7

I'm asking this in response to this question - are questions relating to scientology on topic here at mythology.SE?

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14

I think the key distinction here is between stories and doctrines. The former is mythology. The latter is religion.

So, a question about one of the stories commonly told by scientologists is on-topic, but a question about what a scientologist should or should not do would be off-topic.

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  • I think this is a great distinction, and a very good way to draw the line. – Luna Apr 29 '15 at 8:23
4

Yes Scientology is on topic.

The broader topic of Will the proposed Mythology site include questions about current or major religions? was discussed during definition and the consensus at that time was

Yes, questions about modern mythology would be in scope.

"Mythology can refer either to the collected myths of a group of people—their body of stories which they tell to explain nature, history, and customs or to the study of such myths. As a collection of such stories, mythology is an important feature of every culture"

You can't define one belief system as being above questions around their mythology and still be a general mythology site.

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2

This ties in with this meta question about drawing the line between religion and mythology. I think, discussing or asking questions about the individuals or events contained within a specific mythos/religion should be acceptable, but perhaps not questions such as "Would it be acceptable for Greeks to kill their mothers in the name of Hera?" (even though one could argue about even that).

After all, mythology and religion are closely linked. What we consider Greek/Egyptian/Teutonic mythology now was considered religion by the respective cultures at the time.

Perhaps, to ease the debate, we could draw the line at any contemporary "mainstream" belief systems, ruling out Christianity, Islam, Judaism, except where it relates to parallels between those and predating religions/mythologies?

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  • 1
    I don't think ruling out contemporary "mainstream" religions is useful. This would also forbid discussion of Hinduism, Buddhism, Shinto, Sikhism, Taoism and Confucianism, to name a few. Not to mention that it would be a shame to miss out on such rich mythological traditions as Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Also, I think calling Scientology mainstream would be something of a stretch. – femtoRgon Apr 30 '15 at 8:21
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    @femtoRgon I was loathe to use the word mainstream, hence the quotes, and the thought of those other religions did cross my mind. And I never intended to imply that Scientology was "mainstream"! :P – Stuart H May 1 '15 at 8:52
  • I believe the "Creation Story" of Christianity is no less "myth" than the story of Orgelmir in Norse mythology, the latter being fully acceptable here. The former should be also. As a Q about a "story", not doctrine, the linked Q seems on topic to me. Additionally, the less "mainstream" a body of stories (or the religion that spreads them), the more service this site can offer to querants about those stories. The scholarship here likely exceeds the other sites/boards where such Qs might be received. – user3358 Feb 18 '17 at 2:15
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In my opinion, all purposely invented mythologies shouldn't be on topic on Mythology. No matter if they are made for pure fun, or for someone to believe in them. They should belong to Sci-Fi site.

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    Can you elaborate on this distinction you're drawing here? e.g. what makes Scientology "purposely invented"? – senshin Apr 28 '15 at 19:24
  • @senshin the fact that it was invented by science fiction writer – Danubian Sailor Apr 28 '15 at 19:26
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    That's true, I suppose, but all stories are, in the end, invented by someone. It just so happens that Scientology's inventor is much more recent. – senshin Apr 28 '15 at 19:26
  • As @senshin said, stories are obviously created by someone. And I think some, if not most myths were probably "purposely invented". But it is true that myths aren't just stories. They are stories that are or were believed to be truth by an extent of people. I think that's where the line is. – Alfro Apr 28 '15 at 20:52
  • To add to what Al.R says, there are, bizarrely, many people that legitimately believe in Scientology. On the other hand, Star Wars, which is like Scientology in many ways, differs in the key aspect that virtually nobody actually believes that Luke Skywalker lived long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away. This, I think, is the key distinction here. – senshin Apr 28 '15 at 20:54
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    Are you sure about that @senshin? How about the 390,127 people that stated their religion as Jedi on the 2001 England and Wales census? ;) – yannis Apr 29 '15 at 10:42
  • All mythologies, without exception, are created stories! They were purposely invented. What was that purpose? I'm not a mind reader in the present, let alone the past, so I don't know. I can, however, surmise. Myths provided a common story for a people to explain "live, the universe, and everything." (can we say 42.) They also helped to provide mores to the same people. Contemporary sources of myth are no less, nor more, purposeful, or deserving of consideration as myth than the "ancient" stories. Star Trek explored, and challenged, many issues with its stories as well. Myth? IMHO.. Yes. – user3358 Feb 20 '17 at 7:50

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