Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Scientologists open office in Warsaw


Agggggghhhhhh!

Yes folks: it’s time to lock up your daughters – the scientologists have come to Poland.

If you thought the ‘Church of Scientology’ was just a bunch of slightly eccentric, small, tanned people who appear in Hollywood movies (like...er...Tom Cruise) then you would be mistaken. They are out to get your money, control your mind, and probably do nasty things to your grandma.

Polish Radio quotes Dziennik journalist Radek Gruca, who has ‘infiltrated’ the organization in Poland:


‘I did a few scientologist courses. I was told that you can be a Catholic and scientologist at the same time, which is untrue, because they believe in reincarnation, past life and aliens - this is all pretty weird.'

They are indeed pretty weird. But that’s not all. A Polish report by the National Security Bureau drafted in 1995 termed scientologists 'a religious mafia.' Journalist Ewa Wołczyńska has researched the subject:


'They present themselves as a movement based on religious and scientific ideas valued in today's world. But in fact, their doctrine has nothing to do with religion. They are accused of brainwashing, mind control, physical and psychological coercion in order to obtain money from their members. Scientologists target the wealthy and their founder himself was accused of embezzlement. Because of the dangers, this sect is banned in many countries.'

Bizarrely, the ‘leader’ of Scientology in Poland is Hanna Garbalska, a member of the Polish Peasant’s Party! Is she seeking to lure witless peasants into a life of misery and poverty? And don’t they have enough of the poverty bit as it is (why else would they vote for the Polish Peasant’s Party in the first place)?

You would think from the above descriptions that Scientology is as dangerous as anthrax! Keep away from them otherwise your mind will suddenly not be your own, you will lose all your money and your tongue will turn green!

I have had first hand experience with Scientologists. I lived to tell the tale. But only just…

Scientologists in Croydon!

It was when I was 19 years old and going completely crazy – like 19 year olds frequently do. We used to go to the pub, hang around drinking and taking all manner of illegal substances. I think amphetamines were a favourite for while (warning: speed is the nastiest drug there is and the beatroot says: ‘Do not try that at home, kids!).

Anyway, one day I was approached by a very sincere woman of about 30 years old with bad skin. She said she had seen me and my mates buying drugs and she would like to help us.

I thought she wanted to get us a better dealer. But no. She wanted to ‘cure’ us.

She gave me a leaflet with the logo Narconon emblazoned across it. She said that there were weekly meeting and ‘would we like to come along?’

So, having nothing better to do than take stupid drugs that we didn’t even really like, we went along.

It turned out that Narconon was a drug help center and a front organization of the local branch of the Church of Scientology.

We were encouraged to read lots of books written by Ron L. Hubbard, the founder of Scientology. The books were quite dull. Apparently I had been born before. ‘Maybe I was Jimmy Hendrix’, I remember thinking. Cool! Lots of stuff about ‘dianetics’ and ‘auditing’.

Auditing was the strangest part. Something about putting your hands on a couple of empty coke cans (I saw one of these at the Narconon center) which are wired up to a small battery. They ask you questions and if you give them the right answer you ‘pass’ whatever it is you are meant to be passing.

Me and my mates thought this was hilarious. Even more hilarious was when our Narconon contact told us that if we would like the ‘full program’ then we would have to pay her 300 pounds!

Three hundred pounds? Where would we get three hundred pounds from? And even if we had it why would we spend it on a couple of coke cans wired up to a battery?

So we went to a few more meetings to ask silly questions like: “Will auditing make Crystal Palace win the European Cup’? That kind of thing. But we soon got bored of that and went on to terrorize some other groups that thought they could make us ‘better people’ – like the Catholic Church or the Socialist Workers Party.

Why are Catholics so afraid of sects?

Don’t know – but I get the feeling that they see human beings like all conservatives, liberals and everyone else seems to these days. They think that humans are inherently vulnerable and unlike me and my mates back when I was 19, can be hooked to a sect much like they tell us that heroin will suddenly come out of the shadows and hook us to that.

In truth people WANT to become involved in Scientology or they don’t. And if they want to become involved in something as weird and stupid as Scientology then wouldn't it be better to ask: what is missing in the Catholic Church (or even secular beliefs today) that fails to attract the young? Don't try and blame that alienation on some supposed power that Scientologists do not have.

I mean – I bet Tom Cruise still has to stand on a box to kiss his leading lady. Ron L. Hubbard can’t do much about that, can he?

89 comments:

Mr K said...

"Bizarrely, the ‘leader’ of Scientology in Poland is Hanna Garbalska, a member of the Polish Peasant’s Party! Is she seeking to lure witless peasants into a life of misery and poverty?"

Scientologists focused on peasants first because they are the most vulnerable segment of Polish society. If you realize how much vodka they drink you’ll know why. You do stupid things when you are drunk, don’t you?

"Why are Catholics so afraid of sects?"

You mean, why is the Catholic Church afraid? I don’t know, but something is telling me that it has to do with Sunday collections.

