Scientology Definition Essay
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Scientology by many people is viewed as a cult and has no religious backing but according to Faith, Religion & Theology (FRT) a religion constitutes as “people (being able) to recognize that ‘what matters most in life’ is or includes a level of reality that transcends, or goes beyond, what normally understands as human or finite” meaning an ultimate mystery or Divine (Knitter 166). FRT also states that religion deals with ethical reasons how to behave and beliefs along with a creed, code, and ceremonies (Knitter 163).
So according to FRT scientology would be a religion because it does believe in the higher being that is talked about in the first quote. Scientology also has a set ethical code that determines how people should behave inside their religion. The question that comes from this is where does Scientology get their creed, code, and ceremonies?
Scientology began in the 1950’s based on the findings of L. Ron Hubbard. Hubbard is known as the “father of Scientology” (Church).
A formed the religion of Scientology after studying the human mind and life known as Dianectics (Church). So as Hubbard’s research expanded, so did the ideas of Scientology until it incorporated all the ideas from all of Hubbard’s publications. All this being said their creed, also written by Hubbard, is like most creeds a basis of what everyone in the religion believes in. Hubbard also wrote the 4 codes that Scientology is based around; The Auditor’s code, The Code of Scientology, The Code of Honor, and a code called The Way of Happiness.
All of these codes play a key role in the scientologist’s life and what they believe in (Church). They believe in a “God” but they leave the image of “God” to the individuals. That leaves the ceremonies performed in Scientology. They perform a lot of ceremonies common to Christianity such as weddings, Sunday services, naming services, counseling, and funeral services Although they have the same ceremonies they are viewed in different perspectives because they have different beliefs than any other religion. With this different view they still show the connection between their ceremonies and their beliefs. This is apparent throughout what they do during their services and the layout of the church and chapel.
Sunday’s services are headed by a minister whose main job is auditing or tutoring, because services are not a main focus of the religion, although they are offered (Beliefnet). The service is more a meeting place to get everyone on the same page and let people know they have fellow people on this journey with them. Most Scientologist still attend these services because it is another chance to take a step towards the eighth dynamic, which is the ultimate goal of scientology, and will be explained in a later paragraph. The service starts with the Creed of the Church of Scientology, Sermon, L. Ron Hubbard Lecture, group auditing, Announcements, and ends with the Prayer for Total Freedom. The opening of the service is an obvious showing of the overlapping of creed and ceremony (Church).
It is difficult to tell when the sermon ends and the lecture begins since they usually have the same idea and lesson. They usually have the same idea and lesson. The goal of these lessons is for the people to take them and apply them to the real life situations. They believe that helping others is the only way to improve their lives. Next is the group auditing, considered the most important part of the service, which is led by the minister (Church). The minister also gives a few instructions to help the listener free themselves from the material world and make them more spiritually aware and open to improving their life.
The announcements are the next part of mass and this is a chance for the minister to let followers know what is going on around the community. This plays into the role of scientologists always wanting to better mankind. Finally service closes with the “Pray for Total Freedom. In this prayer the people ask “the author of the universe” to make their goals possible and to help all those that are in need (Church). After attending these two ceremonies I realized I still did not understand Scientology’s view on God. This is when I met the man who would answer that and so much more.
Ajax approached me after service and told me he would explain Scientology to me. He started with the layout of the chapel. From the doorway it looked like a normal worship room, but once inside there are posters going the distance of the room showing different aspects of the church. I will try and explain as well as Ajax explained to me. He started with the creed of Scientology. Ajax explained that “you have to look deeper than the creed” he then continued to talk about how this creed is more as a guide for you to find your own God as you want to picture him, but none of us can picture him until we have reached infinity (Ajax). I hope this confuses you as much as it confused me. He then had me watch a video on the eight dynamics which showed the different “dynamics” that humans have to go through before finding God. The seven dynamics go as follow: self, creativity, group survival, species, life forms, physical universe, and spiritual dynamic.
