Religion: Beliefs, facts and the Internet

The Internet killed Scientology.

It is possible to make a closed belief system thrive and expand in the absence of open access to facts. North Korea as rather successful in its push. China less so, though they have been eager to control the flow of communication.

Religions have long been able to sell beliefs contrary to fact by relying on empathy or force, group pressure or by pushing belief in tools designed to solve personal problems. Scientology is no different. Except Scientology came very late to the show. And it got blasted by open access to facts, freedom of expression, of criticism and exchange of ideas. It got hit by the Internet before it really got off the ground. And I think it serves well as a micro-example of the fate of closed belief systems.

Beliefs tend to fuel discussions, facts tend to defuse it.

And as Scientology finds itself being defused by the Internet, so will other, larger religions. But since the large religions are more established with a longer history, they will take longer to fade by exposure to the Net. But they will fade.

Proven methods will rule, even very workable methods that are currently suppressed by the mainstream will thrive and expand.

Openness and free exchange of ideas and facts drives all kinds of changes. It decentralizes power. It upsets establishments. It makes for a faster-paced world where old, closed belief systems are challenged and eventually die. The big religions can look at what has happened to Scientology and predict their future.

How the Internet changed the game (from NPR):

97 thoughts on “Religion: Beliefs, facts and the Internet

  1. Scientologists in the Church love the tech, all of it, and prefer not to even hear anybody who has a different opinion.

    Independent Scientologists love the tech, or at least some parts of it, and sometimes add some stuff of their own. Their claims that the tech works are not entirely convincing, but they sound sincere and they are open to criticism.

    Scientology critics hate the tech and provide rather convincing explanations for it, although I often have the impression that they ridicule it tastelessly.

    All other people of Earth just don’t give a damn. And that is almost *all* people of Earth.

    Now the most curious question is this: Is there anything at all in the thousands of pages of LRH’s works that is genuinely useful to humanity? Or is it complete, complete, complete junk? I’d love to hear your opinion, Geir.

    1. My opinion: Yes there is value. In many places. In between reams of stuff, tedious stuff, crazy stuff and wild conjectures. But there is value. Hard to distill, though.

    2. Yes, parts of scn do have value, to say otherwise is foolish – nothing in the world is completely good or bad, or devoid or value.

      Study tech and TRs are the two best examples to my mind. Geir and I had similar experiences with TRs – shy retiring geeks who gradually came out of our shells and interacted more openly with the world. So those two pieces of scn can be said to “work”, for some definition of work.

      But there’s a wrinkle. WHY do they work? Both are prone to abuse and have side-effects, so what is the workable part? I’ve satisfied myself that it is nothing unique to do with that tech, it is the part where the person sits down and looks. Even Ethics has some workability when viewed in this light – examine your life and the good and bad in it and see if anything needs improving, changing or reinforcing.

      Scn works when it works because people look, not because scn has anything special going for it.

  2. I see in our minds as analogous to a personal computer. A person’s psychological makeup seems to be an example of a closed belief system. Whether and or when a person wants to finally hook up to the internet and begin that free flow of information seems to me in question. A fractal and mathematical model of this might deserve to take or share a future Nobel prize.

  3. “Openness and free exchange of ideas and facts drives all kinds of changes. It decentralizes power. It upsets establishments.”

    This is somewhat misleading and definitely not axiomatic:

    For instance, Google(and others), provided a platform for this to happen, yet in the process of creating these multiple platforms, centralized power to an extent never before seen (i.e. capital, power, information, technology) and formed a whole new kind of establishment that is more impervious to ‘upsets’ than Alexander the Great, King George, and Ramses combined.

    1. I beg to differ. Google can be more easily rattled than Microsoft. Which was rattled by such community initiatives aLinux and Wikipedia and WordPress… and of course by the Internet itself.

    2. Nice to see your comments here and there Brian. I really appreciated the video you did with Bunker. I would see people come back from Flag VERY unhappy, but they would never talk about what happened there.

  4. All fair comments, IMHO! Where ‘Hubbard’ can be seen to be ‘in the game’ is in the enormous quantity of gems/tools/fiction, promulgated. The same can then be said of many players, (makers!) of ‘the game/s’, too. So, while the buying of FICTION can/does keep believers & fiction writers, believing/happy, that then excludes all the non-buyers of fiction.

