This post is about poking fun at myself.
Because it is true:
I REALLY DO wanna start a new religion.
I already have some feedback from friends and others. Here is the range of reactions so far:
- We already have enough religions and sects in the world, we don’t need another one.
- Evangelicals are the Cat’s Meow and the Bee’s Knees. Don’t mess with the Formula!
- Christianity is flawed, but “all have sinned”. So accept the Body of Christ despite its imperfections. After all, wherever you have sheep, you have poop.
- I understand. Go for it!
- I used to be involved in house churches. They end up disintegrating due to the cult of strong personalities and conflict. To the group, everyone else is “Babylon”. Exclusivism ruins these people.
- Where do I sign up? When’s your next meeting?
MY OWN STORY
Well, to be honest, it’s not “new” per se, coz I am ripping off elements of Evangelicalism (the good ones, mind you), traditional indigenous ideas, etc. Well, I’m hesitant to rob First Nations of any of their beliefs and practices, since I am a white man, and surely their ideals have been pilfered from all kinds of crackers, especially the Leftover Flakey Yuppies of the Boomer Generation.
And Evangelicalism? Woo, I’m even scared to read the Bible now, lest my former Evangelical Eyes & Brain start interpreting Scripture passages according to what I had read before in the NIV Student Bible, or a John McArthur sermon, or an Ed Silvoso book, or a Keith Green song. 30 years of Evangelicalism, how to you drain your noggin of that?!?
I mean, typically, people get pissed off, and become functional agnostics or atheists. Or they join another religion. Me, oh stubborn me, I want to stick with the Sacred Scriptures and the Messiah. Yeah, still believing the Scriptures are from Yah and are without error. And viewing the Messiah as 100% Adonai and 100% man (that makes 200%, does it not?!?!?) . . . Holding that He never once offended His Father Yah, that He lived a perfect life of love and self-giving for the sake of others, Jew and all other ethnicities He came in contact with. His death was a like an Old Testament sacrifice, but unlike the shedding of a lamb, pigeon, goat or bull’s blood, Yeshua was human (duh, of course!) and also provided forgiveness that lasts eternally rather than until the next animal offering session.
I strongly believe that Yeshua revived from the dead on the 3rd day, and that He ascended up into the Heavens on the 40th day, seated at the right hand of His Father, ready to return to us at any time.
So, you ask, aren’t you just an Evangelical who’s a bit of a shart disturber, just somewhat angry at the Turtle Island (North American) Evangelicals for voting in warmongers and autocrats (read: Dems, Reps in the U.S. and Cons in Canada)? Aren’t you simply just tired of attending boring or gimmicky church, and being named by the same name as some of the most bigoted people on the continent?
Well, madam, sir, it goes much deeper than than. My thesis is that the faith of Yeshua was originally pure in the beginning, but was hijacked by Westerners who turned it into an instrument of power-grasping and oppression. Everything Yeshua intended to do through His people was turned on its head, and the DIAMETRIC OPPOSITE was conducted in His name.
JOY……………………………we experience………CHEAP ENTERTAINMENT & THRILLS
PEACE……………………….we get………………….WAR & VIOLENCE
PATIENCE…………………we witness……………TEMPERS FLARING AGAINST GAYS,
MUSLIMS, ATHEISTS, EVOLUTIONISTS,
LEFTISTS, ANYONE WHO DISAGREES
WITH THE EVANGELICAL AGENDA
KINDNESS………………..we receive……………SUPPORT OF DICTATORS,
YAH & NEIGHBOUR-DESPISING
STATE OF ISRAEL
HIGH ETHICS……………we view……………….EXCUSES FOR RIPPING OFF OTHERS
FAITHFULNESS…………we gasp at ………….EVANGELICALS LUSTING FOR
POWER, FAME & $
GENTLENESS……………we are amazed at….EVANGELICALS BEING THE BIGGEST
SUPPORTERS OF GUNS FOR THE
SELF-CONTROL……….we stare at……………LOVERS OF SELF &
CONTROLLERS OF OTHERS
Anyways, I could go on and on, but I won’t bore you. Suffice to say that I’m starting a new religion: one without the Bigotry of the Evangelicals, Catholics, Orthodox and sects.
