I get asked this question quite a bit: “What is Scientology?” For many years I would reply with the response I learned in the Scientology catechism over 30 years ago, when I became a minister of the Church of Scientology of California. (And yes, we do have a catechism). I would say, “Scientology is an applied religious philosophy.” Unfortunately, most people don’t seem to understand that reply, probably because they don’t know what an applied philosophy would be…. They get the same confused look they get when you reel off a bunch of buzzwords. So I don’t use that particular response from the catechism.
Now I usually answer with this: “It’s my religion. And no, it’s not related to Christian Science. We believe that people are not their bodies, that we are immortal spirits living in a material world. We also believe that people are basically good.”
The hard question is, “What religion is Scientology most like?” My normal response is: “It’s closer to Buddhism than anything else. We seek enlightenment and higher states of being.”
If they ask anything along the line of, “Do you worship Christ?” I say “No, we’re not a Christian religion.”
If they ask, “Do you believe in God?” — I tell them, “Yes. There’s no Scientology dogma saying this is what to believe about God. I was raised a Baptist, and no one from Scientology has ever told me what to think about God or Jesus; no Scientologist has ever tried to tell me what to believe, period.”
We have a motto, “Think for yourself.” Maybe it’s oxymoronic to have a motto like that–a motto is for people thinking in herds. I don’t care. I try to think for myself anyway. If I cared what people think about my having a motto, I wouldn’t be thinking for myself, would I?