back to article John Sweeney: Why Church of Scientology's gravest threat is the 'net

Back in 1995, when the net was still young, the late Robert Vaughn Young, an ex-scientologist, said the internet would be to Scientology what Vietnam was to the US: an unwinnable war. Vaughn Young, a former spokesman for the controversial organisation, believed that the internet would create the first place where Scientology …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Scientology vs the Internet and Anonymous?

    Sounds like a plot of a new film starring Tom Cruise and John Travolta. Mission Impossible 5?

    1. Chad H.

      Hmmm

      A scandal in the Impossible Misions Force (IMF) causes a number of high ranking members to leave, creating their own Open Impossible Missions force who leak all sorts of information on IMF policies, proceedures, and actions.

      The IMF starts to attack and inflitrate the OIMF... Meanwhile a few geeks on the internet who have watched V for vandetta a few too many times take up the mantle and try a few childish pranks against the IMF, their attacks growing in size and scope as they get more notorious....

      1. jai

        Re: Hmmm

        and then a spaceship lands and John Travolta and a bunch of Psychlos run out and kill everyone?

        1. Chad H.

          Re: Hmmm

          @ Jai: To be honest, I find the Mission impossible movies to be so crap by this point I'm well asleep and have no idea what happens next.

        2. Olafthemighty
          Headmaster

          Re: Hmmm

          Psychlos - nutters on bicycles?

          1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

            Re: Psychlos

            Battlefield Earth baddies (Hubbard book)

            1. asdf Silver badge
              Trollface

              Re: Psychlos

              >Hubbard book

              One of which is also basically their bible and the copyright on it is enforced with zeal. Who copyrights their Bible? Even the wacky Mormons are more than happy to give theirs away and put them in virtually every hotel room in America. Edit: wow after googling it looks like a lot of shady Christians come out with their own translation of the bible with a few words different and then copyright it as well. Greed even before God these days in America.

              1. Mike Richards

                Re: Psychlos

                Their 'bible' is 'Dianetics' which isn't nearly as good read as 'Battlefield Earth' (which is itself a shockingly bad book). You have been warned.

                In case you're curious Xenu doesn't pop up in either book. You have to part with the big money to get treated to that story. Or just watch 'South Park'.

              2. John 62

                Re: Psychlos

                The Bible is copyrighted so that people can't publish their own New International Version that changes important bits from the widely accepted New International Version. Handily, for an organisation like Biblica (owner of the NIV copyright), there are changes in standard English and improvements in Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic scholarship so they can publish an updated version every few years, effectively extending the copyright. Copyright is not evil. All the open source licenses uses copyright. Bibles are relatively cheap in the UK and the Gideons and others will even give you one for free. But who uses books? Just read it all for free on BibleGateway.com! Google will even take you to the reference you want in seconds.

              3. PyLETS
                Boffin

                Bible and copyright

                wow after googling it looks like a lot of shady Christians come out with their own translation of the bible with a few words different and then copyright it as well. Greed even before God these days in America."

                As you say, there's plenty of copies being given away and most major translations available gratis on the Net. As to 'a few words different' new translations are needed all the time as the languages used by those who might want to read it evolve. The Bibles most likely to be read by everyone except a few highly specialist scholars are translations, of the ancient books which were written in Hebrew and Greek, with arguably some Aramaic thrown in. Copyright law isn't something done as an act of the publisher, law makes it inherent in the publication, and as it's difficult to make money when competing against free, and for other reasons also, money and greed are unlikely to be the motivation for many new translations and editions.

                Scientology also isn't a new phenomena. There were con men making money out of claimed 'hidden knowledge' since at least AD300 . The so called 'Gospel of Thomas' was very likely to have been created by a Gnostic sect, probably very similar in pyramid-selling business model to the Scientologists.

              4. BigUglyDean
                WTF?

                Re: Psychlos

                @ asdf:

                Ahhh... You may be confusing the Mormons with the Gideons, who donate (usually New International Version or New King James) the now-ubiquitous desk bibles in every motel desk and night stand in the U.S.; in years of travel I've never run across a Book of Mormon in a motel room. A shame, as it would open a whole new world for my one-man illustration project in motel-room bibles --- I usually provide a picture of Moses battling Gigantor.

                The obvious exception to this is the (Mormon-owned) Marriott chain... But you can't watch pay-per-view porn in your room at a Marriott either, go figure.

                1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

                  Re: Psychlos

                  You may be confusing the Mormons with the Gideons, who donate (usually New International Version or New King James) the now-ubiquitous desk bibles in every motel desk and night stand in the U.S.; in years of travel I've never run across a Book of Mormon in a motel room.

                  Agreed, except that I quite often find the Book of Mormon in hotel rooms, along with the Gideon-supplied bible. But that may be only in Marriotts and other properties in the Marriott International portfolio (Residence Inn, etc). I admit I haven't paid much attention to which hotels supply which books - mostly I just shove them into a different drawer so I have room for my own reading material (which frequently includes its own narratives of improbable situations and fantastic creatures, so no harm done, eh?).

          2. Naughtyhorse

            Re: Hmmm

            is there any other kind of bicyclist?

            (i reckon about 15 down for that)

            (sanctimonious wheezy retards)

            (okay mebbe 25 down now)

          3. This post has been deleted by its author

          4. Daniel Bower
            Joke

            Re: Hmmm

            Nah, they be cyclepaths...

        3. Euripides Pants Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: Psychlos

          The problem with the Psychlos is that they can be defeated by cavemen flying 10000 year old fighter planes.

          Kinda makes ya wonder what sort of whuppin' a pair of Koala bears in a new autogyro could give 'em...

          1. Steven Roper
            Joke

            @Eurypides Pants

            Drop-bears would have no need of an autogyro to clean out Psychlos. Or anything else for that matter, since I'm sure they could depopulate the galaxy with just their claws and teeth...

            1. Swarthy Silver badge

              Drop bears (was Re: @Eurypides Pants)

              And their rampant chlamydia.

        4. Afflicted.John
          Alien

          Re: Hmmm

          while Travolta is getting a "massage" and falling out of his towel? Yep.

          CREDITS.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I call bollocks

      From their response that Anonymous have been "campaigning for freedom of porn sites"

      I thought I'd read that Anonymous had outed quite a number of [child] porn sites, particularly those using tor and .onion suffixes

    3. Inachu
      FAIL

      I still laugh when I see them in D.C.

      Young men and women in flight uniforms toting around their bag in tiny wheels but they are not flying at all but just using the metro to go from work to their cult HQ.

      It looks very very funny indeed!

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    East Grinstead

    Having a pop at the Gate of Mordor...

    1. MOV r0,r0

      Re: East Grinstead

      'One does not simply talk in East Grinstead'?

  3. JDX Gold badge

    in a civilised society ... able to speak freely of things you criticise...using my own name

    I think that's a very important point.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: in a civilised society ... able to speak freely of things you criticise...using my own name

      Yes. In a civilised society ;-)

      1. Steven Roper
        Thumb Up

        Re: Yes. In a civilised society ;-)

        As opposed to a politically correct one...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: in a civilised society ... able to speak freely of things you criticise...using my own name

      and increasingly hard to find. The harper regime here in Canada is doing everything it can to limit Internet privacy and this is not just a Canadian phenomenon. Hey, speaking of phenomenon, I believe that was a Travolta movie.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: in a civilised society ... able to speak freely of things you criticise...using my own name

      I believe - based on first hand accounts from escapees, well organised and verified published accounts and recorded testimony that the Church of Scientology are dangerous con men responsible for unimaginable cruelty, torture, psychological manipulation on a grand scale and murder. What they have do – to individuals and to groups that oppose them – is not merely inconvenient or alarming but borders on war crimes.

