Chis Shelton, Social Science Blind Spot Regarding Cults? |444|

Alex

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#1
Chis Shelton, Social Science Blind Spot Regarding Cults? |444|
by Alex Tsakiris | Mar 31 | Skepticism, Spirituality
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Chris Shelton was born into Scientology and can’t understand scholars who don’t see it for the cult it is.
photo by: Skeptiko
Alex Tsakiris: [00:00:00] Welcome to Skeptiko where we explore controversial science and spirituality with leading researchers, thinkers, and their critics. I’m your host, Alex Tsakiris and as you may recall a couple of episodes back, I had an interview with Ohio State Comparative Religions Professor, Dr Hugh Urban, and what I found particularly interesting in that interview is the rather strange way, in my opinion, that many academics deal with cults like Scientology, or as they sometimes like to refer to them, new religions like Scientology. And as I explained in that episode, and as we’ll talk about today, I found that particularly strange in the case of Scientology because as we explored in that interview, we have direct provable links between Scientology and occult practices, number one. But also with CIA dabbling with extended consciousness, with programs like MKULTRA, MKOFTEN, and even Stargate, which we’ve talked about a lot on this show. So after the interview, one of the things I wanted to do was unpack both parts of that with someone who’s actually experienced the reality of Scientology and that led me to today’s guest, Chris Shelton. Someone who, at a very young age was indoctrinated into Scientology through his parents. Sometimes I think we forget how long Scientology has been around, it’s kind of multigenerational. So imagine as a very young kid, instead of going to Sunday School, you’re going to Scientology. It’s not like somebody corralled you in off the streets of LA and took you into some hokey experiment, like we always see, this is your parents going there and saying, “Hey, maybe this is the way to go.” So, Chris has gone on to create a very successful YouTube channel and a podcast called Sensibly Speaking, where he regularly interviews experts on cults, mind control and other related topics that are important to people who found themselves in this rather unfortunate situation. So Chris, welcome, thank you very much for joining me. Welcome to Skeptiko.
 
#2
I've been looking forward to this episode! Chris is decent enough on the subject of Scientology orthodoxy but I suspect he has never really dug into the occult origins as much as some other Scientology critics such as Jon Atack. I had wondered how he would respond to the extended consciousness discussions and it went pretty much as I would have expected. It's got to be hard to realize that you threw the baby out with the bath water when deprogramming.
 
#3
Alex, Chris came across as incredibly arrogant, which rather spoiled the show. The arrogance came out big time when you tried to bring up non-materialistic phenomena such as NDE's. Unfortunately, I had to skip chunks of the video because Chis grated too much (maybe I am over-sensitive).

David
 
#4
I didnt find Chris too arrogant but Im very interested in the whole cult thing as it applies to our daily living, more to the point trance and its manifestations.Trance without which we could not have cults seems to be the glue to the whole the thing.
I guess if we were honest its the glue to society at large and is so prevalent im not sure what things would be like without it.
Anybody in wishing to be top dog needs to use it to stay at the top of the heap.
 

Alex

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#5
I've been looking forward to this episode! Chris is decent enough on the subject of Scientology orthodoxy but I suspect he has never really dug into the occult origins as much as some other Scientology critics such as Jon Atack. I had wondered how he would respond to the extended consciousness discussions and it went pretty much as I would have expected. It's got to be hard to realize that you threw the baby out with the bath water when deprogramming.
thanks. This is a super interesting point so I'm glad you brought it up right away. It does seem like we have encountered skeptiko guests who swap one cultish way for another :) you have to wonder if some of us are just programed / predestined / susceptible to certain thought patterns.
 

Alex

Administrator
#6
Alex, Chris came across as incredibly arrogant, which rather spoiled the show. The arrogance came out big time when you tried to bring up non-materialistic phenomena such as NDE's. Unfortunately, I had to skip chunks of the video because Chis grated too much (maybe I am over-sensitive).

David
it's tough because you got to have empathy for someone who's born into something like that and is obviously carrying some guilt about taking as long as he did to get out.
 

Alex

Administrator
#7
I didnt find Chris too arrogant but Im very interested in the whole cult thing as it applies to our daily living, more to the point trance and its manifestations.Trance without which we could not have cults seems to be the glue to the whole the thing.
I guess if we were honest its the glue to society at large and is so prevalent im not sure what things would be like without it.
Anybody in wishing to be top dog needs to use it to stay at the top of the heap.
wow... Super interesting. I hadn't thought of that. do you have any specific links or references that come to mind?
 
#8
it's tough because you got to have empathy for someone who's born into something like that and is obviously carrying some guilt about taking as long as he did to get out.
That thought did occur to me afterwards, but it is awful how people snap out of one straitjacket and in to another.

David
 
#10
thanks. This is a super interesting point so I'm glad you brought it up right away. It does seem like we have encountered skeptiko guests who swap one cultish way for another :) you have to wonder if some of us are just programed / predestined / susceptible to certain thought patterns.
I have a suspicion that many "atheists" have very bad experiences with religions. Perhaps a strict religious upbringing. I have no evidence for it. Until I had my own paranormal experience I simply did not give it a thought. I have a scientific background and I was simply not interested in it. If you are an outspoken "atheist" you are interested in it for some reason.
 

