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Scientology's Fraud Conviction Upheld In France

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the legitimacy-illegitimate dept.

The Courts 321

schwit1 writes "France's top appeals court has upheld a fraud conviction and fines totaling hundreds of thousands of euros against the Church of Scientology, for taking advantage of vulnerable followers. France regards Scientology as a cult, not a religion, and had prosecuted individual Scientologists before, but the 2009 trial marked the first time the organization as a whole had been convicted. 'The head of a parliamentary group on religious cults in France, lawmaker Georges Fenech, hailed the ruling. 'Far from being a violation of freedom of religion, as this American organization contends, this decision lifts the veil on the illegal and highly detrimental practices' of the group, said Fenech. The court case followed a complaint by two women, one of whom said she was manipulated into handing over 20,000 euros in 1998 for Scientology products including an "electrometer" to measure mental energy. A second woman claimed she was forced by her Scientologist employer to undergo testing and enrol in courses, also in 1998. When she refused she was fired.'"

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..everyone remember to post as AC ! (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45162483)

i wonder if there are any high level Scientologists in the NSA?

Re:..everyone remember to post as AC ! (5, Funny)

erikkemperman (252014) | about a year ago | (#45162509)

i wonder if there are any high level Scientologists in the NSA?

Of course, they are known as Operating System Thetans.

Re:..everyone remember to post as AC ! (5, Funny)

rvw (755107) | about a year ago | (#45162763)

i wonder if there are any high level Scientologists in the NSA?

Of course, they are known as Operating System Thetans.

They even created the Scientology Operating System (SOS). They don't use terms like "cpu" and "reinstalling" anymore, but use more common terms like "brain" and "brainwashing".

Re:..everyone remember to post as AC ! (4, Insightful)

Chatsubo (807023) | about a year ago | (#45162839)

And the "audit log" is something completely different.

Re:..everyone remember to post as AC ! (2)

Culture20 (968837) | about a year ago | (#45163089)

Which is worse? Unwilling servitude in sea org or dealing with selinux?

Re:..everyone remember to post as AC ! (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45162569)

congratulations, I didn't think you could make those leaks even scarier.

Because that sort of thing definitely happened. [wikipedia.org]

Re:..everyone remember to post as AC ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45162667)

the lie of OSW is that it ever ended.

Re: ..everyone remember to post as AC ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45162837)

Thanks for outing yourself as Scientologist.

Re: ..everyone remember to post as AC ! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45162953)

pfft. I don't think scientologists are allowed on the internet... otherwise they might find out about Xenu and that they had mocked up their own past lives (see reading this will cost them $10k).

PS same AC

Operation Snow White is a Goofey name... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45162865)

But as I understand, L. Ron was bastard son of Old Mother Hubbard.

He was raised in a shoe.

Re:..everyone remember to post as AC ! (4, Interesting)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about a year ago | (#45163385)

And this isn't just a practice of the distant past either. One of the things that came out of the Scooter Libby/Valerie Plame trial, as a bizarre aside, was that Tom Cruise had actually been meeting with then-Vice-President Dick Cheney to urge him to put sanctions on Germany for banning Scientology. Those are the kind of lengths these people are willing to go to harass anyone that crosses them, even ENTIRE GOVERNMENTS. And that was just ten years ago. Scary shit.

Scientology is the truth (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45162505)

Scientology is the truth! Both Tom Cruise _and_ John Travolta are scientologists. Do you believe me now?

Re:Scientology is the truth (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45162685)

Scientology is the truth! Both Tom Cruise _and_ John Travolta are scientologists. Do you believe me now?

What, that it's been nothing but a sham and a glorified tax shelter for the elitists of society since inception?

A societal metric of ignorance by trying to present a known science fiction writer as a source of absolute truth and fact behind the origins of this "religion"? (as if there were a factual purpose behind the story of Xenu)

Fuck yes I believe you.

Re:Scientology is the truth (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45162757)

I dunno. You kind of have to respect a messiah who's final message is "I've been fucking with you this whole time".