    To complicate matters even further, we are now finding widespread dramatizing over TOOLS, too! Seems almost any ‘tool” ever conceived and manufactured, for ostensibly beneficial intent, is now being seen as possibly harmful / dangerous / lethal for your health. through some scientific logic, or other.– Hammers, scissors, knives, cotton wool, lasers, toothbrushes, toothpicks, razors, tv, audio, cellphones, computers, etc.etc.ad infinitum .

    GEMS! Aha! Now here’s the interesting one, that nearly all groups, featured in the above pie chart, would almost uniformly agree, to have the broadest possible value.

    Perhaps the defining of a ‘gem’, needs to be understood, more broadly, than in its
    literal sense. Communicating that datum, effectively, would seem to hold the answer/s. And IMHO, the unwillingness to accept the relative ‘value’ of that’gem’ as seen for one person by another, is at the heart of any conflict over this.

    Truth / Knowledge / Belief — To me, there appear to be ‘gems’ in ALL, as viewed, acceptable, according to ‘the viewer’. Maybe with one little proviso – Tolerance?

    ritb39

  5. As long as the existence of the universe remains a mystery I think we will have religion in one form or another.

          1. You’re mean a literalist interpretation of the Bible? Yeah sure but that is not what many (most?) Christians believe.

            1. if there is enough aliveness to search and enough awareness to analyze the data…not to mention creating new data…otherwise the info will flood and lead astray

            2. Well yes, I guess my point is that other than fundamentalist religion, facts won’t be a problem because they won’t refute the core beliefs of religious people. 🙂

            3. Except core belief stand in the way of new knowledge, curiosity and personal enhancement – something open communication and open access to bright new ideas and fact promotes. I see belief on the defensive.

            4. Marianne – that the existence of the universe will forever be unexplained by science and appears to posit an immaterial creator/sustainer.

            5. hey Geir, it’s fine with me that ‘you’ are a ‘geek’ but can you please put that aside
              for an instant and just out of intuition, without relying on any data, can you please
              answer:
              what is the ‘core belief’ ?

            6. ‘need and wants demand solutions to satisfy them’….true…and it is also true that a solution satisfies that particular need and want but does not satisfy the ‘mental and
              emotional aspect of need and want’…until it is gone as ‘demand/compulsion/must’,
              it may generate newer and newer need and wants….which may not be bad when it does not accumulate a lot of mest which needs and wants a lot of ‘being’ looked after wherein mest is ‘being’ and the person is ‘serving’ that….

            7. when one ‘suddenly can’t communicate’ as in the other post, it may be a ‘sudden
              resistance’ to some’thing’ (thought, feeling etc.)…the whole CD is on the Net…in it
              there are ‘all/most’ ‘traps’…subtle ones which even the ‘enlightened’ ones walk
              into occasionally….so they handle them…it is also explained….if anyone likes simplicity, it’s that….

            1. Yes. I can’t believe how sloppy Geir is getting — it is a pretty well known fact that the Earth is 8,000 years old and not 6,000 years old HAHAHAHA! The joke is really on Geir!

            2. And Christ, as a matter of fact, did exist. I know because my priest says so (and he sounds sincere when he speaks). 😀

  6. Interesting chart. I’m surprised that Judaism is smaller than Sikhism. If you lived in west Los Angeles you might get the impression it’s on a par with Christianity.

    Although the old established religions may be reshaped a bit by the Information Age, I don’t think they will disintegrate the way Scientology is doing. For one thing, religion fills a very primal need in the human psyche. Second, there is already way more data than anyone can digest, which has led to a fragmentation of access. In theory you have all of it at your fingertips, but in practice the search engines select and prioritize your access based on what their algorithms predict you will want. This leads to confirmation bias on steroids.

    For example, in the US many of us watch either Fox News or The Daily Show to find out what’s going on, and our Internet search habits reflect those same biases. This has exacerbated the political divide here to the point that the system is almost gridlocked. The same process applies to spirituality, and the major belief groups will continue to be somewhat isolated islands, only now separated by Google rankings rather than geography.

