a Western perspective, the 20th century has seen many changes in the
role of religion. The rapid advance of technology has unquestionably
played an important part. None of the world’s great faiths—Christian
and non-Christian—have escaped question. The Turin Shroud has faced
radio carbon dating and the electron-scanning microscope, while
biologists claim they can now create life. To those who have sought to
question the fundamental tenets of religion itself, the glittering
success of science has been a persuasive ally.
Yet, in all truth, the conflict between science and religion has
spurious foundations. As Albert Einstein himself noted, “Science
without religion is lame. Religion without science is blind.”
While the religion of Scientology was born in the century of
science’s greatest ascendancy and has not been unaffected by this
conflict, it believes (along with those such as Einstein) that these
concocted issues arise from misunderstandings of the roles religion and
science must play in these times of great change, and, indeed,
misunderstanding of the very nature of religion itself.
Although the first Church of Scientology was established only
in 1954, it has obviously met a religious need. Today, more than 5,100
churches, missions and related organizations, groups and activities
span the globe, ministering to some 8 million people in more than 100
countries in over 30 languages.