A student wrote in, asking:
In your personal opinion, how do you think Scientology is different from other religions such as Christianity, Catholicism, Islam, when it comes to day-to-day living?
This is a question that I’ve been asked often.
There are a lot of ways that Scientologists treat their beliefs similarly to other religions, in terms of the religion providing some direction, focus and (most importantly) moral compass to use to go about day-to-day life.
The differences, I’d say, are:
(1) By and large, I’d say that Scientologists actively participate a bit more in their religion than many other faiths. By that, I mean that there’s a good bit of religious study and counseling that is intrinsic to the faith, and as such it’s not uncommon to spend a few days a week in your local church, or even take a few weeks for intensive study every so often. I usually spend 10-12 hours a week in my local church, for example. It generally isn’t just a religion where the expectation is that you go to church on Sunday, hear a sermon, and then that concludes your participation. I know that many Judeo-Christian faiths have much more involved participation than just that, but by and large Scientologists do tend to be quite present at their Church.
(2) I’d say another difference with some (but certainly not all) faiths is the degree to which many Scientologists are active in social outreach programs. Most Scientologists I know are active to some degree in church-sponsored or related activities, doing anti-drug education, human rights education, tutoring, etc. While it’s not a requirement for being a Scientologist, such activities are very much encouraged.
I asked other Scientologists to post answers to this question on my blog. I’ve excerpted some of them here.
M.P. (USA): As a Scientology minister and executive director of our local Church, my life probably differs significantly from that of the average participant of any religion. Being raised Catholic, I was taught to pray to God and to trust in God’s grace; that everything (good or bad) is God’s will.
Where I find my life differs in my day-to-day actions is that I am an active participant in my life and my fate. I think as Scientologists, we take to heart the maxim that “God helps those who help themselves” and apply what we learn through our scriptures, courses and religious counseling to make our life what we want it to be.
R.N.: Growing up Jewish, I always felt that the decisions I made in daily life had meaning beyond their immediate result; that it was important to always be thinking of how I could be improving my own life and improving the world around me. It’s a central belief/practice in Judaism. When I discovered Scientology, this was a principle that I found mirrored in Scientology teachings: that everything you do has consequences, and the way you live your life in every moment can affect your future and the future of your family, your friends, mankind, and the planet. But in Scientology, it isn’t just a set of rules and guidelines for living responsibly. There are actual “how-to” courses that show you the way to be a better friend, a better parent, a better employee, a better employer, a better citizen, and so forth. Learning the nuts and bolts of what makes up human relationships, and how to put order into chaos makes it possible to live an ethical and even joyful life, by putting these things into practice.
For example, one of the most basic concepts in Scientology is how to increase understanding by applying the simple effects of affinity, communication, and agreement. This makes it easy to talk to people, to resolve conflicts, to get things done, to make friends, to help people, and so forth. So, my daily life definitely includes the use of Scientology, through the application of useful tools to interact with people, get things done, be more efficient, solve problems, etc. I attend courses at my church several times a week, and there is always something new to learn; some additional way to improve my abilities. I also volunteer regularly at the church. It’s a busy place, and there are always people there to interact with.
S.M.: I’m a stay-at-home mom of two. I don’t believe my day to day life differs very much from other religious families. Through my teachings from Scientology I’ve learned so much about life and the attainment of happiness. Scientology has taught me the true value of responsibility. Like many of my Christian friends who would describe themselves as having a servant’s heart, my family and I spend much time and effort giving back to our community, our church, our neighbors. We take responsibility for our environment. In my family we don’t merely hope or pray for change, we take a much more causative approach to ensuring our happiness. Our daughters have been actively volunteering with us since they were small. They know that we help people. We also probably spend more time at our Church than my Christian neighbors. While it takes more time out of my week, studying the teachings of Scientology is something that revitalizes and inspires me. I find it to be like an extra boost of life force; I’m much more productive and efficient than I would be had I not devoted that time to take care of my spiritual self.
I think our approach to handling life situations is different because of the knowledge Scientology has given us.
I frequently have friends from other religions come to me for advice. Through this understanding, I’ve become a much more patient, tolerant and compassionate person than I once was.
Les: The day-to-day life is not different for me. I go through my day with faith, with belief and hope in myself, others, a Supreme Being and an effort to make this world a better place. If I see something “off” in myself or the environment which is destructive or which is not in alignment with the goals of the greatest good, I do something about it (and because of my studies and because of the auditing (spiritual counseling) I’ve received/done in Scientology, results are typically good).
I feel that L. Ron Hubbard provided more information we can all use, to become better Christians, better Muslims, better Buddhists, etc. Innately, we all want the same things. Innately, we are all good beings with high-quality purposes and goals. BUT we need more high-quality, workable (usable) technology, scientific in nature, to guarantee longer-lasting and higher-plane results. That’s Scientology. It makes us better at whatever we ARE and want to be. And that’s the goal of most religions as well. They are not different things. They’re approaching the same end goal, but Scientology is the science part necessary to achieve improved spirituality. A man cannot be spiritually happy if he lacks the proven technology on how to communicate, how to raise children, how to be a better employee, how to be a better servant of God and his fellow Man.
You can follow Tad’s blog at www.scientologyparent.com.
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