      I cannot voice my derision eloquently enough, nor my sorrow for their victims. I can not express my distaste and horror with the techniques employed by this organisation. They are evil. Wholly, unrepentantly, blatantly and calculatingly evil. You would have to look to individuals like Dick Cheney, Thein Sein or the now deceased Soe Win to find modern examples of individuals as bereft of compassion, humanity and basic decency as those in charge of the CoS.

      "Civilised society" is only possible where all parties are willing to agree to the basic tenets of the social contract that allows us to interact in a safe and relatively secure manner without risking violence or life-altering psychological trauma by voicing your opinion. The CoS does not operate within civilised society. They do not take part in debate. They attack those who chasten them for their misdeed psychologically, economically and physically. They attack their friends, family, coworkers and are relentless in their efforts over the course of decades.

      They are not a religion. They are not even a cult. The Church of Scientology are charlatans and shysters of the highest order; criminals who not only aspire to – but have achieved – a level of organised and systematic terror often depicted in fictional works about the Mafia but which the Mafia never truly attained.

      The above is explicitly not an attack against the beliefs of Scientologists. I believe that people are free to believe – or delude – themselves however they should choose. There are in face many Scientology believers who are not affiliated with the Church of Scientology – known as Freezoners – whom I have no more quarrel with than I would your run-of-the mill Christian, Muslim or so forth.

      My tirade is specifically and wholly directed at the actions, ongoing efforts, official policies and in-practice exercise of the Church of Scientology itself. Until such a time as the organisation itself is made illegal – and those responsible for its ongoing operation brought to justice – "Civilised Society" can have nothing to with Scientology.

      You do not discuss, argue, consult, compromise with or engage a metastasising pathogenic cancer. You excise the tumour, bombard the area with radiation and flood the patient with cytotoxic antineoplastic compounds in the (sometimes futile) hope of preventing the spread and recurrence of the disease. Much as it may be anathema to our American compatriots – who think nothing, naturally of granting the Church of Scientology status as an official religion in their backwards nation – there are some actions which can not be met simply with speech. There are some organisations that are so unrelentingly, overwhelming evil that you cannot prevent atrocity through eloquent prose alone.

      Nations such as Germany which have denied them succour – indeed which have actively set out to warn their citizens about this group – are taking the correct first steps. Until they are denied refuge in all nations there can be no interaction between them and Civilised Society. Until they are forced from the last of their shelters and made to reveal the truth of their actions then the power of mere words will never be enough.

      Every now and again humanity encounters an evil so all encompassing, so organised and ruthlessly efficient that the only way to ensure victory is to deny it battle in the first place. The only way to ensure that we still have a "civilised society" to be snooty about is to deny the evil – in this case the Church of Scientology – purchase. Make no mistake, civilised society is at ware with the Church of Scientology. They just haven't been so civilised as to announce it to the rest of us publicly.

      Until threats like this are vanquished, I'll wear the mask and revel in my anonymity. It may ultimately be the only defence individuals have against evil like that.

  4. Silverburn
    Mushroom

    CoS

    <-- When I rule the world via a tyranical dictatorship, I will be Fedex-ing CoS one of these.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      WTF?

      Re: CoS

      >"<-- When I rule the world via a tyranical dictatorship, I will be Fedex-ing CoS one of these."

      And millions of people would die, indiscriminately. You should be put in jail, if you aren't already.

      What the hell is wrong with you that you would say something like that, in a world where innocents are killed in terrorist bombings and by military drone strikes on a daily basis? Do you have no connection to the world around you whatsoever? What a sad little person...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: CoS

        He was only talking about sending them the icon :)

        FFS, relax. Take some valium. I don't think we have any wannabee terrorists here, nor is anyone serious when they suggest that. If you really, seriously think anyone would suggest this for real it's you who needs help, not the person stating it for effect. Trust me, you'll never survive a sysadmin job if you cannot tune in to this sort of black (or glowing) humour.

        Besides, it would look crap on the resume.

        1. JDX Gold badge

          Re: CoS

          >>FFS, relax. Take some valium. I don't think we have any wannabee terrorists here

          Yes but this kind of "I hope he dies" or "she deserves it for being so stupid" is exactly the kind of stupidity you get when everything is anonymous. You have to wonder if killing the people was somehow as easy and consequence-free as spouting about it on the web, what would happen. Just look how silly indiscriminate hatred turns into real violence at football games.

          Maybe the OP was deliberately making that point but I doubt it.

      2. Naughtyhorse

        Re: CoS

        I'm sure that's just an obscure quote from a filum or sommingk

        1. Silverburn
          Happy

          Re: CoS

          Wow...surprised at the level of downvoting on this one. Are humour bypasses free on the NHS now?

      3. Avatar of They
        Thumb Down

        Re: CoS

        Cue the music from TV burp.

        "Unprovoked mad weird ranting of the weeeeekkkkk"

        It was a joke... Though I agree with the sentiment.

        I like Sweeney for standing up and trying to show the other side of the creepy cult.

    2. Oninoshiko
      Joke

      Re: CoS

      A teeny .png?

      I'm sure the CoS is quaking in fear!

      1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: CoS

        Yeah, fuck em, I'm gonna send them a PDF

        1. Evil Weevil
          Happy

          Re: CoS

          Links to Kitten videos on Youtube could be another option.

        2. Rukario
          Mushroom

          Re: CoS

          Send 'em a .bmp

          <--- what happens to the file size

      2. Marcelo Rodrigues
        Trollface

        Re: CoS

        A teeny .PNG with a dead pixel! THAT will teach them!

      3. John Bailey

        Re: CoS

        You may laugh, but the .PNG is mightier than the sword....

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: CoS

      > When I rule the world via a tyranical dictatorship, I will be Fedex-ing CoS one of these.

      But what good will it do for the CoS to receive a post card saying: "Sorry, we were unable to deliver your package..."?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: CoS

        A thumbs down - wow a Fedex employee in the house.

      2. Silverburn
        Happy

        Re: CoS @ AC 23:55

        But what good will it do for the CoS to receive a post card saying: "Sorry, we were unable to deliver your package..."?

        Ah yes, that might backfire a bit if they choose to return to sender. I might have to rethink that one.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sweeney

    Just the problem with people like Sweeney is that he felt he was losing his mind when he was forced to confront the truth. Not the truth in the imaginary people following him, but the truth in his own mind.

    Or imagine how a christian feels when he has to face up to evolution. Maybe a muslim when forced to confront there is no god.

    Knowledge and truth are hard things to accept when they dismantle your preconceptions. No wonder he felt disoriented.

    Evidently he has decided to revert back to his "safe place". His constructed reality rather than accept the Chruch.

    1. Matt 43
      Facepalm

      Re: Sweeney

      Or the disorientation felt by a Scientologist when he realises his entire mythology was written whole cloth by a _really_ bad science fiction writer...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Sweeney

        So bad fiction automatically equals an absence of Truth ?

        Understanding complex matters, sometimes merits placing them in a language that people find a little easier to understand. Call if science fiction if it makes it easier for you.

        Christians aren't questioned because the stories contained withing the parables are trite and simplistic.

        Koran teachings aren't cast aside because Mohammed couldn't spin a good yarn.

        Education can take many forms. Sometimes a detailed explanation is helpful, sometimes a more simple story facilitates understanding a higher truth.

        Recognising that the higher truth takes great effort and many years of study before understanding. Then, and only then - the truth within the "stories" is evident.

        1. jai

          Re: Sweeney

          So bad fiction automatically equals an absence of Truth

          the clue is in the word "fiction"

          or do you lot have your own bloody dictionary too now?

