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 Post subject: Re: New Interpreter Article a flop: Don't bother reading it
PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2019 7:03 pm 
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Physics Guy wrote:
The OTIII Xenu story is not the origin of thetans in Scientology. "Thetan" is simply Hubbard's neologism for "soul". The claim that human beings are really immortal thetans, who are just currently stuck in their bodies, is indeed something Scientology pushes openly on the public.

The Xenu story is the origin of "body thetans", which are ancient souls that have forgotten that they are supposed to be independent spirits and are instead infesting various points around your body. Body thetans are Hubbard's answer to what to do next after you've attained the promised state of Clear but still aren't happy. You're Clear when you've gotten rid of your own "reactive mind", but you still have all these other thetans on your body, see? Gotta get rid of them, too.


Yes, I am aware of the distinction. Of course, all thetans are "souls" (whatever that means, but I suppose it is an acceptable shorthand), even body thetans.


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 Post subject: Re: New Interpreter Article a flop: Don't bother reading it
PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2019 7:10 pm 
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Physics Guy wrote:
As to Joseph Smith's antics being just like those of every religious founder: I dunno. As long as you keep it vague I'm sure you can lump him into broad categories of people who stretched things, but really, when you come down to detail, are there any other actual cases of such extensive pretense of authenticity? His stack of lead plates or whatever it was didn't innocently emerge as a myth from collective experience.


Neither does the consecrated host in Catholicism. It *is* the body of Christ. That's some pretty widespread fakery going on every mass around the world. Really? *Is* it the body of Christ? The body of a dead Jewish carpenter from the first century AD? Seriously?

The Catholic Church says it is. And millions of people claim to accept that as the truth.

Maybe there is something other than a dichotomy of fakery vs. authenticity going on here, as shocking as that may seem.


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 Post subject: Re: New Interpreter Article a flop: Don't bother reading it
PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2019 7:12 pm 
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Fence Sitter wrote:
Very interesting discussion!.

I do not find the Xenu story any more ridiculous than Kolob.


I don't find the Dog Star to be ridiculous at all.


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 Post subject: Re: New Interpreter Article a flop: Don't bother reading it
PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2019 11:45 pm 
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The Rev wrote:
Neither does the consecrated host in Catholicism. It *is* the body of Christ. That's some pretty widespread fakery going on every mass around the world. Really? *Is* it the body of Christ? The body of a dead Jewish carpenter from the first century AD? Seriously?


While I agree, I think some more perspective is needed. There are two broad ways to assess historic beliefs, I'll call them positivist and postmodern. From the positivist perspective (Gemli), we compare the beliefs of the past rigidly by the best information we have available in our time and then pretty much laugh at everybody in history. Is it fair? Well, it's not totally unfair, because we're not going to stone people for adultery or cut holes in foreheads to air them out. By this standard, nothing Mormons believe is any worse than anything any other Christian believes. The postmodern alternative is to judge relative to the times. One of the best examples of the difference is that, by the positivist ruling, Galileo was hero who owned all the priests and it goes to show what intellectual honesty is capable of. How much further ahead could we be be if everyone in history was as intellectually honest as Galileo? The postmodern angle assumes people can't escape their culture, and so as Feyerabend and Richard Rorty argued, Galileo really struggled to make his case, and it wouldn't have been obvious that he was winning to the intellectually honest people of that time. It's only easy to make that call after the fact. The good of this method is obvious, but at the same time we can't give everyone a free pass.

Well, if we're going to judge how believable a religion is by a heuristic, it's probably going to be something along the lines of our best scientific knowledge (positivist) or along the lines of societal norms (postmodern). If Gemli is right, then pretty much no religion is more believable than any other. I know Physics Guy can't stand Rorty so I was a little surprised to see him take societal norms as the baseline -- I mean, I agree that it's probably the best we can do if we're going to give religion the benefit of the doubt, though. That pretty much guarantees that any NRM is hosed. Well, in some respects that doesn't seem fair, but in others, would you feel comfortable if some new cult leader mass converted hundreds of millions of Catholics, even if his beliefs were technically no less loony from a scientific standpoint? Social acceptability does seem to count for something. And I think the suggestion was particularly consistent with DCPs call for less research. Filter one is either social norms, Gemli, one of DCP's cognitive biases that land people right for the wrong reasons, or something ad hoc that is favorable to Mormonism but nobody else would use it.