    1. Aeolus: For one thing, religion fills a very primal need in the human psyche

      Chris: Truly? Because I think that the need for religion is conditioned. I know that is not precisely what you said. But the primal need you mention, I am not sure there is such a primal need or precisely what you mean. I think that we run into things we do not understand and go about trying to solve them, yes. But religion’s thought stopping power is practically absolute and is intended so. Religion seems to be a political tool more than a spiritual device. Plus for those who truly want to understand, religion actually does not fill that need except as one acquiesces to give up that need. My children are curious about themselves, yes, but putting them on a path to find out the answers to their questions seems to be satisfying enough. Totally enough without a mention of religion. And yet, I do not disagree with your post overall. Religion is here for a while.

        1. worst that struggling… the spirit has gone out of Cof S. only the muscle of the dead body’ is jerking and that too will be covered by the dust of time.

      1. Chris, I would hazard a guess that most of the readers and posters on this blog are somewhere in the top 2% in IQ. Whether that’s true or not, they are certainly in the top tier of those for whom dogma has been bested by curiosity. All in all not a representative sample of humanity. The primal need I mentioned might be described as the feeling of security that comes from predictability, and/or a strong belief that things are under control and likely to come out well in the end. We all need that, I think. I approach that need, as you probably do too, with the belief that more data, and specifically more accurate data, will improve predictability, and I’m usually most comfortable going in that direction. Even so, there are days when I just want to curl up on the couch and hope the world doesn’t go to hell in a handbasket during my hiatus.

        Now, imagine someone of average or below average IQ, already somewhat overwhelmed by the modern blizzard of constantly changing data. Do you think their preferred method to enhance their comfort level and feeling of security will be seeking out more and more accurate information? I don’t. I think they are more likely to grab on and hold tight to a set of beliefs that tells them everything is under control and will come out right in the end, and that set of beliefs is probably going to come tied up in the ribbon of some organized religion. And I really can’t fault them for that. I might even state the case that the Internet makes religion more necessary than ever.

          1. OK, so 80% identify with a specific religion but 20% don’t and their numbers are rising. I’m a ‘none’ myself and I applaud the trend. When and if those numbers reverse I’ll consider myself corrected.

            1. And; If and when the rise in the number of people on Earth reverses, I will give you a diploma in Statistical Extrapolation ;-P

            2. That’s a bit of an ad-hominem, don’t you think? I expect that population growth will probably reverse when we overshoot some sustainability factor or another, followed by a collapse. It happens in nature on a regular basis. On the other point, once the percentage of the population that prefers to seek out data and make up their own minds has done so, there will be some point of stasis with that percentage that prefers a pre-digested belief system. Neither of these scenarios is a straight-forward statistical extrapolation, but I’m predicting the ‘pre-digested’ group will always be more than 20%, in which case the percentages will never completely reverse from where they are now. That’s not to say that ‘no stated preference’ can’t become a majority and I hope it does. I just don’t believe it will ever reach 80%, for the reasons I gave in my original post.

            3. Sorry for pulling your leg. Jokes aside, you backed up your point with nothing substantial other than a rather unfounded opinion. Statistics does not side with you on this one. Did you notice when the graph stayed rising in the US? The year the population stayed getting on the Internet for real. Statistics does seem to side with the OP, though.

            4. You’re right on both counts. It is ‘just’ my opinion, and no, it is not an extrapolation of the current trend. Which is actually why I brought it up. I don’t usually post unless I have something that’s not already being said. However, time will tell, and I’m willing to be wrong. In fact in this case I think I would prefer it.

        1. Hate to contradict you about your fear that the world might go to Hell but the World is in Hell. or should I say Hell is in the occupants of the World? I call that Hell=aberration.

            1. No wrong wording. If anything, it was too strongly worded and I could as well have said “I see very little wrong, but a preponderance of right”.

              Want to help me see the wrong? Are you receptive to all the right and all the wonders?

            2. I don’t understand what you mean by ”receptive to all the right” no clue and yes I really do see, do understand the meaning of the creation and the wonders of the universe.. which were created into existence by the Entity… Oh… that I really see! 🙂 and understand the creators power to.

            3. If one takes the view that all creations are equal, we all have the right to create whatever because that is our right… than NOOOO, nothing wrong with this Planet and all its occupants are perfectly well, they are doing what Entities usually do… create.. yes that viewpoint makes that Planet a perfect place and perfect beings.. after all, we all can pull viewpoints out of our ”beliefs” which could give the correct answer to any given situation-and with that give a explanation why things are as they are.. right or wrong these are just view points and nothing more. 🙂 my reality of course–as usual.

