Let’s start with the lengthy story of Oscar winning Apostate, Paul Haggis and his life in Scientology. It appears in The New Yorker and is yet another expose of Scientology that will leave you baffled. When science fiction becomes science religion would be a good title for it.
Next we have Neil Strauss’ humorous piece, God at the Grammys, in which he observes that a good many musical superstars (and other famous people) seem convinced that their fabulous success is part of a divine plan. There is not a hint of irony in the story even though it appears in Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal.
Some stars, however, see Satan in success. Billy Ray Cyrus’ heart is feeling all achy-breaky over Miley’s backsliding behavior. Not prone to introspection, Billy blames Satan for ruining his family.
This one belongs in the realm of the bizarre: someone has written a book on Buddhist Ecclesiastical Law. What?! This is what happens when British colonialism collides with 2,600 years of Theravada tradition. The mashup is not pretty, unless you happen to be an attorney who thinks law and religion play well together.
Last but certainly not least is Christopher Beam’s Slate story on South Park’s treatment of religions. Although the occasion for the piece is South Park’s upcoming Broadway show, “The Book of Mormon,” Beam examines South Park’s treatment of religions in general. While South Park is merciless in exposing religious hypocrisy and stupidity, it does not seem to be anti-religious.
My favorite is the episode in which “a team of religious figures known as the ‘Super Best Friends’—Jesus, Buddha, Joseph Smith, Krishna, Lao-Tzu, Moses, Mohammad, and a superhero called ‘Sea Man’—join forces to defeat the all-powerful magician David Blaine”: