Invent a religion that transcends but unifies existing faiths—and win $5000!

The PuffHo “Religion” section is an endless source of fun, for it’s really a combination of religion, “spirituality,” and self-help, usually with a generous dose of Isalamophilia. Here, for instance, is some of today’s page:

Screen Shot 2016-01-24 at 7.36.03 AM Screen Shot 2016-01-24 at 7.36.17 AM

The “How to Live Life Fully” video has virtually nothing to do with religion, but includes these old chestnuts, promoted for centuries.

  1. Don’t hold back with love; show people you love them.
  2. Heed the call when opportunity, love, adventure, or purpose calls, even when it’s “scary.”
  3. Recognize problems as “gifts in disguise.”  (As you’ve heard a gazillion times, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”)
  4. Invest in experiences rather than material objects.
  5. Give back: life is a gift (from God) so give back to everyone and to the world.

I could add another five more, equally banal; but why do people still make money from recycling these old bromides? How about this one: “Work hard, but play just as hard.” Or “Living well is the best revenge.” Or “No matter where you go, there you are.”

But the piece that caught my attention was the “invent the religion” article, which turned out to be a contest with cash prizes. To go to the PuffHo article, click on the screenshot below:

Screen Shot 2016-01-24 at 6.56.15 AM

It turns out that it’s actually two organizations offering a prize (really three, though, as one, whose name you might guess, is lurking inconspicuously in the shadows); and there are three prizes. The two organizations are the 92nd Street YMCA and Krista Tippett’s “I love spirituality” website “On Being.”

The contest rules are on Facebook; simply click on the screenshot below to see the rules (below) and submit your entry:

567c10ea6c417-Genius-Challenge-Religion-Entry-rev1

Note that you can suggest a philosophy instead of a religion, so already there’s a sure winner. It’s the philosophy called “Secular Humanism”. That one already “cuts across boundaries” and “strengthens our sense of community.” Clearly no real religion—one that accepts a deity—is gonna win, because no Muslim will accept a faith that doesn’t involve Allah, Muhammad as his prophet, and the literal truth of the Qur’an. Likewise, no Christian is going to buy a faith that doesn’t give primacy to accepting Jesus Christ as the route to salvation.

So here’s what you do: just gussy up secular humanism with some pretty words about spirituality, and then confect some holidays and traditions (this is where you can get creative) that will replace stuff like Christmas and Eid. How about a pilgrimage to all the holy sites of the world, like Mecca, Bethlehem, and Santiago de Compostela? Oh wait—I forgot that you can’t get to Mecca unless you’re a Muslim. Well, you get the idea.

There are additional rules here, where the website has the amusing name of “woobox.”

I expect someone from this site to win the contest, as we have a lot of creative readers. Here’s more skinny from PuffHo:

In the context of religion, “genius” has been demonstrated over the years by philosophers and religious leaders ranging from Jesus to the Dalai Lama, Curran said [Asha Curran, Director of the Center for Innovation and Social Impact at 92nd Street Y]. The goal of the challenge, though, is to empower everyday people to come up with their own ideas for a faith system that could improve the world.

“Religion explores some of the richest and most profound questions about what it means to be human, from morality to mortality and beyond,” Annie Parsons On Being’s community and engagement coordinator, told HuffPost.

God, I’m so sick of that claim in the second paragraph! Yes, religion explores, poses, and “addresses” the questions about what it means to be human, but—it never answers them! Every religion has its own set of answers, its own morality, and they don’t comport. Give me science any day as a way to really get answers to that question, so long as you properly frame the question of “what it means to be human.” If, for example, you want to know why humans have a moral code, science can at least make some inroads into that question. One thing’s for sure, something Plato realized millennia ago: religion simply can’t tell us what morality we should espouse, or even where we got our sense or morality.

But wait: there’s more!

The challenge encourages entrants to consider not only those philosophical questions, but also hypothetical rituals, holidays and traditions that would make the new religion unique.

The contest has only received a handful of submissions so far — so the odds of winning are still high. One entry proposes that devotees revere artists as the “prophets” and “mystics” of their religion, upholding beauty as the core value.

