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One difference is that Scientologists believe that man also has two other separate and independent parts: the mind and body. And that these are secondary to the thetan, which is considered to be the actual person himself. In sum, the mind and body are vehicles through which the thetan interacts with the material world. Judeo-Christian religions do not hold this view. Although there is no consistent description of man in the New Testament, it essentially retains the Hebrew teaching of unity of body and soul and that one is not complete without the other: Just as one has a body, so one has a soul. In Scientology, on the other hand, the individual himself is his soul, or more accurately, thetan.

A second difference is that Scientologists believe that the thetan will live through a great many lifetimes. Jews and Christians believe the soul lives only once. This explains why Scientologists are eager to make this world a better place – they know they will be back to live in it again.

A third critical difference between the Scientology concept of thetan and the Judeo-Christian concept of soul is that Scientologists believe the thetan, and therefore man, is basically good. Jews and Christians follow the Old Testament teaching that man has two intrinsic impulses – one good and the other evil and man’s plight is to overcome this evil impulse. Both Jewish and Christian theologies hold that man’s salvation from this plight is perfected with the coming of the Messiah.

Salvation in the Scientology religion is different, and much more immediate. Although Scientologists hold that the immortal thetan is intrinsically good, they believe that he has lost his true spiritual identity and operates at a small fraction of his natural ability. It is this loss of spiritual identity and the thetan’s own experiences, whether in current or prior lives, that causes man to be unhappy or to act irrationally and with evil intent, even though inherently he is good and highly ethical. And, as these experiences accumulate over time, they cause the thetan to become enmeshed with the material universe, from which these very experiences originated.


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