          1. P. Lee Silver badge
            Unhappy

            Re: Sweeney

            Well I'm going to down vote you for this.

            Of course the CoS is spouting rubbish but an ideological hatred for deity-based religion appears to be over-riding common sense.

            Are you and all the upvoters really saying that there is no truth in fiction? Avoiding the flame-inducing religious angle, are you saying that there is no truth regarding office life being reflected in Dilbert, no identifiable link with reality in Yes Minister. Does To Kill a Mockingbird not deal with real issues of race and inequality, does Romeo and Juliet teach nothing about the capacity of romance to destroy those who worship it?

            If all people get from literature is an entertaining story, then our educational system has failed. If the "action blockbuster" is all the fiction people consume, to the point that analytical facilities are dulled beyond use, I weep for our culture. If we cannot learn from other people's stories, I fear for our future.

        2. Craig Chambers
          WTF?

          Re: Sweeney

          I'll take the bait.

          I question and I dismiss all of the above *because* they don't adequately describe what I can see with my own eyes.

          I don't look for an emergent 'Truth'. Facts are perfectly good for me.

          Consequently I just happen to believe in one fewer god than most people.

          1. Captain TickTock
            Trollface

            Re: Sweeney

            And an emergent truth wouldn't need years of study.

            It would just... emerge.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Sweeney

              Good . You are starting to understand, albeit on a superficial level.

              Only sometimes, the real message is hidden. Not only in an attempt to make a message easier to understand, but to entertain.

              This makes it easier to pass the message being passed but harder to fully understand.

              You must take your time. Start at the beginning, absorb the smallest part before moving on. This is important.

              Only then do intentions become clear and immediate assumptions shown to be false

              Until then, you are free to enjoy the superficial, without finding the deeper truth.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Sweeney

                i had a pizza last night with extra cheese

                that was hard to pass also

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Sweeney

                  i had a pizza last night with extra cheese

                  that was hard to pass also

                  Are you sure you removed the cardboard before you ate it?

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Sweeney

                Then, Grasshopper, when you can snatch the louts blossom from my hand, you will be ready.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Sweeney

                  Did I go too far ? The spouting mystical nonsense gig is harder than it looks. that's before you're trying to insert a not very hidden message.

                  I'm going to be burned at the stake for this aren't I ?

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: Sweeney

                    Oh I see - subtle subliminal messages hidden in the first letter of each line.

                    Or was that just part of your evil CoS plan to maintain plausible denyability?

                    1. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      Re: Sweeney

                      Whooo ... maybe I am a scientologist posting scientologist stuff under the guise of a bored prankster hoping that secretly my evil message gets through on a subliminal level.

                      This message is part of that cunning plan.

                  2. Peter Simpson 1
                    Happy

                    Re: Sweeney

                    Well done. Full marks!

                    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

                      Re: Sweeney

                      L Ron Hubbard: It say a lot about a man when he is criticised by both Aleister Crowley and Isaac Asimov.

            2. TEQ

              Re: Sweeney

              I had an emergent truth this morning, then I flushed - as should be done With Old Mother Hubbard's tedious nonsense.

          2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge
            Coat

            Re: Sweeney @Craig Chambers

            Interestingly, in this country at least, the majority of people actually don't believe in a god. They may list themselves as CofE on the census out of habit because that is how they were raised, but a straw poll of the people around you (unless you happen to be sat in a church/mosque/synagogue/Jeremy Kyle studio audience) will show you that genuine religious believers are in the minority in the UK.

            By this logic, you actually believe in a negative god. I call satanist!

        3. Callam McMillan

          Re: Sweeney

          You're actually the perfect example of what they author was going on about. You're trying to defend something, but you're not willing to do it openly and with a real name, instead hiding behind anonymity. If you posted with a real name, I might think you're an idiot, and tell you you're wrong, but when you post anonymously, I simply have no respect for you.

        4. This post has been deleted by its author

        5. Steve Todd
          Stop

          Re: Sweeney

          You don't seem to understand the difference between a story presented to illustrate the truth (go look up the word "parable") and a story presented AS the truth. Fiction can be useful providing that its clearly understood that it is fiction.

        6. Fred Flintstone Gold badge
          Devil

          Re: Sweeney

          I'm kinda impressed that El Reg is now being visited by CoS commentards.

          Sniff, I'm *so* proud. It's an all grown up e-zine now..

        7. Michael Jecks

          Re: Sweeney

          Anonymous, your real problem is that Christians don't expect to have to read the bible on a pay-per-view basis; Moslems don't see it as their job to take my money before they'll explain to me why their religion is key; same goes for Hindus, Bhuddists, Wicca - even Jedis believe in talking about their creation myths without demanding money to ascend a 'ladder' of learning until you reach the truth at the top.

          Which is that Xenu blew up space-aliens in a bunch of volcanos.

          And, naturally, just as in any good film, the guy who was given this fabulous story was himself a Science Fiction writer. Who started writing this new creation myth after an evening on the wobbly pops with a bunch of his friends who were also Sci-Fi writers. It's what authors do, old chum. I know. I am one. And I have regularly sat down with mates and chewed over concepts for stories, and very often collaborated with those same friends to write books. Because it's what we do. However, I've never tried to scam anyone into believing that my works are the manifestation of some new truth from beyond the stars!

          I have no objection to any potty cult setting out its store - and clearly by any definition, Scientology is a cult, not a religion - but I do have real issues with the entrapment of the weak and vulnerable for systematic abuse. Which is, I reckon, what the Scientolgists do. 'Higher truth'? gimme a break! When Scientology stops the behaviours that appear to be designed to separate followers from their money, and nothing else, perhaps I'll moderate my views. But I doubt it.

          There you go. You want acceptance as a religion, it's easy. Stop running the cult as a scam, stop charging to rise through each Thetan level (it's easy, you know. Not a single, real, religion charges its disciples merely to learn about their own faith), and publish, for the price of the books, all the works which help new cult members to join and gain advancement. If the cult were to do that, it would help to bring some credibility. You see, you are measured by the way you behave. Religions try to persuade: not demand money.

          In the meantime, I have to agree with the British High Court Judge Mr Justice Latey, who said:

          'Scientology is both immoral and socially obnoxious ... It is corrupt because it is based on lies and deceit and has as its objective money and power ... It is sinister because it indulges in infamous practices both to its adherents who do not toe the line unquestionably, and to those who criticise it or oppose it. It is dangerous because it is out to capture people and to indoctrinate and brainwash them so they become the unquestioning captives and tools of the cult, withdrawn from ordinary thought, living, and relationships with others.'

          I think he summed it up perfectly.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Sweeney

            "Anonymous, your real problem is that Christians don't expect to have to read the bible on a pay-per-view basis"

            A German court ruled that a Catholic church was allowed to bar members who hadn't paid their religious tax.

            http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-19737983

        8. Naughtyhorse

          Re: Sweeney

          cant even be arsed to downvote lizard worshiping fuckwit

        9. Avatar of They
          Thumb Down

          Re: Sweeney

          Bad fiction is still fiction. 'Fact' is something you can prove and as such everything else is subjective. When and if that fiction becomes fact there has to be proof, empirical, scientific (not scientology) proof that can be repeated. HOWEVER it is how you try and bring that fiction to the world that is the problem.

          Christians are not questioned because the world knows full well it isn't true (fossils, geology, hostorical documents from the same time period) and they don't scare people into their beliefs. (Well not for 100's of years) But every hotel in the world has a gideon bible telling you what christians believe. Every church will tell you for free.

          Islam is feared because if you question it you get threats or worse. Someone protests in another country and christians die as a result. But their message ( despite massive intepretation between areas) is clear and you can go to any mosque for free to hear it.