Another suggests that all the religions of the world come together to unify over the best aspects of each of their faiths.

See how lame those suggestions are? You guys can do better than that! Imagine trying to get the religions of the world to agree on an Über-Faith! Surely secular humanism, tricked out with a few faux holidays, is a sure winner.

Now here’s the ghost in the contest, also from the PuffHo site but conspicuously absent from the announcement on Facebook (my emphasis):

Voting ends on February 14, after which a panel of judges, comprised of several representatives from 92Y and On Being, will choose three winners with prizes ranging from $1,000 to $5,000. The winners will be announced in March.

The cash prizes are being provided by the John Templeton Foundation and are intended to act as an incentive to participate rather than an investment in an actual religion, Curran said.

Wouldn’t you know it?

To help other readers win, I suggest you submit the name, occasion, and description of a new unifying holiday below.

85 Comments

  1. Woof
    Posted January 24, 2016 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    “How to Live Life Fully”

    … and it doesn’t mention CATS???

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted January 24, 2016 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

      Cats are very good at living their lives fully. As long as the fridge is well stocked.

  2. Diane G.
    Posted January 24, 2016 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    I’m not much for trumped up holidays, but if I were to name a new religion, I think I’d call it WAITTism; where WAITT stands for, “We’re All In This Together.” (So act accordingly! 😀 )

  3. Merilee
    Posted January 24, 2016 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    Sub

  4. EvolvedDutchie
    Posted January 24, 2016 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    I’m glad to see the John Templeton foundation is finally open to the possibility that religions can be invented. They might be onto something here…

  5. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted January 24, 2016 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    If Christianity and Islam did not exist and the real Jesus and Mo were to enter this contest, they would lose.

  6. jrhs
    Posted January 24, 2016 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    If there must be a holiday for the new unifying religion, let it be February 29th.

  7. Posted January 24, 2016 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    I’ve thought from time to time about proposing a new religion that wouldn’t violate known physical laws or contain anything baseless.

    If one accepts the Einsteinian idea of a “block universe,” that is, that the past, present, and future are all equally real and fundamentally indistinguishable, then 1) one can take solace in the fact we are all in a very real sense immortal (i.e., our deceased loved ones are eternally living their lives in the spacetime region we call the past); and 2) since suffering becomes a permanent fixture, there is incentive to work to minimize it.

    Also no big hats will be required.

  8. Posted January 24, 2016 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    The rules are rigged:
    “Entrants must submit an online entry form (http://woobox.com/74ra9c) beginning no earlier than December 21, 2015 at 6 PM EST and not later than February 15, 2015 at 8 AM EST (the “Deadline”).”

    • Posted January 24, 2016 at 10:08 am | Permalink

      In other words, it will take a real miracle to win this…

      • Diane G.
        Posted January 24, 2016 at 11:28 am | Permalink

        I was gonna say, if you can pull that off, I might actually have to worship you…

    • Posted January 24, 2016 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

      Gallifreyanism?

      /@

  9. SA Gould
    Posted January 24, 2016 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    All of us can do this, joinly. My contribution is… “7 Days of Genius? 5 Easy Steps to Live Life Fully?

    Too hard. Our religion should have a maximum of three somethings.

    • Diane G.
      Posted January 24, 2016 at 11:30 am | Permalink

      Sex, drugs, and rock & roll?

      • SA Gould
        Posted January 24, 2016 at 11:46 am | Permalink

        You win! Will you accept a check?

        • Diane G.
          Posted January 24, 2016 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

          I’ll have Jerry put us in touch… 😀

          Oh, wait–you’re not the sponsor!

      • Linda Grilli Calhoun
        Posted January 24, 2016 at 11:50 am | Permalink

        Several years ago a friend of mine and I decided that we should start a new religion, and we’d call it The Church of Holy Wretched Excess.

        Our sacrament would be chocolate. L

        • Diane G.
          Posted January 24, 2016 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

          Praise the holy Cocoa Pod!

