What do Tom Cruise, John Travolta, and Charles Manson Have in Common?
Scientology, baby! These guys are nuts with a capital UTS. Get this: 75 million years ago, an alien named Xenu, who was the dictator of the “Glaactic Confederacy” brought billions of his people to Earth in large spacecraft which resembled DC-8 airplanes, dropped them around active volcanoes, and bombed the living shit out of them with hydrogen bombs. Nice guy, huh? Note that this does not come from any sort of scripture or ancient text, rather from the mind and pen of science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard. (Read Battlefield Earth – it’s a good book… just ignore the piece of crap movie with John Travolta – a famous Scientoligist, by the way). I mean, it happend supposedly 75 million years ago when velociraptors and T-Rexes were roaming the Earth, and Ronnie knows this dude’s name!
The basic tenet or dogma of Scientology teaches that the spiritual essence of these exterminated aliens still remains on Earth and can cause spiritual distress to modern humans. Right. The neat thing about this story is that it’s not exactly made public by the Church of Scientology. While most of us are probably at least familiar with the stories of Christ’s birth, ministry, crucifixition, and resurrection long before we ever set foot in a Christan church, this “esoteric teaching” of Scientology is not revealed to church members until they’ve been through numerous classes (all of which are provided for a fee – considerable amounts of money – from hundreds to thousands of dollars each.)
I think that this may be a part of the reason why Scientology attracts such a well-known membership. Who but celebrities have the disposable income to really afford paying for high level Scientology classes? Vincent Bugliosi wrote in Helter Skelter that mass murderer Charles Manson had attained “Theta Clear,” Scientology’s highest level. How he did that in his life as a hippy and pety criminal prior to the Tate-LaBianca murders which made him infamous is a mystery, considering Scientology’s hefty price tag.
Wicca and Neo-Paganism
This is another bunch that can be aptly described as nucking futs, and I know well because I used to count myself among their numbers. Wiccans are a part of a larger group known as Neo-Pagans. It is very hard to describe practitioners of pagainsm with any specific tenets or dogmas, because there is no actual organizational hierarchy or “church” to judge them by. Neo-Paganism is largely considered an alternative to organized religion, which is what originally drew me to it.
Neo-Pagans in general and Wiccans more specifically (the term Wicca stems from the Old English word “wit” which meant one who was wist or wisdom itself. It is where we get the word “witch”) consider themselves to be “witches” and practice magic (which they spell as ‘magick’ in an effort to set it apart for the work of stage magicians like David Copperfield or Harry Blackstone, Jr.). They usually meet in groups called “covens” (traditionally with thirteen members), though some work alone as “solitary practitioners.”
For the most part I believe Neo-Pagans are relatively harmless, even if they are off their collective rockers. They’ll certainly never knock on your door and try to sell their gods to you or preach to you about how you’re destined for hell if you don’t repent. Neo-Paganism has also become a bit of a religious refuge for a large part of the homosexual community in America, likely because so many of the traditional churches openly teach complete intolerance of the Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual lifestyle. Why not choose a religion without risk of rejection?
As kooky as much of paganism may seem to many (calling oneself a witch is bound to get you some quizzical looks, after all), I will say one thing in their favor. I have never had a pagan knock on my door and tell me that I’m headed straight for hell if I don’t accept their beliefs right this instant. If the world were full of pagans instead of Christians, I believe it may be a much happier place. Although, I guess at one time it was and things weren’t much better. Man, people suck.
Have you ever watched a football game on TV and seen folks in the stands holding those signs that say “John 3:16?” Have you ever been handed a religious tract with a title like Turn or Burn or God’s Plan for YOU? This is all the work of born-again Christians, also known as Evangelicals. These are the real hell fire and brimstone preaching, Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God believing, door knocking (okay Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses are also good at knocking on doors), we’re-going-to-Heaven-and-you’re-not, holier than thou or thine, bunch of psychos, gay bashers, and Bible thumpers who believe it is their duty to save the souls of… well, anyone who doesn’t believe what they do. Westboro Baptist Church (they’re the “God Hates Fags” people)? Evangelical. ‘Nuff said?
Just as I was once a pagan, I was once an Evangelical. I am not proud and will clearly state that it was not by choice. The family was dragged (by my mother… been meaning to thank ya for that, Mom) to one of these insane asylums when I was about thirteen years old or so. Before long we had been caught in the nets of the fishers of men and were all “saved” and out happily thumping Bibles with the rest of them. Ugh, I feel dirty and less intelligent just thinking about it.