Is it possible? Am I or will I and my fellow “MESSIANIC LIBERATIONISTS”, as I call them, end up as bigoted, vengeful, boring & neo-conservative as the Evangelicals?
A big NO to that!
Will we end up condemning all Christians, and persecuting them just as they have persecuted Muslims, gays, First Nations, atheists, scientists, teachers, women, etc.?
Another huge NO.
I love Christians, I just would like to see them turn from the fantasies that have driven them for hundreds of years. Fantasies such as the Just War Theory of Augustine, Calvinism and Arminianism, love of capitalism, colonisation and Crispy-fried Chicken. Their attraction to guns and wars. Their propensity to fight rather than love their neighbours. And all that lousy, grating Praise Music that must sound like Scratching Noises to the ears of Yahweh. Ugh, those unnerving tunes are the straw that broke the camel’s back!
I’m not discriminating against Christians. Nor against my own kind, White People / Europeans / Crackers. I am simply calling them to “repentance”, a fancy word meaning a complete turnaround of attitudes. The West is falling, our economies are imploding, the East / the Rest are eclipsing us. Christianity is poised to go down with the ship.
But through this crisis, good things can come about. A new West-less form of following Yeshua can emerge from the ashes. And one form, perhaps among many to start up in the next while, is MESSIANIC LIBERATIONISM. I would have just stuck with MESSIANISM, but those Messianic Jews already seem to have made use of this title.
Besides, it’s not the title that counts. Our future enemies will probably have a few derogatory titles for us anyways. Maybe even Christian Research Institute or others in the Anti-Cult Movement (ACM) or Counter-Cult Movement (CCM) may label us as a “cult” or a “sect”. I don’t know why, because Messianic Liberationists still believe in the Trinity, in Yeshua as 100% God & man, in His sinlessness, His sacrifice to redeem us from our sins, His 3rd day resurrection to give us new life, His return, the fact that He has an Ekklessia (our word for “Church” or “Body of Messiah / Christ” – NOT the Christians from 3rd century till now), etc. They may label us as heterodox due to that last statement, that I believe that the majority of those claiming to be “born again” are in fact NOT, nor are these Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, Evangelical, Pentecostal, or Sects representing Messiah’s Body. Of course, within these groups there may be true believers, but the bunk of their movements are more following Western philosophy than following the truth of the Sacred Scriptures.
I probably see more eye-to-eye with Liberal Protestantism, except for the fact that I DO believe in the 100% truthfulness of Scripture. I DON’T believe it contains errors. And I also like the so-called “Left Wing” of Evangelicalism, the Tony Campolos, Ron Siders, Jim Wallis’ and Sojourners, and also the Christian Anarchists: Jesus Radicals et al. But I am not one of them. Why not?
Well, firstly, I believe we have to DENOUNCE THE CHURCHES. Sounds drastic, doesn’t it?
After you study about the Genocide that came through Westerners and their churches, you will start to understand why I stand opposed to Christians and Christianity. It is not just a part of the Churches that was involved in Genocide and Marginalisation of First Nations around the world, especially in Turtle Island (North America). I was A HUGE MAJORITY of that are implicated.
And as the late First Nations professor Vine Deloria says in God is Red on page 265:
Average Christians when hearing of the disasters wreaked on aboriginal peoples by their religion and its adherents are quick to state: “But the people who did this were not really Christians.” In point of fact they really were Christians. In their day they enjoyed all the benefits and prestige Christendom could confer. They were cheered as heroes of the faith, enduring hardships that a Christian society might be built on the ruins of pagan villages. They were featured in Sunday School lessons as saints of the Christian church. Cities, rivers, mountains and seas were named after them.
And if the exploiters of old were not Christians, why did not the true Christians rise up in defiance of the derogation of their religious heritage and faith? If the Prime Minister of Canada today is not Christian in his attitude toward the Inidians of Canada, where are the Christians in Canada who prophetically denounced his actions?
Indeed, I denounce Stephen Harper, our current Canadian PM. The problem is: he IS functioning as a “normal” Christian, because our historical “normal” is genocidal and oppressive toward First Nations, the poor, Muslims and other marginalised peoples.
And so, whilst the Bible is true, the Messiah is true, and perhaps the First Century believers of Yeshua were true, the bunk of Christian history, especially from the hijacking of the religion by Constantine the Roman Emperor, is more false than true.
