Framed as a long form profile of Paul Haggis, a prolific and award winning screenwriter/director, the article uses Paul's longtime association with Scientology to segue into a bit of an expose` of the church.
Haggis had been an adherent for much of his life, and had attained a high level of status in the church (in Scientology, believers progress through a highly organized system classes and grades). He had also been a very vocal and financial supporter of the church until a family issue brought him into conflict with church and he began a very public and at times vitriolic separation from Scientology.
Not only is the mini-bio of Haggis interesting (in my experience, I generally assume that people who enjoy a high degree of artistic success do not simply burst onto the scene one day and crank out a hit, but it is always revealing to see how long it takes for some people to see success), but the story of his relationship with his chosen religion provides a crash (ha!) course in cognitive bias and the intersection of faith and human nature.
“I had such a lack of curiosity when I was inside,” Haggis said. “It’s stunning to me, because I’m such a curious person.” He said that he had been “somewhere between uninterested in looking and afraid of looking.”and
“I was in a cult for thirty-four years. Everyone else could see it. I don’t know why I couldn’t.”There are more and better quotes in the piece that speak to my ideas, but I'm typing one handed, holding my little sleeping son in the other arm right now, so my internet navigating skills are compromised. Suffice it to say that I see that there is always an emic/etic consideration with religion - by definition, really - and that consideration, or the tensions that arise from the emic/etic disconnects, have to be addressed in the quest for understanding.
And here's some Bible for you: