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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In a similar manner, the monograph by Roy Wallis, “The Road to Total Freedom: a Sociological Analysis of Scientology” (1977) which analyzes the historical development and doctrinal and organizational transformations which occurred during the transition from Dianetics into Scientology, clearly places the object of the study within the new religious groups. Wallis considers Scientology to be a religion particularly adapted for the religious market of contemporary Western society—as Wilson would state years later. The emphasis on the benefits which the members will receive from their religious practice in this world, the utilization of distinctive rhetoric and a bureaucratic and rationally constructed organization reflect contemporary Western values, since “the rationalization of life in the world has brought the institutions through which salvation is obtained to rationalism.” (1976:246)

Frank Flinn, in his paper “Scientology as Technological Buddhism” included in the volume Alternatives to American Mainline Churches, affirms that Scientology is “the most interesting of the new religious movements” (1983:89) and because it “bears many close resemblances to Buddhism.” (93)

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