Date: June 24, 2007 12:00AM
Is it just me or is Scientology undergoing a new phase of its existence as a controversial religion??
As James Packer and his new wife marry under intense media scrutiny and in the presence of Scientologist friends Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, and while Oprah increasingly openly celebrates her deep friendships with John Travolta and Tom Cruise and Kirstie Alley, and in light of what I see as the new religion of Apostacy that has emerged since 9-11...am I right in thinking Scientology is being seen in a softer focus??
Perhaps it is just a personal shift. Where once I was rigidly defensive against controversial cults (particularly Scientology, Landmark, and Chabad -- the ones with which I had had personal dealings) I now find myself at ease in the presence of these entities. I no longer feel threatened by the idea of encroaching new age religions, without at all feeling like I have met them on some sort of common ground.
I think originally my fears stemmed from the fact that I was personally raised without any sort of religious upbringing. My parents abandoned church-going once my older brother commenced Sunday morning football! Often, I encountered people who had strong religious upbringings and their strong beliefs (and on one occasion at least, demands for me to identify myself: "What are you!? A Catholic?! An Anglican!? A Scientologist!?"...seriously) left me feeling wayward and out-of-control.
I've reached a plateau: not any more secure in my religious beliefs (I still don't identify with any one religion) but not frightful anymore of others' religious beliefs.
It is a nicer place for me.