Scientology and the Substantive Definition of Religion

Scientology and the Comparative Definition of Religion

Scientology and the Functional Definition of Religion

Scientology and the Analytical Definition of Religion

Sharing a Body of Doctrine

Participation in Rituals and Acts of Devotion

Direct Experience of Ultimate Reality

Religious Knowledge

Consequences in Quotidian Life

Scientology and the Emic Definitions of Religions


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The difference between this experience of freedom and omniscience on the one hand and the common experience of man is clear. Furthermore, the doctrine of Scientology holds that he who follows the road it has laid out can achieve the experience of “exteriorization” in which the thetan (spirit) leaves the body and exists in a form independent of the flesh. Upon exteriorization the person would be able to see without the eyes of the body, hear without ears, and feel without hands, achieving the certainty that he is himself (the thetan) and not his body. According to Scientology, exteriorization of the thetan makes it obvious that the spirit is immortal and is endowed with abilities which exceed those which one could predict through quotidian reasoning:

“The thetan is able to leave the body and exist independent of the flesh. Exteriorized, the person can see without the body’s eyes, hear without the body’s ears and feel without the body’s hands. Man previously had very little understanding of this detachment from his mind and body. With the act of exteriorization attainable in Scientology a person gains the certainty he is himself and not his body.” (What Is Scientology? 1993:147)

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