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.

Tags: Atheism, Belief, Christianity, Discussion, Insanity, Rational, Religion, Scientology, Thinking

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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.

If I made this statement, one might well believe I was talking about Jesus: "the Church rejects any suggestion that its account of his life is not historical fact," when in fact, the quotation was found in Strega's article about Hubbard - sound familiar?

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. 

@Willson

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.

Hmm...

"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.

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