The official Scientology website identifies three core beliefs of the organization: man is an immortal spiritual being, man's experience extends beyond a single lifetime and that man's capabilities are unlimited but not yet fully realized. Scientologists also believe that man is basically good and is more than a product of environment or genes.
Scientologists consider their practices distinct from other religions and do not preclude members from also following them. There is no particular statement in the religion on the nature of God.
The religion states that human beings are actually Thetans, immortal beings who have countless lives in physical bodies, some of which precede their arrival on Earth. Scientologists call their overall life development the "Bridge to Total Freedom." Audits conducted by higher-ranking members of the church are key in this process.
The church takes the position that it is scientific and that its principles are based on scientific fact, but this has not been widely accepted outside the faith. Founder L. Ron Hubbard initially presented the core principles of Scientology as scientific fact in his book "Dianetics," but when the scientific community at large did not accept his work, he refocused it as a religion. Scientology refers to its own internal sources as evidence rather than to any peer-reviewed scientific work from outside the religion.