So I have been thinking about this what makes one religion more insane than another one? Take for example, Scientology.

Scientologists ACTUALLY believe the evil alien ruler Xenu killed a lot of aliens (Thetans) from around the universe by bringing them to earth & blowing them up inside volcanoes. They believe the souls of these aliens (these souls are "Body Thetans") have attached themselves to us & cause many of our mental & physical ills. Members who know about Xenu will attempt to deny it or pretend like it doesn’t matter. They are required to sign a contract binding them to silence on the matter. Lower level members don’t know about Xenu & accordingly deny everything because they honestly don’t know.

To rid ourselves of "Body Thetans" & also “engrams” (past negative experiences stored in our unconscious mind) so that we can become “clear”, we have to go through "auditing" with a member of the “church” who uses an "e-meter" to measure our “reactive mind”...... & we have to pay lots & lots of money for “auditing” (purchased in 12.5-hour blocks, costing anywhere from $750 for introductory sessions to between $8,000 & $9,000 for advanced sessions) & to take courses on Scientology to advance to higher “levels” in the “church”. The “church” has also taken a very hostile stance towards psychiatry & psychiatric drugs irrespective of the fact that some people require medication to remain adequately functional in everyday life. They deny the reality of chemical imbalance & profound mental disturbance & accordingly do NOTHING to effectively stabilize the dangerously unstable. The “church” has been known to withhold prescription pharmaceuticals from member (with deadly results).

This may sound completely insane, but how is that more insane than a supernatural being that created the world in 6 days, creates two people who somehow populate the world, then this divine being floods the whole world killing everyone and everything except a man named Noah and his family and of course two of each animal (plus the others for sacrificing)they somehow go years without food or water and then when they finally land somehow Noah can evenly distribute every single animal to its proper location. Then they somehow repopulate the world and somewhere down the road God destroys the city that Lot lives in because there were no moral people there, then he asks Abram to change his name to Abraham, circumcise himself and everyone else (including slaves) then he asks Abraham to sacrifice his only son, but stops him at the last second (to make sure that he fears God) then down the road he leads non-existent Hebrew slaves out of Egypt by casting 10 plagues upon the people of Egypt (which there isn't any evidence of in any Egyptian record), those people then wandered the desert for 40 years and had bread fall from the sky (the mana) and never left a trace of physical evidence of ever being in Egypt or wandering in the desert. Then down the road God "makes" a woman named Mary pregnant with a son. This was supposed to be the son of God, but there are really no first hand accounts of this messiah, but he could heal sick people, make people's arms grow from stumps, walk through walls and buildings, turn water into wine, and rising from the dead.

I am really quite curious as to how any rational person could believe either one of these things, and how someone believing in one can call someone believing in the other insane! Someone please explain this to me.

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Possibly he should study the techniques of the author of Dick and Jane.

The question wasn't whether Jesus was crazier than L. Ron Hubbard, it was which religion is crazier. Which religion is crazier from the perspective of believer gullibility? We all agree that Christianity doesn't make a lot of sense but the origins of the Jesus legend are shrouded in mystery. While equally nonsensical the origins of Scientology are absolutely clear. I believe you have to be crazier to believe in Scientology than Christianity. 

Sam Harris had an interesting point in one of his talks.  He said Mormonism (LDS) objectively had to be nuttier than mainstream Xianity, because it believes everything Xianity does, then adds more crazy shit.  Jesus isn't just coming back some day as the mainstream Xians maintain, he is coming back to Missouri.  [Good grief, of all places! :-) ]  Just for instance.

So sometimes you can rank things on that scale.  I'd be careful using this rule of thumb though, it's possible that Parent Religion A says "X" which is pretty nutso, but then Daughter Religion B says "No, not X, but rather Y" and it turns out Y makes more sense than X did.

Actually Wilson, I'm not clear that Scientology even qualifies as a religion, as, unless I missed something in my reading of it, there's no actual mention of a deity, which would file it under the heading of a psychotic philosophy, but not necessarily a religious one.

They get tax concessions, as a religious order.  Evidently they fought for a while to achieve this, but they managed it in the end.

Well, folks (archaeopteryx excluded), despite the fact (and it IS a fact that philosophy and religion departments everywhere recognize Buddhism as a religion, archaeopteryx insists it's just a philosophy and that, to be a religion, it has to have a theistic deity. I don't think I'm misrepresenting him there. The thing is, Buddhism has rituals and a theory of the afterlife. Basically, all it lacks is a deity. As do other religions, by the way: Taoism and Confucianism.

I haven't the words, and I'm quite loquacious, to express my gratitude for being excluded from your company --

All religions not matter how insane essentially have the human awareness and fear of death to fuel them, i think the anthropologist Ernest Becker in his book The Denial of Death bound it up nicely. I really must read that book again.

I think you mean Western religions. When it comes to Eastern religions where the goal is the ultimate extinction of the soul as it is absorbed into a spiritual singularity (The One) it is not so much fear of death as fear of having to live another life.

Children are not regarded as insane for believing in Santa Claus.  But if, as adults, they transfer that belief to a delusion such as Christianity...

All religions are equally preposterous and, while believing in one doesn't necessarily mean you're legally or clinically insane, it is prima facie evidence that you are mentally deficient.

Particularly, Dale, when those officials in charge of defining the terms, "legally or clinically insane," may well themselves, be similarly legally or clinically insane.

This is sorta like asking which pile of poo smells worse. ;-)


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