          Scientology however is secret, filled with smoke and mirrors as they don't tell you of half of it in public, you have to pay (mentally, socially or fiscally) to join. They use censorhip as a way of bringing the message and when you disagree they go after you in creepy and expensive ways (now well documented). That isn't a truth, that isn't a welcoming method, that isn't natural.

          I of course disagree with all of it because none of it is proven. A book hundreds of years old isn't proof. And as a trained scientist in geology amongst others, I would love to see proof that volcanoes hold the souls of dead aliens, having studied them for my degree I can't wait for the proof that Magma holds a secret life force. It would reeeeeeeallllly annoy my former tutor to know his life work of studying lava flows and plate tectonics could all be for nowt if he just knew the truth.....

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Sweeney

        Or the disorientation felt by a Scientologist when he realises his entire mythology was written whole cloth by a _really_ bad science fiction writer...

        and his bank account is empty... :(

        1. Dana W
          Thumb Up

          Re: Sweeney

          That's the truth! I like Science fiction, I TRIED to read Battlefield Earth. twice. It is the worst science-fiction nove I've ever read, and that's putting it up against some pretty stiff competition.

          1. MJI Silver badge

            Re: Worst SF book

            Not Battlefield Earth, it is top 10 but not top.

            I can think of a couple which were worse, but it is definately top 10

            Because I actually finished it - before I knew about the cult. Big thick SF novels in SH book shops do look good value.

            As to SF invented religions - nothing tops Jedi

          2. Vic

            Re: Sweeney

            > I TRIED to read Battlefield Earth. twice. It is the worst science-fiction nove I've ever read

            I tried to watch the film. I figured it *couldn't* be as bad as everyone said.

            It was...

            Vic.

    2. Z-Eden
      Trollface

      Re: Sweeney

      You are L Ron Hubbard's sweaty bedsock and I claim my £5

    3. envmod

      Re: Sweeney

      what the actual fuck are you talking about? john sweeney wasn't ever a scientologist or religious in any other way... you seem to think he had trouble accepting "the truth" - read the fucking article you numpty.

    4. meh1010
      Facepalm

      Re: Sweeney

      Isn't it ironic that the above was posted anonymously

      1. Mike Richards

        Re: Sweeney

        'Isn't it ironic that the above was posted anonymously'

        Xenu reveals himself in mysterious ways.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Or imagine how a christian feels when he has to face up to evolution.

      A rational christian surely just thinks that's the way god created life? Science doesn't disprove God, it just shows how some of his work is done. That's how people like Einstein manage to have faith but still be good scientists.

      Yes, my upvotes have been a little numerous lately and I require some balance.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Or imagine how a christian feels when he has to face up to evolution.

        You do know Einstein was nonobservant Jewish? And that his beliefs were probably about as orthodox as those of Feynman?

        I don't think that when Einstein said "Der Herrgott würfelt nicht" he was actually making a theological statement.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Dana W

        Re: Or imagine how a christian feels when he has to face up to evolution.

        Oh yes the deeply religious Einstein myth.

      3. Johan Bastiaansen
        Angel

        Re: Or imagine how a christian feels when he has to face up to evolution.

        I consider myself a Christian and I have no problems accepting evolution. In fact, evolution was taught to me by Catholic priests in a Catholic school.

        Ok, when I say I consider myself a Christian, I have to confess (see what I did there) I don't believe there's a God. I don't feel the urge to leave the church, because my name is written in his hand and he doesn't believe in typex. If all the sane people leave the church, it would have to be run by stupid people, wouldn't it.

    6. This post has been deleted by its author

    7. James 51 Silver badge

      Re: Sweeney

      This is probably just a troll poking people for a response.

    8. Matt 43

      Re: Sweeney

      Ah, good one.

    9. Tom Maddox Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Sweeney

      Well played sir, well played.

      A commentard such as yourself should

      Never

      Knowledgeably

      Exhibit

      Reprehensible behavior such as you did.

    10. nsld
      Mushroom

      Re: Sweeney

      I come in peace, take me to your lizard........

    11. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
      Flame

      Re: Sweeney

      "accept the Chruch."

      Yes, all religion is a "Chruch". That's probably the most truthful statement in your post, emergent or otherwise.

      (your spelling needs a bit of work though.)

    12. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Sweeney

      Bugger! I just got it.

      J

      O

      K

      E

      So, was "Chruch" a miss-spelling or phonetic "crutch"? If the former, LOL. If the latter, VERY well played sir.

    13. ColonelClaw

      Re: Sweeney

      Hey there anonymous cowardly crazy motherfucker, scientologists and any other types of lunatic cultists are generally given pretty short shrift here at the Reg. Our 'god' is real science, you know, stuff that's been proved to exist, and that's made pretty much everything in the world around you.

  6. Anonymous Coward 101
    Holmes

    I think the reason Scientologists don't tell the world about Xenu is that they believe you will die of pneumonia if you hear about him without reaching the required 'Operating Thetan' level.

    So they're doing us a favour, really.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Unfortunately I read this article and now I have a nasty cough developing.

      No, sorry, I lie, it's suppressed laughter at the idea that anybody could take Scientology seriously. The thing with the Avometer did it for me the moment I first heard about it.

      On further thoughts, anybody who is sufficiently out there to take it seriously is obviously capable of anything. I had better be careful.

      1. Elmer Phud
        Thumb Up

        Yes, it's all clear now

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "No, sorry, I lie, it's suppressed laughter at the idea that anybody could take Scientology seriously. "

        The BBC reporter John Simpson was raised in Scientology by his father. His autobiography of his early years is an interesting read. Can't find on Google when he left their ranks - although I'm certain that he did.

  7. ElsieEffsee
    Unhappy

    East Grinstead

    I'd love to hear Mr Sweeney speak but unless I get help from some Thetans or even Xenu him/her/thing self, there is no way I'll get down there for 7.30.

    1. Joefish
      Coat

      Re: East Grinstead, 'no way I'll get down there for 7.30'

      Me too. You wouldn't want to turn up late in case if he noticed YOU WERE NOT THERE AT THE BEGINNING OF THE talk...

  8. Shasta McNasty
    Flame

    Religions...

    I fully support everyone's right to believe in whatever they want, no matter how bizarre it may seem to others.

    I fully object to those believers forcing their opinions on other people or trying to cause harm/discredit anyone who has an opposite opinion.

    FFS, people NEED to have different views. If we all though the same, life would be boring as shite.

    1. fandom

      Re: Religions...

      "I fully object to those believers forcing their opinions on other people or trying to cause harm/discredit anyone who has an opposite opinion."

      For a moment I thought you were talking about tech flame wars.

    2. EvilGav 1
      Happy

      Re: Religions...

      I vehemently object to these charlatans* being given tax exempt status.

      * Charlatans covers all of them, the many colours of Christianity, Islam, Judaism and so on and so forth.

      1. Hollerith 1

        Re: Religions...

        Time to remove the tax-exempt status on all religions. If because they are a deity's respresentative on earth, why does the taxman care? If because they are doing good in the world, then why are they different from other do-good organisations?

        1. JDX Gold badge

          Re: Religions...

          "Time to remove the tax-exempt status on all religions. If because they are doing good in the world, then why are they different from other do-good organisations?"

          Charities get tax breaks too. In fact typically an independent church IS a charity, run not for profit. So if a church spends its money on paying salaries of those running it, and on doing good, they should get exactly the same treatment as other charities.

        2. Sooty

          Re: Religions...

          "Time to remove the tax-exempt status on all religions. If because they are a deity's respresentative on earth, why does the taxman care? If because they are doing good in the world, then why are they different from other do-good organisations?"

          Scientology isn't recognised as a religion in the UK, so doesn't enjoy tax exempt status.

