The Religious Heritage of Scientology

The dream of making the world a better place has long been embraced by every religious movement in history. Indeed, religion has served as the primary civilizing influence on the planet.

The knowledge that man is a spirit is as old as man himself. Only recently, with the advent of Western psychology, have notions cropped up that man is merely another animal, a stimulus-response mechanism. Such espousals stand at odds to every religious tradition, which variously speak of the "soul," the "spirit" or the "life force" – to encompass a belief held by all civilized men.

The Scientology religion follows just this tradition of man’s search for his spiritual identity. In Scientology, the individual himself is considered to be the spiritual being-a thetan (pronounced "thay`-tn"). The term is taken from the Greek symbol or letter theta which has long served as a symbol for thought or spirit. Thus, although a new movement, Scientology is heir to the understanding of thinking men since the beginning of human history that man is a spiritual being who aspires to understand and improve life. The search was long, but it has been successful and answers now exist in Scientology for anyone who wishes to reach for them.

In Lascaux, France, 15,000 years before Christ, early man painted bulls and other images deep inside the walls of caves. His underlying belief held that such representations would bring the living animal within their grasp, and so guarantee a successful hunt.

Like this ancient man with his primitive spear, in his attempt to conquer the raging bull, human beings have been trying to understand themselves and their relationship to other living things and the physical universe for countless eons. That which has been recorded in cave paintings, on stone tablets and in ancient myths stands as a testament to this search.

For all the mystery surrounding himself, one of the first things man has innately known was that he was more than merely another beast of the forest, more than mere muscle and bone, but that he was somehow endowed with a spark of the divine, a spiritual being.

Such wisdom formed the basis of the first great civilization–the Egyptian, whose culture endured for twenty-seven centuries. As the earliest people to conquer man’s deep-rooted fear of ancestral spirits, they were also among the first to propose that each man must provide for his own happy afterlife.

Despite considerable advances in the physical sciences, their gift of organization and their monumental art and architecture, the Egyptians still lacked the means to reverse the internal decay of their society. Beset with immorality and decadence, they were soon too enfeebled to resist the onslaught of Rome.

© 1996 Church of Scientology International. All Rights Reserved.

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