Re:Scientology is the truth (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45162869)

It always looked to me like a third-rate science fiction author making up a religion that looks like his third-rate science fiction.

The amazing thing is that people have swallowed it, even people with lots of money, which might be taken as an indicator that they'd know better.

P.T. Barnum was right.

John Doe
(Son, brother, and father to those who wrote the "Closet" South Park episode.)

Re:Scientology is the truth (2)

rvw (755107) | about a year ago | (#45163099)

The amazing thing is that people have swallowed it, even people with lots of money, which might be taken as an indicator that they'd know better.

I think they have really excellent techniques to focus your mind, and to convince people. I've taken an Avatar course, whose founder was a former Scientology member. I haven't taken any Scientology courses, so I cannot tell from first hand, but I'm quite sure that the Avatar methods are based on what Scientology had to offer back then. I really don't like the Avatar organisation, but I really like their course. I did only the first week.

What I don't like about them? They want to "enlighten" the world with their view. At the end of the first week they try to convice you to do the master course. The introduction course is to help yourself. The master course helps you to help other people. And if you don't do that, you won't be able to help your family and friends, and that's no good! It sounded like emotional blackmail to me. The problem is that their convincing (selling) techniques are so good, that it's really hard to say no. Their arguments are hard to withstand. Don't you want to be happy? Don't you want your friends to be happy? Well - don't think that this is what they come up with, as that would be much too easy, but you get the idea.

The good thing is how they teach you to get rid of blocking and limiting thoughts. It was really effective for me, but to tell them that just that introduction was enough was quite difficult. I guess Scientology has similar and probably better techniques.

Re:Scientology is the truth (2, Interesting)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about a year ago | (#45163113)

He wasn't a third rate science fiction author though. Read his book Final Blackout, about the war in Europe. In 1939, he correctly predicted which country would use the first nuclear bomb in warfare. (Spoiler, it was the US.) Back in the heyday of scifi, he was one of the biggest names.

Also, if you consider he knew enough about the human mind, as well as society, that he created a really crazy set of beliefs and got people to accept them. There are plenty of crackpot false messiahs out there. Not many build a system like his, and have it survive so well after the messiah's death.

He built a fictional world, and got others to believe in it. That's what writers do. So, please, don't consider him to be just another third-rate science fiction author.

Re:Scientology is the truth (3, Informative)

dbIII (701233) | about a year ago | (#45163221)

Apparently a lot of it was plagarised from a mental patient in Chicago who wrote about his dreams in the 1930s and even the Xenu name was from an A.E. Van Voigt short story. So make that second-hand third-rate.

Re:Scientology is the truth (5, Insightful)

goose-incarnated (1145029) | about a year ago | (#45163013)

What, that it's been nothing but a sham and a glorified tax shelter for the elitists of society since inception?

And this differs from other "legitimate" religions ... how?

Re:Scientology is the truth (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45163303)

forced abortions
slave labor
forceful breakups of families
fraud
murder

all as part of institutional doctrine, not some fringe members acting on their own. the list goes on. It would be great if all they were was a money making scam.

Re:Scientology is the truth (3, Funny)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#45162859)

Scientology is the truth! Both Tom Cruise _and_ John Travolta are scientologists. Do you believe me now?

If Scientology is the truth, does that mean that scientologists are truthers? That would make sense, mental disorders never come singly.

i get to watch (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45162515)

those cult freaks swarm through the streets here, scuttling between the many local 'church' buildings... used to be that they would station young kids (many teenagers) at local flea markets to offer free massages and 'stress tests' to do recruiting...

lately, that approach has switched to the cult using immigrant and non-English speakers to entice other adherents...

CoS is a sickening, freakish cult that obfuscates real-estate and business ownerships, such as drug-rehab centers...

Re:i get to watch (2)

nospam007 (722110) | about a year ago | (#45162885)

"CoS is a sickening, freakish cult that obfuscates real-estate and business ownerships, such as drug-rehab centers..."

