Scientology's 2016: CNN plans to give L. Ron Hubbard his best press in decades - 2016-01-02
Last year, former Scientology spokesman Mike Rinder predicted that 2015 would bring his former employer "pain." And it sure was a tough year for David Miscavige and his followers. With Alex Gibney's documentary Going Clear and Leah Remini's book Troublemaker, more people than ever are learning about Scientology and its controversies.
But not everyone is apparently happy about that. Back when Gibney's movie was first getting a lot of publicity, we heard from a couple of national figures who criticized the idea of singling out Scientology for examination. One of them was Reza Aslan, a rising star in the religious writing field and a frequent presence on television. Here's what he told CNN:
I don't think it's fair to refer to Scientology as a cult. I mean, really the difference between a religion and a cult tends to be how long the religion lasts. Christianity was a cult for three hundred years. Mormonism was considered a cult for a hundred years. In fact, there are people today who still refer to Mormonism as a cult. Is it somehow different than other religious traditions in the way that it deals with its internal structure, in the disaffection of its former movement members? No, I don't think so.