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Religion Library: Scientology

Afterlife and Salvation

Written by: J. Gordon Melton

As Scientologists individually look to a future in a next embodied life, so Scientologists collectively look to the goal of "Clearing the Planet," a phrase that functions similarly as the Christian goal of building the kingdom of God.Scientology believes that it has found the true solution to human problems, that their analysis is true for all humans on the planet, and that having been given such knowledge, they are charged with the duty of bringing the Truth to all.Clearing the planet would not only mean that everyone had attained the state of Clear but that the world would have been rid of war, crime, addiction to mind-altering drugs, and illiteracy.

Their belief has given some Scientologists an evangelical zeal that is unusual among esoteric groups.Typically such groups have content to work in small associations whose members were satisfied that they were among the elite few that had learned the hidden wisdom.At the same time that this zealousness separates Scientology from other groups with similar beliefs and practices, it also accounts for the movement's rapid growth and contributes to the controversy that surrounds it.The singular goal of "Clearing the Planet" motivates members to levels of heightened commitment.Those who are unfamiliar with the church can find such enthusiasm difficult to understand, while critics dismiss it as mere misguided fanaticism.Most observers find is quite similar to the same zeal found among members of more familiar groups.

The universal goal that the church has projected explains the effort to penetrate all of the countries of the world with the message of Scientology and explains its attempts to open what amounts to pioneer church activity centers, even if only of a most informal kind, in all parts of the world.Scientologists see their mandate as similar to that operating in the world's older religious traditions.

Study Questions:
     1.    How does Scientology's understanding of the afterlife coincide with Hinduism? How does it differ?
     2.    What do Scientologists believe about reincarnation?
     3.    Are there rituals associated with death? Why or why not?
     4.    What is the billion-year covenant?


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