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 extension to new geographical areas of religions already established in others (such as some Eastern religions in America and Europe; Pentecostalism, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Jehovah’s Witnesses from the United States in South America and Europe; the Santeria from Cuba to the United States and countries of Central America; and the Umbanda from Brazil to Uruguay, Paraguay, Argentina, Chile and to a lesser extent the United States and Europe);

  • the “revivals” of the established religions (as in the charismatic reformations in evangelism and in Catholicism, the rise of spiritualist Catholic groups, etc.) and

  • the rise of a diverse, uncentralized spiritual subculture (comprised of what has been given the name New Age).

    The interest in religious diversity revived old discussions within the social sciences which resulted in more accurate definitions of religious phenomena. Distinct groups of social scientists have opted for different types of definitions often responding to their immediate theoretical interests.

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