Tuesday, January 19, 2010

How NOT to help people...

PZ Myers once again brings an important issue to my attention...OK, it has to do with Scientology, so for most of us it's not so important, but I'm coming to a point here...

Anywhere people are suffering, Scientology's yellow-shirted "volunteer ministers" can be found lurking near news cameras and claiming to help people with their bullshit technology. They performed "purification rundowns" on recovery workers sifting through the ruins of the World Trade Center after 9/11, administered "touch assists" to victims of the tsunami, distributed literature after the Virginia Tech shooting, and are on the ground in Haiti right now warning the starving, dehydrated populace about the dangers of psychiatry...

So precisely what does this desperately needed help consist of? To be fair, Scientology claims to have airlifted some actual medical professionals to Porte-au-Prince, a move that is hard to argue with even if the doctors are cultists and are accompanied by a retinue of recruiters and glorified masseuses who are there not to help but to carry on their "crusade to build a better world," as the web site for the cult's volunteer ministers program puts it, through the application of L. Ron Hubbard's paranoid and power-mad fantasies.

Read the rest of it, it gets weird, and includes massages to remove "standing waves" of trauma, detoxification "quackery," and other absurdity.

As Myers notes, as in the aftermath of 9/11 and the 2004 Tsunami disasters, these people will be in the way, distracting aid workers away from actually helping.

It doesn't matter what the religion is; whether it's Scientology, Buddhism, Christianity, Islam or 12 Step Groups; if you're going to the hurting people because you "have to" take the opportunity to convert them to your religion, you're not actually helping them. Shunryu Suzuki made such a point in the famous "Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind," which, despite the grime put on by some of his students, still rings true, To paraphrase it: If you take up my path, you might make me very happy, but you might be quite miserable.

And this goes &infin times in crisis situations; there's people that are in immediate danger of death, or starving, or thirsty beyond imagination. And you're going to tell them that they have to do/believe in X, Y or Z?

You can't be serious.

Just help them.

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