Paul Haggis Vs. the Church of Scientology : The New Yorker

I had such a lack of curiosity when I was inside,” Haggis said. “It’s stunning to me, because I’m such a curious person.” He said that he had been “somewhere between uninterested in looking and afraid of looking.” His life was comfortable, he liked his circle of friends, and he didn’t want to upset the balance. It was also easy to dismiss people who quit the church. As he put it, “There’s always disgruntled folks who say all sorts of things.” He was now ashamed of this willed myopia, which, he noted, clashed with what he understood to be the ethic of Scientology: “Hubbard says that there is a relationship between knowledge, responsibility, and control, and as soon as you know something you have a responsibility to act. And, if you don’t, shame on you.

This story is incredibly fascinating. We actually lived practically down the street from the Hollywood Scientology Center (where the exclusive celebrity center is). For awhile we lived with a defector and another one of his roommates was currently involved in Scientology.

The most interesting part of this to me though, is how much of Haggis’ experiences parallel mine…but in Evangelical Charismatic Christianity. I extracted that quote above because I have often said something very similar to people I know who were never Christians (or not of my tradition) and just don’t understand how I could have experienced what I did and not only stayed but been complicit. Interestingly, I bet most religious people I know (not only Christians) would read this and say “well, that was YOUR tradition, MY version of Christianity isn’t like that”. Or, “That’s Scientology, they’re an evil cult, Christianity is NOTHING like that.”

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