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Expressed in these academic studies are the authoritative opinions of the world's leading social and religious scholars. Further commentary by these and other prominent leaders about the impact of the Scientology religion are presented in Chapter 34.


Dr. M. Darroll Bryant, Professor of Religion and Culture at Renison College, University of Waterloo, in Ontario, Canada, has also conducted a lengthy review of the Church of Scientology, after first becoming aware of the church in the mid-1970s.

He stated, “According to Scientology, our humanity is composed of different parts: the body, the mind and the ‘thetan.’ the thetan in Scientology is analogous to the soul in Christianity and the spirit in Hinduism. Part of the problem of life is that human beings have lost an awareness of their true nature. In Scientology, this means an awareness of themselves as thetans.”

Dr. Bryant also wrote that it was “apparent that Scientology is a religion. It has its own distinctive beliefs in and account of an unseen spiritual order, its own distinctive religious practice and ritual life, it has its own authoritative texts and community-building activity.”

James A. Beckford, Professor of Sociology at the University of Warwick, England, pointed out that developing modern religions normally “lack the benefits of inherited property-wealth, endowments, patronage and a ‘birthright’ membership,” yet these are not characteristics of religion itself. And while there are various scholarly opinions on exactly how one does define “religion,” it does not matter which approach one chooses in viewing Scientology, he wrote, for it meets “all the criteria conventionally applied by social scientists,” no matter the definition employed.


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