I'm usually an advocate of John Lennon's "imagine no religion" concept, but I have to say, The Huffington Post's current Create Your Own Religion Competition kind of makes me want to dream up a dogma for kicks. All potential spiritual leaders have to do is come up with a name, set of beliefs, rituals, and holidays for their religion and submit them; the best entries are then posted online and rated. Which will be Number #1???
While I must admit that some of the ideas thus far are a tad disappointing (Religion: Sports; Major Holidays: Super Bowl), others are full-on brilliant, and certainly make as much sense as any of the faiths people fight holy wars over or base the entire trajectory of their lives on. Just the premise of the contest itself is an interesting commentary on organized religion, I think: What makes human beings follow the preachings of another human being in the first place? One person's lunatic ramblings are the next person's gospel.
These are my personal favorites out of the ready-made religions posted to date (note: due to the extensive creeds of some, I'm limited to describing each with a brief summary). Who knows, maybe someday one of these people will be, to quote John Lennon again, "bigger than Jesus." (I'm kidding. Relax.)
- Gintology: A celebration of the virtues of gin-drinking, mainly Tanqueray and Beefeater, best explained by its official prayer. "Our Gin, which art in bottles, hallowed be thy drink. Thy will be drunk, I will be drunk, at home, as in tavern. Give us this day our icy spirit, and forgive us our spillages, as we forgive those who spill against us. And lead us not into incarceration, but deliver us from hangovers. Amen."
- Seightism: Inspired by the infinity symbol (the "sideways eight"), according to Seightism, all things are of infinite and equal value, thus banishing materialism. Seightists distinguish themselves by adding an "s" to the beginning of every word (lemons = slemons) while dropping the "s" from words already starting with the letter (strawberry = trawberry).
- Mine: Beliefs stated as "mine and I'm not sharing them. I'll probably lose because I'm the only follower and that's all I allow." Rituals include "none of your business."
- Elfanity: Followers of the high elf Garu risk going to the Hades-esque Danga if they fail to observe rituals such as the Dungu, in which one must bathe in pig's blood, eat bacon, and set fire to one's self in the hopes of being rescued by Garu (if he doesn't show, it's off to Danga).
What would your religion be called?
Image via Luis Argerich/Flickr