From the "less research" standpoint, I think DCP shot himself in the foot twice, and Mormonism clearly loses. We can remind ourselves that we can select another kind of heuristic, Gemli, for instance, but DCP couldn't possibly agree with that. Sadly, as the Rev points out, that's a far better heuristic for defending Mormonism. But it gets confusing following a conversation where we're switching filters around without explaining why we are doing so.

What other options are there? One option is to remember that Oaks is up in the night, and do more research. Could that be favorable to Mormonism? Well, lol, ironically, it's probably more favorable than any reasonable heuristic approach.

Filter 2 is the trilemma. Never fit for Jesus since his most extraordinary claims are the most controversial as original to him. But for a modern figure, and as a heuristic, it isn't bad: once we have a baseline filter for what we consider "normal" whether it's science or religion, then the most extraordinary claims in terms of "normal" require the most extraordinary evidence. How far the prophet strays from our norms in justifying his claims sharpens the trilemma, like when Midgley claimed his buddy at FARMS got Reagan elected. lol. It's more obvious that this claim is "made up" then his agreements with Paul Tillich for most people. For a Gemli, it might not be.

But, further research does produce a Mendel now and again like DCP reminds us, or used to before he got brainwashed by Oaks, and quite honestly, if there is a God, who the f* is to say he isn't a contrarian or has any regard for our conventions? No one at the meridian of time followed Jesus (by christian accounts) by a social norm heuristic.

One point about Hubbard and his Science Fiction. A relative of mine who did some big college project on Scientology told me -- and I don't recall what My Sea Org friend said about this -- that many Scientologists believe his science fiction writings are real. It might not have happened with the exact names of places and people, but think about that. It's apocrypha! This is the very same claim that the apologists make of Joseph Smith: Joseph Smith misunderstood his mission. Hubbard may have had a slew of bad impulses not knowing what he had deep inside him. I really don't see why a con couldn't be the victim of God's irony, but that takes more research, as the proof is in the pudding for extraordinary claims. If you go OT8 and can jump into the Van Allen belt or trip people with your mind, or if you prove the Book of Mormon is 15th century channeling, then you win. You're the one in a billion, you followed the Mendel when nobody else did.

I think Lafayette and Joe are high fiving in the afterlife and comparing notches on their rob belts.

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FARMS refuted:

"...supporters of Billy Meier still point to the very clear photos of Pleiadian beam ships flying over his farm. They argue that for the photos to be fakes, we have to believe that a one-armed man who had no knowledge of Photoshop or other digital photography programs could have made such realistic photos and films..." -- D. R. Prothero


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 Post subject: Re: New Interpreter Article a flop: Don't bother reading it
PostPosted: Fri Apr 12, 2019 12:48 am 
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If transsubstantiation counts as fakery then Kishkumen is using a much broader definition of "fakery" than I do. If the Catholic Mass was all started up by one guy who secretely injected beef broth into wafers, and people all bought the whole "this is my body" thing mainly because of that protein and cartilage content, then I'd call that fakery.

Catholics do not pretend that their wafers become human tissue. The "substance" in transsubstantiation is not the modern concept of a material, but a term from medieval philosophy with a quite different meaning. In this context the "substance" of a thing is whatever set of properties it has to have to be what it is, while the thing's "accidents" are features that can take multiple values. In this usage, "wood" is never the substance of a chair, because chairs made of plastic or metal are still chairs. The substance of a chair is something like "you can sit on it". So claiming that the substance of a wafer is changed into the body of Christ when the priest says the words is a lot like claiming that the substance of a piece of metal and plastic is changed into my body, when it's attached to me as an artificial limb.

The Catholic notion of their Mass is precisely not the kind of thing that I call "obviously made-up". It's a theoretical rabbithole that you have to dive into fairly deep before you can sort out whether it might conceivably make sense or not. The conclusion may well be that it's utter nonsense, but that conclusion isn't obvious.


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 Post subject: Re: New Interpreter Article a flop: Don't bother reading it
PostPosted: Fri Apr 12, 2019 4:26 am 
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The fact of the matter is that the host has been considered the body of Christ long before the dogma of Transubstantiation was concocted. It is also the body of Christ in Orthodoxy. The addition of Transubstantiation to explain the miracle is, in my view, obviously “made up,” and the Orthodox Church found it completely unnecessary.

As the host is thought to be the body of a person that is obviously not the body of a person, that is then consumed as if in an act of cannibalism, this is clearly fake, bizarre, and made up. In antiquity it was considered bizarre and aberrant.


