Religion provides theories for morality, narratives for afterlife that continue conscious experience, and a sense of higher purpose (answers to the question of "why am I here?"). You can answer these questions using science, which is a tool to navigate uncertainty. Certainty isn't a state of mind, it is an emotional feeling. I can be certain that I think though.
If something is said clearly, that doesn't mean it is true. If something is vague or obscure it may indicate falsehood. If there is a contradiction, there is falsehood. That is how you approach Truth. The science community is the only one I know where you win status points for proving yourself wrong.
In a dogmatic religious setting, the person you are most afraid to contradict is yourself. Dogma depends on an "infallible leader" or an "infallible text." A source you are not allowed to challenge, or question. That is why it is called blind faith. Curiosity is a wondrous thing, and you should always question authority. I am a fallibilist.
All knowledge is theory. The common state of knowledge is error and is no shame. The theories we provisionally adopt are the ones that withstand the most rigorous criticism. You can't prove anything (outside of mathematics and logic philosophy). You can only prove something false. I believe objective truth exists, and although we can't pinpoint it– we can infinitely approach it by searching for Truth and finding contradictions. I build upon that and strive for the best explanations.
The future of religion will be decentralized because there can't be a one-size-fits all. Everyone should choose for themselves how they want to live, considering it doesn't harm others. Even still, morality boils down to theories about conscious experience. This is something we can now begin to quantify, visualize, and measure with modern brain science, and by checking physiological markers such as hormone levels in the blood.
Emotional and physical pain are reported to trigger the same regions and process similarly. From here people can hypothesize about and compare different states of being (i.e. suffering vs general wellbeing), examining how thoughts and actions affect themselves and those around them. Even lacking sophisticated instruments people can weigh themselves in the laboratory of their own minds, testing if certain claims to be true.
Traditions, Cultural Appropriation, & Ritual
Power, Profit & Pussy!
How to Start Your Own Religion
For entertainment purposes only!
Professional Driver on a Closed Course!
Do Not Attempt!
Want to get rich quick? Organize and participate in orgies? How about never paying taxes again, and reaching a level of popularity akin to the Beatles, Elvis or Jesus? Ever dream of wielding incredible amounts of unearned power? Do you dig the idea of controlling people? Want to influence politics? Would you like scores of people to give you all their money for no reason? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then today is your lucky day. By following this simple five step program, you can easily and economically start a new religion from scratch, and make all your dreams come true.
As a religious organization you will receive tax exempt status. Plus, by representing yourself as a living deity, you’ll enjoy the worship of your followers and power untold. All you have to do is lie. Lots. Lets get to it.
Step One: Creating & Contacting God
Historically one of the best ways to get people to join a religious organization is a claim of some form of direct contact with THE ONE AND ALL POWERFUL GOD OF THE UNIVERSE. Since we are starting an original religion you will have to invent this creature and give it a name, paint some pictures of it; write a back story, and so on.
It is by no means necessary that the god you conjure be composed of absolute power over all existence. The limits of this being will be created to suit the market you’re after. Fribeef God of Blackjack Tables at Indian Casino’s on the East Coast doesn’t have the same mass appeal of an all powerful super being who conducts the universe like a symphony orchestra. Still, a geographically limited god of blackjack does have niche market appeal. You could certainly pull a good numbers depending on your location, target demographic, etcetera.
Once you’ve got a good idea of the god you want to invent the next step is to flesh him or her out to meet the needs of your market. You will need to target a segment of society in a perpetual identity crisis, confused and looking for something new and chic to believe in. It is also a good idea to make sure these people have some disposable income. Then get set to exploit gullibility and mob mentality at a level that will make Brabra Strisand look like an under achiever.
