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Scientology Tries To Block German Documentary 565

Posted by timothy
from the piece-of-blue-sky dept.
eldavojohn writes "The Guardian is reporting on the strained relationship that Scientology is having with the German government and the airing of a pesky documentary on Southwest Broadcasting. Until Nothing Remains, a $2.3 million documentary, is slotted to air on German television at the end of this month. It recounts the true story of Heiner von Rönn and his family's suffering when he tried to leave the Church of Scientology. A Scientology spokesperson called the film false and intolerant and also said they are investigating legal means to stop the film from being aired. More details on the film can be gleaned here."
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Scientology Tries To Block German Documentary

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  • Thank you! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RuBLed (995686) on Monday March 15, 2010 @05:12AM (#31479400)
    Now I am interested in that film...
  • Re:Rights? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rvw (755107) on Monday March 15, 2010 @05:13AM (#31479406)

    Regardless, Scientology is prohibited in Germany; So I doubt they will have much of a case for the german courts.

    This is like the Streisand effect - it will only generate publicity. So thank you Scientology for making me aware of this documentary.

  • Re:Rights? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ahaubold (1705608) on Monday March 15, 2010 @05:19AM (#31479432) Homepage
    An organization as dangerous as Scientology must not be given a chance to prevent education. The are banned for a reason. I hope the courts will just laugh at them and send their lawyers home. And now i'd really like to see that movie.
  • Re:A point to note (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bloobloo (957543) on Monday March 15, 2010 @05:22AM (#31479446) Homepage

    In Germany it is seen as a totalitarian anti-democratic organization

    If only somebody in Germany had the guts to say the same thing about Catholicism, or for that matter Islam.

    They did, [wikipedia.org] 500 years ago, and it led to the Reformation.

  • Re:A point to note (Score:1, Insightful)

    by TheKidWho (705796) on Monday March 15, 2010 @05:23AM (#31479450)

    You atheists seem to be a very hostile and angry group yourselves!

    What ever happened to "live and let live"?

  • Irony of ironies. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 15, 2010 @05:23AM (#31479452)

    Now that Scientology has spoken up and tried to ban this film, I guarantee you, there will be a much larger crowd turning up to see it than would otherwise have been the case. A direct consequence of this will be a greater interest in the issues surrounding Scientology, and therefore - one hopes - a greater upswell against the cult.

    Thank you, Scientology. You have helped to sow some of the seeds of your destruction. (I hope, anyway ... it's one of the things that gives me warm fuzzy feelings of hope.)

  • Re:Rights? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bickerdyke (670000) on Monday March 15, 2010 @05:27AM (#31479484)

    There are, but there are also laws to protect people (and organizations) from libel and untrue reporting.

    In short: if you don't claim something is a fact but only your opinion, you're pretty much free to say anything. If you claim sonething is a fact, and the subject of the fact doesn't like it, court might ask you to proove that you double-checked your "facts" first.

    This news is nothing special. You're almost expected to go that route if you hear about bad news are to be published (and you employ a lawyer...) but considering the standard of journalism in public tv, scientology hasn't much of a chance to pull that documentary off the air.

  • Re:A point to note (Score:5, Insightful)

    by clarkkent09 (1104833) * on Monday March 15, 2010 @05:29AM (#31479500)
    What ever happened to "live and let live"?

    No atheist is stopping religious people from living. Check the history of all major religions and you will find out that religious people quite often did stop atheists from living, and in quite imaginative ways too. I am just giving my opinion, feel free to give yours and stop playing the "hurt feelings" card you big baby.
  • Re:A point to note (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PeterBrett (780946) on Monday March 15, 2010 @05:30AM (#31479502) Homepage

    In Germany it is seen as a totalitarian anti-democratic organization

    If only somebody in Germany had the guts to say the same thing about Catholicism, or for that matter Islam.

    The thing is, though, that they aren't. If you're a Catholic, no-one's going to try and make your life a living hell if you want to stop coming to church. People say horrible and untrue thing about Catholics and the Catholic Church all the time, but they don't try and abuse the legal system to stop them, because they recognise the importance of freedom of speech. You can get all of the advantages and privileges of being a member of the Catholic Church for free just by turning up; you don't have to pay to access any of its teachings.

    To describe Catholicism as a "totalitarian anti-democratic organisation" and thereby making a direct comparison to Scientology is simply doing your own intelligence and critical thinking skills a disservice.

  • by Ihlosi (895663) on Monday March 15, 2010 @05:32AM (#31479516)
    ... "Streisandeffect". Please.
  • meta-comment (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 15, 2010 @05:32AM (#31479520)
    I would like to see a graph of the distribution of postings by "Anonymous Coward" in the comments for Scientology-related versus non-Scientology-related stories.
  • by flyingfsck (986395) on Monday March 15, 2010 @05:45AM (#31479590)

    Is it a business, a scam, a religion, or a paedophile network?

    I'd say all of the above...

  • Re:A point to note (Score:2, Insightful)

    by dylan_- (1661) on Monday March 15, 2010 @05:50AM (#31479622) Homepage

    Check the history of all major religions and you will find out that religious people quite often did stop atheists from living, and in quite imaginative ways too.

    Check the history of Atheism and you'll read about Stalin's Purges. Millions were killed in his attempt to build an Atheist society.

  • Re:A point to note (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mrsurb (1484303) on Monday March 15, 2010 @05:52AM (#31479632)

    Not to defend the history of religious oppression, but atheistic Leninist Russia [wikipedia.org] had quite a habit of stopping religious people living, as does Communist [wikipedia.org] China [wikipedia.org]

    The persecution of minorities is a feature of all totalitarian ideologies, religious or otherwise.

  • Re:A point to note (Score:4, Insightful)

    by loutr (626763) on Monday March 15, 2010 @05:57AM (#31479658)

    Are you saying that catholicism should be forbidden because of what happened centuries ago ? Next you'll tell me I should be apologizing to every black person I come across for slavery...

    I don't agree with most of the Catholic church views, and it certainly has major flaws, but *nowadays* the leaders of this religion are not motivated by greed and power (if they are, they're doing a very lousy job at it). Scientology obviously is.