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 Post subject: Re: New Interpreter Article a flop: Don't bother reading it
PostPosted: Fri Apr 12, 2019 5:03 am 
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To handle one of the Dean’s issues at a time, I will start with the “trilemma.” The trilemma is really a false dilemma. It states that a religious charismatic is really either pathological in some sense, or his claims overturn our understanding of reality. Given that stacking of the deck (or, “heads I win, tails you lose”), most people will opt for pathological. There is no room here for understanding one of the most pervasive phenomena in human history on its own terms. We don’t need to study religion qua religion, when, conveniently, we can medicalize it as an illness and dismiss it. That makes for great ideology, if you share that point of view.


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 Post subject: Re: New Interpreter Article a flop: Don't bother reading it
PostPosted: Fri Apr 12, 2019 6:16 am 
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Physic's Guy wrote:
Catholics do not pretend...


The Reverend gave you a bad example. If we're looking for religion that hits your criteria of respectability -- more or less accepted interpretations of the Bible and Christian doctrines and creeds based on accepted practices of Biblical authority and has philosophized a lot of the supernatural claims out but nevertheless, is fraught with obvious fraud, look no further than the Pentecostal movement, which to my knowledge is still growing like wildfire. Speaking in tongues? Slain in the spirit? Laughing in the Spirit? Faith healings on stage? This ____ breaks the stupid meter in ways Mormonism or even Scientology can't compare to. Every other week a minister gets busted for fraud -- but they don't have to get busted as the stage routines are based on the oldest stage magic in the book and cold reading.

I remember on my mission an elderly couple we taught a first discussion to was all broken up because they'd been to a revival just prior where they were doing faith healing, and the wife, who suffered from crippling arthritis, wasn't selected to be healed. She described in tears the others that got picked -- burned in my mind was her describing a guy with one leg shorter than the other from polio and the minister made the leg grow on stage -- a trick right out of the boy scout handbook for the magic merit badge.

I went to many of these mass Christian Center gatherings on my mission and it can get downright scary.

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FARMS refuted:

"...supporters of Billy Meier still point to the very clear photos of Pleiadian beam ships flying over his farm. They argue that for the photos to be fakes, we have to believe that a one-armed man who had no knowledge of Photoshop or other digital photography programs could have made such realistic photos and films..." -- D. R. Prothero


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 Post subject: Re: New Interpreter Article a flop: Don't bother reading it
PostPosted: Fri Apr 12, 2019 6:32 am 
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Kishkumen wrote:
To handle one of the Dean’s issues at a time, I will start with the “trilemma.” The trilemma is really a false dilemma. It states that a religious charismatic is really either pathological in some sense, or his claims overturn our understanding of reality. Given that stacking of the deck (or, “heads I win, tails you lose”), most people will opt for pathological. There is no room here for understanding one of the most pervasive phenomena in human history on its own terms. We don’t need to study religion qua religion, when, conveniently, we can medicalize it as an illness and dismiss it. That makes for great ideology, if you share that point of view.


the trilemma is obviously false as none of those things, madness, fraud, and revelation are mutually exclusive and yes, it stacks the deck in terms of dooming extraordinary claims to irrationality or fraud as you point out. But as a heuristic, that's generally how we see it when somebody comes to us with a new multi-level marketing opportunity or a youtube video on overunity; please try to tell me that this isn't how you judge 99% of the extraordinary claims from unconventional sources that come across your desk.

But unfortunately the problem of induction hasn't been solved, and so there is no way to say in advance which extraordinary claims are false. Once in a while some crazy idea might be true. Once in a while some crazy idea born with the worst intentions might be true. There is no logical rule that rules any of that out.

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FARMS refuted:

"...supporters of Billy Meier still point to the very clear photos of Pleiadian beam ships flying over his farm. They argue that for the photos to be fakes, we have to believe that a one-armed man who had no knowledge of Photoshop or other digital photography programs could have made such realistic photos and films..." -- D. R. Prothero


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 Post subject: Re: New Interpreter Article a flop: Don't bother reading it
PostPosted: Fri Apr 12, 2019 7:28 am 
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Gadianton wrote:
The Reverend gave you a bad example.


It's only an example that caused an entire movement in Christianity that objected to it to forge a new concept of the host as "communion."


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 Post subject: Re: New Interpreter Article a flop: Don't bother reading it
PostPosted: Fri Apr 12, 2019 7:36 am 
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Gadianton wrote:
the trilemma is obviously false as none of those things, madness, fraud, and revelation are mutually exclusive and yes, it stacks the deck in terms of dooming extraordinary claims to irrationality or fraud as you point out. But as a heuristic, that's generally how we see it when somebody comes to us with a new multi-level marketing opportunity or a youtube video on overunity; please try to tell me that this isn't how you judge 99% of the extraordinary claims from unconventional sources that come across your desk.