I denounce it. And all future Messianic Liberationists renounce it too. We won’t persecute Christians, and sure as hell don’t want them persecuting us. But their will be head-butting on the mountains, as with the mountain goats. Yeshua butt heads with the Pharisees, so I am certain this will happen. No matter. I have a strong head. Bring it on!
STARTING A RELIGION IN A FEW EASY STEPS
Well, take a look here at definitions of New Religious Movements (NRMs):
A new religious movement (NRM) is a religious community or ethical, spiritual, or philosophical group of modern origin, which has a peripheral place within the dominant religious culture. NRMs may be novel in origin or they may be part of a wider religion, such as Christianity, Hinduism or Buddhism, in which case they will be distinct from pre-existing denominations. Scholars studying the sociology of religion have almost unanimously adopted this term as a neutral alternative to the word cult, which is often considered derogatory. (For example, some have pointed out that the use of the word “cult” speaks more to the attitude of the individual using the label than to the nature of the NRM in question). They continue to try to reach definitions and define boundaries.
An NRM may be one of a wide range of movements ranging from those with loose affiliations based on novel approaches to spirituality or religion to communitarian enterprises that demand a considerable amount of group conformity and a social identity that separates their adherents from mainstream society. Use of the term is not universally accepted among the groups to which it is applied. NRMs do not necessarily share a set of particular attributes, but have been “assigned to the fringe of the dominant religious culture”, and “exist in a relatively contested space within society as a whole”.
Although there is no one criterion or set of criteria for describing a group as a “new religious movement,” use of the term usually requires that the group be both of recent origin and different from existing religions. Some scholars also have a more restricted approach to what counts as “different from existing religions”. For them, “difference” applies to a faith that, although it may be seen as part of an existing religion, meets with rejection from that religion for not sharing the same basic creed or declares itself either separate from the existing religion or even “the only right” faith. Other scholars expand their measurement of difference, considering religious movements new when, taken from their traditional cultural context, they appear in new places, perhaps in modified forms.
And here is Wiki-How’s description of how to build up a new religion:
1. Think why you want to create your own religion. Is it because you feel no other religion satisfies you? Is it because existing religions seem overly intolerant? Or is it because you feel you know something which you would like to share with the rest of humanity? Understand your reasons.
2. Write down your ideas. Make sure that they are clear and easy to understand. Make sure that you truly believe what you are writing, and that you’re not just making something up that you know is complete nonsense.
3. Talk to people. Try to get people to understand your new religion. Explain to them your reasons for starting this religion. Don’t let closed-minded people put you off.
4. Let your religion grow. This final step you have no control over. You can influence it by trying to convert people, but it will usually grow by itself if the idea has real Truth in it.
5. Be humble. Don’t let your religion degenerate into a self glorifying cult. Also, don’t let it get to your head when you think about the fact that you founded the religion. Think of previous religious founders like Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Muhammad, Buddha, Confucius etc. How did they behave, were they humble or self-glorifying. Its obvious they were leading by influencing others by boldly trying to explain the glory of God.
Here’s another one from CNN:
Shortcuts: Starting your own religion
November 20, 2006 By Justin Gest for CN
Last week, two self-proclaimed Jedi Knights appealed to the United Nations to recognize their faith as an official religion and accordingly rename the International Day for Tolerance to Interstellar Day of Tolerance.
The petition from Britons John Wilkinson and Charlotte Law, who call themselves Umada and Yunyun, comes after a 2001 British census recorded 400,000 people who “practice” the Jedi faith.
Here are some basics to starting a new religion and recruiting others who believe the Force is with you, even without the help of a blockbuster film.
Some divine intervention
In their book, “Theory of Religion,” Rodney Stark and W.S. Bainbridge identify four primary inspirations for founding a new religion:
The Psychopathological: Religion inspired by a period of severe stress in the life of the founder. The founder endures psychological problems, which are resolved thanks to the founding of the religion.
The Social: Religion founded because members of a group spend increasingly less time with outsiders, and increasingly more time with each other. Such reclusive behavior will naturally inspire a new theology and ritual.
The Normal: Religion inspired by the interpretation of the pedestrian as supernatural. For instance, remember how your shrink told you that you were schizophrenic? Well, maybe you really did hear those voices.
