Sects, Cults, Cannibals: Reza Aslan's Controversial Fringe Religion Show - 2017-03-24
It's an approach that works shockingly well in the series' Scientology episode, which was something of a pet project for Aslan, who sees Scientology not as a dangerous cult but as, simply, a religion. (Are the things Scientologists believe any more ridiculous than the things other religious people believe? Aslan compares Scientology to Mormonism's early reception as the "punchline to American Christianity.") Intriguingly, Aslan focuses on independent practitioners of Scientology, whose existence he compares to the Christian Reformation.
The fissures within Scientology appear to have happened surprisingly quickly – the Reformation happened after over a millennium of Christianity, while Scientology has been around for just over 60 years – but Aslan sees them as the natural result of modern communication: "The greatest threat to a church's control over its orthodoxy is the availability of information." In this respect, the schism reflects Aslan's approach to these religions: increase the availability of information so the uninformed can understand their doctrines.