But unfortunately the problem of induction hasn't been solved, and so there is no way to say in advance which extraordinary claims are false. Once in a while some crazy idea might be true. Once in a while some crazy idea born with the worst intentions might be true. There is no logical rule that rules any of that out.


Well, yes, we take the most economical option to effect the rejection and move on. Honestly, though, at this point I do not stop at the point of saying, "lunatic, liar, or lord," and then discontinue any thought on the issue. It's neither accurate nor at all interesting. I know that people believe things that simply aren't true. They experience things that I have not experienced, and then they draw conclusions I would not draw. That can be true, and I have no obligation to question their sincerity and sanity, or to adopt their conclusions as my own.

We have understandably embraced, internalized, and acted on the economical gesture of dismissing out of hand things we do not understand or that offend our sensibilities about normative thought and behavior.

I appreciate you sticking with me, here, Dean Robbers. I understand that in a sense the argument is conceded. That is, I accept that the majority way of dealing with these things is exactly as you and Physics Guy say. Most people will look at Mormonism as obviously fake and move on. Granted. But, to me, the many question surrounding that fact are what makes the whole thing interesting to look at in the first place.


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 Post subject: Re: New Interpreter Article a flop: Don't bother reading it
PostPosted: Fri Apr 12, 2019 9:31 am 
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Kishkumen wrote:
Well, yes, we take the most economical option to effect the rejection and move on. Honestly, though, at this point I do not stop at the point of saying, "lunatic, liar, or lord,"


"economical option" may hit the nail on the head. My personal philosophy of science drains the discussion of objectivity or popularity as much as possible and looks in terms of the finance idea of market efficiency and risk premium. There are about 10 ways to more or less say the same thing as the "economical" approach as you put it. The only reason why I chose "lunatic liar lord" is because DCP put so much effort into it and I suddenly realized upon reading Physic's Guy's post that DCP had yet shot a second bullet into his foot with that. Nobody but the SeN guys go around thinking about everything in the way C.S. Lewis put things. A better way to put it would be in terms of Kuhn's idea of a paradigm. The apologists for decades have shot themselves in the foot by appealing to Kuhn because of his one idea that gets the most press, but is probably the least central to his theory, that ultimately all paradigms are relative and so the apologists think they can believe anything they want. How dumb is that? Apologetics wouldn't stand a chance in Kuhns world because the idea of economy, as you put it. Take a large and well organized professional institution, say, physics, per Kuhn, it has it's paradigm, and physicists don't have time to doubt every idea in their textbook as Richard Feynman would have you believe and so, you can't go out there prove everything yourself afresh from the ground up. You take everything on faith as it were that the paradigm teaches (for the most part). So what happens if a Mendel or John Gee comes along with an extraordinary claim that is ahead of its time? Science can't know more than it does so you take the economical approach and ignore it. Stay with the paradigm. If there's anything to the extraordinary claims, then eventually, discoveries will be made within the confines of the paradigm that don't fit, a new model will emerge, and "more research" will vindicate the idea -- it might be that the data is so out there, that a new paradigm emerges competing with the old, and eventually, the new is adopted and the paradigm shifts. Fortunately we're not stuck with C. S. Lewis for describing the economical option.

Quote:
g that fact are what makes the whole thing interesting to look at in the first place.


a lot of reasons but one would be that people want something exciting and different. okay, oddly, Mormonism in practice has killed off the excitement, but it's incredibly rich for a particularly quirky, speculative mindset. Fence Sitter's link the other day about the history of BYU showed just how fertile Mormonism with all its weirdness was for some of the early well-educated church intellectuals.

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FARMS refuted:

"...supporters of Billy Meier still point to the very clear photos of Pleiadian beam ships flying over his farm. They argue that for the photos to be fakes, we have to believe that a one-armed man who had no knowledge of Photoshop or other digital photography programs could have made such realistic photos and films..." -- D. R. Prothero