The Entrepreneurial: Religion inspired by the desire to develop new ideas and sell them to the increasingly disenchanted faithful. According to this model, founders take ideas from the pre-existing religions, and try to improve on them to make them more appealing to the religious consumer.
Construct a shrine
Once you’ve reached that epiphany, it is time to crystallize that sense of Enlightenment into an asylum for worship.
Dan Frydman, a 16-year-old high school student in London, has erected a shrine to John Lennon in his bedroom. “It’s not like a giant sculpture or anything. It’s just a lot of crap all over the walls… like posters and records, you know.”
While Frydman believes the deceased Beatle is the greatest songwriter ever, he is not a fundamentalist Lennonist. “I would never force anyone to believe that,” he said.
In terms of making the shrine functional, Frydman was inspired by the film, “Almost Famous.” In an attempt to see the future, he spun The Who record, “Tommy,” drew the curtains, lit a candle, and lied down on the floor underneath his shrine and “saw a flash there.”
All viable religions are equipped with physical manifestations of divinity available for purchase. How else are you supposed to afford to buy all the gold and posters for your shrine?
For some inspiration, we asked the good people at Aahs, a popular novelty store in Los Angeles, California.”We do have the Jesus action figure, Jesus with nunchucks, and the Jesus bobble-head,” said store cashier Johnny Alvarez. They also stock a Jesus magic eight-ball. Other Aahs hot-sellers included various saints to protect your cats, your computer, or to guard against a hangover.
Your religion may want to engrave some shot glasses, snow globes, or key chains to sell in the shrine’s gift shop.
Talk to your lawyers
New religions appear all the time. “The Encyclopedia of Cults, Sects, and New Religions,” edited by James R. Lewis, identifies everything from the Aaronic Order to Zoroastrianism. But for legitimacy, you’ll probably need to register somewhere beyond a book.
Belarus is unlikely to be a good home. In October 2002, the national government there passed a law stating that all religious groups that were not registered in 1982 would be prohibited from consideration as a “religious association” — the legal status required for publishing literature or administering any charities or schools.
Not that the United Nations proved anymore supportive in response to the Jedis’ proposal. “The UN is not in the business of certifying religions,” said UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric. “With or without light sabers.”
Another set of online commentaries said this:
What’s the best approach to starting a new religion?Most religions have creation stories, incredible mythologies and, in some form or another, lay out guidelines for social and moral norms.Given this and given today’s in-your-face 24 hour, web-savvy media and audience — how would one go about effectively starting a new religion that actually gains a mass following?
One Answer Stated:
In addition to what others have brought up, I’d say you need a core, influential group of followers. Without them, you won’t achieve the snowball effect you’re looking for. Extremely well-designed systems sometimes fail to catch on, simply because they don’t become trends. And sometimes shoddy systems spread like wildfires. It’s not that quality means nothing. Quality helps, but it’s not sufficient. Presumably, this is why Scientology courts trend-setters like Tom Cruise.
I suggest you spend a lot of time and energy discovering influential people. Check out who has a lot of Twitter followers or Facebook friends. Convert them to your faith in any way you can. Don’t shy away from gifts, bribery, b*** …. whatever! You can worry about true believers later. Trendsetters will help you rope in true believers.
OK, don’t get upset. We’re deviating into humour here now. Don’t get your panties or gaunchies in a wad!
Here’s another hilarious take on the issue:
How to Start Your Own Religion
I’m thinking of starting my own religion ….
You know, for something to do ….
Last semester I took a course called Cults and Religious Controversy, taught by the lovely and talented expert in new religious movements, Susan J. Palmer. In this course we studied all sorts of different off-the-cuff religious movements including the Solar Temple, the Raelians, the Children of God, the Hare Krishnas, the Heaven’s Gate and the Branch Davidians.
There are apparently hundreds of religions out there at any given moment. Anyone with a little charisma and a new idea can start one. I’ve got a surefire formula all figured out.
Here’s how it’s done, in case you feel like starting one yourself. (Now is a good time because of the coming end of the millennium and possible apocalypse.)
Part one: In the style of “do it yourself” greeting cards, pick one option from each section and string them together to create your own story of a prophetic vision and foundation for a new religion.