Seriously speaking I am sure Scientologists are going to find followers in Poland just like they do anywhere else. But not among peasants or factory workers. The just have too much common sense to spend their money in order to be “a better person”. And not among the unemployed, for they usually ask for money rather than donate it.

The typical member of the Polish Department of the Church of Scientology is going to be young, educated and rebellious. Most likely associated (or at least sympathizing) with left wing organizations (Greens etc.) and very anti-Church. The desire to show disdain for the Catholic Church may be actually the driving force behind joining another Church (Scientology, Voo-doo etc).

Curiosity could be another factor. Some people are attracted to organizations or ideas that are new, different and in their minds better than everything they’ve seen so far. The success of a poet from Cameroon was the best example of that.

opamp said...

Scientology is a pretty nasty cult -- other churches do not pull stunts like this or this.

beatroot said...

More memories are coming back about the woman from scientology in Croydon.

One day me and a mate were at his house and both of us had smoked waaay too much hash. I was OK but my friend was feeling sick.

Suddenly the doorbell goes it was the woman from Scientology. Somehow she had the address.

She took one look at us two and decided she was going to try a bit of scientology or something on us. Because I was OK except that I was having a hysterical laughing fit (something about seeing the woman turning up with us in that state) she ordered me out of the room.

She was obviously trying to stop my friend feeling sick. So all I heard was her say: “Can you feel this?” And my friend saying “Yeah”. What bits of hum she was touching my dope fuddled mind was wondering…. And of course that made me laugh all the harder.

The gaps between her asking him if he could feel something and him answering got longer and longer. Eventually it took him about a minute to answer “Yeah”.

Then all of a sudden he came crashing out of the door and straight into the toilet to throw his guts up.

Scientology don’t work.

Gabriel said...

Why do I suddenly picture Beatroot in a leading role in an alternative version of A Clockwork Orange..?

ajsek hejz said...

How dare you mock our religion you little punk?

http://www.comedycentral.com/motherload/player.jhtml?ml_video=81617&ml_collection=&ml_gateway=&ml_gateway_id=&ml_comedian=&ml_runtime=&ml_context=show&ml_origin_url=%2Fshows%2Fsouth_park%2Fvideos%2Fseason_9%2Findex.jhtml&ml_playlist=&lnk=&is_large=true

Michael Farris said...

sects? do you say that in Britain or are being influenced by Polish terminology?

The usual (American at leat) translation of 'sekty' is 'cults'.

IME in English 'sect' just means a group that has broken off from another, larger group and doesn't have any of the negative connotations of cult.

jannovak57 said...

So why is Scientology that different from the Catholic Church, the only reason the Catholic Church is upset with the Scientologists is they hate competition.

First we must ask ourselves why we need religion, my theory is that when you fuck things up beyond recognition and nobody wants to talk to you anymore there’s always God.

Now it’s no surprise they would focus on the peasants, as ignorance is fertile ground for religion. If you have any experience with the folk in the countryside you can’t help noticing that everything was god’s will (usually all the bad stuff). This is the excuse for noting taking things in hand.

So lets say you were starting from scratch and choosing a religion, who out there can tell me why you pick one over the other if it were a choice only between the two?

Here are some points to consider:

Have the scientologists violated any alter boys (or sexually abused large numbers of young people)?
How many scientologists worked for the SB?
Does Scientology try to stifle scientific research?
Did L. Ron Hubbard operate an anti-aircraft gun for the Nazis?
Has Scientology tried to influence society against equal rights for women?

Maybe Poland would be better off to abandon Catholicism and adopted scientology as an official religion?

Here’s another good reason, this part of a scientology funeral service “ We do not contest your right to go away. Your debts are paid. This chapter of thy life is shut. Go now, dear [deceased], and live once more in happier time and place”. These guys let you off the hook without any Hail Mary’s.

geez said...

Sorry jannovak but your rant above sounds like ignorant anti-religious, anti-peasant bigotry to me. Is Leszek Kolakowski an idiot, too?

varus said...

Michael Farris said"sects? do you say that in Britain or are being influenced by Polish terminology?"

In BrEn cult and sect are often used interchangably. However, cult has the added meaning of iconic,fashionable. Sect does also, as you say, often pertain to an off-shoot of a religion and or a recognised religion but one that is in a minority, where as cult has the further conortations of being demonic or imoral in someway. I for one, being English, would refer to Scientology as a religeous sect, but take your pick cult/sect makes litlle difference for this discussion. The question is at what point does a cult/sect become a religon? What is the membership threshhold. There are not many Jainists about these days, but few would disute them being a religion.

beatroot said...

That's the answer I was going to give, varus. Though I was influenced by Polish in this case, as I was reading the reports about this yesterday and they were all saying 'sect'. But maybe 'cult' is better.

As to when a sect/cult becomes a religion...tricky one. It's about how the establishment reacts to them. Christianity was a 'sect' once of course...

Damo said...

According to Gerard Ryan, Dublin director of the Church of Scientology, his church aims to "to create a civilisation on earth with no war, crime and insanity."