          • gravelinspector-Aidan
            Posted January 24, 2016 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

            The Cocoa Pod was touched by the Noodly Appendage long ago.

            • Diane G.
              Posted January 24, 2016 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

              Mmmm, nothing like spaghetti mole.

              • Posted January 24, 2016 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

                Is that like a star-nosed mole?

                /@

              • Diane G.
                Posted January 24, 2016 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

                O. M. G.

                OT, yes, but one thing leads to another…Arrgh, the reorganization of this little corner of phylogeny!

                The bright spot is that the new (to me) enveloping taxon is the “Eulipotyphla (‘truly fat and blind’),” per Wikipedia.

        • Robert Seidel
          Posted January 24, 2016 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

          I think some bloke named Aristippus had that idea earlier. But still – count me in. If you’ll make coffee your official holy communion beverage, that is (death to the miserable tea sippers!).

          • Reggie Cormack
            Posted January 25, 2016 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

            Coming from the u.k., a nation where tea is all but the national drink, we would have to declare holy war on you for talking of of the sacred brew infusionists thusly.

  10. Jacques Hausser
    Posted January 24, 2016 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    Imagine a religion that cuts across boundaries…

    But:

    Challenge for a New Religion is open to legal residents of the U.S., who are age 18 and older.

    So I can’t contribute. I’m frustrated.

    • EvolvedDutchie
      Posted January 24, 2016 at 10:34 am | Permalink

      So much for universality!

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted January 24, 2016 at 10:46 am | Permalink

      Your religion should abolish such rules…it would be funny to include the doing away with of all arbitrary age and national boundary restrictions as the first “thou shalt” of your religion, aimed at inclusiveness and experiencing all points of view.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted January 24, 2016 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

      That’s a microaggression!

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted January 24, 2016 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

      I would have liked to have a go too. So that’s two things I’m banned from – creating a religion and being president. There must be a joke in there somewhere.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted January 24, 2016 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

        Correction: you can’t create an American religion or become an American president.

        • Heather Hastie
          Posted January 24, 2016 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

          Fair enough. 🙂

  11. Posted January 24, 2016 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    So, in order to cut across boundaries and strengthen a sense of community you set up a bunch more boundaries defining membership in yet another religious splinter group?

  12. Jacques Hausser
    Posted January 24, 2016 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    More seriously, inventing a religion is very dangerous, because it very well can hold. Cf Mormons or scientology.

  13. harrync
    Posted January 24, 2016 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    Seems to me Unitarian Universalism already fits the criteria, so why the need to invent it again?

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted January 24, 2016 at 10:47 am | Permalink

      Yeah, I was thinking the same thing.

    • Posted January 24, 2016 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

      Don’t forget the Baha’i either. They’ve been insisting that they already are the unifying religion for almost 200 years now.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted January 24, 2016 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

      … for the tax relief on the new churches.

  14. Hempenstein
    Posted January 24, 2016 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    For unification, either winter solstice or vernal equinox, called exactly that, or informally re-booting day. Reversal in the other hemisphere shouldn’t be much of a problem, either. Might be a bit of a problem around the equator, I guess.

    • Posted January 24, 2016 at 11:14 am | Permalink

      Use the equinoxes, those are universal.

      • Posted January 24, 2016 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

        Global!

        Samhain, Beltane, … !

        /@

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted January 24, 2016 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

        Solstices are as universal as equinoxes. There are parts of the world and times of the year where the elevation of the sun at local midday is below the horizon, but they still have maxima and minima. Dig a deep trench, or take your sun shots from the top of a convenient mountain.

        • Posted January 24, 2016 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

          Yes, but the maxima and minima are reversed according to the hemisphere.

  15. Another Josh
    Posted January 24, 2016 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    “Unify?” That sounds bloody.

  16. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted January 24, 2016 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    The notion of a universal religion has been attempted with both Unitarianism and Bahai (and perhaps Sikhism) with only limited success.

    In Asian countries, lots of folks belong to multiple religions (such as Buddhism and Confucianism) simultaneously so there is not that much need there for such a contest. That’s because most of the religions there are mainly philosophical religions without being focused on supernatural claims.

