What is Religion?


Scientology is said to be a Religion.

But what is Religion, and how does it apply to Scientology?

A Short Essay

Religion could be said to be an effort by man to explain where life comes from, does it have a purpose, and how it fulfills that purpose. When people believe someone has a way of answering these questions, a group is formed, and how they then follow that as a group could be called a religion, or a religious activity.

This author is a lay ordained minister of the Church of Scientology, so has a keen interest in this topic. In Indonesia he was told that agama, the Indonesian word for religion, literally meant, a way of following God. So, it could be that different faiths even have their own definitions for what a religion is.

In a 1949 Chalmers Dictionary it stated there were two kinds of religion. The first was a Revealed Religion, revealed from a higher source through someone who then revealed it to others, such as by a messiah, prophet, and so on.

The second type of religion was said to be a Natural Religion. This is where a person works out what life is, what are the laws that govern life, and how the knowledge of those laws help people. But a person has to find those answers himself.

Of course, the original source of where these two types of religion may stem from, may well be the same. Some people may give that source a name or a word, such as God, or Allah, or Brahma, or other words. For some that source could have a multitude of names, and perhaps cannot even truly be described. The founder of Scientology once described that source as “the Allness of All“.  The west has come to know the word God, so that word is what is more commonly given in Scientology.

What makes one religion different to another is how people come to realize and gets closer to that source, which we can call the Allness of All, or God. That way of getting closer to God, then seems to be the difference.

In Japan they have a saying, regards the differing religions, and that is – “there are many paths to the top of the mountain, but the view of the moon is the same form the peak”. 

Scientology could then be said to be a Natural Religion, as are many eastern religions. Scientology is the only major Natural Religion to emerge from the West. Its nearest cousin, per its founder, L. Ron Hubbard, could be Buddhism. And its most distant roots could be looked upon as being found in the Dharma. The Scientology founder, L. Ron Hubbard, is not a prophet, and nor does he teach about God. He is a writer, a philosopher, with ideas that others realize are worth making their own. Through applying his writings, one gets to know more about oneself, and his relationship with those higher truths and existences.

In the book Creation of Human Ability, A Handbook For Scientologists, Mr. Hubbard writes the following:

“Scientology is the science of knowing how to know answers. It is the wisdom in the tradition of ten thousand years of search in Asia and Western civilization. It is the Science of Human Affairs which treats the livingness and beingness of Man and demonstrates to him a pathway to greater freedom.”

The word Scientology literally means “the study of truth.” It comes from the Latin word “scio” meaning “knowing” in the  fullest sense of the word. And the Greek word “logos,” meaning “study of.” Scientology is the study and handling what is true of the spirit in relationship to itself, others, and all of  life.

There will be other posts following up this definition of religion. Additionally, the above symbol, the Scientology Symbol, will have its own post.

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