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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According to Scientology, man is composed of a body, organized physical substance or composition; a mind which consists of pictures, recordings of thoughts, conclusions, decisions, observations and perceptions; and the thetan [spirit].

Some authors have approached a definition of religion distinguishing it from other systems of meaning (understood to be such bodies of thought or theoretical tradition which give meaning to reality and to life experience). Thus, for example, Stark and Gluck (1965) distinguish between the “humanist perspectives” which constitute attempts to make significant the life of man from religions which, to the contrary, assert that they have discovered or established paths to discover the true meaning of life. The difference between some and other systems is that in the case of the humanist perspectives one looks intentionally to grant to life a meaning which is agreed upon and relatively free-willed: in the second it is presumed that the same has a pre-existent meaning to that which the individual man or social group wishes to give it and that it is possible to agree to the stated meaning. On this subject, Reginald Bibby says:

“Religious perspectives imply the possibility that our existence has a meaning which precedes that which we as human beings decide to give it. By contrast, the humanist perspective leaves to one side the search for the meaning of existence in favor of a new preoccupation with giving meaning to existence.” (Bibby 1983, 103)

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