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 Post subject: Re: New Interpreter Article a flop: Don't bother reading it
PostPosted: Fri Apr 12, 2019 12:11 pm 
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As a nevermo RC christian for 40 years turned evangelical, I have attended thousands of Masses- the ones in churches and the ones celebrated in a home with a small community of friends- not once have i heard a RC believer even hint at eating Jesus body in some real or secret way sorta like cannibalism. But of course that is the charge of many opposed to RC or on the other side of the fence so to speak. What i have witnessed is that RC believers in their heart of hearts believe that Jesus is somehow mystically really present- sounds oxymoronic does it not?
Anyway the RC theology tries to explain all of this and i can't really speak to that.
My own personal belief is that because ot Jesus spoken words at the last supper holding up and out a slice of bread :"take and eat this is my body given up for you" and holding out the cup : "take this all of you and drink from it- this is the cup of my blood the blood of the new and everlasting covenant -it will be poured out for you and all that sins may be forgiven; do this in memory of me" - sorry if i butchered the exact words w/o my New Testament handy.
So my belief is that Jesus is offering his disciples and all believers to join Him in a most intimate personal relationship with the Son of God. The bread and wine consumed into one's body in memory of the words he spoke at the last supper reflect and confirm that the believer desires to be in an intimate relationship with Christ Jesus.
The symbolism of this ritual continues to be held sacred and personal to RC believers and deeply affects many psycholgically and gives the believer hope that eternal life is at the end of life's journey.

this is what i believe and i'm stickin to it :cool:

k


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 Post subject: Re: New Interpreter Article a flop: Don't bother reading it
PostPosted: Fri Apr 12, 2019 12:54 pm 
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Thanks, first, to Kishkumen for your gracious reply last week. I find this topic increasingly difficult because it has moved from a rather loose discussion about the relative weirdness of Mormonism and Scientology to the structures of religious belief. I suppose that is inevitable. In the end, I think the strongest point to be made in favor of the claim that Mormonism enjoys some advantage over Scientology is not about the myths and narratives but about the practices. Almost everybody in this country knows what a church is, that people sing songs in them, that they talk about god in them, and that those things happen on Sunday. Auditing, on the other hand, is something the IRS does.

I don't see Physics Guy as particularly post-Protestant in his intellectual assumptions, and it is really hard for me to see how Kish's arguments do any more justice to a religious mindset than Physics Guy, though their tone is more respectuful. It is largely non-traditional religious believers on the margins of their communities who could talk about religion in such academic terms, at least until recently. It seems to me that a religious believer would detect little daylight between their respective positions, and what space does exist is filled in by a discussion mostly about terminology (is it "fakery" or not, is belief "medicalized as an illness"? By the way, surely that kind of rhetorical sympathy applies to Mike Pence who is, after all, just following the Bible's injunctions as he sincerely understands them).

What hath Xenu to do with Moroni? If only I were allowed to do more research. Since I've been told not to, I can only describe my impression so far.

This discussion has basically involved extracting two sets of supernatural stories for side-by-side comparison with little regard for their historical circumstances. For some reason, ignoring culture context (tradition, let us say) and focusing on text (scripture alone, if you will) strikes me as deeply Protestant: in form, it looks like a very Protestant sort of argument about sects and texts. But in any case assumed throughout here is that religion is a recognizable category. The idea that "religion" is such a definable and separable category of human culture is only a few centuries old, largely western European, and ultimately something that comes out of Protestant cultures. A truly post-Protestant position, at least from within the Western tradition, wouldn't share that assumption, which is one reason it is very difficult to find a word for "religion" in most languages, and even European languages all use or import a local variant of religio (and of course the Latin word does not really mean "religion" in our sense).

I think the horizon of expectations matters, and that is a cultural and historical problem. If not saying it outright, Kish has basically said as much. What makes this thread weird to me, though, is that on one side all the examples are drawn from the past to argue a claim about the present (is Scientology obviously fake?), and on the other, cultural assumptions in the present are being used to argue a claim about the past (did Joseph Smith make it up?). It is very odd. A consistent application of these approaches will bring out this absurdity, for if we are going to talk about how weird Joseph Smith's claims seem to us, it is only fair that we try to figure out how weird L. Ron Hubbard's claims would have seemed to some 19th century farmers. Similarly, if we are going to talk about Scientology as weird but Mormonism less weird because still connected to an ancient tradition, surely Xenu and thetan theology can use the precedents of antiquity too (Sethian gnosticism, say, and Yaldabaoth) to establish some normalcy.