All over Europe, they are considered an anti-constitutional movement and observed by diverse intelligence services.
In Germany by the 'Verfassungsschutz', translated literally as the 'Defender of the Constitution'.

Re:i get to watch (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45163325)

I thought they especially targeted junkies (google Narconon), because those are mentally vulnerable. Easy to do if you have a cover organization that acts as if it is a legit rehab center. Cheap way to brainwash them to get cannon fodder expendable disciples.

Should have read their refunds policy (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45162527)

"one of whom said she was manipulated into handing over 20,000 euros in 1998 for Scientology products including an "electrometer" to measure mental energy"

she obviously wanted a refund because the meter reading was zero.

Re:Should have read their refunds policy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45163107)

That's what can happen whenever you allow another to do your thinking for you. And if you 'pays that ticket, you takes that ride'.

Hold hands and prey... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45162529)

To be rid of these silly cults once and for all

Re:Hold hands and prey... (4, Funny)

jamesh (87723) | about a year ago | (#45162549)

To be rid of these silly cults once and for all

Was the use of the word 'prey' instead of 'pray' deliberate?

Scientology might be a cult (3, Insightful)

Lucky_Pierre (175635) | about a year ago | (#45162531)

But they don't behead unbelievers or crash airliners into buildings. Of course, that's probably why the French feel it's safe to fine Scientology.

Re:Scientology might be a cult (5, Informative)

jcr (53032) | about a year ago | (#45162541)

No, scientology's mode of murder is to tie someone to a bed until they die of starvation and dehydration. Google for "Lisa MacPherson".

-jcr

Re:Scientology might be a cult (2)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year ago | (#45162659)

Apparently you can cause all the social harm you want as long as it isn't in the form of a paramilitary action.

Re:Scientology might be a cult (4, Informative)

erikkemperman (252014) | about a year ago | (#45162679)

There was a really crappy movie called The Profit which was about CoS. Even though the makers denied this, for obvious reasons, it just as obviously really was a biopic about El Ron.

CoS managed to get it banned because they argued it might influence the pending investigation if MacPherson's death, IIRC. Not sure what the status is now, but it goes to show the extent these people will go.

Re:Scientology might be a cult (0)

meglon (1001833) | about a year ago | (#45162599)

Nor do they go around performing exorcisms and letting people die from them, let their kids go without medical treatment for easily curable diseases that can be fatal if untreated, not outright murder doctors.

If you're trying to make the point all religion can be abused by radicals, yes... otherwise you need to put down the kool-aid and take a look at reality.

Re: Scientology might be a cult (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45162855)

Quote : let their kids go without medical treatment for easily curable diseases

Actually that's exactly what they do.
They refuse ANY treatment that's not based on Scientology. (Sauna+excessive amounts of vitamins or e-meter)

Re: Scientology might be a cult (1)

Sique (173459) | about a year ago | (#45163045)

Whoosh.

Re:Scientology might be a cult (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45162705)

yes when are they going to go after Islam and Christianity , Oh and lets not forget the American cult of worshiping the Dollar and the gun.

Re:Scientology might be a cult (4, Funny)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about a year ago | (#45163137)

Well, I'm an atheist towards the Dollar. I haven't seen one in so long, I don't believe they exist anymore.

Re:Scientology might be a cult (3, Funny)

geminidomino (614729) | about a year ago | (#45163183)

I think you have to go to The Street of Small Gods now.

Re:Scientology might be a cult (1)

FudRucker (866063) | about a year ago | (#45162813)

sssshhhhh! dont say that too loud! you dont want to give them any ideas

Re:Scientology might be a cult (1)

Linzer (753270) | about a year ago | (#45163029)

You comment is indeed a flamebait.

On the other hand, I just love your username, it's a fairly uncommon reference that's always nice to see mentioned.