The Sunday-School teachers and Youth Group Leaders at church didn’t like me much, I think. And it was for the same reason that a lot of my regular school teachers didn’t like me. I asked too many of the wrong kinds of questions. I remember one particular lesson about the Genesis story of Noah and the ark in which the teacher claimed that, prior to the start of the rainfall that caused the flood, it had never rained before. Ever. Anywhere. I don’t know where he got this misinformation (I’m almost sure its not Biblical and not the official position of any particular church or denomination), he was just a little more insane than the rest of them. When he said it I instantly wanted to ask “are you fucking stupid? Or just fucking crazy?” My more sensible self prevailed, however, and instead I asked, “Then what watered the grass and plants and trees – especially the ones in that nice Garden they talked about a few pages back?” (Or something to that effect – I wasn’t quite so literary-minded as a teen). The answer, of course, was “God did.” No follow-up was offered and no further questions on my part were expected (or would be tolerated). That answer is good enough for everything, apparently. It is a perfect delusion.
Religious Upbringing is Child Abuse
And the beautiful thing about this delusion is that it requires no facts and no proof to back it up. We are expected to just believe it. Why do you think people start cramming this shit into others’ heads while they’re just children? Kids will believe pretty much anything you tell them. Why else does the whole Santa Claus/Easter Bunny/Tooth Fairy mythology work so well? If you’re a parent or considering ever becoming one, I urge you not to send your kids to church. Its just cruel. Imagine having a child and, like most parents do, you tell that child that its Santa Claus who brings the presents on Christmas Eve, yadda yadda yadda. No think about keeping that up, no matter what. And when your kid comes home one day and tells you that some other kids in school dispelled the myth and told him or her that there is no such thing as Santa, you tell the child that the other kids are lying and will be sent to a horrible place when they die because of this transgression. You tell the child that he’d better do exactly as Santa teaches forever or else he too will be sent to this very bad place where you burn forever and ever and are tormented by Celine Dion and Kenny G music. No one would do that, right? It would be downright abusive. What do you think telling them about God is? Just sayin’.
These are all the individual faiths I’m going to
bash talk about in this article. I realize I stayed entirely away from Judaism and Islam, and I want you to know I did so with good reason. People have been fucking with the Jews for about as long as there have been people. There’s nothing I could say about them that they haven’t heard somewhere before from someone far more hateful. I don’t want to join that parade. And Islam, well, lets just say that I might get a few threats from any really crazy Christians who read this post. Really crazy Islamic followers don’t just send threats, they send bombs. And they go after your entire family, not just you. I have kids. No thanks.
Having given the matter considerable thought over the years, I’ve decided that the concept of the Ten Commandments is, in and of itself, a pretty good one. We do need a general list of rules to live by. Having them handed down by an invisible friend, however, is maybe not the best idea. So, I figure who’s better to issue them than I am? You may be. Feel free to use my list as a template to craft your own if you like. We don’t really need ten though, especially when we weed out all the ones that, today at least, do not represent actual laws. So, I give you the Five Commandments:
1) Thou Shalt Not Kill.
This is actually a good one that I think should make any list. Note that I’ve moved it up in importance.
2) Thou Shalt Not Steal.
Another good one that just makes sense. Don’t kill anyone, don’t take anyone’s shit without permission. Fair enough so far?
3) Belief in a supernatural being who is all-knowing and all powerful and who created everything that there is, yet who has a personal interest in whether you fuck your secretary or cheat on your taxes, is the very definition of insanity. Talking to this being on a regular basis or at all is a fairly foolish way to act. Belief that this being is speaking back to you is grounds for commission to a state run mental health facility.
Sometimes you just have to thin the herd.
4) There is no god but Man. Man has the right to live as he will.
I stole this (erm, paraphrased) from the writings of Aleister Crowley. He’s been dead since 1947. He won’t mind. Basically this says the same thing as “do unto others.” If someone else likes to have sex with people of their own gender, for example, leave them alone, even if you don’t like it. It’s none of your fucking business. Trust me, they are probably not interested in your ugly ass anyway and they don’t care who you fuck, so why are you worried about who they fuck? Leave each other alone, for fuck’s sake! Don’t make me come down there!
5) Thou Shalt Not Knock on my Door, Call my Telephone, or Send me Email in an Effort to Spread Your Religious Message.
I’m serious about this. I used to enjoy talking to the door knockers in an effort to give them something to think/pray about. Now I know they don’t think all that much and their prayers are probably on my behalf. I am no longer interested. And if I get one more of those emails that tells some idiotic story about a kid with cancer who was healed by the power or God’s love and that if I send that email to ten or so of my friends, then my kids won’t get cancer or I’ll get rich or Jesus will get me laid or whatever, I am seriously going to think about breaking commandment number one. In short, fuck off.