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July 18, 2011

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"To see how a modern religion is created and spread, one must study Gaiaism, which is destined to become the first internet-age religion." - Half Sigma

The internet has immensely helped atheism spread it's message but many have come to erroneously believe that the age of the internet will destroy religion. On the contrary religions rise and fall and adapt to the times. New religions will rise in the 21st century, some based on nature like Gaiaism, others based on technology.

Public perceptions of these two mystery religions couldn't be more different. Most people regard Scientology as a weird and potentially dangerous mind control cult. In contrast, except for a few Christian fundamentalists with unbridgeable doctrinal differences, everyone (especially in the blogosphere) greatly admires Mormonism.

[HS: People have been duped by the Mormon marketing effort to brand themselves as just another sect of protestant Christianity. But it is harder to sell Xenu the Galactic Overlord that way.]

A lot of SWPLs regard Mormonism as a weird and dangerous cult. We'll see a great deal more SWPL propaganda about freaky-deaky Mormon beliefs if Romney gets the nomination.

[HS: Why is the planet Kolob any weirder then believing in virgin births? Why is Mormon underwear any weirder than what Catholic priests wear? (Rhetorical questions, both.)]

Mormonism is successful because most mormons are pretty upstanding citizens. It doesn't matter how retarded your faith is if it results in fairly decent communities. And while there are some freaky polygamists and so forth in the faith Christianity has its own freaks too.

There is a popular broadway play on mormonism by Trey Parker and Matt Stone that summarizes the yuppie attitude towards mormonism. See also their south park episode on the faith.

The early Christian Gnostics were big on the whole notion of "secret knowledge" that only they knew how to obtain from the Gospels via their enlightened teachers and mystics. (if you ask me, they were very similar to current liberal elitists who are noted for their desire to feel superior and more enlightened to others.)

There was a multitude of these breakaway sects during the first 4 centuries, with some desiring to operate from inside the orthodox church and others desiring to stay on the fringes. The most influential early gnostic sect was probably the Valentians, who were opposed vehemently by early church leaders like Irenaeus.

There's also a multitude of early Christian Gnostic Gospels, some of which were found amongst the Nag Hammadi writings discovered by Bedouin shepherds in rural Palestine back in the 1940's. The most influential Gnostic Gospel was the Gospel of Thomas. I think that the Da Vinci code makes reference to some of the Gnostic Gospels.

Excuse me, I meant "Valentinians"

"Mormonism is successful because most mormons are pretty upstanding citizens."

This. I have a friend in his mid-50s who is Mormon and he is probably the most genuine and sincere person I know, almost to a fault. It directly results in people taking advantage of him, including his ostensibly Mormon siblings. Howard Hughes has his Mormon cadre for similar reasons of trustworthiness. (Hughes was not Mormon)

My wife and kids are currently visiting some friends in Salt Lake City, and she marveled about how clean and nice the downtown area is.

I surely wish my religion had such an image and effective missionary program.

Mystery religion?

Aren't those the cultists that worship the guy who wears wacky hats, goggles, black fingernail polish, and has numerous body piercings?

I think a mystery religion is still possible today. A true mystery religion would have a slow ball roll out like early Christendom. It would be better to be 'cell' structured. It would have to have an incredibly charismatic 'founder' who would be flexible enough to allow cells to play with the rules. If the network cell structure can work for terrorism, can't it work for something that would promise happiness, inner-peace or salvation?

Difference between ancient times and today is currently, everyone is obsessed with proving their meaning or receiving validation/attention for their work. A mystery religion or cult would have a member go on the internet and broadcast its existence or beliefs just for the fame.

Maybe Islam, especially Shi'a, is a mystery cult. In Arabic they say different things than in English.

What do Bill Gates and Warren Buffet know? What does the Prince of Thurn und Taxis know? What do Jim Simmons, Sumner Redstone, and Sheldon Adelson know?

Is it a mystery?

The rich are different from you and me they have more money. But what if they also know something or understand something you don't or even can't (the horror)?

What if those occupying the commanding heights, the elite, are part of a mystery cult?

What if there is no intiation to this cult but like Marx and Engels (who was a member of the elite) its members have come to the same worldview independetly and their disagreement are trivial?


some mystery religions might not be called "religions". Classic case would be Freemasonry. Then there is New Acropolis which is a political and pagan (Theosophical or New Age) religious cult on the inside while pretending to be a school of philosophy (i.e. no less a scam than a college department of philosophy, but without accreditation) on the outside.

Another angle would be that just because we think we know the drill doesn't mean that we know all that is happening in reality. E.g. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windswept_House story claims that there is a Satanist cult inside the Vatican. If that is really so, while to Catholics this may look like subversion perhaps to Martians it would look like an esoteric mystery religion inside Catholicism. Can we be certain that this cult does or does not exist in the Vatican? Can we be certain that no mystery cults exist elsewhere about which we can hear only dubious rumors or else hear nothing at all?

The only real mystery religions are the ones that keeps their own existence a true secret (for various reasons) and that don't pursue mass conversion because they neither wants to water themselves down not are particularly interested in the beliefs held by the masses. They're just not interested in playing that game, like the overt mass religions are.

I'd tell you more, but ...

Wait a second, you forgot to mention the
Church of
Flying Spaghetti Monster!

I think all religions are mystery religions to a point. All the weird and complicated rituals and traditions of Judaism and Islam seem pretty cryptic to outsiders. Judaism doesn't even like converts! And there are few institutions on earth more ostentatiously secretive than the Vatican.