    I would mind less HuffPo advising us to “Give back” if they paid their writers.

    =-=-=

    JAC, I think there are some foreign languages where the dominant Arab religion really is spelled “Isalam” but here that is the name of a Muslim maker of smart phone apps (including a smart phone compass that always points directly toward Mecca). To my knowledge the HuffPo does not directly engage in “Isalamophilia”. 🙂

    • reginaldselkirk
      Posted January 24, 2016 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

      Likewise, in Japan many people claim both Buddhism and Shintoism.

      • Diane G.
        Posted January 24, 2016 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

        And I’m both a cat person and a d*g person.

    • Posted January 24, 2016 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

      How can something you have to join (in one or another sense) possibly be universal? Certainly not that “anyone can join”. Anyone can become Catholic, if they choose to.

  17. GBJames
    Posted January 24, 2016 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    $5000? I would think any religion worth it’s salt pillar would be worth many times that number!

    • Robert Seidel
      Posted January 24, 2016 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

      Was going to say the same – 5000 bucks? Meh. A Mr. Hubbard promised me a million!

    • Posted January 25, 2016 at 11:48 am | Permalink

      Perhaps the entrants should ask for a percentage of the take instead, a la George Lucas. 😉

  18. Posted January 24, 2016 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    « … so already there’s a sure winner. It’s the philosophy called “Secular Humanism”. »

    That was my first thought!

    /@

  19. Posted January 24, 2016 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    ” Six finalists, determined by the number of likes on Facebook, will be given the opportunity to submit additional supporting materials to our expert judging panel.”

    Exactly what would these “supporting materials” be????

    • Torbjörn Larsson
      Posted January 24, 2016 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

      I would say “dogmas” if it is a splinter religion, and “d*g-meows” if it is a unitarian one.

      • Diane G.
        Posted January 24, 2016 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

        And why not dogpas? Let’s not be sexist about this!

  20. Posted January 24, 2016 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    Damn, U.S. residents only. Anyone want to either collaborate or use my ideas and share the prize (if we win)?

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted January 24, 2016 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

      I was wondering if they’d even notice if you were to submit a BuyBull Mk-III composed by the Deepak-o-matic ?
      I am, of course, deliberately adding insult to injury, in both directions – I’m trying to get maximum offense for minimum effort. I used to be a cat’s staff – I know about economy of effort.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted January 25, 2016 at 1:51 am | Permalink

        Damn you! I followed that link to wisdomofchopra.com and kept clicking trying to decipher what the phrases meant. Till I suddenly realised how truly, deep(ak)ly pointless that was.

        cr

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted January 25, 2016 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

          Ah, some dull person (possibly Deepa-kitty-tray, or one of his minions) has erased the “wisdomofchopra.com” link from his Wikipedia page. Sadness.
          Considering re-invoking it, but my account is probably being watched now.
          Of course, if someone else were to reinstate the edit …

  21. gordon hill
    Posted January 24, 2016 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    Not a chance until the internal conflicts of organized(?) religions are resolved.

  22. Posted January 24, 2016 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    Reblogged this on Nina's Soap Bubble Box and commented:
    I will have to find my notes from 2011, I created an overlay of religions and they are all rather the same:

    God says I say so, because God says, give me money for your reward later and learn to love suffering

  23. Posted January 24, 2016 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    a paltry $5,000.. you can make way more than that from religion

  24. grasshopper
    Posted January 24, 2016 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”

    And did life give me the sugar, as well as the lemons? I didn’t think so.

    • EvolvedDutchie
      Posted January 24, 2016 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

      I always wonder if Ghandi or Mandela would have said such a deepity.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted January 24, 2016 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

        I prefer, “when life gives you lemons, squish the juice in life’s eyes. Take that life!”

        • EvolvedDutchie
          Posted January 24, 2016 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

          Nice!

    • Scote
      Posted January 24, 2016 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

      “And did life give me the sugar, as well as the lemons? I didn’t think so.”