  • Two words (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Eggplant62 (120514) on Monday March 15, 2010 @06:01AM (#31479684)

    Fuck Scientology. I've never seen a larger collection of assholes ever.

  • Re:A point to note (Score:3, Insightful)

    by couchslug (175151) on Monday March 15, 2010 @06:02AM (#31479694)

    Wiping out religion is only bad if one is religious.

  • Re:A point to note (Score:5, Insightful)

    by obarthelemy (160321) on Monday March 15, 2010 @06:03AM (#31479702)

    Please do provide us with examples of democracy at work within the church. Or do you mean that though internally anti-democratic the church respects the democracies which harbour it so much that it would never try and avoid secular law via non-reporting of crimes, influence elections from the pulpit, lobby elected officials and the press... ?

    Regarding freedom of speech (from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of_speech_versus_blasphemy [wikipedia.org]): "In 2005 Marithé and François Girbaud's parodied Leonardo's religious painting The Last Supper in a publicity poster. The Catholic Church initiated a lawsuit against the Girbauds, sparking concerns regarding freedom of expression and blasphemy.", for example. There are plenty.

    As far as it still being a scientology-like racket, it clearly was in the middle ages and afterwards. Recent info is hard to come by, though the Banco Ambrosiano thingy hints at juicy stuff. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banco_Ambrosiano).

    The catholic church feels to me like a successful sect, no more, no less, no better.

  • Re:A point to note (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Tom (822) on Monday March 15, 2010 @06:03AM (#31479704) Homepage Journal

    People say horrible and untrue thing about Catholics and the Catholic Church all the time, but they don't try and abuse the legal system to stop them, because they recognise the importance of freedom of speech.

    Uh, what?

    The catholic church isn't very keen on any freedoms, and freedom of speech doesn't rank highly on their value-list. However, ever since burning people at the stake has become unpopular, they've largely abstained from the crap. The other reason they don't use courts very often is that they have a massive dislike for accepting that someone else might have power they don't. For their generally take on the legal system, just look at the ultimatum(!) that a catholic bishop put to the ministry of justice in Germany a few weeks ago when it came to child abuse issues within the catholic church.

    I don't know of many other institutions that attempt to bully a national government, you know?

  • Re:A point to note (Score:5, Insightful)

    by clarkkent09 (1104833) * on Monday March 15, 2010 @06:04AM (#31479710)
    Correction, millions were killed in his attempt to build a Communist society. Religion was an incidental thing in Communist ideology that barely gets a mention in the Communist Manifesto, except as one of the many things to get rid of as the new society is built. Orthodox Church in Russia was diminished by Stalin and many priests killed as part of a struggle for power between rival totalitarian ideologies. In other words, Stalin may have been an atheist but that doesn't mean he killed in the name of atheism. Big difference.
  • Re:A point to note (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hurricane78 (562437) <deletedNO@SPAMslashdot.org> on Monday March 15, 2010 @06:12AM (#31479750)

    Germany doesn't know yet what Scientology is, a business, a religion or a cult.

    Same thing!! A cult is a business that makes money and gains power from people with a small schizophrenic delusion that partially detaches their inner model from reality. And a church is just a cult that’s officially accepted by the powers that be (e.g. Government). Which happens, as soon as they catch themselves enough politicians.

    Organizations like these are by definition immoral, since they exploit people who need help. And control their lives with nasty social engineering. There is no good about it...

  • by FreeUser (11483) on Monday March 15, 2010 @06:15AM (#31479764)

    What ever happened to "live and let live"?

    "Live and let live" went out the window when the religious right took over US politics, systematically intimidated (and even murdered) doctors for providing reproductive healthcare to women, and organized to force their toxic agenda down the rest of our throats, whether or not we believe in their sky fairy.

    You are no longer entitled to "live and let live" from the rest of us. If you ever want it back, you'll have to learn to behave yourselves, and prove your benign intentions toward the rest of society, probably over a span of time at least equal to the last several decades of your sustained attack on that society, as you've systematically dismantled separation of church and state, not to mention most of our other fundamental rights.

    Athiests aren't the only ones angry. There are plenty of angry Buddhists, Daoists, Hindus, Muslims, Wiccans, Agnostics, and non-right-wing Christians who are fed up with this, and if the christian right doesn't like it, they need to take a good hard look in the mirror, because they have only themselves and their own excesses to blame.

    As for anger and vitriol in general, Athiests may be fed up, and enjoy using their intellects to rhetorically debunk and expose stupid beliefs, which no doubt makes the religious feel foolish and persecuted (but then, the religious often feel persecuted if someone nearby doesn't share their exact belief system), but that is nothing compared to the hatred and bigotry the rest of us experience from the religious right. Compared to them, Athiests are positively touchy-feely mother-earth all-is-good accepting.

    Indeed, to hear christians accuse Athiests of "being angry" brings to mind pots, kettles, and the color black (except that the rest of us more resemble a tupperware container than a kettle, in that we're more transparent, and less angry, than the extreme right. Though why that's so, after so many decades of abuse from that quarter, is beyond me. Perhaps because those of us with a secular bent have proven to be far more longsuffering than our religiously frenzied co-citizens).

  • Re:A point to note (Score:2, Insightful)

    by dylan_- (1661) on Monday March 15, 2010 @06:20AM (#31479786) Homepage

    In other words, Stalin may have been an atheist but that doesn't mean he killed in the name of atheism.

    Yes, he did. He wanted to destroy religion in the Soviet Union and build an Atheist society. Nitpicking about the cause when you're quite happy to ignore historical context for religious abuses of power suggests a double standard on your part.

    What the Communist Manifesto mentions is irrelevant: Stalin hardly followed it to the letter.

  • Re:A point to note (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Antique Geekmeister (740220) on Monday March 15, 2010 @06:23AM (#31479818)

    > I don't know of many other institutions that attempt to bully a national government, you know?

    I take it you're not a member of a union?