Hence, one may conclude that it's a self-destructive entity and should be allowed and encouraged to achieve its' goals.

The CofS has about 400 members in Ireland and is currently making annual profits of €200,000 after spending many years in debt.

An interesting article on Scientology can be found in today's Independant

Mr K said...

“Have the scientologists violated any alter boys (or sexually abused large numbers of young people)?”

Oh, dear JanNovak, too much of CNN. As much as I hate pedophilia and other forms of abuse I think that the Church’s sexual scandal is highly overblown by the main stream media. You know, I was born and grew up in a country where 95% of the population declares themselves Roman Catholic. I was an altar boy myself and if the abuse had been as wide spread as they claim I think I would have known about it. Just like it was rather known that some priests had “wives”.

Is the Church of Scientology more honest in that respect? I think that’s what some people are hoping, but given the Scientologists secrecy there may be big disappointments and disillusions coming.

varus said...

In Damo's Independent link there was an interesting piece of information

"In Britain, the Charity Commission denied Scientology religious status on the basis that it did not benefit the public in any way."

The interesting bit is not that it refused to cough up, but the reason given. The question then arises: does a religion have to benefit the public or just its members?

The commission's categorisation seems a bit unfair to me, as if I hold a religious believe, why should that believe necessarily benefit you?

beatroot said...

does a religion have to benefit the public or just its members?

It has to benifit its members, of course. It certainly doesn't and won;t benifit me. And why should it?

And the state can;t measure how much 'spiritual enrichment' a religion gives someone - that's up to them.

But should scientology be made a charity? Nope.

Should any religion be made a charity? Nope.

jannovak57 said...

geez said... “your rant above sounds like ignorant anti-religious, anti-peasant bigotry to me. “

Is it a revelation to you that Poland’s country folk are some of the most socially backward people in all of Europe were educational levels are so low that religion and superstition still thrive much as they did in the middle ages. If you don’t get the idea yet then just look at Poles voting with their feet on this issue, ever notice the absence of young people in the rural areas. These are people that have been conditioned by the Catholic Church to accept what ever happens to them as a matter of God’s will and therefore being proactive to improve your situation is superfluous. The rural areas of Poland are national disgrace.

Are you troubled by my anti-religious views well too bad, however superstition is superstition? Picking a religion is no different than a drug addict choosing which narcotic to consume. Religion is the crutch used by the weak minded who refuse to come to terms with their situation. The simplest educational system does not suggest its function is to issue the answers but rather to develop your mind to seek the answers or solutions. Religion is act of faith and therefore not subject to debate but rather to the requirement for blind acceptance, which is contrary to the though process of anyone with even a modest education.

jannovak57 said...

geez said... “is Leszek Kolakowski an idiot, too?.”

No, he actually proves my point. In his case his religion was Communism, he concluded the quasi-religion he believed in (despite the evidence of reality), was a fraud. All be it late in life. This would equally apply to the Catholic or any other religion.

As a product of rural Poland, such people are a rare exception.

beatroot said...

Comunism was not a religion, Jan. Lots of people say that, but it's nonsense. If you mean 'belief system' then say it. But a religion it was not...

Anonymous said...

They are as bad as Simon Mol!
Warsaw guy

Anonymous said...

Have the scientologists violated any alter boys (or sexually abused large numbers of young people)?

Yes. Many of them.

How many scientologists worked for the SB?

They preferred to participate in criminal activities.

Does Scientology try to stifle scientific research?

CoS has never been in a position to influence research policies (thanks God), however if they were they would be a good chance, since they are at odds with science.

Did L. Ron Hubbard operate an anti-aircraft gun for the Nazis?

No, he did command a U.S. warship and heroically fought with a nonexistent German submarine.

Has Scientology tried to influence society against equal rights for women?

No, but it forces them to have abortions.

In addition, I urge you to consider the following aspects. Does the catholic church:

- copyright its gospel?

- uses police and Interpol to identify people who distribute their religious writings without authorization?

- sue the journalists that express bad opinion of it?

- kill its members?

jannovak57 said...

Mr K said... “I think that the Church’s sexual scandal is highly overblown by the main stream media.”

The numbers of accusers that came forward in North America were society decided to deal openly with this issue was an indicator of the scale, which was enormous and widespread. Notwithstanding the mainstream media the courts verified this perception by the number of cases where judgements resulted against the Catholic Church. The courts also found the church was not only in a state of denial but actively engaged in a long-term cover up. The church had a duty to protect the young people involved in church activity.

Starting in the 1990’s accusations were made against 4,392 priests in the USA, about 4% of all priests. Failure to report criminal acts to police and systematic plots to conceal evidence were a common thread in most of the cases.

The church failed as an institution.

beatroot said...

Warsaw Guy

Well done. That is the first time you have actually tried to enter a into a debate about soething by trying to articulate a point of view and even supporting that point of view with links.

Some progress....

Anonymous said...

Just testing that the myth of the unfortunate african refugee is still untouchable...