Eg. I was minding my own business, happily watching television when suddenly I was contacted by the spirit of a long-dead yogic master via a ghostly apparition that appeared before me. I was taken outside my body and a message was delivered to me. The message was this: The end of the world is at hand.
You were minding your own business, happily: doing your laundry/ walking in the woods/ sleeping/ sitting on the toilet/ watching television/ taking a shower at the gym/ getting drunk in a bar/ driving along the Jacques Cartier Bridge/ clipping your toenails/ making soup.
When suddenly you were contacted by: God/ aliens/ the spirit of a long-dead yogic master/ the tooth fairy/ leprechauns/ the cat people/ the man in the moon/ Keith Moon/ the mother goddess/ your mother/ Mackenzie King.
Via (section optional): the invasion of your own body/ your cat/ the telephone/ a spaceship/ a ghostly apparition/ television, radio or other household appliance/ the Internet/ UPS/ Canada Post (yeah right)/ an angel/ a stranger/ the wind.
You were: taken on board a spaceship/ transported to another world/ too stunned to do anything but stand there like a dope/ unable to control your bowels/ taken outside your body/ put into a trance-like state/ overcome by an unbelievable feeling of peace/ suddenly very hungry.
A message was delivered to you. The message was this: the end of the world is at hand/ extraterrestrials created the Earth/ canaries are planning a hostile takeover/ Barney the Dinosaur is the Antichrist/ the creators are angry with us/ you are the messiah/ Keith Moon was the messiah/ Satan is living among us/ the aliens are coming/ computers are the work of the devil/ The Backstreet Boys are the work of the devil/ air is poisonous/ don’t eat yellow snow/ God is a pigeon/ the body is only a vehicle for the soul.
Part two: Creating an image.
You must deliver your message to the rest of the world. But before you begin recruitment you should look the part of the religious leader. Experiment with your image until you find the right one for you. You must be comfortable with it since you will have to maintain it for the rest of your life as a prophet. These are just a few fashion tips that seem to have worked for others.
Men should have: thinning hair, worn either long or completely shaved. Facial hair is optional. Clothing should be either drab ’70s garb or a single-colour cotton robe or suit. Oversized medallions are good. A vacant, slightly psychotic look in the eyes is good also. (Look up pictures of Rael, David Koresh and Herff Applewhite.)
Women should have: an unintimidating, painfully unfashionable and slightly motherly appeal. (Look up pictures of Elizabeth Claire Prophet of the Summit Lighthouse.)
Looking sexy and beautiful is bad because you will alienate half of your potential recruits. Most women will not follow someone they can hate instead. Or you could try the kooky, crazy lady look and wear tiaras, poofy dresses and carry a magic wand. (Look up pictures of Uriel, of Unarius.)
Part three: Concocting a good recruitment strategy.
The last step is to recruit followers who will help spread your message and fund your mission.
This can be tricky. You must entice people into your organization by offering them something they can’t resist while setting special rules and regulations that will make them feel separate from and superior to the rest of society. Do as in Part One.
If you follow me you will (select two): attain enlightenment/ be saved while the rest of the world is destroyed/ get to have lots of guilt-free sex/ live forever/ appear on the Jerry Springer show/ travel to distant planets/ accumulate free air miles/ find peace/ find your keys/ never have to pay off your credit card.
But you must never again (select three): see your family/ eat meat/ drink alcohol or coffee/ smoke/ have sex (does not work if you picked “have lots of sex” in Part One)/ listen to music/ gamble/ dance/ work/ wear shoes/ have your own possessions/ watch television/ watch porn/ contact the outside world/ clip your toenails.
So you should have something like: “If you follow me you will live forever and accumulate free air miles but must never again eat meat, listen to music or wear shoes.” And voila!
That should be enough to get you started. The rest is up to you. Two last tips: try to avoid committing mass murders or suicides. This is not a good way of ensuring survival as we have learned from the Heaven’s Gate, the Branch Davidians and many others. Also, if you have predicted the end of the world, put off setting a date as long as possible. If you must set one, set it beyond your lifetime so you won’t be embarrassed at work the next morning.
Good luck! And see you at the apocalypse.
courtesy Elizabeth Bromstein
Watch one fellow’s funny attempt to start a new religion:
All right, ’nuff till next time.