      Indeed. The more accurate aphorism would be “If life gives you lemons, sugar, water and a container, make lemonade.” Seems less pithy when realism is added to the empty original.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted January 24, 2016 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

        Now you’re just expecting too much out of life.

  25. Torbjörn Larsson
    Posted January 24, 2016 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    Here is how not to do religion:

    Women denied abortions are 6 times less likely to do positive long range plans. [ http://arstechnica.com/science/2016/01/new-study-sheds-light-on-what-happens-to-women-who-are-denied-abortions/ ]

  26. grasshopper
    Posted January 24, 2016 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    I will advocate for Bokononism.

    Bokononism is a fictitious religion

    invented by Kurt Vonnegut and practiced by many of the characters in his novel Cat’s Cradle.

    Many of the sacred texts of Bokononism were written in the form of calypsos.

    Bokoninism is based on the concept of foma, which are defined as harmless untruths. A

    foundation of Bokononism is that the religion, including its texts, is formed entirely of

    lies; however, one who believes and adheres to these lies will have peace of mind, and

    perhaps live a good life. The primary tenet of Bokononism is to “Live by the foma that make

    you brave and kind and healthy and happy.”

    On the creation of Bokononism: [ 58 ]

    I wanted all things
    To seem to make some sense,
    So we could all be happy, yes,
    Instead of tense.
    And I made up lies So that they all fit nice,
    And I made this sad world
    A par-a-dise.

    I am particularly taken with the Last Rites of Bokononism. I have spoken these words at

    the funerals of friends who had read Cat’s Cradle.
    God made mud.
    God got lonesome.
    So God said to some of the mud, “Sit up!”
    “See all I’ve made,” said God, “the hills, the sea, the sky, the stars.”
    And I was some of the mud that got to sit up and look around.
    Lucky me, lucky mud.
    I, mud, sat up and saw what a nice job God had done.
    Nice going, God.
    Nobody but you could have done it, God! I certainly couldn’t have.
    I feel very unimportant compared to You.
    The only way I can feel the least bit important is to think of all the mud that didn’t even

    get to sit up and look around.
    I got so much, and most mud got so little.
    Thank you for the honor!
    Now mud lies down again and goes to sleep.
    What memories for mud to have!
    What interesting other kinds of sitting-up mud I met!
    I loved everything I saw!
    Good night.
    I will go to heaven now.
    I can hardly wait…
    To find out for certain what my wampeter was…
    And who was in my karass…
    And all the good things our karass did for you.
    Amen.

    • grasshopper
      Posted January 24, 2016 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

      Bokonon also said that html formatting is a work of the devil.

  27. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted January 24, 2016 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    And the Noodly Appendage did reach out and Touch me, and declare “open season!”
    Full Joespeh Smith, with attention to the money-making efforts of L.Ron Hubbard, but with a bit lees of the grosser exploitation of your flock’s idiocy. Let the ripping-off begin.
    (10% tithe to The Dicky Dawkins Deprtment of Debunking and the Dan Dennet e-dum-te-dum. Need a resident poet.

  28. amyt
    Posted January 24, 2016 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    this is easy………
    send a blank piece of paper.

    “imagine no religion” as the saying goes.

    • Diane G.
      Posted January 24, 2016 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

      Bingo!

    • amyt
      Posted January 24, 2016 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

      When I win, maybe they will send me a matching blank check 🙂

      • Diane G.
        Posted January 24, 2016 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

        Literal LOL!

  29. Posted January 24, 2016 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

    My submission starts like this:

    The greatest force for good in this world, which cuts across boundaries and is at the core of what it means to be human, is REASON. It is through the rigorous application of reason, using the tools of the scientific method, that we have been able to make continuous material, intellectual, and ethical progress: advancing our understanding of the universe and how we came to be in it, breaking down the divisive dogmas bequeathed to us from the infancy of our species, and gradually widening the scope of our moral concern to encompass all human beings (and nonhuman life as well). I therefore propose the following…

    Read the rest (and vote for me) here: http://woobox.com/xcr2rs/gallery/gdKDp0gDloI

  30. Posted January 24, 2016 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

    “To help other readers win, I suggest you submit the name, occasion, and description of a new unifying holiday below.”
    Well, I can’t help it folks, the best holiday I know is Moosemas, the wonderful holiday that can be celebrated by anybody when they have a need for a holiday. Feeling down? invite your friends over and have a Moosemas! Moosemas celebrates the Horned Lord of Northern European folk lore in His aspect as Bullwinkle. Get silly, dress somebody up as Rocket J. Squirrel, and party till the cows come home looking for their bull.