    2. Watch the Internet evolve in the next 100 years, better aggregation of data, more open research… and watch the continued corrosion of closed belief systems.

      Btw; It is a Huge difference between Not Knowing And Wanting To Find Out and Dogmatic Belief. The latter will lose.

      1. Jeez, Geir, I’m impressed Though by just doing those nifty extrapolations of your estimates (above and below) of who will be on the losing side in I00 years, highlights yet another possible scenario.

        Lets now contemplate the lead up to 3014, ( hyperthetically.)

        Considering an ever increasing likely hood of your upper rationale, bluntly, ‘irreversible” human numbers, resulting in the “inevitable ” consequences of unsustainable numbers. Simple extrapolations, can make for a pretty frightening
        future, it seems. Bilderbergs, One- world governments, decimation of the habitats, and thereby species, of our fellow earthlings, on an unprecedented scale. Hmmm?

        We haven’t had World War 3 (yet). But like an earthquake, tornado, tsunami, avalanche, volcanic eruptions and shifts in the continental plates, on the one hand and wars and human conflict/s, these ‘things’ come and go. (Your’e the scientist here, so correct me if I’m wrong !)- but don’t ALL these events have as their common cause— UN-sustainable pressure.?

        ‘Argument’, is a popular activity, across all levels of the intellectual spectrum. It’s primary purpose, to assert one’s “rightness, cleverness, superiority, etc, or claim in some form or another. We have all done it, and will continue to do it.

        The irony, is Geir, that for all the ‘arguing,’ for our ‘rights’, our lauding of incredible strides in evolution, scientifically, technologically,industrially, and more recently the explosive proliferation of knowledge, of our own human potential, ‘psychologically’ and ‘spiritually’?…There also seems to be a discernible unease
        present, a feeling of forboding, regarding the future.

        It would appear that, collectively, we still seem to be caught up in our myopic assertions and ponderings, while chasing along in our obsessions in the above with enthusiasm and gusto, like lemmings headed for the cliff.!

        Maybe this could all end up as a winner takes ALL (down with him) situation.?

        So Geir, without SELF control, & tolerance, WHO do you think more likely to still be around in 3014 …. Humans?….. or cockroaches?

        ( Perhaps the message of DMSMH may still have relevance today?)

        ritb39

          1. Yeah?… Whooopeee! Can we take all our brilliance with us, to our NEW home, so we can “fix” that too?? 🙂

          2. Geir, Your direct answer would nevertheless be appreciated, sir! … humans?… or cockroaches?

        1. definitely the cockroaches… all the signs indicate toward that direction.. the Earth is a living being and the elements are part of that being… and it is already working to clean is self from the parasites.

          1. With you too Liz!
            ps. And I just don’t see any ‘pesticides’, in the hands of Mother Earth and her elements either, do you?? 🙂

  7. The disruptive nature of the internet, with its flow of factual information which killed Scientology (and will kill other ingrained endeavors which survived in the old world but will not survive in the new world) can also disrupt the mental well-being and self-esteem of Scientologists.

    However, there is a way to move beyond this devastation, and to grow from it.

    This is a video on Post Traumatic Growth. It is very profound. I wanted to share it with you. And if you see something workable in it that was part of Scientology – then more power to you.

    “Alanzo” was my own super-identity that I used to plow through my own post-traumatic growth.

    With the new year, I am taking on a new super identity to power myself the rest of the way.

    Thank you everybody here at Geir’s blog.

    May you live long and prosper!

    Alanzo

    1. “Conway and Kochen do not prove that free will does exist. The definition of “free will” used in the proof of this theorem is simply that an outcome is “not determined” by prior conditions, and some philosophers strongly dispute the equivalence of “not determined” with free will.”

      To equate Randomness with Free Will makes this a red herring.

        1. KG: “Not determined” isn’t random.

          CT: It’s so funny and sometimes a little embarrassing to me to say the things that I currently believe out loud. I can admit some of them to you since you are almost as crazy an SOB as I think I am (or at least won’t be offended by the comparison). How so? I currently view randomness as a subset of determinism. Same as I do infinite to be a subset of finite. “Oh, but you cannot be serious.” Yeah, I kind of am because I don’t really agree that extant knowledge is laid out quite right. Maybe even inside out and backwards.

