Tom Cruise is an amazing man, according to his own self-evaluation. Roger Friedman has written up an account of the recently released videos in which Cruise attempts to promote Scientology (but just comes off looking weird.) Here’s one of Cruise’s statements, as recorded at Diana Hsieh’s blog: “We are the authorities on getting people off drugs, we are the authorities on the mind, we are the authorities on improving conditions. We can rehabilitate criminals, we can bring peace and unite cultures.”
Because who needs drugs when you can have Scientology?
Regarding the other claims, color me a skeptic.
I read somewhere that the church came out with a statement condemning the new “unauthorized biography” of Cruise, calling the book bigoted. However, reasoned criticism is not bigotry. I could not find the statement at Scientology.org. However, I did find the following statement:
Man is an immortal, spiritual being. His experience extends well beyond a single lifetime. His capabilities are unlimited, even if not presently realized — and those capabilities can be realized. He is able to not only solve his own problems, accomplish his goals and gain lasting happiness, but also achieve new, higher states of awareness and ability.
This is basically pop Platonism. In terms of its basic metaphysical views, the doctrines of Scientology are hardly stranger than those of Christianity. Beyond that, Scientology’s specific programs, such as “auditing techniques for erasing engrams and creating Clears,” constitute silly mumbo-jumbo. If you get taken in by Scientology, you deserve to be.
All that said, I’ve really enjoyed some of Tom Cruise’s movies. Even people with quite peculiar and even horrid ideas can show great talent in certain fields. (To take another example, Bobby Fischer, who recently died, was great at chess but crazy in his evaluations of Jews and the United States. You don’t need Scientology to sound like a nut.) I have no intention of reading the “unauthorized biography” of Tom Cruise. He’s an actor; that’s it. If he’s headed for Michael Jackson Land, I could care less. And I think plenty of critiques of Scientology are out there.