Rather than trying to explain what Scientology is, let me try to focus on some key elements in the Scientology belief system and summarize them in my own words.
Update: Jan 2009:
I receive a lot of hits on this page from people who want to know, subsequent of the tragic death of Jett Travolta, what is the belief of Scientology regarding the after-life.
In two words:
Scientology beliefs regarding the after-life is very similar to Buddhism. After a while, the individual re-incarnates, until he reaches enlightenment. There is no heaven, there is no hell. Scientology does not pronounces itself as to whether there is a God or not. This is for the individual to decide for themselves (Scientology is not faith-based).
However, Scientology do claim that individuals who have not been freed by Scientology psychotherapy can still fall victim of "implant stations", where false ideas would be "implanted" on their mind. A bit like what they accuse psychiatrist and other "Suppressive persons" of doing here down on earth.
For questions regarding Scientology medical care, please check my blog entry on this topic.
Scientology believes in the separation of spirit (thetan) and body. The spirit is billions of years old and not only has lived in other bodies, it also lived on other planets. When someone dies, he picks up a new body in an hospital nursery. There is no heaven or hell in the Scientology belief system, but the soul can live in the "between life" worlds for a long time or even go on another planet.
Separation of body and spirit is possible in this life-time too (exteriorization). A liberated spirit (Operating Thetan or OT) can leave and reintegrate the body at will, and can operate as a spirit outside the body. Sometimes people also experience exteriorization from the body during therapy (auditing) sessions. During these auditing essions, they can also see snippets of their past lives.
The power of the spirit is almost without limit. In the old times, when the spirit had its full power, it could even blow up planets. In its native state, the spirit has the ability to know everything. Scientology does not pronounces itself as to whether there is a God or not. This is an individual question left for people to decide for themselves. However, Scientology is not faith-based, the individual spirit itself is a sort of God when in possession of its full potential.
The spirit is basically good. If left to its own all-knowing judgment, he would do the right thing. It's best judgment, however, is clouded by past incidents and traumas (engrams and implants). Because of this, his behavior is irrational and uncaring. Spiritual therapy, not punishment, is the answer. As the person becomes his own self, he also discovers what he has been doing wrong and becomes a more caring human being.
With time, the power of the spirit eroded. The spirit has been on a "dwindling spiral" where he increasingly restrained his own powers for fear of doing harm to other. It has reached the point where he is not even aware of its own spiritual nature anymore and believes he is the "meat body". If Scientology does not intervene to save him, he will go further down the dwindling spiral to the point he will not even be able to pick a human body anymore.
Scientology has the technology (the tech) to save the spirit from the dwindling spiral and restore his full native powers. Scientology technology is based on communication. When the person is led to see "as-is" those areas of his past which he cannot confront, the whole chain of events that were linked to these nodes blow away, thereby releasing a tremendous amount of stuck energy which make the person feel super good and high.
A key elements of the Scientology tech is non-evaluation. It is based on the Socratic principle that people know everything by themselves and that all the answers are available to them from within if the right questions are asked.
Only facilitators. During therapy, the therapist will never be judgmental or offer his own opinion. All he will do is ask the patient questions and direct his attentions to various areas in his mind. The same principle applies to Scientology "Study Tech". Scientology classrooms, therefore, have no teachers.
There is no real cosmology in Scientology or strong DOs and DON'Ts either. People are invited to discover the physical and spiritual universe on their own and to make their own judgment about what is right and wrong as they recover their native abilities and knowledge.
As Above so Below
The spiritual principles at the basis of Scientology are universal. Not only do these principles work in the spiritual realm, they also work in the temporal world to achieve success in life. The range of application goes from the "Study Tech", to helping people stuck in drugs problem, to achieving a more successful career. The underlying principles being applied are the same whether it concerns menial tasks or high spiritual peaks.
None of the above is meant to support Scientology. It is only meant to give an idea to outsiders on some of the key concepts in the belief system it offers.
The mystery of Scientology controversy can only be understood when you realize that there are two Scientology, Scientology 1 and 2. Scientology 1 is the belief system itself as above. Scientology 2 is the cultic extensions added to the belief system and which bring Scientology in trouble with society.
As an ex-members, I found Scientology too entangled in cultic aspects, in spite of its positive elements, that I cannot recommend it to others. However, I believe that an honest and level-minded approach is essential to fully understand the issue. The above key-points are given in this spirit. However, please also check my critical pages to complete the picture.
On the other hand some readers
may ponder why I don't speak about Xenu in this presentation. Xenu
and the "body thetans" theory is discussed at length on critical web
sites who try to portray it as the core belief of Scientology. It
simply isn't. It isn't even know by 90% of Scientologists and is
only one of the many galactic incidents on the spirit's path, albeit
an important one for those doing the upper levels, but only for
them. See my Xenu page.
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