  • Re:A point to note (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Antique Geekmeister (740220) on Monday March 15, 2010 @06:32AM (#31479874)

    Cults need not be profitable. Take a look at the history of Charlie Manson and his cult. And no, here are some differences between cults and religions. These include the cult tendency to focus around a single, charismatic leader whose word is absolute law, and their tendency to conceal their genuine inner beliefs in layers that each must be struggled through by new initiates, and each is further divorced from the beliefs taught at the outer layers. This is part of what helps separate the cult inner core from the outer world, and helps bind them together among others who have learned to share those new increasingly bizarre core beliefs.

    It's not uncommon: there have been a _lot_ of cults in history. There used to be a pretty good organization for publishing information about cults and helping people get the facts and support from former members, called "Cult Awareness Network", but they got sued to bankruptcy and their assets taken over by Scientology, so now they're a pro-cult organization.

  • Re:A point to note (Score:5, Insightful)

    by KiloByte (825081) on Monday March 15, 2010 @06:33AM (#31479884)

    Communism and its variant Juche are 100% religions in everything but name. They have their rituals, clergy, scripture. They fight infidels and are highly proselytic. You have portraits of the Prophets everywhere. There are holy sites, and sometimes pilgrimages (like to Lenin's corpse). And I really can't notice a modicum of difference between 1st May processions we used to have in Poland and catholic Corpus Christi ones we have now.

    It's quite strange that Juche tends to be quite often named a religion, yet the Soviet and Chinese versions are not.

  • Re:A point to note (Score:5, Insightful)

    by clarkkent09 (1104833) * on Monday March 15, 2010 @06:42AM (#31479936)
    ...Nitpicking about the cause...

    But the cause is exactly what we are talking about. There are about 18,000 homicides annually in the USA. I'm sure there are some where the murderer happened to be an atheist and the victim was religious or vice versa. But those are not relevant to our discussion because their beliefs had nothing to do with the cause of the murder. Stalin sent thousands to gulags or to firing squads, not because of what they believed about God (after all, surely he killed just as many if not more atheists than religious people) but because he perceived them as a threat to his power. This is quite different from say religious laws in Islamic countries today, and Christian countries in the past, which have, for example, a death penalty for things like blasphemy, apostasy etc because those penalties are proscribed very clearly in the Bible and the Koran and are an integral part of their religion.
  • Re:A point to note (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rogerborg (306625) on Monday March 15, 2010 @06:44AM (#31479952) Homepage
    He also purged homosexuals, intellectuals, scientists, entrepreneurs, communists, anti-communists, foreigners, foreign-sympathises, oh, and other atheists. If you want to obsess over one minor part of the purges, that speaks more to your agenda than Stalin's.
  • Re:A point to note (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ThaReetLad (538112) <sneaky@blueRABBI ... minus herbivore> on Monday March 15, 2010 @06:46AM (#31479968) Journal

    Well you start by confiscating children of believers, in the name of preventing "brainwashing", move on to imprisoning believers for "anti-revolutionary activities", and then start killing millions. You might also set up state approved alternatives that gradually remove spiritual elements. You also mandate "atheism lessons" for all school children.

    It's what the USSR, PRC, and DPRK did.

  • Re:"Defamatory" (Score:3, Insightful)

    by WegianWarrior (649800) on Monday March 15, 2010 @06:53AM (#31480014) Journal

    Network denies that Until Nothing Remains depicts group as totalitarian and unethical

    Why would they need to deny that? It's a documentary, that's the point.

    The point of a properly done documentary is to show the facts so the viewers can come to their own conclusion - some things are obvious enought that they don't need to be pointed to with huge neon signs, nor be spoon feed to the audience.

    The simple fact that the CoS is trying to stop a documentary that don't show them in a flattering light is enought to tell most potential viewers that the CoS has something to hide. One can only hope that the CoS try to use some of their common [wikipedia.org] - but illegal - ways to try to battle the film, so the German courts can hand their ass to them on a platter, declare the "church" to be a criminal organisation and throw them out of the country.

    A "churc" that requires legal waivers [wikipedia.org] to be signed before taking part in their services are - to say the least - bizarre, and likely up to no good (even if the induviduals takeing part may not be up to any evil per see). In many ways the CoS operates as a secret society, where the members have to swear not to reveal what they learn to the people below them in the ranks... in some secret societies (such as Freemasons) this is to prevent the experience of going up in the system to be diluted, but in the case of the CoS it's because the 'truths' revealed are so retarted and childish that no one would believe them unless they were allready brainwashed to some degree and had a lot of time and money sunk into the organisaton allready.

  • by miffo.swe (547642) <daniel DOT hedblom AT gmail DOT com> on Monday March 15, 2010 @06:53AM (#31480016) Homepage Journal

    I feel most sorry for the mislead idiots doing the dirty work for Scientology higher ups. They dont know they are following a Scifi novel, a pretty lame one sadly. Written by an utter bastard that once said, "If you want to make a little money, write a book. If you want to make a lot of money, create a religion."

    He did...

  • Re:A point to note (Score:5, Insightful)

    by VShael (62735) on Monday March 15, 2010 @06:54AM (#31480026) Journal

    You atheists seem to be a very hostile and angry group yourselves!

    Really?
    When is the last time you saw an atheist fly a plane into a sky scraper? Or shoot a doctor dead, because some invisible man in the sky didn't like the LEGAL work the doctor was doing? Have any ministers, reverends or priests (even the PEDO ones) been assaulted by bands of roving atheists? Are atheist groups campaigning en masse to deny rights to homosexuals and legislate bigotry?

    I seem to recall something in one of those holy books that said "take the log out of your own eye, before you attempt to remove the speck from your brothers eye"

  • Re:A point to note (Score:1, Insightful)

    by juasko (1720212) on Monday March 15, 2010 @06:59AM (#31480052)

    No atheist is stopping religious people from living.

    So you mean Mao, Stalin and Lenin are good examples of how we should treat each other.

