Friday, May 1, 2015

“Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief” (2015)

For those who have had an interest in Scientology, or cultic systems in general, the stuff revealed in “Going Clear” was likely not new. The fascinating thing about the documentary is the way that it is revealed.

Back in the mid-nineties when I was taking a graduate level class on “Theology of the American Cults,” I had already read a lot about the bizarre scheme. Even then though, things were taking on an even more mind-boggling aspect as documents were being leaked onto the internet. We all knew it was the creation of a science fiction author, the buzz was that it was also science fiction in content.

This new documentary relies on interviews and documentation complied for the book that spawned the documentary, and seems to have removed any doubts about just how far out things are. The most damning bits are where it is made clear just how the organization holds its sway over key members. Thus making it very painful, or almost impossible, to leave once the realization hits that the whole thing is simply crazy.

The con-job seems to have been shrinking a lot in the past couple decades. Hopefully this last straw for this particular poisonous “belief” preying on people’s needs.

For people of faith, it is also a good reminder that we need to hear from time to time. What methods and approaches do we as Christians use to promote our worldview? Do we simply share our story and the story of Christ, or are we employing manipulative emotional hooks to attract people to an institutional model of church?

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