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A Reflection on Scientology - Essay Example

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A Reflection on Scientology Name University Professor Course Date Abstract Religion has been an integral part of the lives of people as it guides the human beings with their courses of actions. Also they are united by the rituals and beliefs catered by the religion…
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A Reflection on Scientology Religion has been an integral part of the lives of people as it guides the human beings with their courses of actions. Also they are united by the rituals and beliefs catered by the religion. All religions do that to their members. Religions then have different components which are considered effective in providing spiritual growth to the members. The paper is aimed to give an overview of the different issues and factors related to religion. Reflection on Scientology Religion has always been part of the culture of every group of people around the world. They respect it greatly as it teaches the values that the society respect as people follow those teachings to become good members of their group. Values may differ from one religion to another and religion also varies from one culture to another. Usually they denounce the evil with good intentions and actions that are reflected on their rituals. Morals come into play as that serves as the guide to the actions of the members of the group. Religion then can be defined in terms of its functional or substantive content. In terms of its function, it joins a group of people together and brings relief to the suffering. On the other hand, substantive definition would pertain to the features like the existence of God (Crawford, 2002, p. 4). Both definitions pertain to religion as the binding force to a group of people who share the same set of beliefs especially regarding the concept of God and practice a set of rituals to bring peace to people who are experiencing pain and suffering. When it comes to its etymology, religion is said to come from two Latin words namely religio and religare. Religio is a term that pertains to bond and obligation while religare is an action that pertains to the act of tying or binding (Diener, 1997, p. 1). Basically, the two Latin terms have almost the same meanings as the functional definition given to religion. All religions have their common denominators which mean they all share some characteristics. According to Sshmitt (n.d.), there are eight common characteristics namely belief system, community, central myths, rituals, ethics, shared emotional experiences, material expression, and sacredness. Belief system pertains to the set of shared explanations or theories regarding the existence of the universe while those beliefs are practiced by a group of people which is called a community. Also stories and myths are the focus of a religion in which the beliefs are explained thoroughly that are retold by certain members of the community. Then ceremonies are done to remember and deepen the understanding of the members of the community toward the teachings of that religion and the process is called as rituals. Of course the community must have standards to follow or code of conduct in the form of ethics that guide the faithful with their actions in their everyday lives. The rules are believed to come from supernatural beings that established the religion. The shared emotional experiences are also part of the religion as people there have common feelings of peace, joy, guilt and many more. Religion also has material expression wherein physical objects are used to represent the spiritual concepts and assist in the performance of the rituals. Lastly, sacredness comes from the word sacred which pertains to holiness which is related to perfection or creation of divine beings (O’Neill, 2007). With those eight elements of religion in mind, the author will reflect on the Catholic religion. Catholic religion has a linear belief system wherein the faithful believe in birth and death as the beginning and the end. The community of Catholics believed that the end of life is having an afterlife wherein the souls of the dead are brought to judgment. They will either enter the heaven or hell depending upon their performance on earth. In terms of central myths or stories, that religion focuses on the Creation in the Old Testament with Adam and Eve as the characters and continued to the New Testament in the life and death of Jesus Christ. When it comes to rituals, Catholics observe seven sacraments which are performed to be in-line with the plans of God. Then the ethics is guided mainly by the Ten Commandments set by Moses, but summarized by Jesus Christ as the practice of unconditional love. In terms of shared emotional experience, mystery is primary observed in Catholic Church as to give way to subjective feelings of the individual faithful. The mystery then goes deeper into other feelings like joy, sorrow, guilt and peace. When it comes to material expression, Catholics have many symbolic objects for their ritual performance. During the mass, there is incense for giving respect and purification. Songs are sung for praising the Lord. Flowers are offered for Mama Mary and the Cross symbolizes the passion and death of Jesus Christ to save people from their sins. Lastly, sacredness is observed in actions of the members of that religion when their movements are ethical. Also being inside the church is considered as safe since that place is considered as a holy and sacred space. When it comes to new religions, there are some that are not well-known but one of those becoming popular nowadays is the Scientology. That religion was created by L. H. Hubbard in 1954 and he coined the name pertaining to the study of knowledge (Waldeck, 2005, p. 9). In line with the name of scientology wherein that religion seeks knowledge, Hubbard (2007, p. 1) said that the ideology of scientology revolves around reason and civilization. It is the mission of scientologists to eradicate problems with the use of reasoning. They also claim that their religion brings about happiness and peace to its members as supported by their literature that Scientology is “the fastest growing SPIRITUAL SELF-BETTERMENT AND REFORM GROUP in the world,” (Waldeck, 2005, p. 9). In terms of the elements of a religion, Scientology has been rooted from scientific laws (Cowan and Bromley, 2006). Its ideals are about bringing civilization and reasoning while its myths are similar to Hinduism and Gnostic thoughts regarding the so-called cosmic struggle (Gordon, 2000, p. 33). In terms of its rituals, it has some underground ceremonies but it also observes common ceremonies like funerals and weddings (Neusner, 2003). References Cowan, D. and Bromley, D. (2006). The church of Scientology. In E. Gallagher and M. Ashcraft (Eds.). Introduction to new and alternative religions in America (pp. 169-196). Connecticut: Greenwood Press. Crawford, R. (2002). What is religion? New York: Routledge. Diener, P. (1997). Religion and morality: An introduction. Kentucky: Westminster John Knox Press. Gordon, M. (2000). The church of scientology. Utah: Signature Press. Neusner, J. (2003). World religions in America. Westminster: John Knox Press. O’Neill, P. (2007). What is sacred? Liberal religion and life. Retrieved from http://www.uuworld.org/ideas/articles/50588.shtml Sshmitt, S. Eight elements of religions [PDF document]. Retrieved from Lecture Notes Online Web site: http://college.holycross.edu/projects/himalayan_cultures/2011_plans/sshmitt/images/Elements.pdf Waldeck, V. (2005). Scientology: What do they believe? USA: Pilgrim Publications. Read More
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