  • Re:A point to note (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pmontra (738736) on Monday March 15, 2010 @06:59AM (#31480054) Homepage
    The Orthodox Church had (and still has) its own chain of command and its own agenda. Both could be in contrast with the agenda of Stalin. Every dictator attempted to control religion since the beginning of the world. You can see that happening today in many parts of the world. My take is that the real reason Stalin killed priests was not religion or communism but because they were part of a possibly competing organization. Atheism was just a convenient excuse to justify the killings and the deportations and I see that many people are still buying it. Stalin did its best to kill off every competitor starting from inside its own party and yes, I think he cared much more about himself than about communism. Even communism was for him a convenient excuse to rule a country on his own.
  • Re:A point to note (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Opportunist (166417) on Monday March 15, 2010 @07:06AM (#31480084)

    And no, here are some differences between cults and religions.

    True. A religion is a cult that is tax exempt.

  • Re:Rights? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by bjwest (14070) on Monday March 15, 2010 @07:10AM (#31480100)

    Why would you pay a tax on something that is an inherent right.

    Since when is TV is an inherent right anywhere in the world? Why would TV even be an inherent right?

  • Re:A point to note (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dylan_- (1661) on Monday March 15, 2010 @07:13AM (#31480126) Homepage

    You could well be right. My point wasn't to suggest that somehow atheism was bound to result in mass murder, it was to say that a simplistic reading of history that condemns religion for the past, can also condemn...well, just about any group, including atheists.

    There seems to be little consideration that the religious abuses of the past were more political than anything else. Though they do emphasize why mixing religion and politics is such a terrible idea: politics corrupts religion ;-)

  • Re:Rights? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FuckingNickName (1362625) on Monday March 15, 2010 @07:22AM (#31480160) Journal

    As a citizen of Europe, I'm going to have to point out passionately how full of neutering all such "Constitutions" are.

    For example, in Germany I cannot freely:

    - State that only 1,000,000 Jews died in the Holocaust: utter bullshit, but if the above clause has any effect, I must be allowed to do this, lest the principle leading to the exception is used to restrict me from legitimate review and criticism of policy based on established scholarship;

    - Parade with swastikas: fairly stupid, but if the above clause has any effect, I must be allowed to do this, lest I am restricted from parodying a government going where it's gone before ("we're not like Nazis - we ban the swastika!").

    Also, such exceptions inevitably ride the slippery slope to encompass the restriction of far more freedoms [wsws.org]. I'm sure the CoS will explain why their detractors are "like Nazis" oppressing religious freedom, their speech thus outlawed - enjoy that hurdle.

  • Re:Rights? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by smurfsurf (892933) on Monday March 15, 2010 @07:23AM (#31480172)

    No, not stretchable at all. A legal entity cannot have personal honour. This is limited to natural persons.
    A major difference to the US , which seems to be on the verge of granting corporations citizenship.

  • Re:Rights? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Jurily (900488) <jurily@gm a i l.com> on Monday March 15, 2010 @07:30AM (#31480204)

    Any organization must not be given a chance to prevent education.

  • Re:A point to note (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 15, 2010 @07:35AM (#31480234)

    Thank you for being predictable. I was starting to wonder when the "religion is a cult" post would come up. Never mind that the cult copyrights its secret texts and demands money for them, while religions' holy literature is freely available. Never mind that the cult breaks the law willy-nilly. Never mind Fair Game and the Protocol involving a gun. One could go on...

    By equating a religion and a cult, you're actually doing Co$ a favor. One man's modus ponens is another man's modus tollens: "if religions are cults, then cults are religions, so maybe there's nothing wrong with them after all".

  • Re:Rights? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by cbope (130292) on Monday March 15, 2010 @07:44AM (#31480284)

    Good idea, but if I remember correctly, Scientology doesn't like to talk about itself to the general public. Followers tend to be fairly secretive. Any time someone tries to talk about the "church" to the general public, that person is painted as a liar and worse by this so-called church.

    Scientology does not like public scrutiny of any kind. As far as I'm concerned it is no more than a cult.

  • Re:A point to note (Score:5, Insightful)

    by roman_mir (125474) on Monday March 15, 2010 @07:44AM (#31480290) Homepage Journal

    Lenin was a true atheist, Stalin... I don't know. But their motivations were a bit different than just 'stopping the religious from living'.

    They did not stop religious Muslims from living, they were going after Jews, but not for religion purposes, they just needed a distraction, and Jews were always a good one.

    The main point was to get rid of the Orthodox symbols and rituals because that was the religion of the Tsarist Russia. They needed to get rid of the 'old' and it also was a good way to get rid of the competition.

    With Lenin this was not as obvious as with Stalin, he really saw religion as competition to the new religion, the Communist Party with Stalin [bosonogoe.ru] being the leading character [bosonogoe.ru], Christ or something to that order [bosonogoe.ru].

    Consider that old churches were turned into vegetable stores and morgues and that Party had very strong symbols of its own, the colors [segodnya.ua], the sermons (ceremonies of the party [rszodergava.ru] meetings on TV, so called 'plenums'), the insignia [bosonogoe.ru], the icons (Mother Russia [visualrian.ru], voloneters [davno.ru]).

    This was not a society of atheists, this was something else.

  • Re:Rights? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jameson (54982) on Monday March 15, 2010 @07:54AM (#31480352) Homepage

    Person <> organisation. Very, very, very important.

  • Re:A point to note (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Dunbal (464142) * on Monday March 15, 2010 @07:55AM (#31480364)

    Hmm, what's that? You don't see anything wrong [cnn.com] in the Catholic church?

          An institution that used to torture people and burn them at the stake in order to "save" their souls, that used to preach its agenda in Latin (which no one understood) until less than a century ago. It teaches that everything bad that happens to you is YOUR FAULT, for which you should seek confession to accept forgiveness AND is also part of God's "plan" and therefore you should just shut up and accept it. Catholicism teaches people that they should do NOTHING (except, of course, pay the tithe), that God will do everything for them.

          While this is better than Islam, which teaches people that they should rise up and kill the infidel, Catholicism destroys the human mind.

