teenager, and I turned out alright.

    Now, they did start with saying it's "bad", but no connection was ever made with religion. The only things that they told me to do because God told me to were religious things -- my Bar-Mitzvah, for instance -- and even then, an alternate explanation was ready (tradition) in case I questioned the religion.

    But seriously, even explaining the consequences to society is absurdly easy. "What if everyone littered?" And if they don't listen to you about that, they won't listen to you about God, either.

    Religion is a way of passing down millennia of hard-learned lessons in a way that leaves no room for argument.

    And considering how some of these lessons are no longer relevant -- and, indeed, some of them have been dropped completely -- I still don't see it.

    One example: Pork is not kosher, perhaps because of certain -- worms, I think? -- which used to be a real problem. In the modern world, we can keep most of our food reasonably clean, so I see no reason to continue that tradition. But the problem is, since the only reason we got was "God said so," we don't really know if that was the reason -- so the only way to preserve that knowledge is to also preserve the ignorance ("The world is flat! ...Ok, it's round, but it's the center of the universe!") because, after all, who are you to decide what part of what God teaches is false?

    And that's another problem with religion -- why not just pass down the lesson with the reason? After all, if you say "Do as I say because God said so, and no arguing," you've lost as soon as the person decides to argue -- which means that those who leave religion are almost certainly going to lose a few of those lessons.

  • by dfenstrate (202098) <dfenstrate@@@gmail...com> on Saturday March 15, 2008 @01:14PM (#22760080)
    Hold the train there, we might be "morally superior" to our ancestors from 3,000 years ago when armies would invade and slaughter entire populations (although I suspect that the residents of Dresden or Hiroshima or Fallujah might argue with you on that claim), how 'bout comparing ourselves to our pre-agriculture ancestors?

    Our current morally superiority is not inherent in our biology, it is the product of our traditions and cultures that have been honed in the past millenia.

    I think you missed or misinterpreted the 'inherent' part of my statement. Let me rephrase it: Our biological brain structures today do not lend themselves to a higher morality than the brains of our ancestors 3,000 years ago.

    Further, when you're comparing ourselves to our pre-agriculture ancenstors, you're just making things up, or parroting things other folks made up. The history of pre-agriculture societies is little more than our best guess on the meaning of cave drawings, arrowheads, and wishful luddite thinking about 'noble savages' we've found in north america and africa. The only reliable history we have about pre-agriculture societies comes from our advanced mercantile forbears running into them, and at best, learning their language, learning their oral history, and hoping it vaugely resembles something that actually happened when they finally wrote it down in books you probably haven't actually studied. Zinn's 'A people's history' doesn't count- there are first hand sources that can be found, because western civ has actually kept records for hundreds of years.

    I guess what I'm saying is, given the history of the 20th century, when 100 million humans were killed by other humans, (about 60% of them civilians to boot) you're on very shaky ground to assume that humans in our current form are "morally superior" to anything.

    The world is not one culture, so it's nonsensical to say we (the world) are morally superior to civilizations 3,000 years ago, because there are societies that exist today that have learned, collectively, nothing in the past 3,000 years.

    Further, when comparing the various morality different societies produce, it makes sense to compare them to the REAL alternatives, not to some utopian society no one has ever seen but you somehow imagine you could produce, should everyone listen to you.
  • by smolloy (1250188) on Saturday March 15, 2008 @01:15PM (#22760090)
    IRA violence is political, not religious. That they call themselves "Catholics" is neither here nor there. I bet, if you were to ask the nutjobs who planted that bomb, they would claim to have done it for political/nationalistic reasons. Not religious. Yours is a good example of the evils of extremism, but a bad example of extremist religion.
  • by patio11 (857072) on Saturday March 15, 2008 @01:32PM (#22760178)
    * Largest hospital system in the country, accounting for over 20% of visits in 20 states. 5.4 million patients, 100 million visits (15 million of them emergency room). Includes some amusing trivia like "treats more AIDS patients in NYC than anyone else"
    * Largest non-governmental primary/secondary education provider in country. Educates about 2.5 million students (including about 320k non-Catholic kids), many of them poor or otherwise disadvantaged. Routinely outperforms local public schools, but subsidized almost entirely from those donors, not from the public purse.
    * 9th largest charity in country is closely affiliated
    * Second largest donor to Hurricane Katrina relief efforts, after government.
    * Various other accomplishments which you could fill a book with. Universities, museums, immigrant rights lawyering, food banks, conservation programs, urban renewal, subsidized housing, child care, adoption, foster homes, yadda yadda yadda.

