Scientology is often described as a “religious philosophy” because it deals with the human spirit and the rehabilitation of its abilities. Others see it rather as a practice for self-improvement or a therapy. However, we don’t want to deny the religious character of Scientology. In this chapter we want to explain what, in our view, it has to do with religion.
If you want to examine the subject of religion it is necessary to look more closely at the definition of this word. The German dictionary “Wahrig” defines religion as:
“Belief in and occupation with a supernatural power and its cultic veneration; belief in God; reverence for God; belief; confession.”
Looking more closely, however, you will find that this concept comprises a lot more than that. According to the American dictionary by Webster, the word “religion” stems from the Latin “religare” and is formed out of the syllables re (again or anew) and ligare (connect, unite). In this sense religion would be striving to unite with something which could be said to be the perfection of self. The individual, believing in the ideal of perfection on the one hand, yet aware of his own imperfection on the other, feels the wish and the potential to raise himself nearer to the ideal. Every person feels this urge within himself, sometimes more strongly, sometimes less so.
Many beliefs are based on the idea that one creator created everything, thus becoming the centre of all awareness and all life. In some religions God is regarded as the only Redeemer of all suffering. Buddhism, on the other hand, says that you have to strive for perfection yourself – man is a spiritual being that can overcome the evil.
While we in Scientology leave the question about God open to be decided by everyone individually, we profess the concept that man should strive to elevate himself and that it is possible for him to overcome his barriers and compulsions and thus achieve a greater contentedness. In this way Scientology serves man’s urge to find the way to himself.