  • Re:Rights? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mattcasters (67972) on Monday March 15, 2010 @08:00AM (#31480390) Homepage

    According to the law of my country (Belgium) and Germany, Scientology is not a religion.
    In order for anyone to expose that they are not a religion, you do indeed need dissenters, not die hard fans.

    I think you owe the people in Germany an apology for that last comment you made but hey, it's your karma (and I don't mean /. karma).

  • Re:A point to note (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 15, 2010 @08:01AM (#31480392)

    The catholic church isn't very keen on any freedoms, and freedom of speech doesn't rank highly on their value-list.

    Really? Free speech is the corner stone and necessary for spreading the Gospel to the unfaithful-yet-to-be-faithful. It's a lot safer and easier to preach about Catholicism when the country you are in has free speech laws than in one that does not.

    Moreover, last time anyone uttered any criticisms against the Catholic Church didn't wake up with a severed horse head in their bed, have their tongue cut out or have their lives turned upside down.

    I'm not saying the Church isn't somewhat hypocritical in certain aspects but saying the don't value free speech is not very factual and since they don't burn people at the stake any more for heresy then I'd say that's a pretty good move towards valuing and allowing free speech.

  • Re:Rights? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by donaggie03 (769758) <d_osmeyerNO@SPAMhotmail.com> on Monday March 15, 2010 @08:09AM (#31480426)
    It looks like you have a case of selective reading. The GP discussed how one TV station is funded by public money and thus isn't scared of programming like this. That hardly proves that they have "blind faith" in anything. It definitely doesn't mean these people have a blind faith in government! Why? For the same reason your other point is bunk. Government run media outlet? The GP specifically said that this station answers to "nobody not even the government." Maybe if you had taken the time to disprove his assertion that this station is free from government control, your second point would stand. Either way, your first point is just stupid.
  • Re:A point to note (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 15, 2010 @08:14AM (#31480448)

    GP is marked a troll for no reason.

    Marx mentioned Catholicism as the opium for the people, it is incidentally a famous quote; he could only understand religion as a means to distribute an ideology that supported the capitalistic machine. He mentions that specific values (such as virtue or individuality) were created to regulate the ethics of the workforce and conform them to what would be the ideal worker. It has nothing to do with atheism.

    Stalin was developing a society according to interpretations of this ideology.

    He did not kill in the name of atheism, for there is no such thing. Atheism is simply a disagreement with any religion and the existence of a deity as proposed by these. The fact that you're capitalizing atheism illustrates your misconception of this. I, am not a group, nor do I actively associate with any. Certainly there are some holding religious views who seem incapable (and I forgive you, it is very understandable) to understand the very fundamental concept of being an individual with his own frame of reference, ideas and beliefs.

    There is no 'our' part, I happen to be an individual; Stalin didn't build a society for me. Maybe you should let others nitpick if your divine argumentative standards allow you to make such gross overstatements and hold such great misconceptions of those you criticize.

  • Re:A point to note (Score:3, Insightful)

    by the_womble (580291) on Monday March 15, 2010 @08:19AM (#31480472) Homepage Journal

    Please do provide us with examples of democracy at work within the church.

    People are free to leave at will if they disagree.

    The only sanctions taken internally for unorthodox views are withdrawal of offical positions (as a recognised theologian for example - as with Hans Kung).

    Monasteries/convents elect their abbots/mother superiors, and a number of religious orders (such as the Jesuits) elect their heads. The latter include some of the most powerful roles in the Church (such as the Jesuit "Black Pope").

    influence elections from the pulpit, lobby elected officials and the press

    That's called 'freedom of speech'. You are entitled to call air your views, so is the church.

    The Catholic Church initiated a lawsuit against the Girbauds

    Did you see the verifiability note on the article? Citation needed.

    In the Middle Ages it was the norm for feudal societies to be dictatorial - wow, some things have improved since then! On the other hand, the church did a huge amount of good throughout its history from opposing the use of gladiators to playing a part is loosening slavery into feudalism, to preserving intellectual life in the dark ages, to education, to medical services.

    All the stuff people on Slashdot sprout about the Catholic church, and religion in general, sounds rather like listening to Microsoft on Linux: it sounds very convincing unless you actually start checking facts, or have direct experience.

  • Re:Rights? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 15, 2010 @08:24AM (#31480508)

    Also, Scientology is not prohibited in Germany. They're just not a church, so they must pay taxes like every other scam.

  • Re:Rights? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by rundgren (550942) on Monday March 15, 2010 @08:26AM (#31480522) Homepage

    The problem here is that many public networks shy away from these documentaries BECAUSE of the clout of Scientology. However, ARD is supported by public euros and as such answers to nobody even the government. Many whine about having to pay a TV tax, but I gladly pay my monthly TV tax as it produces documentaries that ask hard hitting questions. Public networks would definitely not support it...

    I am a supporter of free markets and capitalism, but at times we need the government.

    Yes, at times we need the government - but journalism is clearly not a job for the government. Do you think we need a government newspaper, because the normal newspapers are too scared of pissing of corporations or religions? How do you explain away all the good and controversial journalistic work done by privately owned newspapers and TV-stations all over the world? Believe me, there are plenty of good journalists and editors in the private media.

  • Re:Rights? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rundgren (550942) on Monday March 15, 2010 @08:35AM (#31480576) Homepage
    While I agree hinting to the war is unneccessarry, his point is valid: An independent media is absolutely necessary to keep the power of government in check. When government is running the media, a huge conflict of interest exists. This problem is unfortunately not being taken seriously by the people in countries with government-run media (most of Europe, maybe?). It's even worse here in Norway, where the government operated media dominates TV and radio - only in newspapers is there some diversity and even most of those depend on government subsidies.
  • by FroBugg (24957) on Monday March 15, 2010 @08:45AM (#31480658) Homepage

    The problem is Scientology doesn't work the way other religions work, with respect to fanaticism. With Christianity (or Islam, or Judaism, or most traditional religions), you get a fair amount of fanatical individuals. You get the people that shoot doctors providing abortions and you get the suicide bombers.

