Why is Scientology called a religion?

Feb 15, 2021

At Forward Church, we delve into the diverse spectrum of faith and beliefs prevalent in our community and society. In this article, we aim to shed light on the question, "Why is Scientology called a religion?" Scientology is often a topic of significant curiosity due to its unique nature and the debates it has sparked over the years. Let's explore the background and basic principles of Scientology to gain a comprehensive understanding of how it came to be recognized as a religion.

The Origins of Scientology

Scientology was founded by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard in the early 1950s. It emerged as a spiritual movement with its roots in Hubbard's self-help system called Dianetics. Hubbard's teachings gained popularity, leading to the formation of the Church of Scientology in 1953.

Defining Religion

Before delving into why Scientology is considered a religion, it is essential to explore the concept of religion itself. Religion can be broadly defined as a system of beliefs, practices, and rituals that provide individuals with a framework for understanding the world and their place in it.

Religion often involves the worship of a higher power or powers, moral and ethical guidance, and a sense of community. It encompasses both spiritual and philosophical elements and plays a significant role in shaping individuals' lives.

The Religious Aspect of Scientology

Scientology positions itself as a religion and emphasizes its religious nature. The Church of Scientology asserts that it addresses spiritual concerns and offers a path to enlightenment and personal fulfillment.

Central to Scientology is the belief in the existence of thetans, immortal spiritual beings that are responsible for the individual's identity. According to Scientologists, these thetans have lived through multiple past lives and will continue to live in future ones.

Scientology offers various practices and rituals aimed at improving one's spiritual well-being and achieving a state known as "Clear." These practices may include auditing, which involves a series of questioning and counseling sessions designed to eliminate negative influences from past traumas or experiences. The Church of Scientology also provides religious services, such as weddings, baptisms, and funerals, further solidifying its claim as a religious institution.

Legal Recognition as a Religion

Scientology's status as a religion has been a subject of legal debate in numerous countries. While some countries and legal systems recognize Scientology as a religion and grant it religious protections, others view it as a commercial enterprise or a cult.

In the United States, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) eventually granted the Church of Scientology tax-exempt status as a religious organization after a lengthy legal battle. The decision established Scientology as a legally recognized religion in the country.

Controversies and Criticisms

Scientology has faced significant controversies and criticisms over the years. Some individuals and organizations have labeled it a cult or a business masquerading as a religion, questioning its practices and the control exerted by its leadership.

Critics have raised concerns about the level of secrecy within the organization and the financial contributions expected from its members. Scientology's aggressive legal tactics against individuals or publications critical of the church have also attracted attention.

The Complex Nature of Religion

Understanding why Scientology is called a religion requires recognizing the complex nature of religion itself. The boundaries of what constitutes a religion can be blurry and subjective, leading to debates and varying interpretations.

Religion is deeply intertwined with culture, history, and personal beliefs. Different individuals and communities may interpret and practice religion in unique ways, leading to a diverse religious landscape.

In Conclusion

Scientology's recognition as a religion is a complex and multifaceted topic. While controversies and criticisms surround it, the Church of Scientology emphasizes its religious nature, the spiritual teachings it offers, and the services it provides.

Understanding why Scientology is called a religion requires exploring its origins, the religious aspects it encompasses, legal recognition in certain countries, and the debates surrounding its status.

At Forward Church, we strive to foster understanding and inclusivity among different faiths and beliefs within our community. By delving into topics like Scientology, we aim to promote dialogue and respect for diverse religious perspectives.

Rick Pfohl
Very intriguing! 👀
Nov 8, 2023