For Mormonism, the horizon of expectations in the 19th were very different from what they are in the 21st century, although clearly plenty of people who were exposed to Joseph Smith thought that his claims did not meet their expectations of religious but did meet those of fraud and charlatan. But however weird the stories, the practice of Mormonism was normal enough until the late 1840s, and it normalized again starting in the early 20th century. That L. Ron Hubbard could get any followers seems at first to be just astounding, but of course Scientology was emblematic of drastically shifting cultural expectations about the function of religion. It is not even clear that Scientology is a religion to a lot of people and even governments, which has been the source of real legal argument, and I think that is in part a sign of the blurring of the line separating religion from other parts of culture. We are also in a moment where not a few traditional Christian believers and non-believers alike have a difficult time seeing lines, especially the one between religion and politics. That has happened before, so maybe it will pass. But added to that, religious institutions are increasingly less a part of the social fabric (with the result that it frays, according to some) while still remaining a potent force—where it once was a unifying factor even across sects, now it is divisive—and religious appeal is made chiefly about personal "well-being" and insidious stupidities like happiness and identity. It is hard for me to see what the stories of Xenu or Moroni really have to do with one's personal fulfillment—and if they do have anything to do with it, then their supposed weirdness is irrelevant as a general concern anyway—but in any case this is a relatively new kind of expectation to impose on religion, and it also erodes all kinds of social (and increasingly legal) boundaries that effectively protect believers on the inside and non-believers on the outside. I certainly don't look forward to a post-Protestant future if it involves this kind of category blur. But then I'm one of those people who thinks that the sheet of culture separating civilization from barbarity is translucently thin and wind-fragile, and that Steven Pinker parties like it's 1913 ("We are less superstitious than our ancestors, it's been a hundred years since we've had a major war, and we weren't massively industrialized then like we are now! Come on guys! What could possibly go wrong?").

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 Post subject: Re: New Interpreter Article a flop: Don't bother reading it
PostPosted: Fri Apr 12, 2019 1:29 pm 
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I’m on the run, so I have little time to do this justice, but I must say that I love these posts from the Dean and our most illustrious consul. I am pleased to see the consul return to the thread after my boorishness. Thank you. I love much of what you write, consul. It is music for the soul. I do not agree entirely with your interpretation of all I have written here, but I will account that to my lack of clarity as I fumble about in exploring my thoughts. More later.


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 Post subject: Re: New Interpreter Article a flop: Don't bother reading it
PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2019 11:58 am 
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Gadianton wrote:
Friends,

the Interpreter has just published the flop of the year. The President of Interpreter himself somehow got through his Journal's stringent peer review process with this disaster, and so here it is stealing the stage on a Friday afternoon.

I glanced at the abstract, skimmed the first paragraph and looked over the conclusion and the letters came forcefully into my minds eye: FLOP.

This article is a joke; I could tell that just from the initial skim of the abstract and what a waste that I bothered for another nineteen seconds glancing through to the end. If you want my opinion, don't even bother clicking on the link and reading it. I only put the link there to obey Shades' rule about linking. But do yourself a favor and chalk this one up to failed article and go on with your day.


I read the whole article and it's just another remake of the old Mormon argument that one must go by "feelings" and not by intellectual inquiry. If's nothing but propaganda, really. In my view if people really researched Joseph Smith's lifestyle, his involvement in the occult, his grooming of young girls in his home (whom he later "married"), his shady real estate practices, and accumulation of wealth as "trustee in trust" to the Church, and how he later blew all that money, they might think to themselves: "I'm not really going to follow someone like Smith."

So, the article is pretty transparent in its attempt to downplay intellectual queries and stick with "feeeeeeeeeeeeeelings," which is how they hook people into believing in the Book of Mormon. It was a flop, but then Mormonism is a big, huge flop, and is now crumbling as more and more people learn the truth about Smith and his merry band of holy womanizers!


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 Post subject: Re: New Interpreter Article a flop: Don't bother reading it
PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2019 12:13 pm 
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Symmachus wrote:
Thanks, first, to Kishkumen for your gracious reply last week. I find this topic increasingly difficult because it has moved from a rather loose discussion about the relative weirdness of Mormonism and Scientology to the structures of religious belief. I suppose that is inevitable. In the end, I think the strongest point to be made in favor of the claim that Mormonism enjoys some advantage over Scientology is not about the myths and narratives but about the practices. Almost everybody in this country knows what a church is, that people sing songs in them, that they talk about god in them, and that those things happen on Sunday. Auditing, on the other hand, is something the IRS does.

I don't see Physics Guy as particularly post-Protestant in his intellectual assumptions, and it is really hard for me to see how Kish's arguments do any more justice to a religious mindset than Physics Guy, though their tone is more respectuful. It is largely non-traditional religious believers on the margins of their communities who could talk about religion in such academic terms, at least until recently. It seems to me that a religious believer would detect little daylight between their respective positions, and what space does exist is filled in by a discussion mostly about terminology (is it "fakery" or not, is belief "medicalized as an illness"? By the way, surely that kind of rhetorical sympathy applies to Mike Pence who is, after all, just following the Bible's injunctions as he sincerely understands them).