    As far as I've seen, the fanatics in Scientology are all high up in the organization and are smart enough to at least try and be circumspect about what they do. They're better organized than individuals or small groups. They're slicker and know how to sell their product.

    That's the real problem here. Other religions may inspire some fanatics, but Scientology is run by fanatics.

  • by chord.wav (599850) on Monday March 15, 2010 @08:53AM (#31480728) Journal

    Can someone who knows about legal stuff explain me this?
    How come Scientology can shut everyone that tries to talk about them and we don't see any corporation doing that too? I mean, what gives Scientology the right to do it while denying it to everyone else? Or is it that the corps just choose not to use that right? I don't think that would be the case.
    Think of all the articles talking sh1t about MS, Apple, you name it. If they had the same rights, they would be able to silence every news article talking bad about them.

  • Re:A point to note (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 15, 2010 @08:56AM (#31480760)
    Really? When is the last time you saw, say, a Buddhist, do those things?
  • Re:A point to note (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Assmasher (456699) on Monday March 15, 2010 @08:56AM (#31480764) Journal

    As an agnostic (and ex-Catholic) I'm no defender of the church by any means but asking the other poster for examples of "democracy at work within the church" in an attempt to refute that the Church and Scientology are very different in their treatment of people is patently absurd. I might as well as you to provide us of examples of "democracy at work within a corporation" and then contend that a corporation is as dangerous and abusive as Scientology - which, of course, we know is for the most part incorrect. ;)

  • Re:A point to note (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Pranadevil2k (687232) on Monday March 15, 2010 @08:58AM (#31480774)

    Religion also corrupts politics. Despite the separation of church and state in the US, we still have a very large number of politicians in America that claim God as their inspiration. It's very hard to argue against a religious belief without coming out and saying something that ends your political career, and I would really love to hear how some of George Bush's speeches would've gone if he couldn't mention God in any of them...

  • Re:A point to note (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Solandri (704621) on Monday March 15, 2010 @09:04AM (#31480826)

    If you want to obsess over one minor part of the purges, that speaks more to your agenda than Stalin's.

    OP was responding to GP's statement that "No atheist is stopping religious people from living." OP wasn't the one who limited the debate to purges of religion by atheists, GP was. OP was merely responding within the confines of the debate established by the GP, not promoting his agenda.

  • Re:A point to note (Score:5, Insightful)

    by loutr (626763) on Monday March 15, 2010 @09:15AM (#31480944)

    My great-grand father was a pastor, my grand-mother and mother are protestants, but after going to sunday school and such I've become an atheist when I was a teen (for the reason you cite), and no one pressured me into reconsidering it. IMO the problem is the bigotry of the families you speak of, not that particular religion. BTW, there's "going through hell with your parents" and then there's "being harassed constantly and having your private life thoroughly investigated for dirty secrets to try and get you fired, jailed or institutionalized".

    Speaking of my great-grand father, he was the kindest, most selfless man I've ever known (hid jews during WW2, helped develop a small pacific island, ...). He most certainly never pressured his parishioners into giving him or his church money.

    Anyway, my point was that despite all the crooked priests and bigot followers, mainstream religions are much less greedy and evil than cults like scientology. For example, you can get the bible [biblegateway.com] for free or at a very moderate cost, and without giving out any personal information. Same with the Qur'an [al-quran.info]. Try acquiring scientology "courses" for free or anonymously...

  • Re:A point to note (Score:5, Insightful)

    by VShael (62735) on Monday March 15, 2010 @09:39AM (#31481196) Journal

    Logical fallacy.
    Just because I have the unmitigated gall to point out that atheists aren't suicide bombers, I am clearly in favour of atheist states like the Khmer Rouge.

    Yes, that makes perfect sense.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 15, 2010 @09:43AM (#31481232)

    "Scientology == Catholicism == Christianity"

    Every time there is any Internet forum discussion critical of Scientology this same meme pops up. It's not true. Elevating Scientology to the same status as established religions with thousands of years of history is an attempt BY SCIENTOLOGY to legitimize itself. Just look at how a discussion about Scientology and a "docudrama" about it spawned this sub-thread plus discussions of Atheism vs. Theism, Christianity's historical abuses of believers and non-believers, political power struggles of one dogma vs another, the current state of Islam, etc.

    Any other org is fair game so long as negative attention is diverted from Scientology.

    Keep your eye on the ball, folks.

  • Re:A point to note (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Nadaka (224565) on Monday March 15, 2010 @10:09AM (#31481476)

    Religion is a primitive form of totalitarian/authoritarian government. If you are going to build a totalitarian/authoritarian government of your own, you are going to want to purge the alternatives.

    Stalin didn't kill religious people/leaders because he was an atheist, he killed them because they represented an alternative authority and weakened his position of absolute power. It could just as easily gone the other way, with a specific religion in power with purges of the others, as it so often has though out history.

  • by GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) <almafuerte&gmail,com> on Monday March 15, 2010 @10:11AM (#31481502)

    What is the body count for Scientology?. Ok.

    Now, what is the body count for christianity, islam, and judaism?. Aha ...

    Also, if you are talking about censorship, the scientologists have only been around for 80 years, and the best they can do to censor someone is send you a lawyer. And judging by the fact that you can find anything you want about them on the internet, and that Xenu isn't being taught in schools, I can say they have failed spectacularly.

    Christianity, on the other hand, have been silencing people for 2000 years, and their methodology is murder and torture. They were able to hold back science completely for 600 years just so a few theories wouldn't disprove a few 'facts' on the bible. And Creationism is being taught in schools in more places everyday (Well, at least in undeveloped and illiterate countries like the US).

    Also, if you are a kid, and you go to school and tell your teacher that you can feel the thetans in her blood stream, and that Xenu is a bad guy (or whatever bullshit they believe), you'll get counseling, and she'll call your parents to tell them you are delusional.
    But, if another kid goes to school and tells the teacher that he telepathically communicates with a dead jew carpenter that died 2000 years ago, and carries a little doll of the dead guy nailed to a cross hanging around his neck, the teacher will think he's adorable, and tell him praying is great.

