Scientology and apostates

I’m skeptical of the general view that Scientology is some evil and bizarre cult, as opposed to every other religion. I think it’s just a new one, and people who would never criticise (say) Christianity feel oddly comfortable criticising Scientology’s wacky beliefs.  Anyway, the current controversy is amusing for me. Take Scientology’s response to Xenophon:

Senator Xenophon’s attempt to marginalise Scientologists by saying that they should not be believed, is fascistic and violates freedom of speech and the right to religious beliefs.

Fascistic? Violating the right to religious beliefs? Wow. You can tell how intolerant and bigoted this organisation is: someone criticises them and they claim their rights are violated.

Anyway, there’s an interesting bit:

It is former members or apostates that are notoriously unreliable as witnesses.The late Bryan Wilson, Ph.D. of Oxford University, one of the most renowned sociologists of modern times, put it this way:

The disaffected and the apostate are in particular informants whose evidence has to be used with circumspection. The apostate is generally in need of selfjustification. He seeks to reconstruct his own past, to excuse his former affiliations, and to blame those who were formerly his closest associates… Apostates, sensationalised by the press, have sometimes sought to make a profit from accounts of their experiences in stories sold to newspapers…”

As various instances have indicated, he is likely to be suggestible and ready to enlarge or embellish his grievances to satisfy that species of journalist whose interest is more in sensational copy than in an objective statement of the truth.

Doesn’t this make you think of David Horowitz, and the entire crusading God that Failed type?

The Scientologists (what a stupid name) go on: “This is a propaganda campaign that would suit a totalitarian regime not Australia, a country that recognises freedom of religion.” So a free country shouldn’t allow criticisms of religion? It’s like they’re trying to vindicate their critics.

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