May 20, 2007

I just watched the hyped Panorama report on Scientology on youtube (linkage: part 1, 2, and 3). Wow.

I was previously aware in passing terms of Scientology, in the sense that Tom Cruise (nutto extraordinaire) is a member and he’s not exactly known as a balanced person when it comes to, well, anything really. I also knew it is all based on the writings of sci-fi author L. Ron Hubbard (credible, eh?). But that was the extent of my knowledge.

I didn’t previously know anything about the lengths they go to to protect their name (presumably they’re not aware of how useful the internet is for passing knowledge…). I didn’t realise that they “disconnected” their members from disbelievers. I’d forgotten that they consider psychiatry to be evil and want it banned worldwide. I didn’t realise just how fucking good they are at brainwashing their members into towing the line.

What a bunch of fucking freaks. I urge you to watch the youtube links above in order, to get a brief idea of what the whole thing’s about. Organised religion can often be seen as brainwashing, but these guys take the biscuit.

Fortunately, it’s not a religion over here. Not officially anyway, though I’m sure some poor people follow it anyway.

One of the guys in this video are about as extreme as the folks you see in these terrorist videos blowing innocents brains out. You’ll know which guy I mean when you watch the videos.

I’m disgusted that the western world, which we hold up as the centre of knowledge, the seat of power, the origin of industry, can still churn out wackos like these guys.


April 16, 2007

Solitary Einstein looking out to see.

I spotted on Time online an article on one of the most widely recognised scientists of modern times, Albert Einstein. In particular, the article appears to be an excerpt from a book, and focuses on Einstein’s chosen religion, lack thereof, or whether it actually matters at all.

For the purposes of this post, I’m not a religious man. At home, I was brought up with no religion at all. At school, I was brought up protestant Christian, as were at least three quarters of the children around my area. I was not a religious child, and so I merely went along with these rituals; to do otherwise was seen as being disruptive. I am still not a religious person, but I do not like to condemn anybody for their personal choices and beliefs. I do believe that certain practices are archaic and not appropriate in the 21st century (example, the prayer or singing of religious songs at morning assembly I had to participate in), but I also believe that the study of a variety of religions should be compulsory (especially if we’re ever to have any hope of overcoming the religious prejudices inherent in our society).

Einstein, on the other hand, was apparently passionately Jewish as a child. Not through his parents though, neither of whom harboured any religious beliefs. Some years later, still a youth, he cast off his religious leanings. From that point on, he chose to rarely comment on the issue.

But why didn’t he comment on the issue? It wasn’t that he didn’t have anything to say. I’m sure he knew a hell of a lot more about various religions than most others. Nay, it seems he chose not to comment for the best reason possible: it was not his place to use the press as a conduit to suggest that one religion was better than any other. Nor was he about to suggest atheism was superior to any organised religion. Wise. Einstein was quick to make the distinction that spirituality, an inherently personal experience, is a very different thing to organised religion. Lots people don’t understand this their entire lifetime, and some even choose to vilify those who do not conform to their chosen religion.

Like most forms of discrimination, we’d be in a far better place if we all thought like this. This isn’t indifference, or ignorance. This is education followed by acceptance and a realisation that, at the end of the day, somebody else’s choices will seldom impact your own.