Before you invent a god you must know your market! The feminist dollar won’t be taken by some overweight masochists super-being in a wife beater named Bitch Slap. A hairy woman who denounces metal coat hangers as the work of the devil will be closer to the mark. To drain the wallets of males ages 18-26 you should engineer some sort of intergalactic wizard wielding a retractable laser sword named Long Dong Silver. A porno endorsing lover of video games, alcohol abuse, and liquid ruffies will pack the pews. The video games angle is important. Once your following reaches a certain number you can have Long Dong denounce Playstation as sacrilegious if Sony doesn’t pony up adequate cash. The choices are infinite, and important. Think long term and check all the angles. This is a business, be professional.
It is crucial that you keep in mind that if you take things too far you will go to prison or the psyche ward for a long, long time. Despite how easy (and downright amusing) it is convince a 17 year old girl that Cheese Wiz God of the Morlocks desperately needs her to kill her parents, this is not advised. Plausible deniability is also key when installing a debit card machine on the offering plate. Especially if your entire congregation is made up of nothing but ex-cons.
It’s helpful at this point to make sure your customers have absolute faith that yours is the only religion in the entire universe with access to some sort of bat-phone to heaven. It is vital that the customers believe your words to be the word of God. This won’t require much proof. Rolling your eyes up in your head and speaking in Pig Latin should suffice; if not....fake some convulsions.
Step Two: God’s Founding Documents
Once you’ve picked your suckers and crafted them a god its time to start figuring out divine policy. Keep in mind that a non judgmental god is utterly useless from a profit angle. It also helps to give this guy considerable amounts of intangible power. In step one we discussed convincing the masses of your sole ability to communicate with the god you’ve invent. This generally will need to be backed up with some sort of physical proof. Dubiously creditable proof is all the rage today. Humanity’s natural fascination with exceptionally old things shall also be exploited. The last ingredient to your proof is to make it so excessively convoluted that full understanding would take several lifetimes.
Basically you will need to write a Bible. Once that is done you will need a semi-plausible and downright fascinating story of how you came across this document while unpacking your mother’s Costco pallet of heavy flow pads that were slated for her Y2K survival bunker. Then you get a guy who looks and sounds credible to say its old, like really fucking old, and your home free.
Writing and marketing a sham bible may seem a daunting task until you consider the gullibility of your audience. The people we are after yearn with all their being for a place of acceptance, a higher purpose in the cosmic order, assurance that death is not the end. These lost souls see divine work in the splatter pattern of a bar fight.
To make your bible you simply buy some paint and drip it across 600 or so sheets of paper. This creates absolute gibberish that you later bill as the secret language of God, which only you can understand. Punch holes in the manuscript with something that comes to a dull point. Tie your new bible together with some old shoe laces and soak the whole deal in lemon juice for 24 hours. The next day bake it into sacred parchment. That’s it, you’re done.
If you want you can then run to Kinko’s and pump out copies for the masses. Autographed first editions of this collection of inkblots will sell for no less than fifty dollars. Anything less than 40% kick back to the church for second selling on EBay dooms parishioners to the hell of paper cuts on sex organs. If anyone takes issue with this you tell them that the 300’ cathedral ceilings in your church create a huge amount of overhead.
Be sure to continue to find new books of your sham bible from time to time when sales get slow. Take note that we have yet to actually translate this book, and won’t be doing so until much later. (Also remember that when you do translate the book to put in a verse about not letting the original document fall into the hands of anyone who might carbon date the fucking thing.)
Obviously your bible will include the viewpoints of Top Ramen, God of those who dwell in Studio Apartments, or...whatever......
This brings us to step three.
Step Three: Revisionist History
Since you have a bible people are going to assume it includes some sort of content. Generally this will be god’s views on basically everything, with the inclusion of a quick history of all time. Before you score worshiper one you will need to have at least some idea what line of shit you’re shoveling.
Dealing with a group of prospective clients who will be more convinced by your ability to cry on demand than anything science has to say shall allow you to go buck wild.
For your history of all time you could easily get away with something a little more plausible than this:
Bubo, a giant clown (made of love) has a unicycle for legs and is the eternal god of everything. He created the entire universe. His impressive juggling ability keeps all of the countless astral bodies in their proper orbits.