          Somehow they managed to get classified as a not-for-profit body though, so they are VAT exempt.

          1. JetSetJim Silver badge

            Re: Religions...

            Yeah - but I bet they license the CoS branding for a large sum. Anyone care to peek at companies house for their latest accounts? The last 5 years reports have them with only £20 in the bank, and no other income (and were nearly struck off, too, recently)

            (see http://www.companycheck.co.uk/company/03235420 for Cos England & Wales)

            Then there's the Bournemouth mission, which seems to have £130K in the bank but a negative net worth

            http://www.companycheck.co.uk/company/02081181

            This is only two Scientology related companies - I suspect there will be more.

            Hmm - "enjoying tax exempt status" is a bit more liberal when you can create a multinational corporate structure

    3. Fred Flintstone Gold badge
      Devil

      Re: Religions...

      I fully object to those believers forcing their opinions on other people or trying to cause harm/discredit anyone who has an opposite opinion.

      Even if they think emacs is better than vi? :)

      (wait, wait, I need to get my popcorn first).

    4. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Religions...

      >>I fully object to those believers forcing their opinions on other people

      What if their belief is that forcing their belief on others is important? By saying they can't force their opinion on you, you're forcing your own opinion on them.

      Fun isn't it!

  9. Fehu
    Megaphone

    Free speech even in modern societies is very limitied

    In a modern society like the US where you can be fired for disagreeing with the religious, political or just about any beliefs of your supervisor. Where most fortune 500 companies pay other companies to scan facebook and all the other social media outlets for people that say bad things about them, no matter if what they say is true. In such a society, CoS is the norm not the exception and the ability to be somewhat anonymous is the only recourse some of us have in expressing our opinions.

    /climbs down off soap box

  10. AGR
    Coat

    Praise Bob!

    It seems the internet jihad started by the Church of the SubGenius on alt.slack back in the early 90s is taking its toll on the Hubbardites!

    Praise Bob and pass the frop!

  11. Spoddyhalfwit

    "The church, of course, denies that it is a cult,"

    Define cult?

    Catholic church and Islam and most major religions probably qualify unless you define cult based on relatively low membership.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Cults

      My supervisor in sociology of religion had a set of tests - is the belief system mainstream in a society? Does the religion have a set of its own academics studying it who make public reports on their research? Are new members provided with as much information as they want or are they told that as they progress, new secrets will be revealed? Are members required (as distinct from asked) to make a financial commitment? Are members told to cease to have anything to do with people who leave?

      Score a majority and you have a cult. (Scientology would seem to comply). The difficult thing to define is "sect".

      1. Swarthy Silver badge

        Re: Cults

        Actually, the difference as I learned it is rather simpler.

        Is the founder alive? Yes=Cult // No=Religion

        All religions started as cults, but not all cults will grow to be religions.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Classifying Cults and Religions

        It strikes me that many major Christian churches would be cults.

        Does the religion have a set of its own academics studying it who make public reports on their research?

        The Vatican seems to keep private anything considered heretical or harmful to their image.

        Are new members provided with as much information as they want or are they told that as they progress, new secrets will be revealed?

        Christian revelation is considered something that is acquired over time through instruction and study of the scriptures.

        Are members required (as distinct from asked) to make a financial commitment?

        German Catholic Church wins legal right to bar people who don't pay their Church tax.

        http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-19737983

        Are members told to cease to have anything to do with people who leave?

        Divorced Catholics who remarry are effectively beyond the pale.

        All cults have a shibboleth - the transubstantiation is a major schism between the RCC and CofE.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Classifying Cults and Religions

          You are being extremely selective.

          Catholic theologians publish openly, and in fact you can find entire books discussing heresies. Suppression of news of paedophiliac priests doesn't come under this category.

          Catholic works of devotion and theology are freely available. You don't have to pay a certain amount to be allowed to read Aquinas.

          The German church thing is - well, German. The Catholic Church in Germany is not the entire Church.

          As for divorced remarried Catholics being beyond the pale - might be true in Ireland, I wonder what happens in the US?

          By any reasonable standards the Catholic Church is not a cult. That does not mean, however, that its beliefs are not barking mad (which I happen to think about many of them).

          Remember that until the 19th century (and beyond in some cases) doctors tried to treat illnesses by bleeding people. It is possible to have a fairly rational, scientific approach to life and still believe things that are manifestly untrue. At a pinch, I might add "and what about String Theory?", which I do consider to be a religion.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Classifying Cults and Religions

            An interesting treatise on identifying cults and more specially dangerous cults can be found here: http://www.brahmakumaris.info/w/index.php?title=Cults

    2. DButch

      A religion is a cult that has had some of the nasty bits worn off. Takes a few hundred years.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "A religion is a cult that has had some of the nasty bits worn off. Takes a few hundred years."

        Some of the major "religions" still have a long way to go.

    3. JDX Gold badge

      Many people think my charismatic church is a cult because we do/believe some weird things. But is it about numbers - surely CoS has quite a lot of members now. Many say Mormons or JWs are cults but similarly, aren't they too numerous?

  12. Thomas 4

    It says a lot

    ...when I read something that puts even the frigging Mormons in a more positive light than the CoS. All the Xenu stuff - surely this is a joke right? Surely this *can't* be what the CoS belives right? Right? Oo

    1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

      Re: It says a lot

      South Park did it best: http://www.southparkstudios.com/clips/104274/what-scientologist-actually-believe

    2. Chad H.

      Re: It says a lot

      Thats just it though.

      The OT documents are availble online that descrbe these things. Now either they're a fake, or they're not.

      If they are a fake, then the CoS' s form of attack would be to call defamation/libel. However, instead they choose to make copyright claims.

      if the CoS claims copyright/ownership, its a de-facto admission that they are what the church believes...

  13. C 18
    Flame

    It's the hydrogen bomb part

    That's the real peach. I'm sure it's been pointed out before countless times, but Elronny used the information that was available to him at the time of concocting his elaborate ruse. Such that now, less than a century later, we have devised even more destructive weaponry than the h-bomb. And so it would stand to pass that an alien race that is involved in intergalactic handbags would have developed something more destructive than h-bombs to drop into volcanoes.

    Hey anonymous Scientologist poster, you have to see this flaw. It's 'bleedin' obvious'... You have been conned, brainwashed and duped. You are being raped mentally on a daily basis and you have nothing to show for it other than a pompous attitude and garbage spouting rhetoric that any half-wit with a modicum of self esteem would see through.

    It's not your fault though. These guys have been playing this game for so long now they have countless tricks up their sleeve to mess with your head. You know this is true because they teach them to you. Open your eyes, if your organisation is promoting the use of subversive psychological tactics to 'defend your beliefs' doesn't it hold true that these very same tactics are being used on the members of the organisation itself. What makes you think that your precious little coven is being run by decent, compassionate, understanding, and honest people as opposed to any other organisation. It is very rare for the good guys to get to the top of any organisation.

    I believe I will live to see the day that this ridiculous organisation falls apart. And I look forward to it. I will rejoice and shout from the rooftops, I'll even borrow somebody's knickers and wave them over my head.

    Scientology is a business. And it is the business of deception.

    1. Shasta McNasty
      Thumb Up

      Re: It's the hydrogen bomb part

      Just because this alien race may have had more powerful weapons than an H-Bomb, doesn't mean they would have dropped them in to a volcano. They would only need to use the smallest weapon capable of doing the job.

      For example, why send an entire army against the anonymous Scientologist poster when personally slapping them with the back of your hand across their face would do and feel a lot more fulfilling.

    2. P_0

      Re: It's the hydrogen bomb part

      We have more powerful weapons than the h-bomb? What would these be?

