Monday, November 02, 2009

Technology and religious criticism

Marina Hyde argues that the internet has done a great job in exposing the dark heart of Scientology but regrets that this fire isn't brought to bear on other belief systems too:
"Clearly, Scientologists should be forced to justify their doctrinal lunacies – the only sadness is that other religions are apparently exempt from having to do the same. Imagine for a moment a Bashir-type interviewing some senior cardinal. "So," he might inquire, "you're saying that by some magic the communion wafer actually becomes the flesh of a man who died 2,000 years ago, a man who – and I don't want to put words into your mouth here – we might categorise as an imaginary friend who can hear the things you're thinking in your head? And when you've done that, do you mind going over the birth control stuff?""
Yes, why is there this disproportionate energy devoted to debunking this particular cult rather than other religions? Perhaps for the same reason that when discussing 'other religions', Marina Hyde picked Catholicism and the doctrine of transubstantiation rather than, say, Islam and the doctrine of the inerrancy of the Koran: because it's easier that way?

Probably a bit unfair. At least part of the reason why people are interested in Scientology is because while it doesn't have many followers, they count a disproportionate number of celebrities amongst their ranks. Celebs seem vulnerable to all manner of eccentric religious beliefs. I was wondering if this isn't a strain of man's social being determining his consciousness: celebrities by the very nature of their existence are going to find it much easier to believe that the cosmos has been arranged for their benefit than those of us who tend to collide with reality on a more regular basis?

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