Warsaw guy

jannovak57 said...

beatroot said..."Communism was not a religion"

What definition of religion are you going by?

Mr K said...

jannovak57 said “The numbers of accusers that came forward in North America were society decided to deal openly with this issue was an indicator of the scale, which was enormous and widespread.”

Was it the entire society or mainly a bunch of parasites (AKA lawyers) that came forward? I am not saying that no altar boy was ever abused by a priest in the USA, but I am very skeptical about the scale of the real cases. The number of lawsuits (even those settled) indicates mostly the level of greed presented by some lawyers and their clients.

The Catholic Church is not the first object of their attention. Remember Stella? You know, the old lady who spilled hot (?) coffee on her… hmm, shall we say, between her legs in her son’s moving car? What about the lawsuits against gun manufacturers, tobacco companies, makers of silicon breast implants? They all have been found guilty in courts (some companies actually have gone belly up) but I have serious doubts about the verdicts. The next targets will be the fast food industry (obviously guilty for our obesity) and the latest I’ve heard was the manufacturers of sunscreen lotions.

If there is big money to be made in America you can always count on lawyers.

beatroot said...

Jan
Religion usually implies faith in a deity. Now of course Stalinism built itself around ‘cult of personality’…but I would like you to find something in Marx that says worsjipping a higher power…

beatroot said...

Mr K and Jan
The extent of the pedophile priests is often exaggerated and yes, sometimes fueled by lawyers (what isn’t in a litigious culture like the US?)

But those stories have always been told in Ireland too (not a country where they like lawyers) and it is part of Catholic church and always has been.

It’s in the nature of the beast. Unmarried men, supposedly chaste, in close proximity to and in a position of trust with, young juicy people.

Let priests get married and you will cut this problem down, for sure.

Mr K said...

"Let priests get married and you will cut this problem down, for sure."

You sound like my mother. :))

jannovak57 said...

Was it the entire society or mainly a bunch of parasites (AKA lawyers) that came forward?

Firstly it was the entire society, I don’t know of any opinion polls suggesting support for or tolerance of child rape. What happened was the church was out of step with society as a whole. The response to allegations of abuse was denial and cover up, in the past this worked because the church would use it’s political power to influence both media and authorities to stay away from this issue. This problem carried on into a period when the church could no longer influence events and all hell broke loose. Yes the US has a problem with what is called the litigation lottery, however you should consider events in Ireland and Canada were the legal systems are different. Both in Ireland and Canada found the church embroiled in exactly the same problem. The similarity of methods used by the church in all three countries was interesting. The church approached things by:

1) denial
2) refusal to investigate
3) failure to notify the authorities
4) re-assignment of the perish priest to a new location
5) intimidation of parishioners that complained

In May 2001, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, sent a letter to all Catholic Bishops declaring that the Church's investigations into claims of child sex abuse were subject to the pontifical secret and were not to be reported to law enforcement until investigations were completed, on pain of excommunication. The failure to report abuse to the police is an offence in a lot of jurisdictions.

I will refer you to the Ferns Inquiry (2005), which was an official Irish government inquiry into the allegations of clerical sexual abuse.

In the end the only defence the church put forward through some its organizations was that the frequency of abuse were similar to abuse in other institutions. Bet you the victims and their parents weren’t impressed.

opamp said...

The extent of the pedophile priests is often exaggerated and yes, sometimes fueled by lawyers

What happened in the U.S. was that all the cases were lumped together as pedophilia, while pedophilia by definition is attraction to prepubescent children. In reality over 90% of victims were over 13, which means that for a large part it was a homosexual sex scandal, not a pedophilic scandal. What paints the case in a whole new light... But, pedophilia sells newpapers better and does not risk the outrage of powerful LGBT rights groups...

beatroot said...

Top post, Jan...

beatroot said...

Opamp
I did say "young, juicy people' on purpose....thereby escaping the trap of limiting the probem to child abuse...

That guy in PoZnan being a case in point...

beatroot said...

Q: What is Juliusz Paetz’s favourite pop group?

A: The Paetz Shop Boys

Sorry, I couldn’t resist it….

jannovak57 said...

Celibacy is the problem and should be reconsidered by the church as it looks like it does more harm then good. It would be interesting to find out if studies exists connecting mandatory celibacy and sexual abuse.

It is unfair to ask priests to lead a life which conflicts with basic human nature and have expectations that there wouldn’t be problems.

beatroot said...

Yup! We don't get the same scandals in the Church of England. Or the Church of Ireland (protestant).

Vicars are allowed to get married. So being a vicar is a realitic career option for a person with a normal sex drive.

Priests, on the otherhand, have to renounce their sexuality. And that just is not a realistic expectation for a human being.

It means that you are going to get lots of people who have a very unusual relationship with their own sexuality.

Bad...

Mr K said...

“Celibacy is the problem and should be reconsidered by the church…”

I doubt it would make a difference. As someone already mentioned 90-95% of the victims are teenage boys (not girls). Do gay men lose their interest in boys once they marry women?

beatroot said...

