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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Scientology is included as one of the groups reviewed in some of the most important books studying new religious movements: New Religious Movements: a Practical Introduction by Professor Eileen Barker (1992) as well as in both the Encyclopedia of American Religions and Encyclopedic Handbook of Cults in America by J. Gordon Melton. (1992) It is also discussed, together with other new religious groups, in Cult Controversies: Societal Responses to the New Religious Movements by James Beckford (1985); in Cults, Converts and Charisma: the Sociology of New Religious Movements by Thomas Robbins (1991) and in L’Europe delle Nuove Religioni by Massimo Introvigne and Jean Francois Mayer, (1993).

In summary, adopting an experiential point of view, we can observe that Scientology has been considered a religion in the cultural contexts in which it has carried out its activities, including the pronouncements of government agencies, by members of the Church and by social scientists conducting studies of new religious movements.

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