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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2009-03-11
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

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Scientology is arguably the most persistently controversial of all contemporary New Religious Movements. The Church of Scientology has been involved in battles over tax issues, a ten-year conflict with the Food and Drug Administration, extended turmoil with a number of European governments, and has even been subjected to FBI raids in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles. Negative publicity, however, has not prevented the Church from experiencing remarkably steady growth. Official national census figures indicate that the number of Scientologists grew significantly in Canada, New Zealand, and Australia throughout the 1990s, and studies show that the Church gained 10,000 members in the United States during that decade. This has led Scientology to begin referring to itself as "The World's Fastest Growing Religion." But despite its highly public profile, recently enhanced by celebrity spokespersons like Tom Cruise and Isaac Hayes, little has been published about the Church, its history, theology, and mission. The present volume brings together an international group of top scholars on New Religious Movements to offer an extensive and even-handed overview and analysis of all of these aspects of Scientology, including the controversies to which it continues to give rise. The book's six parts take a detailed look at the Church through its similarities to and differences from other religions, conflicts with various groups, overseas missions, and its theology, history, and sociology. James R. Lewis has assembled an unusually comprehensive anthology, incorporating a wide range of different approaches. This volume is a welcome and long-overdue resource for scholars, students, and others interested in this controversial and little-understood religious movement.

Author Biography

James R. Lewis is Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point.

Table of Contents

Contributorsp. xi
Introductionp. 3
Introductory Essays
Birth of a Religionp. 17
The Cultural Context of Scientologyp. 35
Researching Scientology: Perceptions, Premises, Promises, and Problematicsp. 53
Theoretical and Quantitative Approaches
Making Sense of Scientology: Prophetic, Contractual Religionp. 83
Scientology and Self-Narrativity: Theology and Soteriology as Resource and Strategyp. 103
The Growth of Scientology and the Stark Model of Religious "Success,"p. 117
Community and Practices
Community in Scientology and among Scientologistsp. 143
How Should We Regard the Religious Ceremonies of the Church of Scientology?p. 165
The Development and Reality of Auditingp. 183
Sources and Comparative Approaches
Scientology as Technological Buddhismp. 209
Scientology, a "New Age" Religion?p. 225
Scientology: "Modern Religion" or "Religion of Modernity"?p. 245
The Nature of the New Religious Movements-Anticult "Culture War" in Microcosm: The Church of Scientology versus the Cult Awareness Networkp. 269
Scientology in Court: A Look at Some Major Cases from Various Nationsp. 283
The Church of Scientology in France: Legal and Activist Counterattacks in the "War on Sectes,"p. 295
International Missions
Scientology Missions International (SMI): An Immutable Model of Technological Missionary Activityp. 325
The Church of Scientology in Swedenp. 335
Scientology Down Underp. 345
Dimensions of Scientology
"His name was Xenu. He used renegades...": Aspects of Scientology's Founding Mythp. 365
Celebrity, the Popular Media, and Scientology: Making Familiar the Unfamiliarp. 389
Sources for the Study of Scientology: Presentations and Reflectionsp. 411
Pastoral Care and September 11: Scientology's Nontraditional Religious Contributionp. 435
Indexp. 439
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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