V. Inconsistent Indictments

In addition to the hostility stimulated by the mere fact that a religion is “new” (in societies where the predominant general assumption is that religion is necessarily “old”) the variety of contemporary new religions is such that each of them may be attacked for some feature specific to itself. Such charges may diverge to the point of sheer inconsistency. Thus, whereas some new religions, which encourage their members to involve themselves in mainstream everyday life activities, attract criticism because they are said to seem “to infiltrate” major social institutions and businesses, other groups, which practice communitarianism, are condemned for their separate community lifestyle and for taking people out of mainstream society. Some are berated for their hedonistic orientations, and their permissive attitudes to sexuality and drug use; others receive no less hostile condemnation for inducing young people to sustain a highly ascetic way of life. In an age when a wide variety of social forces stimulate the break‑up of the modern family, it is new religions which are often singled out to face the charge that they “break up families”. Such charges are perennially levelled against new movements with perhaps no more justification than was the case when similar indictments were made against monastic movements in past centuries.

VI. Opposition to Scientology