Am I the only atheist blogger blogging about the Cult of Scientology?

In my experience on the atheosphere, bloggers have been pretty quick to stand against injustices done in the name of religion. Well right now we have an international cult masquerading as a religion* in order to get tax-exempt status, escape numerous external investigations, and now to be able to label those who oppose them as religious bigots. In Scientology, we have an organization that has demonstrated a willingness to go to great lengths to harass, spy, intimidate, sue, frame, and defame critics into silence. We have an organization that has a track record of breaking up families, psychologically abusing, manipulating, lying to, and literally trapping its members, engaging in thought-policing and rigorous mind-control protocols, having members work 90 hour weeks to make a pittance (maybe $30-$60/week, give or take), harassing and infiltrating government agencies, and has official policy (“fair game”) which enables and encourages Scientologists to go so far as to destroy the lives of those who stand in Scientology’s way. Scientology has the markings of a terrorist mafia cult that has gone mainstream.

Yes, I did read the first thing I wrote: Scientology has a history of striving to make the lives of those who oppose them hellish until such opposition is ceased. But times are changing. The world of a few months ago in which Scientology could terrorize so-called “Suppressive Persons” (SPs) outside of the public eye is gone. There are now Scientology watchdogs as far as the eyes can see. And every time these watchdogs see the Cult of Scientology fair game one of its critics they bark louder and they grow in number. If I were to be fair gamed, I know that my fellow advocates for free speech and human rights would rally behind me, as I rally behind them. And I know that a few more people would attend the next protests, as friends, family, acquaintances and people I have never met from near and far heard of the abuses being done to me—and believe me, THEY WOULD HEAR ALL ABOUT IT.

I call out atheist bloggers because this sort of thing should be the sort of thing that they jump on. But from what I’ve seen, they’ve been pretty quiet. They’re letting the bully win. The bully is no longer in charge when all the kids refuse to let him harass any single one of them. In the past few months, more and more of the school has stood up and said that they’re not going to stand for the bullying anymore. Yes, most of them are wearing masks. I think that we are now getting to the point where such masks may not be needed. Every time the cult goes after a critic, it proves the point that protesters are making. In doing so, they jack up the resolve and numbers of the protesters and help raise the consciousness of the general population to their deplorable conduct.

So, this is a call to the atheist bloggers out there—and to everyone else for that matter. Read up on Scientology’s misdeads and speak out against them. And as with any civil protesting, keep it civil. Do not break any laws, tell lies, or do anything else underhanded.

This organization has proven itself to be dangerous time and again. The only way to neutralize the threat they pose is to collectively stand up and defend human rights. This is not about chastising anyone for their beliefs (though surely this would not be a difficult thing to do). This is about defending society, including individual Scientologists.

PZ Myers, I’m looking at you. Larry Moran, ditto. And ditto to Hemant Mehta, Ed Brayton, the other Ron B, Skeptico, and everyone else.

* Many atheists have said that all religions are cults. It is true that an alternative name for cults is “new religious movement”. The religions are just the more successful cults. Through observing Scientology, I’ve observed some of the major differences between what we call religions and what we call cults. Scientology abuses, manipulates, bullies, and traps its members; it discourages and even bans some or all of its committed members from interacting with people and literature who speak against Scientology; and it is ruthless toward its critics and those it views as being in the organization’s way. Moderate religion is hardly like this. While there surely are cult factions within religious communities—e.g., Islamist groups where apostates can be severely punished (up to death); pockets of Religious Right America where children are isolated from non-Christian people and influences, which they are often taught to fear—it would be an injustice to group liberal religious groups and even many conservative religious groups along with organizations like the Cult of Scientology.

For more posts on Scientology, click here.

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Comments
15 Responses to “Am I the only atheist blogger blogging about the Cult of Scientology?”
  1. Tommykey says:

    While I am at best a D-list atheist blogger, I haven’t addressed scientology because it never really was on my radar screen. Atheist bloggers are as you know a varied lot, and while there is a lot of overlap on atheist blogs, we also make our own unique contributions and observations on our own niche topics and interests. I have not done any posts about scientology because the subject thus far has not resonated with me.

    One atheist blogger I know of who has done some posts on scientology of late is Choose Doubt of the blog Babble Bullshit & Blasphemy (or something along those lines).

  2. John Morales says:

    Look at it this way: Scientology relies on naivety for its promulgation; the Web negates this to a great degree.

  3. Darkwinter says:

    I, too, am at best a D-list blogger; but the reason I’ve not been writing much about $cientology (I do mention it a little, but probably not as much as I should) is because of the coverage I’ve seen of it elsewhere. While I agree that atheist bloggers should be doing more to spread awareness of this issue, I don’t think there’s as much silence on the subject as you seem to claim. The Rogues’ Gallery have had 2 posts on the Co$ in the last 4 days, for instance.