Rather than secrecy, I think what defines Mormonism and Scientology is a high level of unease with having their doctrinal principles mocked and presented out of context. As HS noted, what they believe isn't really all that goofier than anything from the Old Testament, but because we're less numb to the stories of Scientology and Mormonism, we regard them as wackier and their practitioners dumber. Which I think breeds a high level of defensive protectiveness amongst Mormons and Scientologists, which can "read" as more secretive and conspiratorial than it really is.

If you were genuinely interested in either faith, I think both would open their doors and share their secrets. But not if you were just trying to get in to mock or embarrass them.

I don't know anything about gaiaism so I went searching about it and I found this explaination exactly as written...

"But the Gaiaism on here is more than that. It is a call to protect nature, and plants, on which we all depend.
Think of this: Plants are the ones that harvest the energy in the suns light, and turn it into energy the rest of us (meaning animals) can use, they produce our oxigen"

Then I was reminded of a recent local controversy when people were discussing the best ways to kill alanthus trees and some local enviro's got upset at the idea of 'exterminating' trees. When it was pointed out that they were invasive trees the argument against killing them became asthetic. "I know a VERY wealthy family and they have one growing in their front drive because THEY think it's beautiful!!" I guess the idea that a wealthy person liked them was supposed to change the minds of the poor,ignorant country folk who want to actually protect the environment because they actually live of of it.

I am still no closer to understanding how gaiaism has developed though...:/

Any Mormon will tell you about Kolob. It's not a secret. It's in a book of scripture called the Doctrine and Covenants that available to anyone--Mormon or otherwise.

Camlost wrote: "The early Christian Gnostics were big on the whole notion of "secret knowledge" that only they knew how to obtain from the Gospels via their enlightened teachers and mystics. (if you ask me, they were very similar to current liberal elitists who are noted for their desire to feel superior and more enlightened to others.)

There was a multitude of these breakaway sects during the first 4 centuries, with some desiring to operate from inside the orthodox church and others desiring to stay on the fringes. The most influential early gnostic sect was probably the Valentians, who were opposed vehemently by early church leaders like Irenaeus.

There's also a multitude of early Christian Gnostic Gospels, some of which were found amongst the Nag Hammadi writings discovered by Bedouin shepherds in rural Palestine back in the 1940's. The most influential Gnostic Gospel was the Gospel of Thomas. I think that the Da Vinci code makes reference to some of the Gnostic Gospels."

Standard Christianity is also somewhat "mysterious" in this sense. The Pauline epistles talk about the mysteries of Christ and Proverbs 25.11 it says, "A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver." When God chooses specific words and numbers for some outward teaching, this outward portion is the silver which is a valuable teaching in itself but underneath that is the gold which is more precious. There are plenty of teachings in Christianity that believers find contain deeper meanings. For example, the last four chapters of Ezekiel lay out the dimensions of the millenial temple but Revelation tells us that God is the temple. What, then, are the dimensions for?

"It doesn't matter how retarded your faith is if it results in fairly decent communities."
----------------

Exactly. "Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?"

From a world wide, historical perspective, Protestantism and to a slightly lesser extent Catholicism have created the best societies. By "best societies" I mean places where people want to live. I suppose you could call this evidence-based religious study. By this I don't mean it proves a religion is true, but rather that it proves it is useful.

Most of the Easter Orthodox countries fell to communism and ended up as train wrecks, and the Muslim countries are all complete basket cases.
Japan seems to be one of the only non-Christian countries that people aren't fleeing from. (They aren't fleeing to Japan either, since Japan won't let anyone in)

http://www.transparency.org/policy_research/surveys_indices/cpi/2010/results


"But how do I know the secrets? The answer is that there are no secrets in the age of the internet. Mystery religions simply don’t work today."

There are plenty of mystery religions in the Middle East that haven't been spoiled by the internet such as the Druze, Ismaili Muslims, Yazidis, and the Alawites. Sure we know something about them just like we know something about Masonic rituals but there's a lot of misinformation there as well.

"Mormonism is successful because most mormons are pretty upstanding citizens."

Appear to be upstanding citizens. It doesn't take long living in Utah to discover that there is a pretty freaky underside that is mostly kept out of sight. From what I can tell Church leaders are generally pretty upstanding, but I noticed, that like most religions, Mormons have a hard time keeping the people on the left of the bell curve in line. Lots of crystal meth use and crime when it does happen seems to be much more violent than on the East Coast (at least compared to crime committed by whites on the East Coast). Not to mention the fundamentalist polygamists. Low IQ Mormons are as redneck as any Southern cracker. In my experience Northern New England is better behaved and more law abiding than Utah.

Peter A,

I don't have any experience in Utah. The left half of the bell curve is hard to deal with anywhere, I don't think mormons do any worse a job then anyone else. The NE has a lot of money and uses blacks and hispanics for its slave wage jobs so whites don't have too. My guess is poor mormon whites are better then poor urban blacks.

Middle class and above mormons seem to be very respectable, like they are still making 1950s America work in modern society.

Vajrayana Buddhism has secret elements as well.

Mormoms, like any other "religious minority" out there are nothing more than an organized crime syndicate. This is where their wealth and power come from. It has nothing to do about them being upstanding people. I can't believe some people are so gullible to believe this.

[HS: Ironic that you would say this about Mormons right after criticizing Jews from 2000 years ago for saying bad stuff about Christians.]

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