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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From this perspective, to ask if Scientology constitutes a religion is to investigate if it postulates a meaning for the life of man which pre-exists and is considered true and immutable. In relation to this point we can note that according to Scientology, man is defined as a spiritual being. It is affirmed that man does not have a spirit but that a spirit is what the individual truly is. This spirit is called a “thetan,” a name taken from the Greek letter theta. It is asserted that the individual exists as himself as a spiritual being. The artistic capacity, the fortitude of the person and his individual character are all manifestations of the spiritual nature of the individual. The thetan constitutes the person himself.

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. The thetan is conceived as the creator of things. He has animation and life even without the mind and body and uses the mind as a system of control between himself and the physical universe. Scientologists maintain that man is a thetan and the thetan is the source of all creation, is immortal and is life itself, with potentially infinite creativity and, if not part of the physical universe, having the potential capacity to control this universe composed of matter, energy, space and time.

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