Monday, February 01, 2010

Scientology: How does your religion differ from others?

Steph asked: How does your religion differ from others?

While it certainly contains ceremonies of a spiritual nature for marking the major steps in a person's life, and has Sunday Services, Scientology does not contain traditional Judaeo-Christian-Islamic forms of worship. The concentration in Scientology is on learning and using practical skills to help others and to attain spiritual improvement. Belief in a god or gods and methods of worship of them are left up to the individual. That's one major difference when comparing it with the Judaeo-Christian-Islamic tradition.

Another difference is that Scientology is all-denominational, meaning that people can be Scientologists and members of any other religion. Although this is not uncommon in Eastern religions such as Buddhism and Hinduism, it is unusual in the West.

Another difference between Scientology and traditional western religions is its practical nature. There is no requirement to believe anything: you learn a technique or piece of wisdom, you use it and you see if it works or not. Faith doesn't enter into it. There are some eastern religions that have a practical nature and Scientology is more related to them than to the traditional western religions.

There is a rather long treatise on Scientology written by sociologist Brian Wilson, Ph.D. that does a very good job of comparing Scientology with other religions. I've given some links here to specific parts, but I recommend reading the entire treatise if you are interested in the full answer to Steph's question:
(From the Treatise on Scientology by Brian Wilson, Ph.D.)
- Scientology: Similarity to Buddhism and Hinduism,
- L. Ron Hubbard as Religious Leader
- Scientology: Religion and Church Organization
- Differences in concepts of worship between religions
- Worship in Scientology
- Scientology and Other Faiths

Here is another treatise: The Relationship Between Scientology and Other Religions by Fumio Sawada a Shinto scholar. I did not have time to go through this one and pick out particular pieces, so you're on your own with this one.


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