      1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

        Re: It's the hydrogen bomb part

        Actually, in Battlefield Earth (the book) there is a little device that can dis-associate all the molecules binding a planet together, whilst leaving the mass of the body intact (albeit over a wider area :) - the last part is important otherwise it would mess with their star charts for matter-mission.

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: It's the hydrogen bomb part

          If you've already dropped your enemies in a volcano, why waste a nuclear bomb?

          1. Tom 38 Silver badge
            Mushroom

            Re: It's the hydrogen bomb part

            Nuke the entire site from orbit, Its the only way to be sure

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Scientology

    Is a scum for your money, not more not less.

  15. Dogsauce
    Devil

    The Charity Commission may have knocked them back, but this didn't stop hard-up local authorities giving them substantial tax breaks on properties in the UK.

    http://en.wikinews.org/wiki/British_Government_warns_against_tax_breaks_for_Scientology

  16. smudge Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Would you like a free personality test?

    The Scientologists used to - maybe still do - stand outside their place on Tottenham Court Road (in London) and invite passers-by to come in and have a "free personality test".

    One of my mates took up the offer.

    They told him that he was "gullible, and easily-led"...

    ...but that they could help him with that.

    I used to wonder whether this was irony, cynicism or even chutzpah, but eventually concluded that they were simply taking the piss...

    1. Tom 35 Silver badge

      Re: Would you like a free personality test?

      They were calling it a stress test (years back it was an IQ test) in Toronto when I went in for something to do. They try and get you to self diagnose your weaknesses then sell you a course to fix it...

      I was thrown out for quoting Mary Poppins. I said I was practically perfect in every way. They said I was not taking it seriously... what would give them that idea?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Would you like a free personality test?

        You got caught by them in Toronto too? I got to the desk, and they were trying to use any excuse imaginable to stop me from leaving the desk without buying a copy of Dianetics the Evolution of a Science and the whole "study kit"... note this wasn't Dianetics itself, even to the point of: "here, no need to go to the cash machine, just fill in this counter-cheque". I just bolted from the place.

        Then in London: Scilon: "What colour socks are you wearing?" (starts timing my response). Me: (wearing shorts & flip-flops and obviously no socks, looking at her blankly). Scilon: "Come in for your free test, I'm sure we can help improve your memory." Me: "It's obviously your powers of observation that need improvement. MY thetan levels are fine."

        (Anon for obvious reasons.)

    2. Heathroi
      Pint

      Re: Would you like a free personality test?

      I fell for that too, in my younger days, however they took so long to figure out what my results were that i got bored and left which was probably a very good thing.

      1. John H Woods

        Re: Would you like a free personality test?

        I also fell for it as a gullible and lonely teen in when an attractive girl offered me tea, biscuits and a free personality test. However, on reading through the exhaustive list of questions I realized I couldn't be bothered and had another idea. My prize possession was an early Playboy-branded Casio watch my Dad had bought, with a bunch of unnecessary functions, including a random number generator, which suddenly found a use.

        When they told me the results and started to draw conclusions, I told them what I had filled in all the questions randomly so their methodology must be totally flawed. They became rather aggressive, and two goons were summoned to "deal" with me, and it got rather horrible rather quickly. Fortunately for me I had already learned to handle myself in Middlesbrough (where the posh "Officer's Boy" accent didn't go down too well in the early 1980s) so said aggression rather backfired upon them. The copper outside who hoovered me up merely enquired as to whether my knuckles were ok and said, "Stay away from that lot, sonny, they are utter scumbags" before resuming his duties.

  17. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

    I don't agree with Sweeney.

    I'm a bit wobbly about the British policy as well. The religion of the space gods needn't be given away for free if the space gods prefer not. On the other hand, perhaps that justifies treating the space gods as commercial actors rather than generous charitable beings working for the general good, or even the particular good.

    John Sweeney went to do journalism on the Church of Scientology and I suspect he thought they were an easy target, and he seems to have been out of his depth. The wise thing to do would be drop it, but maybe the news today is that they're still coming after him, which is spooky if so.

    I've read "Dianetics" and I did not find it difficult to decide that the bits that are presented as science are not. You're better doing that by yourself than letting members of the "Church" use personal persuasion on you. But the idea that people sincerely believe in the book, and what we hear about the "Church" doing whether they believe in it or not, leave me anxious about the standard of human nature - as do many other "religious" groups, from the Inquisition to Charles Manson.

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

      Re: I don't agree with Sweeney.

      "leave me anxious about the standard of human nature"

      Try watching Geordie Shore sometime.

      "You're all going to do guided stag and hen do's across Europe!"

      "Great, what's Europe?"

      I kid you not. Oh and one numpty thought Amsterdam was in Germany.

      The bar, being lowered so low that an ant would have trouble getting under it.

  18. Terry 6 Silver badge

    H Bomb

    The whole story has more logical holes than an episode of East Enders. For starters, dropping bombs down volcanoes etc is far too elaborate a way to do the job.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Damn you Register

    Just reading that article has been a setback for my Thetan levels. How the hell am I supposed to read blasphemous drivel like this and have any hope of reaching Cleared Theta Clear? May Xenu visit you in your sleep!

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

      Re: Damn you Register

      Easy, just add $$$

  20. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Its a scam

    Consider the following

    Christainity: you can get the holy book free and online, and advice from any 1 sect free as well

    Islam: ditto

    Bhuddism : ditto

    CoS: pay , pay , pay and ohh you're nearly there pay , pay , pay again.

    Then theres the dirty tricks that comes when you criticise CoS, lets follow you around with private eyes, lets try and frame you, lets try and get you into a mental hospital.

    1. Stuart Castle

      Re: Its a scam

      Pretty much sums it up for me..

      If there are any scientologists here, please answer me this. If Scientology is so good, why are they not as open as other religions about what they do and what they believe? Most Churches will happily allow public discussion of their beliefs and actions. They even go so far as to allow documentaries on TV. Scientology doesn't. On the contrary, people who try and broadcast what they believe end up getting threatened.

      Let me make one thing clear. I have no problem with what Scientologists believe per se. What I do have a problem with is that they are not open about it at all.

  21. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Meh

    {anything}ology

    While reading this comment you get the uncanny feeling that it's entire purpose is to fill space with nothing of importance.

    Make of that what you will.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    what will bring down Scientology...

    is not Anonymous setting off DDOS attacks, or critical youtube posts, or broadcast tv documentaries.

    it will be lots of ordinary people telling each other - in emailis, in the street, on facebook - "you know that Scientology lot? they're a bit odd."

    You do have to wonder if they are they origin of that BT advert with Maureen Lipman "you got an -ology, you're a scientist."

    (Anon in case they try their weird mind control tricks, I'm so poor I can't afford the CofE collecting plate let alone scientology)

  23. Ivan Headache

    Religions and non-religions

    A couple of nights back I was channel hopping on the box and came across an advert for CoS.

    I cannot for the life of me think of the last time (or even the fist time) I have seen a TV advert for Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, Shintoism, Zoroastrianism or any other ism.

    To me a religion shouldn't need to advertise itself. People either take up the idea though family or society and either believe it or don't believe it.

    Advertising implies you have a product.

    1. EvilGav 1
      Thumb Down

      Re: Religions and non-religions

      Quick check on Sky - 15 religious television channels in the UK.

      Do entire channels devoted to them constitute an advert?

      1. IsJustabloke
        Megaphone

        Re: Religions and non-religions

        I too saw the advert in question... while I agree that an entire channel devoted to any given creed can be thought of as an "advert", I don't think religions in general run 30 seconds ads during a normal TV shows and thats exactly what this was. I can't remember what show I was watching but it wasn't even in context.

