constituent of human existence, whichthe individual feels in order to “commu-nicate with the infinite”; it is the sourceof what sustains the human being andon which man depends in many of itsaspects. The definite proof of this isanthropological analysis in which dis-tinct religious creeds or the lack of themare a determining factor for scholars inunderstanding social and individualstandards of the behavior of societies.To understand a religion likeScientology it is necessary to evaluatevery diverse aspects, such as those indi-cated by modern experts on this subject(see Bryan Wilson:
The Social Dimensionof Sectarianism,
1990, and EileenBarker:
New Religious Movements: APerspective to Understand Society,
1990).Among the many possible approaches, Ihave selected what could be an objec-tive and scientific view of the matterbased on the aspects which I willenumerate here:
The philosophical and doctrinalaspect.
In this I include thecomplete body of beliefs, scripturesand doctrines which hold the threefundamental parts of religiousknowledge: the Supreme Being,Man and Life.
The ritual aspect.
Thisincludes the totality of cere-monies, rites and religious prac-tices applied to the religiousphenomenon experienced by theScientologists.
The ecumenical organizationalaspect.
This is an aspect of greatimportance, because it serves todefine the dividing line betweenreligions and beliefs in formation,with those which are alreadycompletely formed and evolved.4)
The aspect of the purpose orfinal objective.
Here is the defini-tion of a purpose of life and the finalattainment of the spiritual objectivewhich leads to the goal Scientologyoffers to its parishioners.
Scientology is based on the works of L. Ron Hubbard. Scientologists recog-nize the works and investigations of itscreator; philosopher and humanitarianL. Ron Hubbard as the sole source of theScriptures of the religion.
Starting with Dianetics (see
Dianetics:The Modern Science of Mental Health
,1950) the evolution of Scientology offersenormous similarities to the majority of religions, including Christianity, Judaism,Islam and Buddhism. Its history is one of discovery or systematic “revelation” of thebasic “philosophic truths” which progressstep by step and lead to the constructionof a complete doctrinal body.
With Dianetics its founder seeksto relieve man of the sufferings themind produces in the body and the lifeof men.
For some years, Dianetics has been thetool used by its followers to attain the stateof
. This state, which the book itself defines, signifies an important advance inthe eradication of the conditions of