All life erupted spontaneously out of his makeup kit from the 9th dimension where he vacation’s at his own whimsical version of Camp David. While he’s there the universe is kept in kilter by being placed on an intricate system of spinning plates.
Jimjams, his pet monkey was ordered in the year negative 5000 to whip out the ink bottles and spin up the Tie-Dye bible so as to reveal Bubo’s presence to all mankind. Since menstruation is Bubo’s favorite joke of all time Jimjams arranged for the bible to be found in a Costco pallet of winged feminine blood sponges. Chosen to receive this sacred text was , (insert your name here) because your dad was a clown, the highest form of all human life.
After translating the smeary circles you discovered that those who follow Bubo’s laws will live wonderful joy filled lives, never die and spend eternity in a circus like heaven. In Bubo’s three ring utopia gangbangs are plentiful and fun for all participants. All bull dykes come back as hot bisexual contortionist nymphomaniacs.
Bubo does realize that some people will never believe in him, despite the numerous signs on Earth to the contrary. These narrow minded fools just can’t realize that man would have never invented the clown if Bubo wasn’t God on high. How can the deny the success of McDonalds? Those who can’t be convinced by the deliciousness of the Big Mac are doomed to eternal hell.
Hell, incidentally, is a series of accounting seminars serving nothing but vegan cuisine. In hell the dykes grow facial hair and never bathe.
Once you’ve crafted your God, heaven, hell, and history of time all you have left is the rules. Once all of that is finished you’re ready go down to the greyhound station and start recruiting.
Step Four: Invincible God, Fragile Ego, Dire Consequences
As soon as you explain to some logic deficient-pile of cash that a loving and all powerful clown has threatened to banish them to an eternity of accounting seminaries populated by smelly hairy dykes; the true believe will immediately want to know how to avoid this and get in on the gang bangs. If you simply tell this moron to transfer all his money into your checking account, cut his dick off and bleed to death, odds are good that the fish won’t bite.
When recruiting potential tax free income in the form of lost human souls the up and coming religious leader must realize that his target audience is a directionless waste of space seeking a parental figure to dole out love and spankings appropriately. Society is full of individuals who were never breastfed.
Later, once you’ve converted a few of these hopeless dolts, you’ll easily be able to convince yourself that you perform an important community service for these losers by basically crippling free thought. Claiming to enhance their individuality by essentially removing it will soon be referred to as “giving people something to believe in.” Plus, you’ll get filthy rich by doing nothing more than lying. As an added bonus, since your writing the bible, lying doesn’t even have to be a sin.
To perform this valuable work you will need to develop of system of holy rules that work in your favor. The consequences and rewards are already in place. Still, you will need to be able to properly jockey the belief system you install in parishioners into guilt and self loathing. Then they can try to atone for this with cash. You must at this point develop an extensive set of rules.
If Bubo’s only rule is “don’t eat out menstruating women,” it’s too easy. Nobody will go to the cult meetings six times a week to hear you simply repeat that only those who don’t have their red wings get to go to heaven. In order for this to work these guys will need a set of standards so ridiculous and convoluted that no human could come close to understanding or adherence. Just to be safe you can toss in a couple of rules that seem to contradict each other.
Developing this set of guidelines is easy once you know some basic facts about life in general. Every form of life seems to have a vested interest in avoiding death, and will do everything in its power to stay alive as long as possible. Humans in particular are unique as they are the only species who we know for a fact realizes from an early age the inevitability of their own death. The other fact universal to all life is procreation. Everything that is alive has a sex drive of some sort; typically this drive buried deep in the unconscious and therefore irrepressible. Once you’ve taken all that into account it’s easy to create a system of rules that lavishes guilt upon every living thing. Simply vilify various hardwired baseline sexual instincts, and everyone is a sinner and doomed to an eternal hell. You invent the marketplace!
