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Scientology Critique - Gregorian University Rome

Scientology Critique - Gregorian University Rome

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Published by Flower
In the following pages we propose to establish if Scientology constitutes a religion, taking into account the diverse definitions by which this term is currently characterized by the social sciences. Read more.
In the following pages we propose to establish if Scientology constitutes a religion, taking into account the diverse definitions by which this term is currently characterized by the social sciences. Read more.

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Published by: Flower on Mar 06, 2008
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06/18/2009

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i. I
 NTRODUCTION
In recent years some controversy hasarisen regarding Scientology in some sec-tors in Europe, particularly in Germany,which seem to misinterpret the real socialintentions of this religious group.From the viewpoint of someone whoknows philosophy and religion there is noquestion of any polemic, but it is easy tounderstand that the lack of knowledge of the religious phenomenon as a whole andthe variety of the possible manifestationsof this phenomenon can unjustly lead toantagonistic and intransigent attitudes.
It is for this reason that I decided topublish my conclusions about the religionof Scientology in this report, a religionwhich I have studied for several years, bothin its formal aspects (writings, books andphilosophy) and in its more day to dayaspects (ceremonies, internal and externalorganization, practices of religious obser-vance and community activities), both inour country as well as in other countries(France and Denmark).
213
APPENDIX SEVEN
Scientology
s
 A True Religion
Urbano Alonso Galan
Doctor in Philosophyand Licenciate in TheologyGregorian University andSaint Bonaventure Pontifical Faculty, Rome
 
ii. T
HE
C
ONCEPTOF
R
ELIGION
The theological tradition does not giveus many resources when we wish to analyzethe objective characteristics which definea religion and differentiate it from othertypes of beliefs, ideologies or social groups.For that purpose we need to useconcepts and modern bases which allowus to provide a scientific viewpoint aboutthe religious phenomenon, but withoutforgetting that this is an individual andintimate experience of spirituality and assuch evades some of the commonly usedarguments of other social sciences.This approach of tolerance and inter-religious dialogue constitutes a challengeand an absolute necessity in our currentsociety, as is stressed by renowned theolo-gians such as Leonard Boff and Hans Kung. Just as the word religion is defined(from the Latin
re-ligare:
unite or re-unite) as a community of persons unitedby a faith, a practice or form of worship,so may religion itself be considered. Of course, this community must be united bya search for “the divine,” and defined byits manner of confronting the problemsof human life. That is why in the historyof religions much is said of the experienceand personal contact with “the sacred.”
An elevated concept of the dignity of the individual, the knowledge andrecognition of something called “sacred”are not exclusively Christian but are theessence of all religions. This was recog-nized by Vatican Counsel II itself in itsdocument
Dignitatis Humanae
concern-ing religious faith and purity.There are other religious phenome-na, such as Buddhism and Jainism,which, although lacking an idea of Godin terms of reference, do practice a formof respect and reverence of the “sacreddivinity,” as a generic element withcharacteristics much more general thanthe Christian, Muslim or Judaic “par-ticular gods.”Maintaining a unitary concept of religion based solely on one’s ownexperience and excluding otherparticularities, cannot be other thana form of fundamentalism whichviolates the most elemental test of religious freedom.As Max Muller affirmed, “he whoknows only one religion knows none,”which would express the idea withcomplete precision. Durkheim himself explains the key to this phenomenon:“... religion is a universal phenomenonwhich appears in all known humansocieties. ...”It is routine to use known models toattempt to define the unknown. This isa procedure used to excess by socialinvestigators in many cases. Abusingcomparative analysis will lead withouta doubt to blindness when faced withstandards of behavior, beliefs or experi-ences, which cannot be explainedexcept by omitting any other factor andtheir similitudes.Religion is evidently the search,inherent in man, which the spirit makesin order to apprehend the “infinite”; thelonging and endeavor of the being withregard to his sense of unfulfilled desirefor infinity. Religion is, then, anabsolute necessity, nothing less than a
Churchof Scientology
214
 
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:
1)
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.
2)
The ritual aspect.
Thisincludes the totality of cere-monies, rites and religious prac-tices applied to the religiousphenomenon experienced by theScientologists.
3)
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.
iii. P
HILOSOPHICALAND
D
OCTRINAL
A
SPECT
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 
Clear
. This state, which the book itself defines, signifies an important advance inthe eradication of the conditions of 
Appendix Seven
215

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