Comedian Pete Holmes details his struggle with faith, sex, and God.
- Comedian and writer Pete Holmes explains how he lost his faith after a long struggle with what he calls his Christian, puritanical, shame psychology.
- Holmes found the antidote to internalized shame was 'thoughtless, irrational love'. Love should be as indiscriminate as light, he says. Many people only give conditional love to themselves and others.
- Sexuality is not a mistake, says Holmes. Pretending to be pure by saying frack instead of fuck, and not seeing R-rated movies and being really "nice" is not what a connection to the divine is about.
He left behind a mind-expanding collection of books.
- Alan Watts wrote more than 25 books on the subjects of philosophy and religion.
- He was among the first to bring Zen Buddhist thought to the West.
- Subjects ranged from dualism in philosophy to the troubles of modern man.
Meditation with a mystical edge? Don't knock magick 'til you've tried it.
- Damien Echols was a member of the West Memphis Three, a group of young men who were wrongfully convicted of murdering three children. He served nearly 20 years on death row before being exonerated and released.
- Some have described his plight as exploitative, in that the case became a media circus first and a murder case second.
- While in prison, he practiced High Magick, a form of theurgical ceremonies and rituals, much in the tradition of Eastern spirituality, but retooled for the Western psyche. He credits it with helping him survive 18 years on death row.
The U.S. has been steadily losing its religion for decades — but that trend might ramp up significantly in the years to come.
The U.S. has been steadily losing its religion for decades. For the most part, Protestants have been leaving the church while the affiliation rates among Catholicism and other religions in the country have remained stable. But since 1990, Americans have been abandoning both belief and religious affiliation at such a fast pace that, by 2035, it's likely that 35 percent of the population will have no religious affiliation — outnumbering protestants.
Scientology is the true religion of America's capitalist soul. "To me," says Louis Theroux, "Scientology is selling spiritual hamburgers."
What is the most quintessentially American religion? It would need to have celebrities, a Hollywood setting, big money, and a confusing swirl of innocence and the macabre. That's Scientology defined, says documentarian Louis Theroux. The church was founded by sci-fi writer L. Ron Hubbard around the same time that the first McDonald's opened, and there are enormous parallels in the business models of these two operations. Scientology is the embodiment of America's capitalist soul, with two seemingly at-odd goals: to spread the good word of Dianetics (Scientology's sacred text) as far as possible, but to only give its wisdom to those who are willing to pay for it. The top level of Scientology's ideology ladder is called the "Bridge to Total Freedom" — however it's anything but free, costing an individual a minimum of $250,000 to access. It begs the question: Do you want salvation with that? Louis Theroux's latest documentary is My Scientology Movie.
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