What hath Xenu to do with Moroni? If only I were allowed to do more research. Since I've been told not to, I can only describe my impression so far.

This discussion has basically involved extracting two sets of supernatural stories for side-by-side comparison with little regard for their historical circumstances. For some reason, ignoring culture context (tradition, let us say) and focusing on text (scripture alone, if you will) strikes me as deeply Protestant: in form, it looks like a very Protestant sort of argument about sects and texts. But in any case assumed throughout here is that religion is a recognizable category. The idea that "religion" is such a definable and separable category of human culture is only a few centuries old, largely western European, and ultimately something that comes out of Protestant cultures. A truly post-Protestant position, at least from within the Western tradition, wouldn't share that assumption, which is one reason it is very difficult to find a word for "religion" in most languages, and even European languages all use or import a local variant of religio (and of course the Latin word does not really mean "religion" in our sense).

I think the horizon of expectations matters, and that is a cultural and historical problem. If not saying it outright, Kish has basically said as much. What makes this thread weird to me, though, is that on one side all the examples are drawn from the past to argue a claim about the present (is Scientology obviously fake?), and on the other, cultural assumptions in the present are being used to argue a claim about the past (did Joseph Smith make it up?). It is very odd. A consistent application of these approaches will bring out this absurdity, for if we are going to talk about how weird Joseph Smith's claims seem to us, it is only fair that we try to figure out how weird L. Ron Hubbard's claims would have seemed to some 19th century farmers. Similarly, if we are going to talk about Scientology as weird but Mormonism less weird because still connected to an ancient tradition, surely Xenu and thetan theology can use the precedents of antiquity too (Sethian gnosticism, say, and Yaldabaoth) to establish some normalcy.

For Mormonism, the horizon of expectations in the 19th were very different from what they are in the 21st century, although clearly plenty of people who were exposed to Joseph Smith thought that his claims did not meet their expectations of religious but did meet those of fraud and charlatan. But however weird the stories, the practice of Mormonism was normal enough until the late 1840s, and it normalized again starting in the early 20th century. That L. Ron Hubbard could get any followers seems at first to be just astounding, but of course Scientology was emblematic of drastically shifting cultural expectations about the function of religion. It is not even clear that Scientology is a religion to a lot of people and even governments, which has been the source of real legal argument, and I think that is in part a sign of the blurring of the line separating religion from other parts of culture. We are also in a moment where not a few traditional Christian believers and non-believers alike have a difficult time seeing lines, especially the one between religion and politics. That has happened before, so maybe it will pass. But added to that, religious institutions are increasingly less a part of the social fabric (with the result that it frays, according to some) while still remaining a potent force—where it once was a unifying factor even across sects, now it is divisive—and religious appeal is made chiefly about personal "well-being" and insidious stupidities like happiness and identity. It is hard for me to see what the stories of Xenu or Moroni really have to do with one's personal fulfillment—and if they do have anything to do with it, then their supposed weirdness is irrelevant as a general concern anyway—but in any case this is a relatively new kind of expectation to impose on religion, and it also erodes all kinds of social (and increasingly legal) boundaries that effectively protect believers on the inside and non-believers on the outside. I certainly don't look forward to a post-Protestant future if it involves this kind of category blur. But then I'm one of those people who thinks that the sheet of culture separating civilization from barbarity is translucently thin and wind-fragile, and that Steven Pinker parties like it's 1913 ("We are less superstitious than our ancestors, it's been a hundred years since we've had a major war, and we weren't massively industrialized then like we are now! Come on guys! What could possibly go wrong?").


Hi, well Jordan Peterson has certainly blurred the lines between Psychology and Religion - I don't know whether that is a good thing, although the two are certainly related. Joseph Smith manipulated people's psyches with his charisma and pretense and story telling. He was very good at what he did, however he was evil. And I mean that in every sense of the word. One does not tell 14 year old gals that an angel will kill those with whom they will not have sex. One does not bring young girls into one's home and bed them down behind the legal wife's back. You see, Mormons hate when I bring this stuff up, but they have to deal with the fact that Joseph Smith really was an evil man. He sent husbands away on "missions," leaving their homes and family - especially their wives - and Joe Smith was there to comfort them. Why, he even offered to marry them! A stand in hubby, and if the woman became pregnant, why she could always say her legal hubby was daddy. This man was evil, folks, but Mormons and ex-Mormons turn their heads the other way. They won't face facts. They'd rather attack the institution they have left than deal with the fact that they willingly submitted to a PEDOPHILE. I see it all over this forum with men and women who have claimed to have left Mormonism, but will rise up in an instant to defend that which they have left, or it founder. These are the ones who have not come to Christ, obviously, and still have a serious mental attachment to Mormonism and Joseph Smith. What a pity. It's far easier to attack the messenger, me, than to deal with their dependency on the cult.


