losing someone to religion

I had a dream last night that my mom became a scientologist. Losing a family member to an obsessive relationship with religion would be nearly as devastating as an Alzheimers diagnosis. To have someone you love invest him or herself into an alternate reality that conflicts openly with the complexities of human experience, and hence your own experience- past, present, and future– would be horrifying. The film, My Summer of Love deals explicitly with this subject. The main character, Mona (played spectacularly by Natalie Press) loses her only loving family member, her brother Phil, to fundamentalist evangelical Christianity. The extreme loneliness that she encounters because Phil has replaced jagged, unpleasant but genuine connection with self-important, impervious fantasy is heartbreaking in the movie. It also reminds me of episodes I see of Intervention where the subjects choose their addictions over their emotional availability to their loved ones. Addiction and disease are more terrifying than religion because they are physical conditions, but doesn’t it make sense that so many alcoholics become born-again Christians, and that the mission of AA is so closely tied to Christianity? Addicts and religious people cannot function without some kind of escapist fantasy constantly accompanying their lives. Perhaps religion is the most potent non-chemical drug.

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