Scientology is a body of beliefs and related practices created by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard (1911–1986), beginning in 1952 as a successor to his earlier self-help system, Dianetics. Hubbard characterized Scientology as a religion.Scientology teaches that people are immortal beings who have forgotten their true nature. Its method of spiritual rehabilitation is a type of counselling known as auditing, in which practitioners aim to consciously re-experience painful or traumatic events in their past in order to free themselves of their limiting effects. Scientology is legally recognized as a tax-exempt religion in the United States, Italy,South Africa,Australia,Sweden,the Netherlands,New Zealand,Portugal and Spain. The Church of Scientology emphasizes this as proof that it is a bona fide religion.Scientology is one of the most controversial new religious movements to have arisen in the 20th century. The church is often characterized as a cult and it has faced harsh scrutiny for many of its practices which, critics contend, include brainwashing and routinely defrauding its members,and harassing its critics and perceived enemies with psychological abuse, character assassination and costly litigation. In response, Scientologists have argued that theirs is a genuine religious movement that has been misrepresented, maligned and persecuted. Scientology's belief that souls ("thetans") reincarnate and have lived on other planets before living on Earth,and that some of the related teachings are not revealed to practitioners until they have paid thousands of dollars to the Church of Scientology. Another controversial belief held by Scientologists is that the practice of psychiatry is destructive and abusive and must be abolished. Scientology beliefs revolve around the thetan, the individualized expression of the cosmic source, or life force, named after the Greek letter theta.The thetan is the true identity of a person – an...
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