Re:Scientology might be a cult (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45163357)

Wasn't there a rich woman who wanted out, and she was so desperate she killed herself by shooting herself in the back of the head. Twice. Coroner: yep, suicide. Nothing to see here, move along...

Fifty Million Frenchmen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45162533)

can't be wrong

Re:Fifty Million Frenchmen (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45162631)

Yes they can, and usually are. :p

Scientology: (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45162537)

Proof that freedom of Religion isn't always a good thing...

Re:Scientology: (5, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | about a year ago | (#45162625)

It's not the religion that's the problem, it's the crime. If the scientologits just got fleeced and only hurt themselves, that's their own business. It's the child abuse, murder, slander, and so on that makes them an issue.

-jcr

Re:Scientology: (2)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year ago | (#45162719)

Freedom of religion is an issue here though, inasmuch that the disinclination to interfere with religious practices has broadened into a more general lack of oversight of the organisation. If it was a particular township or family that had a long history of abuse, it would be investigated very extensively. However the social obligation not to tread on Scientology's religious practices - such as handing over thousands and thousands of dollars - is trumping the social obligation to prosecute it.

That's a thorny patch because every step you take towards prosecuting them has non-obvious knock-on effects in weakening the protections of the religious freedom of other groups who are acting in good faith.

Re:Scientology: (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45163017)

They're free to believe whatever they want, but what they're not allowed to do is harm others. If they harm people (scam them, physically harm them, cause them to die by giving them nonsensical advice on how to cure a disease or illness, etc.), they can be prosecuted for it. It has little to do with freedom of religion.

Re:Scientology: (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year ago | (#45163213)

Well, exactly. The issue is that well-meaning efforts to protect religious freedom also shelter such harmful acts.

Re:Scientology: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45163237)

But what if their belief system says that people who refuse to be audited should be cleared of their thetans by being shot in the head with a Colt .45? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R2-45 [wikipedia.org]

Re:Scientology: (2)

dbIII (701233) | about a year ago | (#45163267)

No, it's the smokescreen. They bring up the "freedom of religion" thing just to try to get fringe pentacostals or similar that see themselves under threat onto their side.

Re:Scientology: (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45162727)

Proof that freedom of Religion isn't always a good thing...

Apparently Freedom of Ignorance is more important. It's the very basis of most religions, as so many call for your faith to come forward, and not your educated mind.

Re:Scientology: (4, Informative)

bfandreas (603438) | about a year ago | (#45162815)

Proof that freedom of Religion isn't always a good thing...

As always you need to judge people and organisations by their actions and not their words.

Re:Scientology: (4, Insightful)

SirGarlon (845873) | about a year ago | (#45163241)

Tolerance means refraining from using coercion to stop people from doing things that piss you off. An enlightened society tolerates religious differences, but not crime.

Scientology pisses me off, but I am prepared to tolerate its existence. I will speak out against it but I do not want the government (French or my own) to forcibly shut it down or punish people just for following it. What I am not prepared to tolerate is criminal behavior by individual Scientologists. If they defrauded people, lock 'em up like Bernie Madoff. I am not ashamed to be intolerant of fraud.

So I don't think freedom of religion is a bad thing. The fraud is not a result of religious freedom, it's a result of immoral choices by members of a religious organization.

Re:Scientology: (1)

wagnerrp (1305589) | about a year ago | (#45163399)

And if the leadership is nothing but frauds and criminals, and there are no "true believers" in control?

Re:Scientology: (1)

dbIII (701233) | about a year ago | (#45163247)

99% of their scam is to pretend to be a religion to make it more difficult to stop their scam. They are no more a religion than My Little Pony fandom is. It's not as if we don't have dozens of clues that it's a scam.
Freedom of Religion is irrelevant in this case since we only have the word of the obvious scammers themselves that it's a "Religion", while we also have their word that it's a good way to dodge tax and that they took up the "Religion" angle late in the game after "Dianetics".

Lol (3, Insightful)

Roberto Elliott (2870979) | about a year ago | (#45162543)

Damn Frenchies have more sense.

