rom 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.