Mr K

What happens when big, butch hetrosexual men are locked up in prison?

Shower time becomes the highlight of the day....

Human sexuality is...adaptable...

Mr K said...

I see your point Beatroot, however reasons for going to prison and entering priesthood are somewhat different. Boys behind bars have no other choice but to temporarily redirect their affection. Father Maurycy can either seek companionship of young ladies or engage in intellectual conversation with boys. Or stop thinking about sex (if that’s possible).

Damo said...

Fascinating debate and I'm glad Opamp pointed out the fact that the majority of sexual abuse that took/takes place within the church was/is post-pubescent - a condition called ephebophilia, which is not considerd a pathological paraphilia, that is until such time as it transpires to become abusive.

As someone who studied for the priesthood in Ireland, has good memories (all non-abusive)serving as an altar boy, and has many friends in seminaries and in the religious life, I'm concerned at the consequences of the inter-play which resulted from the particular form of priesthood formation which evolved from the denominational power struggles over the education system between Catholicism and Protestantism in Ireland (from mid 19th century), the enormously high
level of single-sex schooling right up to the 90's, the fact that the majority of priests up to the 70's were poached for while in their early pubescent years, and the sad fact that Ireland's sexual revolution was very belated.

Is it too far-fetched to propose that the stunting of one's pubescent sexuality within a single-sex schooling environment could lead to a dangerously unhealthy repression of sexual desires being subsequently played out (without consent) on those who are of a similar (sexual) age by an adult person (priest or swimming coach, drama teacher, cop, lawyer) trapped in a mindset of pubescent sexual experimentation, frustration, confusion which they never naturally came to learn how to engage in a respectful consensual fashion.

The Byzantine Eastern Rite of the Roman Catholic church allow Catholic seminarians to marry prior to taking their final vows for the priesthood. They then serve their parishes as good as if not better than celibate priests.
It is the Latin rite which do not allow matrimony within the priesthood.

Furthermore, some Anglican ministers who converted to Catholicism have been allowed to administer normal duties as Catholic priests after changing collars.

Also, thousands of deacons who perform baptisms and marriages (but cannot administer the sacrament of communion)are allowed to marry in the RC Latin rite tradition.

Although many African seminarian friends have claimed to me that paedophilia is a white western man's pathology (good indication of the level of denial one can see amongst the African church) the fact that huge amounts of seminarians are currently being practically trained fro the priesthood in junior seminaries from a very young age(which should be made illegal by the church and state)in Africa and Latin/South America it is clear that the church has not learned the quintessential lessons on the core issues that led to such terrible abuse and cover ups.

As Gemma Hearne, sexual abuse victim in the Ferns diocese of Ireland stated, "I can't understand how Pope Bendict XVI can manage to never mention the abuse that took place in Ferns over decades, and yet he can find room to condemn Harry Potter in his homilies"

beatroot said...

Damo...varus...what are your blog addresses again?

geez said...

jannovak wrote:

No, he actually proves my point. In his case his religion was Communism

Kolakowski turned to Catholicism quite some time ago.

geez said...

Karl Marx or was it JanNovak who wrote:

"Religion is the crutch used by the weak minded who refuse to come to terms with their situation."

geez said...

JanNovak wrote of priestly pedophilia: "the scale, which was enormous and widespread."

<><>
Actually, the scale among schoolteachers has proven to be similar.

beatroot said...

What Karl Marx actually said was quite beautiful

Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.

It is because we are alienated from ourselves that we create religion to guide us, to console us, to give reason for our being, to give us relief from our suffering.

And until we finally and truly re-connect with ourselves, religion will have a role.


Religion is, indeed, the self-consciousness and self-esteem of man who has either not yet won through to himself, or has already lost himself again. But man is no abstract being squatting outside the world. Man is the world of man—state, society. This state and this society produce religion, which is an inverted consciousness of the world, because they are an inverted world. Religion is the general theory of this world, its encyclopedic compendium, its logic in popular form, its spiritual point d'honneur, its enthusiasm, its moral sanction, its solemn complement, and its universal basis of consolation and justification. It is the fantastic realization of the human essence since the human essence has not acquired any true reality. The struggle against religion is, therefore, indirectly the struggle against that world whose spiritual aroma is religion.


Marx is not saying bad things about religion. He is saying bad things about human alienation.

Damo said...

BR, it's hyperlinked from my blog name above: damo
It's here

geez said...

Some of what KM wrote was indeed inspirational and even politically correct (in the best sense).

Thing is... he largely missed the boat when he wrote about religiousity.

He also wrote: “Religion must disappear, when the night of ignorance will be dispelled, of which is the offspring.”

Religion is still here, communism but a blip on the historical screen.

Let's not forget: "The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of men, is a demand for their real happiness. The call to abandon their lllusions about their condition is a call to abandon a condition which requires illusions."

Illusory like the victory of the proletariat. And folks were really happy under Marxist leaders.

