Religious scholars faced with the question of how to define religious practice in today’s changing and pluralist society have examined the essential characteristics of all faiths and how these factors are manifested in the Scientology religion.
any consider they already know the answer to the question, “What is a religion?”
The definitions employed from one person to the next almost always are defined by personal religious heritage and experience, yet history has demonstrated that this perspective is a perilous one. Such approaches have given us the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, hundreds of years of bloodshed in the Netherlands and elsewhere in Europe, and the troubles of Northern Ireland.
More commonly, restrictive approaches to defining religion lead to less violent but nonetheless equally destructive forms of discrimination and other violations of human rights—particularly against members of new or unfamiliar faiths.