One Down (4, Insightful)

Required Snark (1702878) | about a year ago | (#45162603)

And a few thousand more religions to go.

Re:One Down (4, Interesting)

dkleinsc (563838) | about a year ago | (#45162917)

What about those religions that aren't like Scientologists? For example, would the world really be a worse place off without Quakers or Jains or other strictly non-violent religions? How about those evil Unitarian Universalists, who basically have built their religion around "We may disagree about invisible beings in the sky, but that doesn't mean we should hate each other"? How about the deeply religious people who more-or-less invented philosophy, mathematics, physics, chemistry, genetics, astronomy, and a few other sciences - should we get rid of them too?

And atheists aren't immune from being the bad guy either: Communist atheists killed off a lot of people for being religious.

How about this for some morality: Killing people, except in defense of self or someone else, is wrong (and worshiping a different invisible guy or the same invisible guy differently isn't a very good reason). Torturing people is wrong. Raping people is wrong. Hurting people, except in defense of self or someone else, is wrong. Stealing (however done) is wrong, but less wrong than hurting, raping, torturing, or murdering. Groups that break those rules are bad, groups that don't are at worst harmless.

Re:One Down (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45163115)

How about the deeply religious people who more-or-less invented philosophy, mathematics, physics, chemistry, genetics, astronomy, and a few other sciences - should we get rid of them too?

We shouldn't get rid of the people, but I wouldn't mind seeing the religions die off.

Communist atheists killed off a lot of people for being religious.

That was more for control than anything else, and wasn't truly similar to religious people who kill thousands of people who don't believe in their magical sky daddy.

Re:One Down (0)

geminidomino (614729) | about a year ago | (#45163211)

How about this for some morality: Killing people, except in defense of self or someone else, is wrong (and worshiping a different invisible guy or the same invisible guy differently isn't a very good reason). Torturing people is wrong. Raping people is wrong. Hurting people, except in defense of self or someone else, is wrong. Stealing (however done) is wrong, but less wrong than hurting, raping, torturing, or murdering.

It's fantastic, if you're six years old.

SubjectsInCommentsAreStupid (1)

lesincompetent (2836253) | about a year ago | (#45162629)

20k €? Not that much, considering the sums they manage to snatch off the (albeit more gullible) american cultists.

CommentInSubjectAreBetter (1)

fredan (54788) | about a year ago | (#45163143)

comment not available.

Scientology is a religion (2, Insightful)

Yaur (1069446) | about a year ago | (#45162637)

The difference between a cult and a religion is that in a cult the founder is still alive. Since LRH is definitely dead er, has abandoned his meat body, that puts Scientology pretty much on par with the other groups that believe in sky wizards.

Re:Scientology is a religion (3, Interesting)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year ago | (#45162669)

That's not a definition I'm familiar with. What about cults without founders? Do the cargo cults automatically, or never, reach status of religion given that John Frum has never existed?

I prefer the standard "a religion is a cult with an army and a navy". It's an arbitrary definition to do with scale.

Re:Scientology is a religion (2)

Yaur (1069446) | about a year ago | (#45162729)

It comes from a friend trying to differentiate between new agey religions and new agey cults.
Mythical creatures are obviously not founders so the statement applies not to Mr. Frum, but to whoever invented him as an object to be worshiped.
looking at this [wikipedia.org] I don't think that Sikhs or any of the "medium sized religions" have an army or a navy which makes that definition somewhat problematic.

Re:Scientology is a religion (2)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year ago | (#45162747)

Well observed about Frum. I do wonder about cults where there isn't an easily assigned founder, they seem to have arisen spontaneously.

The point of my definition is to suggest that such a distinction is not as meaningful as it appears to be. In all seriousness, I think the distinction has more to do with age and therefore cultural acceptance and normalisation.

Scientology is a religion? Reeeeally? (1)

dbIII (701233) | about a year ago | (#45163283)

I think that's just shorthand for "we can see what the guy is up to and it's most definitely a scam". That doesn't stop just because the initial perpetrator is dead.