    There are an awful lot of topics that atheist bloggers cover – it’s too much to ask that we all cover everything. I personally blog a bit about ecological issues that go unmentioned in the vast majority of fellow sceptical blogs, and while I’d like to see these issues get more coverage, I think it’s too much to ask that every major scpetical blog mention them regularly.

  4. podblack says:

    Enjoy the viewing – The TANK Vodcast, hosted by the former President of the Australian Skeptics:

    The second in the series features a report by an editor of the Australian Skeptic Journal:

    … and you’re a bit late. TANK reports were filed just a few days after the protests happened!
    Do you consider vodcasts to be like blogposts? They all feature interviews with stakeholders.

    Also enjoy – http://podblack.wordpress.com/?s=scientology&searchsubmit=Find+%C2%BB

  5. grassrootsmovement says:

    Bravo! Great post, all of it.

    Meanwhile, watch out for the descending hordes of screaming women who may attack you in a misguided attempt to ‘protect’ Tom Cruise.

  6. balletgeek says:

    The Cult of Scientology is a very dangerous cult that does need to be unmasked. It is just a huge money-making scam that brain washes their victims.

    The Cult of Scientology is one of the biggest violators of free expression on the Internet. I have seen for years how the cult of scientology use (abuse) copyright law and trade secret law to prevent people from criticizing them and their far-fetched beliefs on the Internet.

    Check out this video on YouTube “Tom Cruise and the Cult of Scientology”:

  7. Rachel says:

    Although I agree with you, Ron, that what scientology does is pretty scary and violates just about everything I stand for, they are pretty small, fortunately. They are so small, they’re not even mentioned in the Pew Forum survey on religion (yes, I know size does not necessarily mean no influence but usually there is a correlation). I think we have bigger fish to fry. I agree with Hitchens and others that all religions are inherently dangerous. I also think that ultimately our tasks as atheist bloggers is to move beyond religion bashing toward developing sound alternatives. There is something to religions, including cults like scientology, that is very attractive to people. If we can provide alternatives, Tom Cruise can look as handsome as he wants but won’t be able to attract more people to scientology.

    It is also not true that atheists are not addressing this: There is a very good interview on Point of Inquiry with Tory Christman, for example. Maybe we’re not talking about it as much as you would like us to but maybe that’s because we feel that it is more important to deal with threats from Islam, for example.

  8. matt says:

    I think Rachel is right about developing sound alternatives. I have many friends from my home town that no longer feel very religious, but at the same time they acknowledge that they picked up a lot of friends and experiences from church/sunday school typed activities and groups. To contrast with the plethora of christian (whether by dogma or in name only) summer camps, I know of only one or two atheist/freethinker summer camps, and the SSA as the only meeting group for young atheists.
    I don’t know how to set up these things without looking like a religion, but if people have the choice between being ignorant and theist with their knitting circles and socials, or agnostic/atheist and alone on a sunday afternoon (nevermind that if everyone was agnostic they’d find another reason to meet),… you get it.

  9. david mabus says:

    the *MODEL* of mental health:

    “Look at the ANGLE OF THE KEY….see that, see that….”

    what an idiot this Randi is…..a REAL CRITICAL THINKER…..

    for all the victims of Randi’s monstrous idea…….

    Visit:

    http://www.centerforinquiry.net/forums/viewthread/3283/P0/

    to see how we stopped James Randi’s fraudulent MILLION DOLLAR PARANORMAL challenge…..

    watch carefully the consequences of Randi’s *idea*…..

    For over 40 years James Randi Zwigert (is this even a REAL NAME?) has had total control over who and how the testing was conducted, yet despite all this he has terminated the challenge.

    The ONLY REASON why the challenge was stopped is because he lost and refused to pay.

    Apparently, Randi likes to break the rules when it serves him:

    “14. This prize will continue to be offered until it is awarded. Upon the death of James Randi, the administration of the prize will pass into other hands, and it is intended that it continue in force. ”

    Great force…..it’s over……

    where is my MILLION DOLLARS, you LITTLE *NO-NAME* FRAUD

    PS: Almost Forgot: Love the IRONY of the *BULLSHIT* sign over Randi’s ugly head….

  10. L. Ron Brown says:

    Blake:
    Yeah, apparently. I’ve also been email-spammed by him.

  11. ozatheist says:

    I’m only a Z-list blogger, but I occasionally blog about Scientology (as you know), but it’s not my main focus. I do acknowledge that there are a lot of issues at anyone time, and, like yourself, a lot of bloggers focus on a few particular issues. It would be very time consuming to focus on them all, so to some extent I can see why not all bloggers post about Scientology.

    However, I do think some of the more influential bloggers, like PZ et al, should post about Scientology a bit more often. Perhaps as simple as posting a link to sites like yours that are focussed on this subject.

  12. ozatheist says:

    another tactic L. Ron could be to ‘hijack’ the comments on other’s blogs? As I just did at Friendly Atheist, though in context.

  13. Sue Mee says:

    Think of scientology as a totalitarian organisation with plans to take over the world, like the Nazi’s. Too busy with other things to worry about Himmler’s Gestapo? Too bad.

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