        It had a slick glossy Hollywood look about it., lots of saving the planet CGI stuff... thought it was a trailer at first, was a little surprised to discover it was advertising CoS.

      2. Ivan Headache

        Re: Religions and non-religions

        There's a difference between a channel which you have to tune into to watch and a paid for advert that pops up uninvited on a secular channel.

        With regard to the BBC, IIRC they are obliged to do so many hours of religious broadcasting a week. I wouldn't go so far as to call that advertising as they share out the religions fairly well on Thought for the Day., Nor would I call Songs of Praise religious advertising. It's just one program of (generally( good singing and top-flight music that balances out all the hours of music dross we get the rest of the time,

        No I am not religious. (but I do like a good tune)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Religions and non-religions

          "Nor would I call Songs of Praise religious advertising. It's just one program of (generally( good singing and top-flight music that balances out all the hours of music dross we get the rest of the time,"

          Depends on which SoP format is being used. I dislike the one where they interview "ordinary" people for whom a "miracle" has been achieved by prayer. Other formats are more music orientated. They bring back memories of my childhood steeped in Church choir and congregational music - even though I was a declared atheist at 14.

          Unfortunately the boychoir/boyband Libera don't appear so often nowadays. It's very amusing when they have two videos of them in the same programme - and a recognisable singer goes from 4feet tall in one to six feet tall in the next. If you like the sound of that music then try to get to one of Libera's rare UK secular concerts. There's one in Guildford Cathedral soon - if it's not sold out already. On a dark evening the singing, lighting, and choreography can have a spine-tingling effect.

          http://www.libera.org.uk

    2. JP19

      "To me a religion shouldn't need to advertise itself"

      Religion is belief in a load of bollocks. The more people believe the bollocks the more successful the religion is. All successful religions have mechanisms to retain and preferably increase the number of believers.

      Believers funding television adverts to convince others to believe is a valid mechanism, as is paying detectives and lawyers to hound those who might cause disbelief. Perhaps you would rather they went around killing disbelievers - a mechanism employed by many religions, especially in the past.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Religions and non-religions

      "I cannot for the life of me think of the last time (or even the fist time) I have seen a TV advert for Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, Shintoism, Zoroastrianism or any other ism."

      The BBC radio/tv gives space to religions to advertise their particular faith. BBC Radio 4 starts with "Prayer for the Day" - then "Thought for the Day" - both trying to sell religion as the only panacea for the human condition.

      There are the Church services every day on Radio 3 and 4. Then Sunday morning is almost continuous religious programming from 05:43 to 09:00 with " Bells on Sunday", "Lent Talks", "Something Understood" (repeated in the evening), "Sunday", and "Sunday Worship".

      At least TV no longer closes down for an hour on Sunday evening so people can go to church - nor is there a worthy bishop delivering an epilogue at the end of the day. However the BBC still has two religious programmes on Sunday morning and evening - with people being encouraged to proclaim the everyday miracles achieved by their religion.

  24. Petrea Mitchell
    Meh

    Easy to predict in 1995...

    ...given that the CoS had largely lost the war (which at the time had taken the form of trying to remove discussion from Usenet through faked control messages) even then.

  25. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge
      Devil

      Re: Scientology is an obvious scam

      ..aaaaand presto. We're now officially heading for Godwin's Law.

      Anyone who really wants to discuss anything remotely religious in a tech forum should be advised that the use of black humour is compulsory, and it's mainly satanism which keeps our machines running (hence my persistent use of this icon throughout).

      And no, I refuse to post anything sensible or serious - you started it with talking about Scientology.

      Personally, I'm in favour of the Groucho Marx approach: I don't care to belong to a club that would accept people like me as a member (although those Friars were not of the religious kind as far as I can tell).

      Now, where did that goat get to and who has my knife?

      1. MJI Silver badge

        satanism which keeps our machines running

        Not here

        It is Santaism, the belief in a red clothed fat man with a supertanker sized sleigh

        1. Rukario

          Santaism?

          Red clothed fat man? That's Kim Dotcom, is it not?

    2. Irk
      Angel

      Re: Scientology is an obvious scam

      You'll find that Islam oppresses no one, but that people using what they claim is in Islam as a means of gaining power over others is the real problem.

      Replace "Islam" with any other major religion, such as, oh, Catholicism, especially a few hundred years ago in Europe. Religion harms no one, but those who manipulate to keep power will use any tool they can.

      For bonus points, try actually reading up on Islam. Free first lesson: it's not synonymous with Arab.

      en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islam

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Scientology is an obvious scam

        Indeed, if the Catholic Church could, it would be running Europe with a theocracy as bonkers as those of Iran or Saudi. We have Luther, the Enlightenment and the Royal Navy to thank.

  26. unwarranted triumphalism

    Acceptable Bigotry

    Seems it is perfectly acceptable against conservatives and the religious here at Vulture Central. Notwithstanding your attempt to defend him, John Sweeney's unprovoked and childish tantrum tells me everything I need to know about him, and the sinister organisation he works for. What's your *real* agenda, El Reg, and why won't you reveal what it is?

    Are you afraid of something? What are your crimes?

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

      Re: Acceptable Bigotry

      "unprovoked"

      I realise you're trolling, but really? You do know the story right?

      1. unwarranted triumphalism

        Re: Acceptable Bigotry

        Since you think I'm trolling, why did you choose to take one of my words and make such a big deal out of it?

        Incidentally, the entire 1st page of Google's search results for John Sweeney are about his little tantrum. So I guess that's worked out really well for him.

        1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

          Re: Acceptable Bigotry

          Well, I focussed on that one word because it seems you have formed your opinion based on it.

          I watched the show when it first aired and I didn't think it was unprovoked.

          Unprofessional, yes, hence the number of Google hits you saw, but not unprovoked.

          1. unwarranted triumphalism

            Re: Acceptable Bigotry

            So now I've 'formed an opinion', huh? I thought I was supposed to be trolling?

            Keep changing your story, it's hilarious.

            1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

              Re: Acceptable Bigotry

              Blimey, who took the jam out of your doughnut today?

              1. unwarranted triumphalism

                Re: Acceptable Bigotry

                Very good, I've caught you in a lie and you come back with... that. Give yourself a pat on the back, Sparky.

                1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
                  Mushroom

                  Re: Acceptable Bigotry

                  Go on then shit-for-brains, I'll bite.

                  I claimed you were trolling with your opinion piece because it was based on the predeliction that the tantrum in question was unprovoked (it told you *everything* you needed to know about the guy apparently). The opinion and the apparent trolling don't seem to me to be contradictory and are quite capable of co-existing.

                  I saw what CoS did to the guy and therefore believe that his tantrum _was_ provoked, hence my belief that you were trolling. No lies anywhere that I can see, just a complete lack of comprehension of the English language on your part.

                  I have since re-appraised my previous conclusion and now just believe you to be a total twat.

  27. Stevie Silver badge

    Clucking Bell

    The irony of protesting censorship by DDoS attacks is just too spiffy.

    And what a mealy mouthed comment from someone who has "been in the trenches".

    "I'm not happy with anonymity but I'm not saying what Anonymous is doing is wrong". Well damn. He *is* saying that the CoS is doing wrong by doing much the same thing to anyone who speaks out against it, so shouldn't he also be saying that waht Anonymous is doing is "wrong"? Doesn't the whole argument fall apart if he doesn't?

    For the record: CoS is Bugnuts McCrazypants. I want everyone to be "clear" on that, although the "snakes in a volcano" thing is strangely persuasive after a few hits of weedkiller.

  28. steward
    Black Helicopters

    $cientology did manage...

    to wipe out what was long the most famous anonymous remailer on the net, anon.penet.fi .