Re: Scientology is a religion (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45162873)

Hubbfart (Hubbard) himself said (direct unaltered quote) : "Scientology is no religion"

It was starter as Dianetics as self-help company to make him a lot of money. The pseudo-religious veneer was invented to protect its business in the 50/60s when the FBI and the IRS chased Hubbfart abs he was prosecuted.

It was a trick. But it is NOT a religion.

Re:Scientology is a religion (1)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about a year ago | (#45163301)

Sorry, but not all religions are created equal. It's not the "believe in sky wizards" part that's the problem. It's the "kill/murder/hurt anyone who dares question or refuses to believe in the sky wizards" part that's the problem. And on a scale of 1 to 10 of religions that scare me (1 being Unitarians and 10 being smelly Muslim goat farmers who think that God wants them to strap on explosives and blow themselves up in a mall), Scientology rates an easy 9 (at one time a 9.5, but they seem to be getting weaker these days).

Good! It's not a religion (4, Informative)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about a year ago | (#45162647)

Scientology is a cult, it's entire story is based off a science fiction novel written by man who wanted to make a religion! All of that would be fine but then to charge your members fees to read from books is kind of messed up, that would be like the library charging you based on every book you took out. I don't see how any logical adult can honestly see Scientology as anything but a joke, it's only slightly more a joke then the Mormon based religion, both of which have near 0 evidence for what they take as fact.

Re:Good! It's not a religion (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45162661)

I don't see how any logical adult can honestly see Scientology as anything but a joke, it's only slightly more a joke then the catholicism based religions, both of which have near 0 evidence for what they take as fact.

ftfy

Re:Good! It's not a religion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45162775)

The 'Church' back in days of yore used to do something similar you had to go and put your contribution on the plate at the mass for the Priest to read out the bible to you because the lay people werent allowed to read it and this was enforced by mandating all the service and bible copies were in latin

Re:Good! It's not a religion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45163405)

Nice lies Mr. Scientologist. Latin was used to prevent errors in translation and copying. Anyone who could read and afford expensive things like a book knew Latin anyway. Also, offerings weren't mandatory and aren't today.

Re:Good! It's not a religion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45162963)

Place the beginnings of Christianity in current times and you would have the same reaction. Scientology just seems silly because it's so recent and easy to disprove. Hard to argue with the founders of Christianity now...

Re:Good! It's not a religion (1)

nbauman (624611) | about a year ago | (#45163095)

Place the beginnings of Christianity in current times and you would have the same reaction. Scientology just seems silly because it's so recent and easy to disprove. Hard to argue with the founders of Christianity now...

Two wrongs don't make a right.

Re:Good! It's not a religion (5, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | about a year ago | (#45162983)

All of the Abrahamic religions are based on about the same amount of proof and evidence. If you doubt one, you must doubt them all and for the same reasons. Just because Joseph Smith pulled the same stunt more recently and on this continent doesn't invalidate that the basis, principles and mechanics of the religion. So as you point to one aspect which is wrong with the LDS church, there is an analogue of the same problem in the other Abrahamic religions. And to be clear, they are all Abrahamic religions.

To me, that's the most ridiculous aspect of religious people. They are quick to point at others and completely miss that it's a huge matter of all the pots calling each other black. "Oh but my religion is different!" Yeah sure it is. If any of them are different, it's Islam and only because it was founded by a frikken murderous warlord.

My initial reaction to the story was "Good! Now maybe people will begin to see the others as stupid too!" Perhaps not. Religion holds back the potential of the human mind. So long as we can accept two opposing ideas as fact and so long as belief is more powerful than fact, humans will be crippled slaves and will not survive the next mass extinction event. We still can't get beyond our primitive need for monetary exchange because no one does anything "for mankind." Everything requires someone else get paid for something and we will continue to exploit workers until their miserable deaths. Religion is the distraction being used to keep people thinking about something other than reality.