    That's just the Catholic Church. Yeah, some of the property the Church owns is worth gazillions because it was cheap to buy stuff in downtown Chicago over a hundred years ago. And the Church certainly isn't immune to mismanaging money. But would you really want to spite them just to win a few points against Scientology? And, non-trivial question, if you successfully caused the donations to the Catholic Church to drop like a rock, are you willing to pay to educate those kids, patch up those patients, and feed those hungry? Because all of them are going to end up backstopped by public assistance, and the bill for that goes to you, not to me.
  • by sentientbrendan (316150) on Saturday March 15, 2008 @02:07PM (#22760344)
    >Churches, God, and Sin are ways of imposing codes of behavior that have
    >been show to be successful over several millennia. The concepts of
    >'God' and 'Sin' are necessary to impose these codes of behavior

    The truth is that religion and morality have nothing to do with one another and never have. If they did, this would be a very different world considering how common religion is, and how uncommon morality is. Religions give lip service to morality, but the truth is it never goes any further than that.

    If you consider most of the violence that's going on in the world right now, it is led by religious men preaching that murder and mayhem are good things. You can say that they don't represent the "true meaning" of their religion, or that their religion is different than your religion, but they are representative of how religion is practiced in the real world.

    It's easy to be a saint in a rich country with police that *enforce* the law, when you don't really have a choice, and in those places you often see holy men positioning themselves as defending public morality (although what they consider public morality is often ridiculous). In regions of the world that are chaotic on the other hand, holy men are always the first to rally a mob and start some violence.

    This is true of Islam, and of Christianity. No one who has studied any European history could claim that Christianity has promoted morality, or that it has ever been about anything more than power.

    The true source of morality is reason, and the true source of public order is the law and the police force to enforce it. Without those two things, everything goes lord of the flies pretty quickly, whatever your religion is.
  • Re:IRL raids (Score:-1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 15, 2008 @02:11PM (#22760362)
    I'd hate to get modded down for this, but, please explain why it would not be cool to protest Christianity.

    I consider it to be a grand tale that's been blown way out of proportion and has little basis in reality. Why is this wrong to think? Or to protest with?

    That being wrong seems to go against any sensible view of free speech...
  • Re:IRL raids (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Planesdragon (210349) <slashdot&castlesteelstone,us> on Saturday March 15, 2008 @02:12PM (#22760370) Homepage Journal

    Please give me a list of the really "smart" ones, the ones based on truth and integrity, rather than lies, superstition and greed.
    Christianity, Bhuddism, Judaism, Islam, Wicca, Shinto...

    Very few religions are based on "lies". Many may be based on "falsehoods", but that's something else entirely.

    You'll note that I did not include "atheism" in that list, not because it's not a religion, but because it is based on neither truth nor integrity, but rather arrogance and rebellishness.
  • by smolloy (1250188) on Saturday March 15, 2008 @02:30PM (#22760442)
    Whilst it's true that nutjub violence is often justified by religion and politics, this isn't the case for the IRA. Their particular brand of hate has only ever been justified by politics. I've never heard a "justification" for their violence based on Catholic dogma, and I lived in N.I. for the first 20 years of my life.
  • Re:IRL raids (Score:3, Insightful)

    by UncleTogie (1004853) * on Saturday March 15, 2008 @02:51PM (#22760560) Homepage Journal

    Suffering will exist with or without religion.

    M'personal spiritual beliefs compel me to try to ease some of that for those around me, while acknowledging that I can't save the world from suffering. No control freaks needed.

    "Religion" does NOT have to be a power-mongering scam....

  • Re:Yay! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by utopianfiat (774016) on Saturday March 15, 2008 @04:07PM (#22760994) Journal
    I understand where you're coming from but my complaint is against something deeper. It's like someone committing acts in the name of "x" and everyone immediately assuming that anyone who believes in "x" is a dangerous terrorist. Yeah, a bunch of douches calling themselves anonymous have done stupid shit (mostly prank phone calls and hacking photobuckets. OH NOES!), but calling "Anonymous" a terrorist group is basically saying that anyone who wants privacy must be a mass-murderer. It's idiotic.

My idea of roughing it turning the air conditioner too low.

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