Australian Critics of Scientology
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Letter from Henry Bartnik to Gnome

Gnome, 18 Dec 1998

From: "Gnome" <>
Subject: Re: 'FACTNet' reviewed in Internet.AU mag
Newsgroups: alt.religion.scientology,aus.general
Message-ID: <01be2a68$159f9d60$bc0265cb@dorie>
Date: 18 Dec 98 09:26:44 GMT

Nick Andrew <> wrote in article
> In <01be295c$67937680$e80f65cb@dorie> "Gnome"
<> writes:
> >A site for the paranoid in all of us, FACTNet is a self-declared
> >over mind controlling cults froim around the world - especially the
> >Scientologists.
> Say ... what happened with your web page?
> Nick.
> -- 
> Zeta Internet                     SP4   Fax: +61-2-9233-6545 Voice:
> G.P.O. Box 3400, Sydney NSW 1043

My webpage ( ) is still there. 
I've made some subtle changes to avoid hassles.
And I've put a better version at
which I do intend to add to after taking care of the various beer-drinking
and merriment obligations.
Cheers!   Gnome, part-time smart-alec yobbo

"Henry Bartnik" sent me this, which I found interesting:

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From: "Henry Bartnik" <>
To: <>
Subject: Religious belief
Date: Mon, 14 Dec 1998 20:39:19 +1100
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Dear "Gnome"

As I haven't heard from you I have to conclude that the idea of a meeting
in person didn't suit you so I thought of sending a copy of something that
I sent recently to a media producer:

"I refer to a program you ran recently which took a sideways look at
"unbelievable" religious ideas. The underlying premise of the program, as I
understand it, was that such ideas were legitimately the subject of
derision and in the first of these programs you broadcast some of the
beliefs of Scientology which you knew Scientologists to be sensitive
"I write to offer to you another point of view with regard to religious
beliefs which, by their very nature, are beliefs that persons hold as being
deeply significant and even precious. Aboriginal spirit sticks, for
example, are apparently of great spiritual and tribal importance to
Aborigines and I think you would agree that it would be "on the nose" and
plain stupid for a yobbo (as an example) to come along and steal some of
these or desecrate the general area as a lark in front of his mates. You
wouldn't think that that was cool or funny and I'm not even talking about
political correctness.

"That is all of my point, actually. I don't think it is good TV or radio to
take up people's beliefs as a subject for humour. It is upsetting and
creating of divisions between people and if you think people shouldn't be
so sensitive about their beliefs then you miss the point of religious
belief. You can do better without adding to the general disillusionment in
the world today."

Gnome, the same applies to your web site. What is the point you are trying
to make? That people are stupid for believing such a thing? There are two
ways to look at such strange-seeming beliefs or religious writings: one is
that they are attempts to describe spiritual truths which do not lend
themselves to accurate description in physical universe terms (hence the
parables of Jesus, the strange images in the Revelations chapter of the
bible etc) and they are not meant to be taken literally, so one is not
actually going to see a chariot with an angel blowing a trumpet...

Another point of view is that these stories or accounts are actually true.
Who is to say that Jesus' parents did not actually come from a galaxy
across the universe? (As one major religion holds). It may actually be true
... Physicists don't have an explanation of the universe that makes any
more sense. For goodness sake, black holes, anti matter etc - where did
this all come from if not from spiritual forces?

The point here is that it is unacademic and somewhat hoonish to scoff at
what people believe and I think you damage your case against Scientology by
including that kind of angle in your web site. Have a go at us for sure.
Sometimes we probably didn't get it right. Maybe scientologists did goof at
the time. Maybe we deserve censure now. Go right ahead. Express your point
of view. But scoff at our (claimed) confidential writings or beliefs and
you enter into the camp of smart-alec yobbos and you'll lose many of your
intended audience. You position yourself as a person who is prepared to
violate religious sensitivities. This is Sydney and we're pretty tolerant
of the other guy's point of view or beliefs. You don't have to abuse that
to make your point.


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