Re:Good! It's not a religion (3, Interesting)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about a year ago | (#45163077)

You're right, I'm in completely agreement, which is why I don't subscribe to any one theological context. However I mention mormonism because one of it's staple proofs is that the Native Americans will have blood ties back to Israel and this has been tested and totally proven not to exist, hence proving one of the main "proofs" of the church false.

Re:Good! It's not a religion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45163027)

Even if Scientology has the legal status of a religion, it's still a cult. Cult just means a new belief system that's not based on the old established ones. What you're probably thinking about is destructive cult.

Also if you have scientific evidence, it's not a religion or cult, at that point it becomes science.

Pastafarians Arise! Ramen.

Re: Good! It's not a religion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45163055)

Scientology is only recognised as a "religion" in the USA, Spain and Sweden.

Everywhere else they either considered a company or a dangerous cult or both.

Re:Good! It's not a religion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45163037)

Sounds like Christianity. No evidence outside their single reference book, even when the Europe had been documenting everything for several hundred years, no a single Jesus entry has ever been found.

Re:Good! It's not a religion (4, Insightful)

LQ (188043) | about a year ago | (#45163111)

Scientology is a cult, it's entire story is based off a science fiction novel written by man who wanted to make a religion! All of that would be fine but then to charge your members fees to read from books is kind of messed up, that would be like the library charging you based on every book you took out. I don't see how any logical adult can honestly see Scientology as anything but a joke, it's only slightly more a joke then the Mormon based religion, both of which have near 0 evidence for what they take as fact.

And Islam is the "revealed truth" that its prophet made up. And Christianity reveals the "word of God" through the medium of a mystic who thought he was the messiah. And the Buddha came up with his own ideas for a religion. I guess a non-cult religion is one derived millenia ago from various polytheistic myths (Hinduism, Shinto, Paganism) but somebody, somewhere made that stuff up too.

The only difference between a cult and a religion (4, Informative)

the_B0fh (208483) | about a year ago | (#45162723)

is the number of followers...

Re:The only difference between a cult and a religi (4, Insightful)

dltaylor (7510) | about a year ago | (#45162981)

"I have just as much authority as the Pope, but fewer people believe it."

George Carlin

Re:The only difference between a cult and a religi (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45163039)

> is the number of followers...

Indeed.

A cult is a religion with few followers.
A religion is a cult with many followers.

Regarded as a cult? (3, Insightful)

pablo_max (626328) | about a year ago | (#45162735)

Nothing about regarding, it is a fact. Scientology IS a cult.
How could anyone possible think otherwise considering what the founder said?

"You don't get rich writing science fiction. If you want to get rich, you start a religion."

http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/L._Ron_Hubbard [wikiquote.org]

Re:Regarded as a cult? (5, Interesting)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year ago | (#45162793)

France distinguishes between "legitimate" religious activity and predatory cults, and therefore how France regards Scientology is absolutely relevant to this news item.

Re:Regarded as a cult? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45162893)

Cults tend to have large followings despite what people running them say, for example Micro$oft.

"There's nobody getting rich (by) writing software" - Bill Gates

http://wayback.archive.org/web/20120605103241/http://www.msversus.org/ [archive.org]

Re:Regarded as a cult? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45163067)

Why discriminate against religions invented in this century vs the ones created prior? They're either all religions or they're all cults. The latter term is more apt in most cases. Take Catholicism. Excommunication: Come out as an atheist and the whole community, even ones family will shun you... 10% of your income in tithes, that's fucking expensive 'eh? In some cases moreso than CoS fees. The whole "you're unclean unless you do these rituals" and guilt trips... Same as CoS body thetans. Influencing governments in the name of furthering their ideology, denouncing contraceptives and indoctrinating kids before they have the cognitive skills to question the beliefs, etc. etc.

Yet Catholicism is a "legitimate" religion where Scientology is not? They both regularly make up bogus shite, and are purposefully deceptive. The Vatican knows the "virgin birth" was a mistranslation error, [youtube.com] and yet they don't dare correct the public version they interpreted of their "holy" book.