    Don't discount their net-savvy. They were on top of things before the web existed.

  29. JaitcH
    Happy

    Church of Scientology's gravest threat is the US IRS

    The term "Christian entertainment television series" best sums up all these 'religious' entities.

    At least many governments are waking up and denying Scientology a religious status.

    As someone who lives in the Far East I am amazed at how much electrical energy is consumed, primarily in the Philippines, as this mob broadcast using multiple 500, 000 watt transmitters, beamed at China and other nearby countries and how the funding just keeps on flowing in from their sucker supporters in the USA.

    The joke is that it is extremely hard to buy domestic receivers with AM bands any more - FM with MP3 players be far more popular!

  30. Camilla Smythe

    I thought..

    Part of Scientology claimed that only 1,000 would be saved when the 'great spaceship' took off and delivered those without 'blems' to the 'new clean world'. It would not surprise me to discover that Rev Ron, and others, already have their seats booked so there are very few, if any, left.

    So.. if you want to be 'saved' you have to 'move up the ladder' and what better way to do so than cutting the throat of the bastard ahead of you trying to extract his 'space fare' from your pocket and nicking his 'books' and 'thetan detector' before moving on to the next one up the list of the contacts in his diary.

    Someone can make a Movie..

    'The Last Thetan'

  31. Anonymous Coward
  32. Anonymous Coward
    Linux

    Sweeney said he once met the Dalai Lama ..

    I too once met the Dalai Lama, have to say, I'm not impressed ...

    1. Reg Blank
      Angel

      Re: Sweeney said he once met the Dalai Lama ..

      So what you are saying is that all human experience is subjectively viewed through the expectations, biases and experiences of each individual and that these are as unique as the individual is?

      And because of this "perception filter" that every individual possesses, one individual can meet an acclaimed personality and come away impressed by that personality, and another individual can meed the same acclaimed personality and be unimpressed?

      Wow. Mind blown.

      This new found self-awareness of my environmental sensors and the biological signal processor that imposes layers of meaning on to my perception of my habitat has totally transformed my real life.

      I have property that I can liquidate as well as savings and other transferable assets. Would you be interested in receiving these funds in exchange for giving me further knowledge into how the universe really works? Happily, from what I've read in these comments, these funds would not be taxable.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re, I thought...

    I was under the impression that "e-meter" schematics were on the Net already.

    I could do a better job with $10 worth of microcontrollers and have it actually measure something useful like alpha waves (aka poor man's EEG) and even add Bluetooth with a cheap headset so it could datalog direct to a PC or phone etc.

    Basically all the e-meter (tm) does is measure skin conductivity using a bad copy of a circuit originally published in the 1950's in Practical Wireless, which has very little bearing on psychological state as proven by the court's refusal to accept polygraph readings as evidence.

    I did notice something interesting though, the DSM-IV now mentions "delusional religious beliefs" as a disorder in its own right.

  34. phil mcracken
    Happy

    All you need to know about Scientology....

    Can be learned by doing a little reading into it's founder.

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

    L Ron Hubbard in response to a question from the audience during a meeting of the Eastern Science Fiction Association on (7 November 1948)

    1. jon 72
      Alien

      Re: All you need to know about Scientology....

      Scuttlebut is that later that drunken night in the bar night Larry Niven bet that Hubbard could not start a religion and it went from there.

      BTW .. I've read Battlefield Earth and found it to be a real joy when compared to his sprawling ten book epic "The Invaders Plan".

      1. EngineersAnon

        Re: All you need to know about Scientology....

        The version I heard is that the bar night was Hubbard and Robert Heinlein, challenging each other to create a superior (how that would be measured is unclear) fictional religion. Heinlein wrote Stranger in a Strange Land and Hubbard wrote the Scientology texts - the difference is Hubbard then ran with it.

      2. Swarthy Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        Re: All you need to know about Scientology....

        Oh, Bob, not The Invaders Plan. As a nipper(10-12, something like that) I picked it up out of my parents' collection, I then had to ask my father why he had it. He has the whole series.

        His answer was that it was a gift and not everything is worth reading. I still blame him for the trauma of leaving something like that out where an innocent could get a hold of it.

  35. TheAincient

    Do you think we are idiots?

    One of the things that really annoys me is the attitude that somehow the rest of us are some kind of idiot that don't have the ability to understand what Scientology is saying.

    If you think that somehow you are superior to the rest of us then you are even more deluded than I already thought.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Do you think we are idiots?

      "One of the things that really annoys me is the attitude that somehow the rest of us are some kind of idiot that don't have the ability to understand what Scientology is saying."

      You also get that apparent superiority from Christians who have been on the - what is it called? - "Alpha Course"?

      It is an attitude like the debates by bishops about how many angels would fit on the head of a pin - something to give the laity an impression of intellectual superiority.

      A cousin married a newly ordained vicar. The bishop officiated at the wedding - and many of the husband's peers were there too . At the reception the bishop held court to the group of nascent vicars. He then proceeded to horrify my mother, and most of our relatives, by telling extremely blue stories in a loud voice - apparently oblivious to all the children nearby.

      "The bishop has become a father - he thought the actress had said to be sure to use some fresh lettuce." boom - boom!

  36. Grimster
    Facepalm

    I clicked here

    Looking for bewbs.

    left disappointed.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We all owe Scientology a huge debt of gratitude

    Scientology was simply made up on the spot by one Lafayette Ronald Hubbard. It provides a clear example that's equally applicable to *any* religious belief system. Thank you L. Ron; you've led by example - even if some didn't catch on that you were just joking.

  38. LB45
    Happy

    It's the cake picture again.

    Damn. I get suckered into articles every f'in time by that cake and milk picture.

    Mmmm, boobies.

    What were we discussing again?

  39. Rukario

    East Grinstead

    So, did anyone go to his talk last night? (Erm, anyone here I mean.)

  40. ElReg!comments!Pierre Silver badge
    Pint

    Xenu cake thumbnail

    Just dropped by to tell you that I had to tineye your delicious cake thumbnail, and after very detailed inspection I am sorry to report that the original picture appears to be a tad blurry. I dont really like cake, but I'll have a bit of that, thank you very much.

    http://intradayfun.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Delicious_anon.jpg

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The best way for Scientology to become really treated as a joke is if they show members of the cult using Windows 8 in their adverts. That will put anyone off.

    As for Sweeney, I normally have little time for these 'journalist' types, but fair play to the man who has the bravery to not only expose these gangsters, but furthermore to write a book and continue on his crusade. And as for his 'outburst', these bastards even turned up to his wedding, so I am hardly surprised he lost control. Shame he didn't wack the smarmy bastard taunting him.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    The Church of Scientology.

    I once stood toe to toe with their head legal honcho in their own head quarters.

    He is one of the very few human beings, that IF I could have grabbed him and hung him out of the 4th story window, and dropping him on his head, onto the street below - and have gotten away with it....

    I would have.

    I have seen them preying upon the mentally ill and the vulnerable.....

    I have seen them brainwash an old school chum of mine...

    They ruthlessly exploit people.

    I have no problem persuading them to channel their interests else where.

    I enjoy them and their weak minded - mind fuck bullshit.

    And they understand my principles and capacities.

    "Ron L. Hubbard - Suck on this."

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Scientology

    Spelled: C U L T

    Pronounced: S C A M

  44. Cipher
    Devil

    What about the clams?

    No one mentions the clams in the volcanoes and the H-bombs dropped on them to kill the Thetans.

    Yeah, $cientology has all that and more...

    http://www.xenu-directory.net/opinions/lindsay-19990117.html

  45. Inachu
    Devil

    Salvation or your money back!

    The net was the salvation for Church of the Subgenius!

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