I've been thinking about Scientology again lately, and the huevos grandes that its followers must have to have stuck out the shouts of critcis and the sane alike. It takes a special breed of people to believe some of the outlandish 'shite' that they do. Not that I'm saying that theyre gullible (just covering my bases in case I die and meet up with Xenu in the afterlife), but rather that it takes a great amount of conviction and faith for someone to believe in this stuff.
Scientology has been having a rough time of things recently: problems with the Governments of France and Australia; defections by celebrity adherents; all those pesky gay rumours that seem to follow John Travolta and Tom Cruise around. Heck, I even caught a repeat of the Scientolgy episode of South Park the other night - and when badly animated eight year olds start taking swipes at you, things must be really bad.
So back to my 'thinkings'. We all know that Scientology is the result of the revelations of L Ron Hubbard - a man who among other things was a convicted charlatan, pervert and failed sci-fi writer. Regarding the latter, it would seem to me that perhaps herein lies the reason why Scientology has been such a 'niche' religion.
Had L Ron been a good writer (not even a successful one), would that have made his story a better and more digestable one for his followers? Why has Judaism, Christianity and Islam lasted this long? Because God must be the best g$dd@mmed writer around! He is the Stephen King of redemption and the Robert Ludlum of damnation. Or at the very least he hired the best ghost writers that 50 virgins can buy. :)
With that single thought I started to hypothesize, what if better, more successful writers had decided to 'talk about a new religion? If Chuck Palahniuk were a less successful writer, would the world have him to thank for 'Fight church' - where men settled issues like men - until one is bloodied and incapacitated?
Ludlum's Bourne series is pretty philosophical at its root. Would the Bourne Religion - where we spent our entire lives trying to piece together the meanings of our lives while delicately taking out those people responsible for making it what it is - make sense to the masses.
And how about Suessism - based largely on the rants of Theodor Geisel and whose 'god' is a cat in a hat?
The truth is that ever since man first crawled up on to the shore and learned how to express himself, his musings have been largely existensial in nature. It is after all OUR NATURE to probe and to question and to look for that greater meaning in everything around us. As outlandish as L Ron might appear, he really was just satisfying one of our most primal of instincts. (Well two, if we were to add accumulation of wealth to the list).
At the end of the day, is it our sense of reason that determines what becomes part of our psyche and what is discarded as bad prose? Or is it some form of inherent knowledge - something in our DNA that tells us to believe in a God that loves us, instead of stories of alien overlords and orphaned spirits? That makes us rely on the cross rather than E-meters.
So, with the above to ruminate on, would any of you care to risk damnation at the hands of Xenu to offer a thought on this rant? Or perhaps suggest a new religion or two that might still safe mankind from itself? Post your comment after the beep.