Tuesday, February 22, 2011
The G-D Problem
Ricky Gervais glib, cheap-shot, roast-fueled Golden Globes emceeing was one of the most refreshing deflations of pomp and circumstance ego-tripping "fakeness" in recent memory. What was surprising is that his offhanded parting shot (barely heard over the quickly unspooling credit roll) that took aim at religion (in general terms) caused the greatest consternation across the board. It's easy to take potshots at a religion like Scientology, but once you start condemning the established, "proven" order, than all hell breaks loose (as we have seen in Iraq and are beginning to see throughout the rest of Northern Africa/the Middle East). I've long been fascinated by Scientology, mostly because its fantastical ideas about the nature of creation and being are kind of a Pop version of the firmly held "beliefs" that make up the foundation of most other religions. It is easy to dismiss it as something pagan, or "cult" as it's called today, but this is not far removed from the anti-idol worship beliefs that built up most of the other sustainable religious movements.
The press loves taking potshots at the "corporate" culture of Scientology - it's corruption related more to dollars and cents than anything moral. But a similar structure has fueled (and continues to fuel) most other religious movements, all of which can be linked to certain "interests" that were not exactly of a spiritual nature.
I think much of this is self-explanatory, but the exposure Scientology has received of late, including an excoriating tell-all in the New Yorker with writer/director Paul Haggis (Crash), raises questions about the different ways we view leading figures in our country. It is easy for us to not take seriously and mock artists and entertainers, but when it comes to the beliefs and statements of politicians, religious leaders, etc., there is much greater trepidation, as if pulling back the curtain, the ideas that give our country bearing, will be revealed as the shams they are.
L. Ron Hubbard penned some wonderfully over-blown sci-fi epics, much of which inspired and/or bolstered the tenets of Scientology (see Battlefield Earth, pictured above), but doesn't the Bible and Koran feature similar bodice-ripping, sword-plunging operatics as well? When all of this is read as great storytelling that can reveal and inform from whence we came and who we now are, there is a kind of revelation that gives us true purpose for our everyday existence.