          1. IMHO Pure randomness on a six sided die is saying that every side has an equal chance of being rolled.
            Rolling 5 or under is very likely but not determined it is not random.

            If I used wrong terminology it was because my dog ate my homework.

            1. Wow. See? For you to have gotten what I meant makes you one crazy MF, or maybe not. It might, but its not determined nor does it need to be a choice. It’s a definite possibility and in my game book, a miniscule probability. That’s apparent randomity. Is all randomness apparent only? I’m not on any type of crusade nor agenda but only asking.

  8. In essence, I agree with what you are saying Geir, however, I don’t think it is a war between belief and fact, I think it is a PR/Propaganda war between vested interests and power hungry elites. Because of that, the Internet is a double edged sword that is as magnificent at promulgating false or contrived PR/Propaganda as it is at promulgating organic, truthful and in-context facts. It has the power to injure with devastating consequences, especially when it manipulates crowd hysteria.

    Raw information has little value until it is evaluated and even the most powerful truths can be put to work in deceptive ways. To my way of thinking, the saving grace of the Internet is the powerful communication systems that facilitate discussion.

    Having been a member of a task force on membership drives in one of the traditional Christian Churches that is fast losing membership, I can tell you that the membership numbers began dropping along with education that is offered free of charge to citizenry, using materials that are secular. i.e. here in North America, it is the oft maligned and lowly public schools that have been effective in offering non-religious information and associations that desegregate and socialize. And those schools are what powers the Internet, making it possible for the majority of the population to participate in activities that do require literacy. The same is true in Afghanistan, in South America, and throughout the world. Wherever you see schools that are non-secular and open to both boys and girls, you see massive change and a turning away from vicious practices of the past.

    The next challenge we face is how to make technology our slave and not our master as it falls into the hands of the privileged few — of, that would be your argument for open source right?

      1. Geir, do you think the open source community is robust enough to bring us through the current stranglehold efforts being made by the multi-national corporations?

        p.s. I meant to say: Wherever you see schools that are SECULAR and open to both boys and girls, you see massive change and a turning away from vicious practices of the past.

        1. The open-source community is nothing new, it’s this weird concept of closed source and how a corporation can have the legal rights of a person that is new. Humans have always shared knowledge to greater or lesser degrees, those societies that didn’t have not survived.

          When people ask me what open-source and it’s communtiy *is*, I have the devil’s own time of explaining it. Somehow saying that “it’s exactly like humans have always been except for the bit about the last 100 years which have clouded your opinion” doesn’t quite hit home 🙂 But it’s true enough.

          I reckon your post is wrongly worded. It really should be

          do you think the multi-national corporations are robust enough to withstand society’s current efforts to return to normalcy and break down the current stranglehold efforts?

          Flip it inside out, you get closer to the truth.

          1. Yes I like that splog! Are you aware of any literature or websites that can help me to shift to thinking in that paradigm?

            1. Start with http://ubuntu.com, it’s the home page for Mark Shuttleworth’s operating system using Linux. I don’t mean you should necessarily use Ubuntu (it would be great if you did), there are links to pages describign the manifesto and the reason why there is an Ubuntu at all.

              Ubuntu is great for this, it has mass-market appeal and the technical jargon that gives Geir and I such a kick is mostly absent. Click around, get a feel for why open-source enthusiasts do what they do. Try the support forums too (it runs on conventional forum software so it’s familiar) and lurk a lot – you’ll quickly get insight into how these people’s minds work.

              It’s all about sharing and helping. 10000 people are ready to help you if you have a software problem, the pay back if that when someone else needs help you can answer, you toss your voice in the ring.

              The meat of the question is what kind of action do you personally want to engage in? If full-on activism is your thing you have Wikileaks, Anonymous, Occupy Wallstreet and more.