  31. Posted January 25, 2016 at 12:03 am | Permalink

    Well, here’s mine:

    http://woobox.com/xcr2rs/gallery/cM6mYERqwcA

    The Philosophy of Self Interest
    The Philosophy of Self Interest recognizes self interest to be the core basis of every conscious human action. Within the daily rituals of living, the philosophy of self interest promotes understanding of the motivations of people, seeking to demystify and humanize the morality of choices.
    Subscribers to the Philosophy of Self Interest understand that good is always most conducive to self interest, thus selfless is the most selfish, and the reasons for being good are real.
    A right of passage within the philosophy is to attempt to rationalize a major choice, action, event or system, justifying it fully within the scrutiny of a cost-benefit analysis toward yourself, taking into consideration the broad implications. Only by going through this rite can a person be considered trustworthy to make basic consequential decisions.
    This vision brings charity, goodness and well-being down to earth, appealing to people’s most basest instinct of helping themselves, challenging them to justify their humanity instead of merely asserting it. The one thing in common with all religions is that there is something to gain from participation, and that self interest is what unifies everyone.
    With better knowledge of how “good” works by approaching love, forgiveness and understanding with honesty, people will be compelled to make better choices, no matter race, culture or creed.

    Its a bit cynical so I don’t think it will win, but nevertheless a mil (or 5k) would be ill.

  32. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted January 25, 2016 at 1:45 am | Permalink

    ‘Recognize problems as “gifts in disguise.” ‘

    Ha bloody ha. There is a finite probability of a problem turning into an advantage, and it’s depressingly small.

    Meanwhile, I have a barrowload of well-disguised gifts that anyone sufficiently stupid is welcome to.

    Or as one tagline said, “Oh shit! Not *another* learning opportunity.”

    cr

  33. Posted January 31, 2016 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    Just posted mine, got one like so far. The leading entrant has 14, so, shameless plug here, if you agree with the following, please like!

    Rational Compassion as a Singular Object of Reverence

    This belief system is based on a single article of faith: The only purpose of the universe is the satisfaction of want.

    Compassion, because it is the only want satisfied by the satisfaction of another’s want for its own sake, is a uniquely powerful force for satisfying want. Without compassion, we are dedicated only to the satisfaction of the wants of ourselves and our kin. With compassion, want satisfaction is extended exponentially.

    Compassion is an emotion evolved in the ancient world, however, and is therefore limited in its ability to satisfy modern want. It often cannot perceive the wants of different and remote people, cannot respond reliably to interferences with want that are slow or subtle, such as industrial poisoning, can be counter-productive when unconditional or expressed without moderation, and recoils from depictions of suffering, reducing the awareness of and desire to prevent them.

    Compassion alloyed with wisdom, however – logic, science, fact, empirical observation – becomes Rational Compassion, the universe’s supreme force for want satisfaction, standing alone as an object of reverence.

    Those who call Rational Compassion holy define what is sacred, within themselves and in the greater world, in a constant, lifelong journey of discovery and worship. Our shrines are the places and things where Rational Compassion has manifested: ramps for the handicapped, preventive medicine, a note from parents accepting their LGBTQ child. Our sacred holidays are free elections, and charitable events that seek both to assuage want and to address the causes of that want. Our sacraments are the concepts and technologies that satisfy want in exceptional ways: regulated commerce, kindness to animals, the x-ray.

    Those who revere Rational Compassion understand that the power to make miracles, to author scripture, to name the divine, is both inalienable right and sacred responsibility.


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