A man has to reach the perfection of the first 6 dynamics before finishing the 7th. They say this because you have to have respect for everything in your life before you can be spiritually strong. Once the 7th dynamic is fulfilled only then will the eight dynamic appear to man. This dynamic is known as God or the creator by most religions, but the correct term for Scientology is infinity (Scientology). According to Hubbard “Infinity is the allness of all” (Church). This is where one’s true vision of God will show itself and until then no one knows what their God truly looks like. This is why Scientology does not push one “Dogma” onto their followers (Scientology). Ajax proceeded to give me specifics on how other aspects of scientology works; such as auditing and classes. After the tour was over, I asked him “What makes Scientology the right path to finding God and how does the services help this process of finding our God?” Ajax took a deep breath and then proceeded to give me the following response
“Well, Seth have you ever had a doubt in your religion? I already know the answer it is yes, you know why I know this? because most religions are based on faith. Scientology is not like that. It is based on proven facts. I can tell you how people are going to act to certain events just because of who they are and how they carry themselves. The reason I know these is Scientology. This carries over to God. I came to America from Pakistan for college. I was brought up as a Muslim and firmly believed in Allah which I still do but I was brought into this religion and it just made sense to me, as it should for you too. I just view Allah in a different view now as being infinity and something I cannot picture till I fulfill everything else.
I started studying Scientology, yes studying because Scientology does what a religion should be about, which is doing not believing which is how most religions are based on. So by doing these things we find ourselves and by doing that we find God. So that is what makes Scientology the right choice over other religions” (Ajax) this round about answer was the thing that made everything about this religion finally click. The idea is that they believe in a God, but it is different for every follower since this belief system is their idea of the way of reaching Nirvana, Heaven, or in their case Infinity (Beliefnet). The best way to put it is how it is put on their offical website which says “Scientology is not a dogmatic religion in which one is asked to accept anything on faith alone. On the contrary, one discovers for oneself that the principles of Scientology are true by applying its principles and observing or experiencing the results” (Church).
Scientology bases everything on experiences and through my experience there I learned that Scientology is a whole new idea that seems like a far cry from a religion, but after experiencing all that, I can see why people put everything they want into Scientology. Do I buy into it? Some things yes, but not the whole religion, although it helped me find more concrete reasons why I believe in my own religion.
Ajax. “Tour of the Church.” Personal interview. 28 Oct. 2012. Ajax gave me a in-depth tour of every aspect of the church and everything they do and through this tour I learned more than i could have ever imagined about Scientology.
Beliefnet. “What Do Scientologists Believe? – Beliefnet.com.” What Do Scientologists Believe? – Beliefnet.com. Beliefnet, 01 Oct. 2011. Web. 30 Sept. 2012. <http://www.beliefnet.com/Faiths/Scientology/What-Do-Scientologists-Believe.aspx>. This website shows a general outline of what people who follow Scientology believe. It also describes how their religion works and in little detail how the world works through their eyes. The author is not told but their intended audience is someone who is curious about Scientology and they do a great job of making it simple and easy to understand for someone who is just starting to look into it.
Church of Scientology International. “Church of Scientology: Religion Beliefs-What Is Scientology?, L. Ron Hubbard.” Church of Scientology: Religion Beliefs-What Is Scientology?, L. Ron Hubbard, News. Church of Scientology International, 2012. Web. 30 Sept. 2012. <http://www.scientology.org/>. This is the offical website for Scientology. It is very detailed in every aspect of the religion that is Scientology. Everything from who created Scientology to beliefs and practices. It also gives examples of multiple places of worship. The website was made by the international Scientology organization. Their goal of this page is to inform people on what they are doing at churches and how they work and how people in this religion are. Besides the obvious talking up of the religion the site seems very accurate and reliable.
Knitter, Paul, and William Madges. “Chapter Six Religion: What Is It?” Faith, Religion & Theology. By Brennan R. Hill. Mystic, CT: Twenty-Third Publications, 1997. 161-90. Print. This chapter focuses on what a religion is and what makes up a religion. It bases it on the knowing of something that is farther than humans. Then explains that code, creed, and ceremony is basis of behavior and beliefs. This source is targeted for students and is very reliable since it is used in a college course.
Scienctology. Prod. OrgSync. Church of Scientology, 2010. DVD. Ajax gave me 8 hours of supplemental videos that went into farther depth of each of the topics he explained to me. Everything from their service projects to the 8 dynamics.