And his “religion is by no means a major factor in the liberation factor; it is a superstructure which will disappear when its base is destroyed."

Roman Catholicism largely propelled, sustained and emboldened the Solidarity movement in Poland. Black American Christianity ... the Civil Rights movement in the US.

Of course, religion is a double edged sword. It can also push the likes of Rydzik. But I'd say that's religion in its most perverted form.

And a tiny miniscule few will still defend Gre' Grandiddy Marx in much the same way, I know.

geez said...

BTW, for those who see peasants as just inherently backwards, stupid, etc., you might want to check into the Journal of Peasant Studies which I think somewhere along the line became the Journal of Subaltern Studies.

http://www.lib.virginia.edu/area-studies/subaltern/ssallau.htm

Also David Mitrany's Marx Against the Peasant is an interesting primer published way back in 1951 in jolly old England.

jannovak57 said...

geez said... “Karl Marx or was it JanNovak who wrote: "Religion is the crutch used by the weak minded who refuse to come to terms with their situation."

It wasn’t Karl it was I, I perhaps should not have said religion implying all religions but rather have directed this comment to the catholic religion. Which I find sends a message of acceptance of one’s situation rather than promoting proactive response to resolve problems. I am not suggesting this is some kind of official position of the Catholic Church but rather a mindset typical of the rural parishioners. I came to this conclusion by observation of rural folk reacting to hardships.

I would be curious as how you would respond to the following:

Protestant based societies seem to out perform catholic based societies as a general rule.

jannovak57 said...

geez said... “jannovak wrote: No, he actually proves my point. In his case his religion was Communism Kolakowski turned to Catholicism quite some time ago.”

After he concluded he was following a false ideological position and abandoned communism he stated, “Our fallibility obliges us to treat all claims to infallibility with scepticism,” It would require some interesting mental gymnastics to then accept Catholicism after making that rational.

jannovak57 said...

geez said... “Actually, the scale among schoolteachers has proven to be similar.”

This is likely correct but the position of a teacher and a priest are different. Notwithstanding some groups supporting the Catholic Church used the same argument such as Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, an New York-based Catholic advocacy group, told a newspaper. "But instead what we get is a selective indignation that suggests there is an agenda here.".
Society does not hold both groups to precisely the same standards of conduct and I can see were the level of indignation with priests could be a just a little more intense then with teachers.

It should be noted that school boards dealt with problems a lot more appropriately than the church did.

jannovak57 said...

geez said... “BTW, for those who see peasants as just inherently backwards, stupid, etc., you might want to check into the Journal of Peasant Studies which I think somewhere along the line became the Journal of Subaltern Studies.

http://www.lib.virginia.edu/area-studies/subaltern/ssallau.htm”
Is there a specific article you are referring me to?

I was trying to make the point that Poland’s rural areas are in state that almost reflects life in a previous century. A situation that has some similarities to America’s Appalachian region in some cases.

beatroot said...

mean the way they live (and in many casus, work) is pretty much how it was in the 19th C and they want to keep it that way.

Bad news for Poland with 1 in 4 of the population (producing less than 10 percent GDP) relying on farming for their income.

geez said...

jn57 wrote: "Protestant based societies seem to out perform catholic based societies as a general rule."

<>< Maybe there are variables more important than religion? I don't think religion is pivotal in too many modern societies.

Re. Leszek Kolakowski's statement and your attendant conclusion, jn57, where did you get the erroneous idea that Catholics aren't allowed to be skeptical?

About priests... I tend not to trust them in the first place so my expectations of teachers are actually higher. But I agree with you that the Church hierarchy at all levels screwed up royally in dealing with the situation.

And tying together the matter of the peasantry and your first question, I'm not convinced that greater productivity is the answer to creating better or "gooder" lives.

beatroot said...

I'm not convinced that greater productivity is the answer to creating better or "gooder" lives.

Of course not. Nobody ever said higher growth would make us ‘happier’…whatever that means. What higher growth does provide is more resources to handle the problems that occur.

Happiness is not an economic question at all.

jannovak57 said...

Beatroot said... “they want to keep it that way.”

Not altogether sure of that perhaps they want a better life or at least one that provides more choices and find themselves ill equipped to pursue such a goal.

Material well being doesn’t bring happiness but it does give you choices. In affluent western societies we may not have happiness but through choice we can pursue fulfillment whether or not we succeed in attaining it is another matter.

geez said... “where did you get the erroneous idea that Catholics aren't allowed to be skeptical?”

The doctrine of papal infallibility continues and is a fundamental requirement Catholics must accept the Vatican is not a democracy. My understanding is a Catholic must accept this or leave the church.

geez said...

When was the last time a layperson got excommunicated because he or she was skeptical about or even disagreed with papal infallibility or just about any other Church doctrine? And please note that papal infallibility does not mean that everything the pope says or does is infallible. I think even the pope is allowed a measure of doubt and skepticism at times, too. About options... Brittany Spears has options that most of us can only dream about. Then again, I think that it's pretty darn hard to be happy if you gotta continually struggle to make ends meet.

beatroot said...

