In case you had any doubts the UK Supreme Court now considers Scientology to be a religion even though it has no god(s) to worship. Most say scientology is not a religion because it is a cult or because it is extreme. I had no idea these things were mutually exclusive.
In a landmark judgment, five Supreme Court Justices redefined religion in law in order to enable the group to conduct weddings.
It follows a five-year legal battle by Louisa Hodkin, a 25-year-old scientologist, who was seeking the right to get married at the Church of Scientology chapel in central London, which she attends.
Miss Hodkin and her fiancé Alessandro Calcioli, who were at court to hear the judgment handed down, hailed the decision as a victory for freedom of worship.
But ministers voiced alarm that it could open the way for the group to claim lucrative tax breaks worth hundreds of thousands of pounds a year and other legal privileges.
Seems like the real solution would be to just open up weddings. Couple of blood work tests, a little ceremony, sign a document and any one can get married. No, that would be way to simple.
Oddly, the issue was really of deism, pantheism or panentheism, god has to be an entity not natural laws or at least an absent entity?
The five justices, including Lord Neuberger, the President f the Supreme Court, ruled that it amounted to discrimination to exclude groups which do not formally worship a god or gods.
The court heard that although scientologists use the word “God” in services, the term is understood to mean “inifinity” and not a specific being.
“Unless there is some compelling contextual reason for holding otherwise, religion should not be confined to religions which recognise a supreme deity,” said Lord Toulson, delivering the lead judgment.
I have a feeling that a lot of pantheists have slid through the cracks. Though is a pantheist spiritual? And just what kind of spirit is in pantheism–can natural laws be a spirit. Is abstraction a spirit? Is Pure Math a religion? Versus that dirty embodied Applied Math?
He concluded that religion could be defined more accurately as a “spiritual or non-secular belief system” which “claims to explain mankind’s place in the universe and relationship with the infinite” and give people guidance on life.
“Such a belief system may or may not involve belief in a supreme being, but it does involve a belief that there is more to be understood about mankind’s nature and relationship to the universe than can be gained from the senses or from science,” he said.
Huh, what the hell does that statement mean? Belief in metaphysics required? A lot of religions don’t consider themselves anti materialism as was mentioned in Buddhism. Gibberish.
“But we now discover Scientology may be eligible for rate relief and that the taxpayer will have to pick up the bill, all thanks to Harriet Harman and Labour’s flawed laws.”
“Hard-pressed taxpayers will wonder why Scientology premises should now be given tax cuts when local firms have to pay their fair share.”
There’s the rub. Anyone who isn’t secular belongs to a religion. Whoopee, tax breaks for everyone but those poor atheists. That’s the definition of religion, non materialism? No worship, no canon, no outrageous claims just simple physicalism or not? What about all of those people that believe god is physical and creates miracles through manipulation of physical laws. Out! Depaak Chopra really is not spiritual because he attributes it all to physics we can’t yet comprehend! Woo Hoo. Let the games begin.
Here in the states it has long been acknowledged that Scientology became a church so it could avoid taxes. FFRF is at least noble in denying its religiosity and its willingness to pay taxes. But hey maybe atheists should say they worship the infinite and get a tax break! Or maybe no religion should get a tax break and marriage becomes a civil procedure. Or we could just get rid of all economic advantages of marriage in tax and social welfare laws!
Jim Newman, bright and well