For good measure you should toss in a couple dozen rules that simply reinforce the moral behaviors expected all civilized humans. You know the ones: don’t steal, rape is wrong, never throw a live baby into a wood chipper.... Then cap that with a bunch of nonsense rules that were delivered right from Bubo for his own reasons that no one can comprehend. Dietary rules work great here. Populate obscure dates with prohibitions on popular food groups. People are bound to forget this sort of thing and eat radishes on a day with a U in the name. This leads to guilt, and therefore more money.
Since logic and common since will always be a threat to your membership rolls and profits they are also against the rules and among the most dire of sins. Science is witchcraft!
At this point, you’ve got yourself a cult. If you’d like to spice things up you can add any one of more of the following to tailor the cult to your liking:
It’s also a good idea to install the belief that your cult members, and all humanity for that matter, is a collection of worthless shit-bags lucky to be allowed to receive the mercy of Bubo. A deep seated belief that not loving Bubo with a stalker-like devotion is a nearly unforgivable offense should also be added. Finally, vilify money in such a way that giving it to you seems like the greatest act of holy sacrifice available to man.
After all that, go ahead and swing for the fences. Make as many rules as you want and do not worry how ridiculous they might be. If cell phones bother you, ban them. Feel like somehow blending blow jobs and communion? Your call. As the self appointed mouthpiece for the master of the universe you’ve got carte blanche to do whatever you want. Also don’t worry that you will be asked to follow these rules. Remember that you wrote the as-yet-un-translated bible with the so far unknown number of undiscovered books. You’ve the got powers of veto and amendment.
Once you’ve fashioned yourself a set of rules that no human on Earth has any chance of being able to follow it’s only logical that you devise some form of atonement for violators. What this ends up being is completely up to you. Keep in mind that it should involve some form of shame so as to solidify your control over worshipers with each inevitable offense. ....and then did Bubo decree that those who view porno must be filmed in porno, which will be viewed by themselves in the company of their parents.....or no gang bangs for you!
Obviously those who get too creative will severely narrow the scope of the market.
So far we’ve:
· Invented a custom god for a specific demographic of weak willed simpletons
· Forged a bible composed of an invented and illegible language
· Created a false history of the universe that includes God, Heaven, and Hell
· Devised an excessively convoluted and unrealistic system of rules and atonements
· A mythical predatory being of pure evil who’s existence can’t be proven
· As many holidays a year as you want, for whatever reasons you want
· Any weird sex act you fancy (incest, bestiality, adult babies.....whatever)
· Weird Dancing and/or Chanting
· Symbolic Simulated Murder by Drowning
· The South Beach DietIf none of these seem appealing you are free to add idea’s of your own. As you can see, the possibilities are limitless. Once you’ve got your cult set up the way you want it you’re ready to go public. Now you’ve just got to track down some losers. If you’re an American, that should take about 5 minutes. UFO conventions are-believe-it-or-not-full of just the sort of dumbasses you need.
Step Five: Selling Shit to the Constipated
Once you stumble on to some hopeless reject of society ripe for the plucking it’s time to get to work. Optimally you can gather a group of such people into a semicircle. Be sure to properly light yourself, and stand on a raised platform to enforce your authority. (If you’re serious about this you’ve already taken acting lessons and spent considerable time studying human psychology and how to manipulate it; or at least watched a good deal of televangelism.)
Now its time to begin your speech. Start with a joke. Preachers never miss with a joke. Then ease into reminding these idiots that they will die, and how scary that is. Go on to talk about eternal hell, and how that’s even worse than the satanic idea’s put forth by the Disney corporation in the blasphemous animated epic, “The Lion King”. Circle of life my ass.
It’s not out of the question at this point to have hired some shills to work the crowd, manipulating the group subconscious. They can say wonderful things like a heartfelt “amen” at just the right moment. Pretending to faint is also cheap, easy, and effective. Make sure these actors mill about after your performance and talk about how Bubo changed their life for the better and how they are proud to own 34 autographed copies of the un-translated Tie-Dye bible. To the heavily stupid they can explain how their sister’s late stage lung cancer went away 20 minutes after the faithful ran a train on her.
