Link to Critical Merchandise is right here.
The weekly show where I answer your questions based on what you wrote in the comment section of my Q&A videos or have sent to me by email at AskChrisShelton@gmail.com. This week, the questions I take up are:
(1) Hi Chris – Love your channel! Question: I was involved in an Muslim cult when I was in my college and university days. The cult was actually very similar to Scientology. I’ve never really fully ‘recovered’ as such. I’ve encountered many problems in my life but one problem really troubles me: dwelling on the past. I often in my mind obsessively debate scenarios from the past, I imagine myself yelling and refuting the cult I was with, embarrassing them the way they embarrassed me, making their leaders feel stupid etc. All of these are scenarios I ruminate on. I often debate them on social media and I get very obessesive on chasing and confronting them. This despite the fact that the cult has died down over the years and has few members left. Yet still, I rehash arguments and refutations against them in my mind, in the off chance I meet them on the streets and show them that I’m now in the know and can take them on easily.
Why am I like this? Is this something that ex-cult members face? Would you say that this is a form of OCD?
(2) This is the first time that tuning in raised a few, little defensive hairs on the back of my neck, so I thought I’d weigh in for a change.
I care about “the truth”, but found myself emotionally put off by your guest (Aron Ra), and I’m looking for an explanation as to why. By your own viewpoint, shouldn’t people be open and accepting of differing religious, cultural and scientific ideas and facts from a multitude of sources in their searches for that truth? I see my friends and family expressing and living a wide range of beliefs and lifestyles. Some make me cringe, but others make me wonder if there is something there because they seem to be thriving within their belief system/religion. Perhaps man did invent God, but I question whether or not human beings have an emotional need to do so. As long as no one is being harmed in the process — as one might be in a destructive cult (yes, I get the huge grey area here.) a little magical thinking might serve as a handy corral for positive social norms and serve as motivation to treat the other human beings on the planet with kindness, respect and some form of a hopefully-fair degree of justice. I understand that truly horrific things have also been and are being done in the name of God — any or all and other faith-based beliefs.
Personally, my husband and I just lost all four parents to cancer in a two and a half year period. It comforts my grieving heart to think that they are not completely gone from existence despite what my critical mind has come to believe.
So my questions are: Do you believe that it’s possible that, despite the apparent facts, we have a basic, possibly even biological need to believe in a higher power and to exercise the values that we attribute to that belief as a beneficial component of our culturally-mosaic social order? Do you think that the stigma attached to atheism could have anything to do with the emotional pain associated with rationalizing with and attempting to convert the faithful to the belief that faith doesn’t exist which may in turn be viewed by them as threatening or as a stripping away of their security and culture? If someone seems happy in their chosen faith, is it the manifest destiny of atheists to “witness” (rationalize) to these potentially self-deluded people? In doing so, might some well-meaning atheist cause more emotional harm than intellectual good?
Perhaps atheism wouldn’t get such a bad rap (trust me, I live in Texas, and it does) if it didn’t seem as cold or threatening by providing alternative social structures that promote equality, honesty, compassion and so forth: but aren’t attempts to pull that kind of thing off inherently in danger of becoming the next versions of inevitably flawed systems of belief or religions? How would you resolve that paradox?
(3) You seem to use the words psychology and psychiatry interchangeably as if they mean exactly the same thing. I always thought that psychiatry was the more evil of the two as that branch uses electo-shock and the continuous drugging of patients and so forth (as described by Mark Rathbun about his brother in his memoires book), whereas psychology is more concerned with therapy and maybe some perscription anti-depressants and such that you could take at home. Do you see any significant difference between the two and the way you discuss them?
(4) The International Justice Secretary as the only terminal for declared SPs must surely become PTS to any SP he deals with. How is this dilemma resolved by the CoS?
(5) Would you agree that a study of “destructive cults” would be useful in understanding organizations which have some but not all characteristics of destructive cults?
(6) Hi Chris, I know you used to work on the ideal org program so you should definitely know what’s going on.I recently saw an artist’s rendering of Miami’s Ideal org (from Mike Rinder’s blog Thursday Funnies) and the building looks HUGE, with an apparent parking garage and everything. I’ve always heard most Scientologists in Florida are in Clearwater though. Does Miami really need this massive building?
(7) Is the top management of the cult not working to expand, simply because with a huge influx of new members, there could be a demand for changes by the basic Scientologist? More members, more of a possibility of current leaders losing control and/or reform of the church?