              If you prefer something much more laid back and speak a second language there’s always translations websites desperately needing help. For example, the written Venda language from South Africa had no computer support at all for years – it uses unique diacritical marks in a style that no other language uses, so support was none existent. For venda users, using their own language on a computer was painful, similar to trying to type Japanese words phonetically with our Roman alphabet. The amazing volunteers at translate.org.za fixed that, free of charge. Now Unix supports written Venda and something like a million folks benefit. It’s amazing how a few hours at a keyboard can have such an enormous impact on so many people (most folks from Venda can barely make it by in the world with English).

              There’s a full spectrum of things you can do, whatever floats your boat and that part is up to you.

              Step 1 is to get a handle on the mindset. Oh, it’s a young person’s game; if you can switch your thinking back to your 20s with all that enthusiasm and idealism, that will be a benefit 🙂

          2. And splog – you just made my year! What you have just pointed out is exactly why I love this blog!

            1. 😀 thanks

              When I read your comment I had an instant thought I hadn’t had before.

              Folks here on this blog like to share. We share our experiences but mostly we share the lessons we learned and we pull this from the same place open-source folk get their motivations from. I find that very satisying!

          3. Chris –

            Splog said: “The open-source community is nothing new, it’s this weird concept of closed source and how a corporation can have the legal rights of a person that is new.”

            I had not thought of these concepts of: closed source and corporations as persons as new, but as soon as splog said it I realized the truth of it. It did produce a shift in paradigm for me – I could suddenly see these practices as a blight on human endeavor. I was realizing that crowd funding is one antidote to the illness, and there are probably more – splog has suggested a few.

            Mainly, I well remember being told as a student in school in the late 60s how our education system would work to produce a vast leap in technology, a leap that would make it unnecessary for us to have to work so many hours for an affluent and enjoyable lifestyle. Well, here we are – the taxpayers invested BILLIONS of dollars into school systems and education and the technology has been seized and tied up in patents and copyrights and restrictions and lo and behold, instead of resulting in better conditions for all, this monumental investment has resulted in massive profits for smaller and smaller segments of the population by draining off the best and stealing it under the guise of free enterprise.

            You see, I wasn’t just looking in terms of computer technology, but all forms of technology developments and inventions across the spectrum of human endeavor.

        2. Have you given any thought to any specific activities / associations individuals could take or participate in to strengthen and support a thriving open source movement powerful enough to empower and shield us all from the destructive actions of corporatism and elitism? If so, what you suggest?

          1. There are many efforts that support an open culture, open society, a culture of sharing and decentralizing of power, such as (not prioritized):

            Wikileaks
            ISOC (Internet Society)
            EFF (The Electronic Frontier Foundation)
            The Pirate Party (in various countries)
            The Pirate Bay
            Open Source with Linux (and all its sub-movements, such as Ubuntu), BSD, etc.
            Wikimedia Foundation/Wikipedia
            Wordpress and similar Open Services
            Public Libraries and their organizations and efforts
            Occupy ________
            Free/Underground music initiatives
            Transparency International
            Amnesty International

    1. Maria: Wherever you see schools that are non-secular and open to both boys and girls, you see massive change and a turning away from vicious practices of the past.

      Chris: I so thoroughly agree that education rather than any other type of conditioning ultimately turns people away from vicious practices.

  9. The internet! my question is did it raise arc or lower it? now we can communicate to everyone, does it make us love each other and agree more? lol

    I think you could find stats showing the internet reduced participation in any other activity, not just religions. It just added fuel to the fire, what do we do sunday morning, cause we are tired of working hard all week and feel guilty for partying so hard saturday night… talk about ideals, god and the universe, morals and ethics? sleep in, share funny cat videos, check facebook, play a video game… books, radio and television probably had similar effects

    Until we unravel the mystery of life there will be religions and people hiding behind any answers they find, putting up blinders regardless if they’re in front of a computer or not.

    I also think people are becoming more sensitive, afraid to admit to believing anything that can’t be proven unless everyone else approves.

  10. I have 2 comments about the article. There are not exactly antagonist opinions, there are just two other points of view.

