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Ten ridiculed religions.

An essay submitted by "MT"

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I've come up with this, a small list of 10 religious groups that the media and majority of the public ridicule. Of course, ridicule is based upon ignorance and as a Scientologist; I myself wonder why Scientology has been ridiculed for so many years. I'm always interested in hearing the opinions of other Scientologists about other religions and religious groups.

  1. Scientology: I think we've all had experiences either in real life or online where we have been made subject of intolerance, bigotry and ridicule. This ridicule is shrewdly called 'critical thinking' by Anti-Scientologists, who believe they know the real meaning behind Scientology's higher-level teachings, as well as the life of LRH, 1 including the so-called real reason of why he founded a religion. All of these so called critical thoughts are often misinterpretations and misconceptions of Scientology's beliefs. 'Whistle-blowers' have brought the media crude information in order to make our religion look like a criminal enterprise. It should be noted that many people within the 'Anti-Cult Movement', a movement designed to destroy the good name of new religious movements, led the FBI and local authorities into the commencement of the Jonestown and Waco tragedies. Thankfully, the government does not react on the false information provided by the "Anti-Cult Movement" and in 1993, when "re-opening the books on Scientology", so to speak; we were given full tax exemption as a religious movement in the USA.

  2. Islam: Mainly ridiculed by ignorant people who claim Muslims worship the moon and that the prophet Mohammed was a pedophile, amongst others. Seemingly, since the 9/11 attacks, Muslims and other communities such as Hindu's and Sikh's have been ridiculed and have had places of worship attacked. The biggest ignorance of course is not to know the difference between Islam, Hinduism and Sikhism but also not know the difference between the extremist Muslims and the moderate Muslims.

  3. Jehovah's Witnesses: The church ridiculed this group in the 19th Century and the Nazi party ridiculed the Jehovah's Witnesses in the 20th Century, even sending members of the Jehovah's Witness religion to concentration camps. The Jehovah's Witnesses don't believe in blood transfusions, they do not stand during the playing of their country's national anthem, they do not celebrate individual birthday's and they believe only about 144,000 people will get into heaven. But biggest ridicule for the group is that they believe that Jesus was not the Son of God but rather the Angel Gabriel. 2 This belief was called heresy 200 years ago.

  4. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons): Many people ridicule them because they believe Jesus was revealed in the Americas. Many people ridicule them because they believe the red skin of Native Americans came from a curse. The Mormon Church also believes that Adam and Eve lived in Jefferson county Missouri. But the largest misconception and ridicule is that they are polygamists and this is not true. 3

  5. The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (Hare Krishna's): They are a tax exempted new religious movement. In the 1970's, parents of individuals who became Hare Krishna's called the movement a cult because their children dressed simply and ate only vegetarian food. They also seemed to be happier, this of course led people to believe they were being 'brain-washed'. This group has very radical and eccentric Eastern beliefs, which many Westerners deemed cultic. That was the basis of their ridicule.

  6. Paganism and Neo-Paganism: This covers many religious beliefs including the religion of ancient Greece and Rome. Paganism also covers the traditional, sometimes called primitive beliefs of many European and Asian tribes. They include: Slavs, Arabs, Norse/Vikings, Huns, Magyars, Turkics, Mongols, Iranians, Celtics, Germanics, as well as the indigenous beliefs from other ancient now extinct tribes. Neo-Paganism is an umbrella of many beliefs, which include: Wicca, Druidism, Celtic Reconstructionism and Witchcraft, to name a few. The reasons why Pagans and Neo-Pagans are ridiculed are because of misunderstandings from some western religious groups such as Christianity, Judaism and Islam. Early Christians, Jews and Muslims often-encountered Pagans in European and Middle Eastern countries. Pagans often drank alcohol (a full violation of the Islamic religion) and performed rituals, which the western theistic religions found was either heretical or primitive. Neo-Pagans are ridiculed; mostly Wicca's and Witches, for using what is called 'black magic'. 4 Over all Pagans are referred to as heathens (or one who does not believe in a Judeo-Christian god). This is a derogatory term used simply because Pagans worship nature, which is a heretical belief in the main Western religions. Some scholars believe that the ancestral worship of oriental countries including China and Vietnam, the Animist traditions of the Native American Indians, along with the indigenous beliefs in Africa, Australia and the Caribbean are part of the the Pagan umbrella. Subsequently, the Shamanism of Mongolia, Tibet, and South America can be considered Pagan traditions too.

  7. The Unification Church: They hold a non-traditional view of historical Christianity. They also believe in mass weddings where a man and woman might meet each other for the first time in a large group and at the end of a ceremony, they end up becoming husband and wife. This is the main reason why they are referred to as a cult.

  8. Falun Gong/Falun Dafa: This group is a mix of traditional Chinese beliefs (Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism) along with a very specific form of spiritual exercise and meditation, which is similar to Tai Chi and Chinese Yoga. The Chinese government has ridiculed, kidnapped and even forced people of this movement into labor camps since it's founding in 1993. There is no reasonable explanation for the Chinese government to kidnap, ridicule and force members in labor camps other then fear of radical political change and complete ignorance of the group's philosophies.

  9. The Children of God, currently called The Family: Similar story to the Hare Krishna's. These Christians live a very communal life, working for little or no money, usually on communes or ranches. Parents of members, mainly in the 1970's, which left school or high paying careers, were often taken against their will and forced into "cult deprogramming." There was no reason for this, other then some parents of these young adults, 20 and 30 something's, were in a religion where their parents ideas of life, family and career were not practiced.

  10. The Church of Christ, Scientist (Christian Science): Have you ever as a Scientologist heard a criticism or myth that we don't believe in doctors? For example, Physicians? This is a mistake that someone mixed with a belief from the Church of Christ, Scientist. The first person that stated this myth believed that because Scientologists have a cross, we were the same group as Christian Science. Not to mentioned that we have a total different philosophy and founder. The members of the Church of Christ, Scientist, believe only God can cure the sick. The members conduct large prayer groups and pray for the betterment of the sick individual(s). Christian Scientists do not take any kind of medication, not for colds, not for headaches, not for anything. This is why some people called this group a cult.

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Footnote:

  1. LRH are the initial of L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Dianetics and the Church of Scientology.
  2. Actually, Jehovah's Witnesses believe that Jesus is the archangel Michael, as mentioned in Revelation. They do not believe in the Trinity as most Christians do.
  3. Polygyny, the practice of one man marrying multiple wives, was introduced to the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by its founder Joseph Smith. The practice was at least temporarily suspended by the Church in 1890. However, some funamentalist faith groups split away from the main Mormon church over polygyny, and some denominations and sects in the LDS Restorationist movement still practice it today. The largest one is the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the FLDS.
  4. The main ethical statement followed by Wiccans and many Witches is the Wiccan Rede. In modern English, this is: "As long as it harms no one, do as you wish." So they are forbidden to engage in black magic which harms people. Pagans generally do not worship nature. However, they have great respect for nature and are active in its preservation.

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Copyright 2005 by "MT"
Originally posted: 2005-AUG-26
Latest update: 2010-DEC-09
Author: "MT"

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