Still Pissed Off About the Hawley-Smoot Tariff

Friday, July 01, 2005

Caveat Lector

The other day Ace did a post about Scientology, with an interesting bit of backpedalling at the end. In the comments I found a link to this site, dedicating to exposing just how bad scientology is.

Let me just say that I am NOT about to defend Scientology. Frankly, I don't know enough about it to defend or attack, and I certainly don't care enough about it to learn. All I'm about to say is, "caveat lector."

A few years back I became curious about the history of the Jehovah's Witnesses. I knew a bit about the theology, but I wanted to know where they came from, historically. The only book I had available to me was The Kingdom of the Cults, by "Dr." Walter Martin. I knew before picking up the book that a) you can't rely on a professional detractor of Jehovah's Witnesses for anything resembling unbiased facts, and that b) "Dr." Martin was, in addition to being a professional detractor, a certified nutjob. But I figured that as long as I read the book with a critical eye, I would get at least some idea of what I was looking for.

After about five pages or so, I dropped the book in disgust.

The problem is that, regardless of his use of facts and evidence (which I could not independently evaluate), the tone was so vicious, and he was trying so hard to vilify Charles Russel and J.P. (?) Rutherford that I simply couldn't take him seriously. Just as an example, it is not necessary to refer to the JWs as a cult in every other sentence, even if you believe they are a cult.

So now, back to Scientology (which I imagine "Dr." Martin probably also covered in his book). The link I provided earlier is pretty vicious. We are reminded as often as possible that this is a cult. Thirty-two times, to be specific (by contrast, we are nowhere treated with a definition of the word "cult").

The article also quotes as a reliable authority one Ted Gunderson, who - uh ... well, he thinks that the United States government is carrying out Satanic rituals on kidnapped children.

Again let me reiterate, I'm not trying to defend Scientology. I simply don't know, or care, what they're up to, and so I'm not in any position to opine one way or the other about their degree of sinister-ness. All I'm saying is consider your sources - caveat lector.