Don't look now, but the new test for your religious tolerance is Scientology-bashing. From their web-site: The word Scientology literally means "the study of truth." It comes from the Latin word "scio" meaning "knowing in the fullest sense of the word" and the Greek word "logos" meaning "study of." What could possibly be wrong with that?
Maybe you've heard about how folks in Hollywood like to get together and do Scientology together and jump around on couches while berating Matt Lauer. That would be the Tom Cruise arm of the church. Maybe you've heard about how it uncovers what a truly bad mother Brooke Shields is and how she's hooked on drugs. That turns out to be Tom's parish as well. Maybe Tom is really the all-being, master of time space and dimension. How could that be when we already know that the Flying Spaghetti Monster is really the master of the Universe?
Some central beliefs of Scientology:
A person is an immortal spiritual being (termed a thetan) who possesses a mind and a body.
The thetan has lived through many past lives and will continue to live beyond the death of the body.
A person is basically good, but becomes "aberrated" by moments of pain and unconsciousness in his life.
What is true for you is what you have observed yourself. No beliefs should be forced as "true" on anyone. Thus, the tenets of Scientology are expected to be tested and seen to either be true, or not, by Scientology practitioners.
Does it sound any nuttier than a guy who could turn water into wine, or a light in the sky, or a Flying Spaghetti Monster? Okay, how about the story of Xenu, the galactic tyrant who first kidnapped certain individuals who were deemed "excess population" and loaded these individuals into space planes for transport to the site of extermination, the planet of Teegeeack (Earth). These space planes were said to have been copies of Douglas DC-8s, except with rocket engines. He then stacked hundreds of billions of these frozen victims around Earth's volcanoes 75 million years ago before blowing them up with hydrogen bombs and brainwashing them with a "three-D, super colossal motion picture" for 36 days, telling them lies of what they are and what the universe should be like and telling them that they are 3 different things: 'Jesus, God, and The Devil.' The traumatized thetans subsequently clustered around human bodies because they watched the motion picture together, making them think they are all the same thing, in effect acting as invisible spiritual parasites known as "body thetans" that can only be removed using advanced Scientology techniques. Xenu is allegedly imprisoned in a mountain by a force field powered by an eternal battery. He is said to be still alive today. Now we're verging on just a little silly, right?
Okay - I'm still trying to be more tolerant than the neighbors over in North Beach who are trying to ban the purchase of a building in San Francisco because merchants were concerned the church would aggressively peddle religious materials and disrupt the neighborhood's easy going ways. Apparently there is a limit to the free spirit of the city by the bay, and it ends with thetans.
Meanwhile, Isaac Hayes has left his job as the voice of Chef on "South Park" because he got tired of the way that show disrespected religion. A show that has featured a battle between Jesus and Santa Claus (almost a decade ago) would be considered blasphemous? Phone the kids and wake the neighbors (unless they live in North Beach). It should be noted that he reached number one in the UK in 1999 with an innuendo-laden South Park song entitled "Chocolate Salty Balls." How does he expect to get into heaven now? Or thrown into a volcano, or carried off in a Douglas DC-8?