Interdisciplinary Conference on Alternative Spiritualities, the New Age & NRMs

Interdisciplinary conference on alternative spiritualities, the New Age and new religious movements in Ireland:               Maynooth, 30 – 31st Oct 2009

Dialogue Ireland is going to facilitate ongoing commentary on the two day event.

The reason for this is that the Maynooth event will be the end and the organisers have made this clear:

“This website will be kept updated until the conference, but not subsequently.”

The main responses on this site should be about NRM issues, not because the issues are irrelevant, but this is the focus of the site.

We also welcome articles which we would be willing to post and not merely have them as a comment.

As time allows DI will be addressing some of the following issues.

An open letter to Eileen Barker following her presentation on Saturday night:

Issues to be addressed not in any order:

Relevance of a UK organisation presenting at an Irish Conference without mentioning an organisation in Ireland

that you have cooperated with and spoken at the first conference on “Seekers,” in 1998.

The relevance of the Inform web site in an information age.

Claims made by Dr Barker in her presentation about other organisations working in the same field in the UK

Academic neutrality – Can research be value free?

Issues about Inform’s funding by the state and by the churches and the implications for your academic independence?

After the 7/7 bombings Eileen Barker seemed to endorse the notion of undue influence, brainwashing or mind control.

But then changed her mind. Debate these issues.

Why do parents generally oppose Eileen Barker and feel betrayed by her? Is her value free and objective stance a recipe for

her being too close to the NRMs, and does it create an inability to call a spade a spade. The relativism inherent  in her assumptions

leads to her not being able to really take a stance.

Viewing apostates as a problem, and suggesting that they can’t bring a very important dimension of understanding to the inner workings

of the groups they were in. would you tend to give more credence to John Duignan than to the spokespersons of Scientology.

Studies like the RPF by Gordon Melton, Michael Yorke were flawed and totally unscientific. Your mentor Bryan Wilson wrote a review of

Scientology’s religious status which was totally unethical, and posted on their web site. It was not peer reviewed and was used by Scientology to

present them as a genuine religion. Also because of Wilson’s reputation many scholars endorsed it without scientific  scrutiny. A kind of Socioidolatry.

When challenged Eileen Barker seems to be able chameleon like to move her argument towards her opponent’s making them think that was her view all along. This was evidenced by Eileen’s conduct following Michael Farrell’s intervention on Saturday last.

I remember when I picked you up from the airport in 1998 you told me you had last been in Dublin as an actor. I think you have a wonderful

ability to master your audience. Also they have a tendency to shoot themselves in the foot in the manner they attack you. You tend to get the sympathy vote… don’t hit on a woman!

The necessity of a truly Interdisciplinary approach to Cults, Sects and NRMs or as we prefer to see it cultist NRM’s.  No one science can fully grasp the issue. None should be excluded all relevant should be included. Eileen Barker’s view is overly dependent on a sociological narrative.

John Sabila, author of Understanding New Religious Movements makes a strong case for this and I followed this view in my thesis. He was often a contributor to your seminars.

The role of the media and importance of tabloids in the education of the general public.

In your presentations you view the media as only telling shocking stories,

whereas I believe they are often an important component in society  protecting the vulnerable.

I certainly do not get the impression that the primary role of academics is the protection of the weak,

in case you reply that newspapers are only interested in selling papers.

One could argue that the primary reasons academics produce papers for conferences is get academic preferment.

Engage with many of the contributions made at the conference on NRM topics.

We have already on our web site shown the connection of Laurence Cox one of the organiser’s of the event to the FWBO and the The Dublin Buddhist Centre. This fact alone not being declared nullifies his academic credentials to be a neutral observer and a value free commentator. His anarchist, Marxist assumptions were used as blunt instrument of censorship.

We will analyse the role of Cox in censoring and totally ignoring the role of Dialogue Ireland in regard to thirty years of work on the ground with regard to the conference. The author it was suggested by the evidence given to us was not regarded as worthy to provide input to the conference. It was regarded us as an anti cult organisation, which resulted in not even allowing our web and blog sites with its archive of material relevant to Irish society to be available to the conference or our insights to be shared.

Our role in secondary education

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