    1) “Openness and free exchange of ideas and facts drives all kinds of changes. It decentralizes power”.
    I have a question: Is it necessary a good thing, something remarkable for humanity?
    For instance, it was proven that in Christianity the “exchange of ideas and facts” emerged in a Schism in 1054 between Catholicism and Orthodoxy and later in another Schism within the Western Christianity itself.
    If “power” means politics and money, indeed Calvin and Martin Luther changed the doctrine with their Reform, but the diffusion of power (including financial field) was followed by religious wars or local revenges resulted in a lot of innocent casualties.
    The doctrine itself was “decentralized”, but not everybody was happy with it.
    In the Western Part of Christianity, doctrine was split again and again, resulting in today’s dozens of churches, sects, congregations, etc. Except Catholics and Protestants, you almost don’t know who’s who in Western Christianity.
    In Eastern part of Christianity the doctrine was never split. “Power” is still centralized, but nobody cares as long as for ordinary people the church is more a “soul hospital” and priests are seen more as “soul doctors”. Buying some candles or sometimes a book with prayers it’s almost everything a believer will spend in Eastern Christianity.

    2) “The big religions can look at what has happened to Scientology and predict their future”.
    I hardly think so.
    The first reason is history itself. Cannot imagine Italians will never go to hear Pope at Vatican. Cannot imagine muslims abandon their mosques or Ramadan. Cannot imagine Christmas (as the Day of Nativity) will ever die in people’s conscience.
    The second reason is internet itself. Except talibans (just them, not moderate muslims) I cannot find other people who see world wide web as an enemy or a danger. On the contrary, churches all over the world adapt themselves to the new digital era, in an attempt to maintain another type of liason between them and their members. For instance, there are some catholic websites who’s hosting…online confessions.
    For believers, doesn’t matter their religion, internet is a useful and educative tool. It depends on them if it’s harmless or not.

    3) I cannot draw, but here I want to emphasize that simple, mathematic draw in the article: one red circle with truth, one blue circle with belief, and the knowledge violet area in the middle. In that middle, in the KNOWLEGDE, lays all the good actions, facts, reflections and discoveries resulted by human mind during history of all time. Including internet 🙂

  11. Hi to you who is reading it,

    As each of us has a different ‘taste’ and free will to choose what
    to listen to, i thought to share two vids here which you might find
    worth listening to if you resonate with them. As i have experienced
    it so far, sometimes one word can open a ‘door’ to a whole new
    reality, sometimes it opens lots of doors….

    1. There is a sentence in it which explains Love and Happiness from
      the perspective of our Self: ‘The REASON that you WANT them to
      feel happy is because it makes YOU happy to see them happy.’

      Here is an example of what self-less love is, what happens when
      one starts to see and love another being as she is. This to me is
      an example of granting another complete beingness.
      ‘….the FACT that I GET it makes me feel good about ME..’
      (it is one of the best movies i have ever seen)

        1. All positive, where I’m concerned, Marianne. Expressing feelings, with honesty, CAN sometimes be difficult, though. Simply because, it is very relevant to the content of the above views, shared by Teal in her videos. Let me put it this way. When hurt, and pain, are the end result of communicating ‘truth’ to a person, ….is it not, the degree of “caring”,(from the originator) that shapes the reception of that message?

          The famous ” You’re Fired!” said from the multi-billionaire lips of Donald Trump, may be good for TV ratings, but it’s clearly not what one want’s to hear, bluntly from a boss, when there are few jobs available.

          Truth is, simply, that a blunt, negative message, is received according to the temperament of the ‘receiver’ ie, the tough & resilient, just take it on the chin, fight back and/or just move on.

          The sensitive, on the other hand, don’t! They simply lack, the required attitude that, allows them to take stock, make a plan, and move on, or forward. Instead, depending on the perceived severity of the news, they could even commit suicide!

          The simple solution, in dealing with the above situation, is (once again) more easily accomplished, IMHO, by moving into the “Shoeniverse” (aka, putting one’s self in THAT person’s shoes, by being willing to see things as they might appear, according to that person’s unique view!)

          Of course, we already have a similar message, from Biblical Scriptures, (preserved to this day), with; “Do unto others…. as you would have them do unto you.)

          Perhaps this last sentence above, states it the very best.

          I still think though, that the “Shoeniverse” comes closest to duplication, (and therefore understanding!) of the other’s complete feelings, and therefore best supplies the approach to be used, to handle a “difficult”situation, with maximum possible compassion.
          and therefore is most acceptable to the recipient.

          To sum up then, I side with you, that communication, IS the tool of choice, if combined with a “Shoeniversal appreciation” for the ‘best’ possible result 🙂

          ML, ritb39

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