So now you are contradicting yourself. First you say:

I'm not convinced that greater productivity is the answer to creating better or "gooder" lives.

And then you say:
think that it's pretty darn hard to be happy if you gotta continually struggle to make ends meet.


In less developed societies making ends meet - i.e. subsistence farming - is just about all they do. They don't produce a surplus.

In high growth advanced economies they produce lots of surplus, hence they have money to spend on Brittney Spears drivel, hence Brittney gets rich, and there are less people in high growth economies 'just making ends meet...'

opamp said...

The doctrine of papal infallibility continues and is a fundamental requirement Catholics must accept the Vatican is not a democracy. My understanding is a Catholic must accept this or leave the church.

Incorrect. Hans Kung, probably the biggest critic of the papal infallibility dogma, still remains a Catholic priest. He was only forbidden to teach in the name of Church (so he got a job teaching theology at a state university).

geez said...

There's more than enough "poverty of spirit" in high growth economies, particularly in those in which income is very unequally distributed.

I'll also suggest that there is room for subsistence agriculture or even industry for that matter in the wider context of a high growth economy. One needn't squelch the existence of the other.

I'll also insist that there is only so much trickle down, and what trickles down for the most part trickles down only to the middle class (and even then the middle class is no longer as secure as it once was).

The latest from The Nation:

The top 1 percent of Americans are now getting the largest share of national income since 1928...the wage gap has nearly doubled since 1980, the dawn of the conservative era. The deterioration of equitable income in American society is not over. It continues to get much worse. The top 10 percent---the people earning roughly $100,000 a year and higher---now get 48.5% of total income. Not surprisingly, average incomes for the bottom percent are down slightly. These numbers are from the Internal Revenue service for 2005, and experts agree they underestimate the disparities" ---April 23, 2007

geez said...

And I don't think I contradicted myself. There can be a happy medium between hedonistic and subsistence existence.

peter said...

There can be a happy medium between hedonistic and subsistence existence.

But happy mediums can only be between dualities. Happy/sad….rich/poor….

Hedonistic/subsistence is a false dichotomy.

Growth economy does not necessarily mean ‘hedonistic’…

And subsistence existence can be highly hedonistic – because they are just thinking in the present and not thinking about the future – which is the true meaning of hedonism.

A high growth economy is not morally prescriptive. So ‘trickle down’ is not the issue. It’s about a growth economy. What we do with that surplus is not an economic question, but a political one.

geez said...

Subsistence in my mind, means just barely surviving on an economic level.

Hedonism being very much it's opposite -- living only for personal pleasure, hardly an option for folks barely surviving unless they have already given up and seek to kill themselves through drugs or alcohol.

Dualities are usually problematic anyway because there are many paths in between and around the ends.

Seems to me, Peter, that you are thinking in terms of dualities, not me. I see many options available for different people in complex societies.

And I never suggested that high growth economies are necessarily hedonistic. Seems to me, though, that's more often the case than not. And yes, that is a political matter -- certainly I don't think that economies can be dualistically separated from their political context.

The true meaning of hedonism? Seems to me hedonists are primarily interested in momentary pleasures, not the future. Sha-la-la, let's live for today and don't worry 'bout tomorrow oh-oh-oh-oh-oh. Subsistence folks are always worrying about tomorrow -- and today.

jannovak57 said...

opamp said... “Incorrect. Hans Kung, probably the biggest critic of the papal infallibility dogma, still remains a Catholic priest.”

If I were a non catholic and elected to become a member of the catholic church, would I be given the opportunity if I made it clear to the priest that I would not accept Papal infallibility?

It is my understanding that women who have had abortions and this has become known to the perish priest (in Poland) have been in some cases been physically barred from entering the church.

Also parishioners who have gotten divorced were excluded from receiving communion.

beatroot said...

There was a case when they wanted to refuse a doctor being burried because they thought he did an abortion.

geez said...

While the RC Church is not a democracy, it's far removed from operating anything like a Stalinist dictatorship. More I look at and experience it, the more it seems like @n@rchy to me.

Some priests and bishops are "stricter" than others. If, jn57, you tell a bright priest (I'm sure there are more than a few in Poland) that you want to join the RC Church because you agree on all dogma etc except papal infallibility -- he'd ask you what you understand to be papal infallibility. Maybe you have studied the concept and practice and can discuss with him the issues involved. Maybe not. Maybe he will ask you to study the matter more carefully. Or maybe he will suggest you join a particular Protestant denomination. So what? Shouldn't you have the freedom to belong to the church that is most in line with your beliefs and practices? Then again, if you are really so intent on becoming Catholic, you could just "neglect" to make an issue of the matter of papal infallibility -- I'm sure you would then find more than enough priests to let you join their parish. But it's obvious you aren't at all interested in becoming a Catholic, so why do you really give the least littlest poo?

beatroot said...

it seems like @n@rchy to me.

What is an at-ocracy?

opamp said...