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 Post subject: Re: New Interpreter Article a flop: Don't bother reading it
PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2019 12:30 pm 
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servent wrote:
I don't know whether that is a good thing, although the two are certainly related. Joseph Smith manipulated people's psyches with his charisma and pretense and story telling. He was very good at what he did, however he was evil. And I mean that in every sense of the word...PEDOPHILE...


While more or less accurate, where do you think he learned his trade? From the Christian men around him and from the Bible itself. The Old Testament could be regarded as an instruction manual for sexual deviancy, pedophilia, and exploitation in God's name. Burn the Bible, and there will be fewer Joseph Smiths in the world.

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FARMS refuted:

"...supporters of Billy Meier still point to the very clear photos of Pleiadian beam ships flying over his farm. They argue that for the photos to be fakes, we have to believe that a one-armed man who had no knowledge of Photoshop or other digital photography programs could have made such realistic photos and films..." -- D. R. Prothero


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 Post subject: Re: New Interpreter Article a flop: Don't bother reading it
PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2019 12:33 pm 
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Servant wrote:
. I see it all over this forum with men and women who have claimed to have left Mormonism, but will rise up in an instant to defend that which they have left, or it founder.


Oh please. I don't think you have spent much time on this forum if you have this kind of opinion. Who does this? Please list a few exmormons on this site who deny and/or defend Joseph Smith having sex with 14 year old girls.

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"Jesus gave us the gospel, but Satan invented church. It takes serious evil to formalize faith into something tedious and then pile guilt on anyone who doesn’t participate enthusiastically." - Robert Kirby

Beer makes you feel the way you ought to feel without beer. -- Henry Lawson


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 Post subject: Re: New Interpreter Article a flop: Don't bother reading it
PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2019 2:41 pm 
First Presidency

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Everybody Wang Chung wrote:
Dean, I really should have listened to your advice.

That was a crappy article and a complete waste of 5 minutes I'll never get back.

Also, why is Paranormal Peterson still using his photo from 1989? That photo is over 30 freaking years old! As we have shown over and over, Peterson is a very vain, shallow and insecure person.

Here is the 1989 photo he still uses:
Image


Here are some photos taken of Peterson in the last few years that accurately reflect his appearance:

Image

Image



Very weighty stuff! That's always been a problem with WOW Mormons - not enough caffeine flowing in their veins, thus no exercise.


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 Post subject: Re: New Interpreter Article a flop: Don't bother reading it
PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2019 2:46 pm 
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kairos wrote:
As a nevermo RC christian for 40 years turned evangelical, I have attended thousands of Masses- the ones in churches and the ones celebrated in a home with a small community of friends- not once have i heard a RC believer even hint at eating Jesus body in some real or secret way sorta like cannibalism. But of course that is the charge of many opposed to RC or on the other side of the fence so to speak. What i have witnessed is that RC believers in their heart of hearts believe that Jesus is somehow mystically really present- sounds oxymoronic does it not?
Anyway the RC theology tries to explain all of this and i can't really speak to that.
My own personal belief is that because ot Jesus spoken words at the last supper holding up and out a slice of bread :"take and eat this is my body given up for you" and holding out the cup : "take this all of you and drink from it- this is the cup of my blood the blood of the new and everlasting covenant -it will be poured out for you and all that sins may be forgiven; do this in memory of me" - sorry if i butchered the exact words w/o my New Testament handy.
So my belief is that Jesus is offering his disciples and all believers to join Him in a most intimate personal relationship with the Son of God. The bread and wine consumed into one's body in memory of the words he spoke at the last supper reflect and confirm that the believer desires to be in an intimate relationship with Christ Jesus.
The symbolism of this ritual continues to be held sacred and personal to RC believers and deeply affects many psycholgically and gives the believer hope that eternal life is at the end of life's journey.

this is what i believe and i'm stickin to it :cool:

k


I agree with you. Anglicans hold to the doctrine of real presence as well, but don't call it transubstantiation, which is essentially a chemistry lesson. Christ is present in, with and under the species. Protestants often misunderstand this doctrine and say it is Cannibalism, but, of course, it's simply a literal understanding of Jesus' proclamation: "this IS my body" and "this is my Blood of the New Covenant."


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