Professor, Sociology of Religion
University of Lille III
II. WHO ARE THE SCIENTOLOGISTS?
In their studies on the Church of Scientology, Roy Wallis and Roland Chagnon have tried to outline a profile of the followers. On a good number of points their results agree.
In France, we have tried to gather data of the same type from 285 followers chosen randomly. The profile which emerges shows that two-thirds are men, that most are between 26 and 41 years old. Most are married and have one or two children.
Usually, the Scientologists were born and lived in an urban zone up to the age of 18. They are well-integrated in society; their professional level is high (intermediary businesses, senior executives, businessmen, craftsmen, shopkeepers). Forty-two percent have gone up to secondary level education, and specialized in technical fields, art, trade or literature.
French Scientologists are mainly from Catholic backgrounds, but had fallen from it; 16 percent say they were atheists. Of those who agreed to talk about their present attitude towards their original religion, a bit more than half stated that they still belong to it, and several wanted to say that they understand it better and that they live it more spiritually. It is of note that the Scientology practice does not necessarily lead to a dismissal of the original religion, although as a practical matter Scientology is a complete religion and Scientologists generally retain affiliation with their prior religions solely for social and familial reasons.
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