Scientology is a relatively new religion founded by L. Ron Hubbard that emphasizes understanding one's own spiritual identity. Through this understanding, individuals gain more control over their own lives and become free. Scientology also preaches the existence of one supreme God, but avoids describing this being, and instead insists that members of the faith must come to understand God's nature on their own.
Scientology's teachings about God stem from the concept of dynamics in the religion. According to the faith, all individuals seek survival within different groups or dynamics. Starting with the first dynamic where individuals seek to preserve their own body and mind, and continuing through other dynamics where they attempt to survive in larger groups such as families and nations. Scientology teaches that once an individual understands the seventh dynamic, which is one of spirituality, they will come to understand the final dynamic of infinity, which includes an understanding of God.
Although God is the object of belief in the Church of Scientology, knowledge of God's being can only happen at a personal level. Hubbard claimed that belief in God was essential to being a moral and productive member of society. However, Scientologists believe most human beings are incapable of understanding God because of their own spiritual impurity. Rather than attempt to explain aspects of God's nature, Scientology focuses on helping followers achieve a level of spiritual clarity where they will perceive God directly.
Scientologists believe that since humans cannot understand God until they have reached a high level of spiritual purity, cleansing oneself is the closest practice Scientology has to worship. Followers submit to rigorous training exercises designed to help them understand their own existence as spiritual beings with many past lives. These practices include recognizing past traumas in former lives and systematically eliminating negative feelings caused by these traumas from one's consciousness.
Although not worshiped in Scientology, followers do regard the religion's founder with special status because of his insight. Hubbard was originally a fiction writer, but eventually started to write books about his philosophy, which became the scriptures of the Church of Scientology. Hubbard founded the religion in 1954 and served as head of the church before retiring in the '60s. However, until his death in 1986, he continued to develop the church's teachings.
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