    Many adults believe in an invisible man in the sky. They are all equally delusional, and equally dangerous, and the organization behind them wants money, and will torture or kill for it if required. The scientologists are just like the rest, but they are the new kid on the block, so people say "come on .. really?" to their guy in the sky more often than about other invisible skyman. And their mafia practices are not as well accepted as other more established criminal practices, like bombing people because they have a different invisible man in the sky.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 15, 2010 @10:18AM (#31481560)

    Is it a business, a scam, a religion, or a paedophile network?

    I'd say all of the above...

    The membership of the Catholic Church is about 1/6 of the worlds population. With a sample size that large, one can easily come up with enough individuals in any population to affix those (or any other) labels. It is also one of the world's largest charitable organizations. Surely the number of people donating their time and money exceeds the number of pedophiles; I don't think your list is an accurate reflection of the church. How this somehow relates to scientology is another issue altogether.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 15, 2010 @10:23AM (#31481620)

    I'm taking your bait.

    In what ways is the Catholic Church a business? Have they copyrighted any of their religious texts, saying they are the intellectual property of the church? Do they have business ventures in which they are profit seeking stakeholders? Please point them out if so.

    In what ways is it a scam? Does the Catholic Church demand payment for services such as confession, absolution or even communion?

    In what ways is it a paedophile network? The actions of a few really bad priests, and the terrible actions of people like the Bishop of Boston who took measures to cover these obvious wrongs are NOT indicative of the priesthood as a whole. That's akin to saying all inner city people are gangbangers, because they have gangs in inner cities.

    You need to open your eyes and stop seeing only what you want to see. Analogies of Catholicism to Scientology are flawed at best, ridiculous at worst.

    DISCLAIMER: I am a former Catholic, 12 years of Catholic education, current agnostic, former altar boy and ZERO paedophile experiences.

  • by Aphoxema (1088507) * on Monday March 15, 2010 @10:59AM (#31482112) Homepage Journal

    What is the body count for Scientology?. Ok.

    Now, what is the body count for christianity, islam, and judaism?. Aha ...

    Obviously we should be fighting both, then.

  • by Abcd1234 (188840) on Monday March 15, 2010 @11:12AM (#31482250) Homepage

    That's the real problem here. Other religions may inspire some fanatics, but Scientology is run by fanatics.

    Funny, I would've characterized it as an organization run by savvy business people who don't want the Church's revenue stream interrupted, and realize that stirring up fanaticism among the middle ranks, who then keep the lower ranked folks in line, is the best way to protect their profit margin.

  • Re:Rights? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Josh04 (1596071) on Monday March 15, 2010 @11:26AM (#31482416)
    An independent media is also necessary to keep the power of corporations in check, otherwise Murdoch can just buy them all. What you really need is a press independent of any influence whatsoever, but a press independent only of government money is barely any closer to being free.
  • by ilsaloving (1534307) on Monday March 15, 2010 @11:37AM (#31482546)

    This is only because Scientology was invented relatively recently. The level of critical thinking on new things is significantly better now than it was in the past (although it may not seem like it...). We also have much better record keeping practises, so it's easy to identify where Scientology came from, how it started, etc. That's why Scientology is having such a rough time of it. It's a heck of a lot harder to start a religion now than it was centuries ago. As a result, it has to be more aggressive as well, although that's (finally) starting to backfire on them.

    If It had been started a couple thousand years ago like all the other major religions when ignorance was the norm, then we would all be praying about Xenu.

    You'll notice that all major religions were created a long time ago, when superstition was rampant and science as we know it didn't exist. It's very difficult to eliminate something that's been so firmly entwined in cultural memory. Combine that with the human tendency to resist change, especially regarding beliefs taught to you since childhood (when, incidentally, you are genetically programmed to suck up any and all knowledge fed to you, hook line and sinker), you can see how something so nonsensical can somehow manage to keep going for so long.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 15, 2010 @11:46AM (#31482704)

    Okay, then let's separate this, much like Anonymous did during Project Chanology:

    1. Scientology, the BELIEF SYSTEM, is no more or less wrong, absurd, true, or immoral than any other religious belief.

    2. The CHURCH of Scientology is run as an organization that uses immoral, illegal, or abusive methods in its desire for money and power.

    In fact, I believe that CoS considers non-member believers to be as big a threat as ex-members and outspoken critics.

  • by kenp2002 (545495) on Monday March 15, 2010 @11:57AM (#31482864) Homepage Journal

    There is nothing more amusing in life then watching two sides of intolerant try to explain to one another how intolerant each is. Thank you slashdot for another amusing idealogical flame war.

    First: Correlation doesn't imply causation.

    Any organization: religion or otherwise can be taken as the mean of actions. To try and blame religion for the crusades, torture, etc at the time is statistically irrelivant. Those tactics were used with the same impunity by non-religious organizations at the time. The Dutch trading companies, merchant leagues, feudal lords, etc.

    The capacity for evil is universal in humans. The very fact people can throw out secular versus non-secular violence simply states a fact that violence has little to do with and one particular idealogy. People kill in the name of XYZ because it is a source of justification. No different the killing in the name of greed, pride, honor, land, food, etc.

    Crusades religious? That is nonsense. The holy roman empire was just that an empire. No different then Rome. When Ole' Rome invaded and took out the Goths was that a Holy War by Zeus or Jupiter? It's a war over land the "backing" is irrelivant. France's revolution was a secular vs religious blood bath. Athiests, Agnostics, Religious, and other idealogical classifications are statistically insignificant regressors when it comes to the analysis of violence.

    Islam is statistically no more violent then Christianity or Aethiests. The lead indicators in violence is education and poverty levels. After that comes access to fresh water and crop land.

    The crusades was a land grab. No different with the Moorish invasion. The "decorations" of war no different. Any organization\idealogy will attempt to grow it's power and supress dissent. It's human nature. Democrats, Republicans, Masons, Boy Scouts, your local Sigbap, Eve Corp, or WoW guild all have the same basic behaviors. Violence, war, indoctrination, etc are common behaviors.

