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 substantive definitions of religion intend to characterize it in accordance with the intrinsic traits which the religious experiences have for those who practice it. Defined as religious from this perspective are those experiences which individuals perceive as extraordinary, transcendent and clearly different from the quotidian reality which is perceived the majority of the time. Those who have such experiences cannot explain them through the concepts and theories which are normally used to define and explain the events of their lives. Experience in these circumstances, however, appears to them as undeniable, more real than that which is perceived in the everyday world. Peter Berger says:

“In the context of religious experience, the reality of daily life loses in dramatic form its status as supreme reality. It appears, to the contrary, as the anteroom of another reality, one of a drastically different nature and nevertheless of immense importance for the individual. Through this change in this perception of reality all worldly activity of quotidian reality is seen as radically reduced in importance, trivialized—in the words of Ecclesiastes, reduced to vanity.” (Berger 1974, 130-131)

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