Make sure these con artists sign violently worded non disclosure agreements that will have them placed in a jumpsuit and ass rape institution if they ever try to rat on you for your exploitive abuse of human nature. If they talk too soon it could kill your movement.
Once you’ve peaked the audiences’ fear and adrenaline potential you must hit them with the Bubo’s heaven bit. No rational person would ever believe such a thing if they were in their right state of mind, so timing is critical. If you’ve done everything right you’ve just shoehorned a shitload of invented self-serving bullshit deep into their subconscious. Their feeble and needy minds have just placed loving Bubo right after breathing on their list of things to do. Good job, you should be in politics.
After you’ve cultivated and raped the hive-mind the hard part is over. Constant conditioning is still required, but you’re over the hill at this point. These yahoos you’ve gathered and converted will have yahoo friends. They will start to recruit for you, and they will pity those that don’t jump on the clown-in-the-sky bandwagon.
Build trusting relationships with the stupidest and most loyal sheep in your flock. They will be your first round of preachers to spread the word and extend your influence. These imbeciles will display a Borg like devotion to the cause. Having been brainwashed into absolute belief will lend credibility to their words that you, as a fucking liar, lack.
Eventually this little “truth” snag might leave you entirely. Years down the line, enamored by your own success you may simply start to believe your own hype. Running a cult will take most of your time, and you could easily brainwash yourself. One morning you will wake up and believe in the deepest recesses of your being that the only way to the heaven you invented will be to cut off your dick, deep fry it, jam a cyanide capsule down the urethra, and eat it during the summer solstice. Or you could die of natural causes, never having become a victim of your own rampant gibberish. Who knows...That’s not a concern at the moment. What’s important now is that you need to get your followers to learn to take dictation. You’ve got a translated bible to publish! Be sure the specs for the church you want to build are somewhere in there, and then start taking donations.
Once the translated monkey bible is selling, the church is up and you’ve incorporated as an actual tax free religious institution you’re home free. If you’re really, really good you could get away with hiring a bouncer and charging cover before mass. A VIP section would give people something to shoot for too. At any rate, your faithful preachers will now do most of the work for you.
Unless you fuck up on some massive scale, or just get lazy about brainwashing people, the bullshit you’ve started will very likely outlive you. The only way to prevent your evil from continuing for a few thousand or million years is to orchestrate a mass suicide. This sort of thing tends to dissuade potential new members.
If you’ve done your job right, the nonsense you created will be taught by your initial flock to their children as fact, then their children, then theirs, and so on. Each generation shall continue the recruiting process for your little fund raising operation. To some of these people belief in Bubo will be as necessary to life as food and water. Any defectors will be replaced many times over by others seeking meaning from life that science can’t yet provide.
If Buboism survives long enough it is bound to splinter into several factions who inevitably start to kill each other. After thousands of years of arguing over the location of a comma in the book you pulled out of your ass people will eventually tire of talk and just start shooting. The worst case scenario could trigger nuclear holocaust leading to the eradication of every living thing. So you’ve got that going for you.
None of this is likely if you actually go around talking about something as ridiculous as a universe juggling Clown God with a unicycle for legs. You’ll just get locked up. Well, maybe not. The creation story pushed by scientology is so remarkably absurd that it makes all of the above look believable and actually rather attractive. They are now the 22nd most popular religion on the planet. Every so often when the wind is just right an unlikely idea is widely adopted despite all logic. Hitler’s success was due to timing as much as anything.
Thinking of the long term effects of what might happen if one charismatic and calculating individual properly crafted and marketed a new religion is downright terrifying. Jesus Christ!
Assuming you made it this far and spawned some crack pot religion for fun and profit, you’ve likely started something that will cause catastrophes for centuries on end. If so: you’re a cunt! But a rich cunt, and in our society that’s acceptable. Bubo Bless!
Reposted by request and with permission from the author, Jeremy Whitman.