Of course it's a cult. It's members are religious...

Still (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45162753)

Still a better religion than Islam

Re: Still (0)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about a year ago | (#45162863)

Regardless of the truth of your statement, stating that religion A is better than religion B on this site is normally considered trolling.

Re:Still (4, Informative)

Grench (833454) | about a year ago | (#45162911)

Oh, piss off. If you're too stupid to differentiate between the religion and the extremist interpretation of the religion, then I really pity you. I'm also shocked that this has been modded *UP* rather than down as "troll" or "flamebait".

Scientology is, as has already been pointed out, a cult started by a Sci-Fi author who wanted to make a lot of money. Islam is a religion, and there are millions of truly faithful Muslims out there who are every bit as peaceful in their daily life as the millions of truly faithful Christians (or Hindus, or Buddhists, or Sikhs, or followers of x y or z other faiths).

Just in the same way most Irish weren't involved in blowing up each other / the British during the height of the Troubles (note this was a war about the difference between the two main groups of Christianity (Catholicism and Protestantism) and about occupation/independence, and *nobody* was saying shit back then about "all Christians are terrorists".

Those who blow themselves and other people up while claiming they're doing it in the name of Islam are idiots, and are delusional. The average suicide bomber has been brainwashed into it by the sorts of horrific people (i.e. Osama Bin Laden / Al Qaeda and other like-minded organizations) who recognize the power of religious belief and exploit that to their own ends - i.e. money and power. That's what it comes down to, not religion. If they can recruit young and impressionable enough people, and present themselves to these people as priests and clerics, and preach to them that God will reward them if they commit these acts, then it's far more likely to succeed then just placing a wanted ad for soldiers.

TL:DR version - I think you're an idiot - "terrorist" and "muslim" are not interchangeable terms.

Re:Still (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#45162927)

for really morbid laugh search up buddhist deathsquads.

wackos are in every religion or rather wackos use every religion to further their agenda. that doesn't make every religion totally harmful.

scientology on the other hand is just about taking your money and selling you bullshit.

And yet on their wikipedia page... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45162761)

4th paragraph [wikipedia.org] :

The church is often characterized as a cult and it has faced harsh scrutiny for many of its practices which, critics contend, include brainwashing and routinely defrauding its members

As if being convicted in a court of law for organised fraud is just an opinion of an unspecified number of critics...

How about this get added in the 2nd paragraph:

... the Church of Scientology emphasizes this as proof that it is a bona fide religion.[26] In contrast, Scientology has been convicted of organized fraud in France, is considered a commercial enterprise in Switzerland, a cult (secte) in Chile ...

I used to be a Scientologist (5, Funny)

12WTF$ (979066) | about a year ago | (#45162787)

but I ran out of money.

Obligatory (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45162827)

Re:Obligatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45162923)

I almost wish I hadn't posted so i could mod this up, it's friggin hilarious.

Great! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45162961)

Considering Scientology is not a religion but a scam to steal money, this is the first step. Next it would be great if the power of real religions could be broken, cause they are just as harmful. Finally people should use some common sense and realize that all that religous fantasy has nothing to do with reality, but that will never happen...

Slippery Slope (1)

mlwmohawk (801821) | about a year ago | (#45163131)

I HOPE this is a slippery slope that exposes all religions as cults. Scientology is just one or the more ridiculous and exploitive ones. Any organization that uses unprovable assertions without any reasonable scientific framework to exploit its gullible members should be shut down.

Cult vs. Religion (2)

jouassou (1854178) | about a year ago | (#45163309)

France regards Scientology as a cult, not a religion

A second woman claimed she was forced by her Scientologist employer to undergo testing and enroll in courses, also in 1998. When she refused she was fired.

It shouldn't matter whether it's a cult or a religion; if someone got fired for not undergoing religious courses and testing, that should be treated the same way by the law.

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