What is Scientology?

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Through its religious and educational initiatives, the Church of Scientology has established its place among the religions of South Africa.

It is a therapeutic religion that diagnoses the problem of the human condition and provides specific techniques of spiritual healing and an applied religious philosophy designed to cure that problem.

Although Scientology is often described as a “new religious movement” it actually is not new. In South Africa, as we have seen, Scientology has been present for forty years.

As a religion that is both old and new, the Church of Scientology has continued to advance religious aspirations that have gained adherents all over the world. At the very least, the Church of Scientology merits continued recognition and attention as a religion in South Africa.

David Chidester
Professor of Comparative Religion
University of Cape Town,
South Africa


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