    It's just a statistical echo that religious organizations were successful enough organizations to escalate to that level of control. e.g. It's not the fact they are religions but rather the fact they were successsful control structures (Which mind you most governement models are based from.) President = Pope, Congress of Cardinals = Senate, etc.

    So go ahead and butt intolerant heads but I hate to break it to both sides, is because human behavior, not a particular belief structure. God didn't invent the atom bomb, scientists, people, humans did. The only thing I see is a world in which people love to blame "the other side" for the problems rather then realize the reasons for our darkest side is universal. Evil is universal, it's just easier to try and subscribe a demographic to it rather then deal with the real root causes.

  • Re:Rights? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland@y[ ]o.com ['aho' in gap]> on Monday March 15, 2010 @12:07PM (#31482974) Homepage Journal

    In the US, the government used to fund news stations. In that time some of the best journalism this country had ever seen was done. It set the bar for the rest of the world.

    Once go government funding stopped and news source had to get their own funding, it became a race for ad dollars. Now we have Fox news.

  • Re:Rights? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BobMcD (601576) on Monday March 15, 2010 @12:16PM (#31483068)

    I see you've gotten an Insightful mod already, but you're nuts.

    "Any organization" could mean all sorts of things. I'll get to that in a minute.

    "Education" is in the eye of the beholder. The proper method for soliciting, enjoying, and reimbursing a prostitute could be classified as education. I'm certainly not as informed as I would need to be, as for example I'm not at all clear how much that service would fetch. So your statement could be applied to say that no organization should stand between me and that knowledge. And this is fine. However, I myself would organize against my eight year old son being educated in that same manner. As a course of his greater education, I'd prefer to defer that topic until he has mastered the underlying ones first (morality, sexuality, etc).

    Same as above for proper use of alcohol, tobacco, drugs, tax evasion, firearm use, etc. Many organizations should certainly be given the chance to prevent that facet of education to my child, until such time as his parents consent.

    Now, going back to the statement you made, let me frame it up with some specificity:

    The Catholic Church must not be given a chance to prevent education about Darwinism.

    The Athiests must not be given a chance to prevent education about Jesus Christ.

    The Jews must not be given a chance to prevent education about holocaust doubt.

    The Neo-Nazis must not be given a chance to prevent education about Zionism.

    The Klu Klux Klan must not be given a chance to prevent education about tolerance.

    The ACLU must not be given a chance to prevent education about white power.

    The Department of Homeland Security must not be given a chance to prevent education about terrorist operations.

    etc, etc, etc.

    To adults, fine. Mostly, anyway. To children, maybe not.

  • Re:A point to note (Score:4, Insightful)

    by onefriedrice (1171917) on Monday March 15, 2010 @12:25PM (#31483220)

    When is the last time you saw an atheist fly a plane into a sky scraper? Or shoot a doctor dead, because some invisible man in the sky didn't like the LEGAL work the doctor was doing? Have any ministers, reverends or priests (even the PEDO ones) been assaulted by bands of roving atheists? Are atheist groups campaigning en masse to deny rights to homosexuals and legislate bigotry?

    It's probably a bit too convenient (and dishonest) to take a "religion" that is widely known to be radical and violent as a prototype for typical religion while ignoring the obvious existence of radical atheists. It's also abundantly clear that there exists people who are not mentally well, both religious and otherwise, and such people are prone to do violent, immoral, and insane things. Ignoring that most people on earth (especially in the U.S.) are religious, a dishonest (or naive) person would extrapolate and conclude that religious people are more prone to violence than atheists, or even that religion causes such violence. You're above such naivety, aren't you?

    It's also a clear cheap shot to decree that others are hypocrites when they try and fail to live up to higher standards (or even just different standards) than you yourself willing to accept as providential. But hey, I get it. Playing for the anti-religion crowd is an easy karma boost. To hell with intellectual honesty as long as you get the karma, right?

  • by GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) <almafuerte&gmail,com> on Monday March 15, 2010 @12:45PM (#31483550)

    We should be fighting all of them, but not individually.

    We shouldn't focus on how stupid or harmful any given religion is. We have to focus on how Religion in itself i stupid and dangerous. When we attack scientology, christians point and laugh, while scientologists ignore it. When we attack christianity, Muslims laugh and christians ignore us.

    We have to focus on getting rid of religion in general, past, present and future ones.

  • Re:Rights? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by agrounds (227704) on Monday March 15, 2010 @01:12PM (#31483920)

    I'll tell you what, Germany can have that apology in a few hundred years when they've earned back any level of trust after the shit they pulled in the 20th century.

    Just out of curiosity, what is the timeframe for American trust levels after the shit we pulled in the early 21st century?

    See how that works?

  • by HopeOS (74340) on Monday March 15, 2010 @10:05PM (#31490960)

    Nothing transcends Natural Law. The right to watch television, as with the right to watch anything within one's domain, is reserved to the watcher as per his Liberty.

    You, like the poster below, are confusing Liberty with Entitlement. The television watcher is not entitled to a signal. If the signal exists within his domain however, he is at his Liberty to decode and view it.

    Anyone who comes to persuade him otherwise may appeal to his senses, but if they persist despite his refusal, they are in fact coercing him. As such, no reasonable person should afford them any moral authority.

    So, Mr. Brooke, if you wish to tell people they are not entitled to television, you would be correct. But if you wish to tell them that they are not at liberty to watch television, you would be quite mistaken.

    When we talk about innate Rights, we are talking about the Right for someone to live. We are talking about the Right to exercise that life to the full scope of one's domain. We call this Liberty. And to ensure one's Life and Liberty, one must be secure in their Property. This means that they are not coerced into relinquishing their possessions or the land which they have acquired by moral, natural means and upon which they are subsequently dependent for life.

    Think otherwise? Coerce a man from his home and take from him his clothing in the dead of winter. You will have deprived him of his life, his liberty, and his property. This is not immoral because the Law says so. It is not immoral because we've agreed upon it. It is immoral because it violates his Natural Rights. All three of them.

    -Hope

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