So was Hubbard a psychopath or semi-psychopath? I don't know but either one would barely scratch the surface of the number of mental disorders attributed to that crackpot over the years.
I also found this in Strega's article, regarding Hubbard's writing of a book he entitled, Excalibur: "'I have written THE book.' Hubbard believed that Excalibur would 'revolutionize everything' and that 'it was somewhat more important, and would have a greater impact upon people, than the Bible.'"
If I didn't know the subject was Hubbard, I'd have sworn the quotation was by Simon Peynton!
In a letter, Hubbard later revealed: "I have high hopes of smashing my name into history so violently that it will take a legendary form even if all books are destroyed. That goal is the real goal as far as I am concerned."
Simon has to learn that he can't revolutionize religious philosophy unless he writes in a style people can understand.
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.
You actually opened with the question: "what makes one religion more insane than another one?" That's an excellent question, by the way.
I do think the mindset of the founder is one factor in answering it, although it's certainly not the only one. For instance, what if the top leadership of the Church of Scientology knows it's all a big money-making scam? Would you say they are 'insane' for running what is essentially a Bernie Madoff ponzi scheme (except it's legal, unregulated, tax-free, and payees never get any money back)?
That aside, I'd say the craziness factor comes down to how harmful the religion is overall. Christianity, for instance, held the social and scientific progress of Europe at a virtual standstill for centuries. Humanity still has not recovered from that stranglehold. Imagine if the first steps onto the moon had occurred in the year 1269 A.D instead of 1969 A.D.
I don't think Scientology is as crazy as Christianity in that I doubt the religion would have held humanity back in quite the same way, although it's difficult to make such a comparison. Who knows what Scientology might have looked like if it had 2000 years to be twisted, (mis)translated, and exploited like Christianity did?
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.
He said Mormonism (LDS) objectively had to be nuttier than mainstream Xianity, because it believes everything Xianity does, then adds more crazy shit.
"God exists and one day he will send his son." - Jews
"God exists, Jesus was his son, and one day he will return." - Christians
"God exists, Jesus was his son, and one day he will return to Missouri." - Mormons
"God exists, Jesus was his son, and one day he will return to Missouri from the planet Kolob." - Really fucked up Mormons
Thus: Insanity = Religion x Time squared (I = RT^2)
I think you're onto something here, Steve.
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.