It is my understanding that women who have had abortions and this has become known to the perish priest (in Poland) have been in some cases been physically barred from entering the church.

Possible, however unlikely, because a woman who had an abortion can be given absolution under certain conditions. (On the other hand, the doctor who performed an abortion is excommunicated. This was the basis of the funeral scandal BR mentioned).

Also parishioners who have gotten divorced were excluded from receiving communion.

Yes. But not all the divorced ones, but the ones that have divorced and remarried. The rationale is that their first marriage is still binding, so living with their new partners they are commiting adultery.

michael farris said...

"The rationale is that their first marriage is still binding, so living with their new partners they are commiting adultery"

This is why I could never be a catholic (even if I believed in a god).

My mother was a divorcee when she married my father and I don't appreciate the church telling me she was an adultress (and the logical extension that I'm a bastard*).

*arguably true in some senses of the word but not in the way the rc church says.

geez said...

The RC Church does allow for annulments -- sorta like Catholic sanctioned divorces. Then there's no big problem with remarrying.

michael farris said...

"sorta like Catholic sanctioned divorces. Then there's no big problem with remarrying."

In other words, it's not divorce as such they're opposed to, just divorce that they don't control.

Color me unimpressed.

geez said...

Well, Catholics do look upon marriage as a Sacrament not simply as something legalized by the state.

opamp said...

The RC Church does allow for annulments -- sorta like Catholic sanctioned divorces.

Except that annulment is only obtainable in special cases (impotence, homosexualism, hiding infertility etc.), and generally hard to get. The annulment is not a divorce, but an ex post facto determination that the criteria for a valid marriage had not been met and it is null and void.

So in practical terms, there is no divorce.

geez said...

John Allen in the NCR in 1999: "The United States is especially noted for the number of annulments its church tribunals issue. In 1968, 338 annulments were granted in the United States -- today the figure is around 40,000, approximately 70 percent of the total worldwide. More than 80 percent of U.S. requests for annulments are approved (in Italy, by way of comparison, only 37 percent are granted). Some have criticized the relative ease with which American Catholics can obtain annulments as a form of “Catholic divorce.”

In subtle fashion, a handful of figures have put the church’s treatment of divorced and remarried Catholics on the table at the European Synod. In so doing, they have reopened a question the Vatican declared closed five years ago.

Most provocatively, Cardinal Godfried Danneels, 66, has hinted at the need for flexibility on whether Catholics who divorce and then remarry without obtaining an annulment can receive the sacraments. An annulment is a judicial decision from the church that the first marriage never existed.

Officially, the Vatican ended discussion of that issue in 1994 with a document from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. It held that allowing Catholics to receive the sacraments under those circumstances would undercut the church’s teaching on marriage.

Though the synod’s official propositions now appear unlikely to address the issue -- they will instead simply call for pastoral care for divorced Catholics -- the conversation here suggests the matter is anything but settled.

Given the high divorce rates in the developed world, where one in every three marriages ends in divorce (with rates for Catholics similar to the general population), the question of how the church treats divorcees reaches into the routine of virtually every priest and parish in Europe and North America.

geez said...

And still more wiggle room....

Even though the Catholic Church Law can allow its priests to make the lives of their parishioners difficult in regards to marriage and divorce, in recent years they have evidently matured. As is always the case, Church Law, like any other law, can be simply re-interpreted to suit the needs of the people. We thus read: “…( Catholic ) Church law states that if either of the spouses causes "serious danger of spirit or body to the other spouse or the children, or otherwise renders common life too hard," the spouses may separate (c1153.1). The Church is always concerned that human life must be protected from things that would destroy it. If the marriage relationship is threatening the life or well being one of the parties or the children, or if the continuation of the relationship has truly become intolerable, then the Church reminds us of our responsibility to protect human life in all its form, and allows for the separation of the spouses...” ( Time for An Update On Marriage, Divorce, and Nullity ( The Family Ministries Office of the Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago http://www.familyministries.org ).

beatroot said...

Opamp
Impotence is a reason for divorse? What about viagra?

geez said...

"Why are Catholics so afraid of sects?"

Becoz we're not spozed to use rubbers.

beatroot said...

:-)

Anonymous said...

wypierdalac z Polski

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Have the scientologists violated any alter boys (or sexually abused large numbers of young people)? Yes. Many of them . How many scientologists worked for the SB? They preferred to participate in criminal activities . Does Scientology try to stifle scientific research? CoS has never been in a position to influence research policies (thanks God), however if they were they would be a good chance, since they are at odds with science . Did L. Ron Hubbard operate an anti-aircraft gun for the Nazis? No, he did command a U.S. warship and heroically fought with a nonexistent German submarine . Has Scientology tried to influence society against equal rights for women? No, but it forces them to have abortions . In addition, I urge you to consider the following aspects. Does the catholic church: - copyright its gospel? - uses police and Interpol to identify people who distribute their religious writings without authorization? - sue the journalists that express bad opinion of it? - kill its members?

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