Alex

Administrator
#11
I have a suspicion that many "atheists" have very bad experiences with religions. Perhaps a strict religious upbringing. I have no evidence for it. Until I had my own paranormal experience I simply did not give it a thought. I have a scientific background and I was simply not interested in it. If you are an outspoken "atheist" you are interested in it for some reason.
agreed. At one point in the interview I commented that Chis had his "defense field"... he seemed to agree :)
 
#12
I have a suspicion that many "atheists" have very bad experiences with religions. Perhaps a strict religious upbringing. I have no evidence for it. Until I had my own paranormal experience I simply did not give it a thought. I have a scientific background and I was simply not interested in it. If you are an outspoken "atheist" you are interested in it for some reason.
My experiences of religion were relatively mild, but when I arrived at university as a Christian, I met a group of really hard-line Christians who tried to firm up my beliefs. In fact they pushed me in the other direction! I was doing a science course, so most of my other friends were non-Christians. I left feeling that Christianity was well meaning, but not true. After a bit there was the Northern Ireland troubles, and I found it scandalous that the churches in NI didn't intervene to at least try to stop the bloodshed. After that there were the numerous church sex scandals - a few of which happened inside the Church of England....

I stayed an "atheist" (I don't really like that term, and prefer "materialist") until I gradually came across research which seemed valid enough and demonstrated ψ effects, and which was routinely dismissed. Also, I began to realise that no theory solved the Hard Problem.

I have moved a very long way since then, but I have had only very limited personal paranormal experiences. Hopefully you will describe your experience.

David
 
#13
I have moved a very long way since then, but I have had only very limited personal paranormal experiences. Hopefully you will describe your experience.

David
Poltergeist. I can't wish it upon anyone since I had to go through more than a decade of traumas and repressed memories to experience it. Poltergeists are "attracted" to people with psychological problems. It is far more than moving furniture. I experienced seeing full-body apparitions, steps across my floor at night, invisible "beings" passing through me. It was only when I accidentally saw a chair move that I thought "poltergeist" and look up the descriptions in spiritual literature. Before that I only knew about it from popular culture.
 
L

lonevoice

#14
It is not easy to live in this dark world with a truly open eye. Emily D. wrote this wrenching poem to indicate how most avoid this:

There is a pain so utter,
It swallows substance up;
Then covers the Abyss with Trance.
So Memory can step
Around, across, upon it:
As one within a Swoon
Goes safely,
Where an open eye
Would drop Him,
Bone
by
Bone.

It amazes me to hear that Alex sent him the data he did and he remained unconvinced. I do agree he needs to stay in trance for now. Bless his broken heart.
 
#15
wow... Super interesting. I hadn't thought of that. do you have any specific links or references that come to mind?
Hi Alex
Try "Trance from magic to Technology"by Dennis Wier, its his hypothesis on how trance is formed, if the hypothesis is right or not isnt too
important to me just little gems here and there.another one is by a stage musician who wrote on his travels to India in the colonial days
some of the magic shows he observed required and used whole crowd trance and collective hallucination to work, the thing is if its possible to do a crowd how can we trust anything that is happening around as at all, "Hypnotism and Mysticism of India" Ormond McGill.
 
B

Baccarat

#16
I have a suspicion that many "atheists" have very bad experiences with religions. Perhaps a strict religious upbringing. I have no evidence for it. Until I had my own paranormal experience I simply did not give it a thought. I have a scientific background and I was simply not interested in it. If you are an outspoken "atheist" you are interested in it for some reason.
That's a sweeping generalization, many are like that, I'm not as I've had random PSI experiences. I think there is solid evidence for some alternative medicine and homeopathy. I'm really opened minded. I don't believe in God or anything in the bible because of the physical and mental misery it continues to cause. Religious people are some of the most egotistical people you'll ever meet. People have a hard time conceptualizing a world a universe with out a God/creator. It really stifles wonder and imagination and mystery. Add to the fact the Bible has been edited mistranslationed for centuries.
As for paranormal experiences..... Research wake induced lucid dreaming. If practiced enough it can make people see and hear things while awake. Maybe most "paranormal" stuff can be contributed to that or maybe not?

For me having random ESP has nothing to do with God or if a figure like that exists. It's possible you can have these experiences without a creator. He most be bored up there don't ya think?
 
B

Baccarat

#17
Hi Alex
Try "Trance from magic to Technology"by Dennis Wier, its his hypothesis on how trance is formed, if the hypothesis is right or not isnt too
important to me just little gems here and there.another one is by a stage musician who wrote on his travels to India in the colonial days
some of the magic shows he observed required and used whole crowd trance and collective hallucination to work, the thing is if its possible to do a crowd how can we trust anything that is happening around as at all, "Hypnotism and Mysticism of India" Ormond McGill.
Interesting my friend is a hypnotists and versed in NLP. I witness the power of hypnosis and how it works numerous times. One time they had convinced a dude his apple he brought wasn't in front of him after putting him in trance. The apple was literally in front of him!! They asked him to find it he kept looking all over and ended up giving up. This wasn't a setup either I know the guy! My friend would tell me which people were using hypnosis or NLP when going on these spiritual "retreats" there's some unexplainable stuff I'll admit, but the more research I do the more pragmatic explanations I find. I did see some small telekinesis but now I'm wondering if it was planted? I found research on wake induced lucid dreaming where people can make themselves hallucinate with practice, there are other sleep related stages such as hypnagogia and hypnopompic. Hypnopompic is when you wake up and see and hear things for a few seconds or minutes, it's related to your sleep state. Apparently your brain wakes up in a spectrum and not all parts go to sleep at the same time. Hypnagogia is when your to wakefulness to sleep and you can see stuff and hear stuff. Tesla and Edison and many other scientists were purported to use these states to advance their research. I wonder how many people these states frightened and got put on pills by the psuedo science of psychiatry

My point is are there people who can spontaneously trigger wake induced lucid dreaming since not much research is done on it?
And can that be mistaken for "paranormal"
 
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