Starting a religion

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Starting a religion

Postby PWrong » Sun Aug 27, 2006 5:19 am

How would one go about creating a full-blown religion? Would it be easiest to do it over the internet?
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Re: Starting a religion

Postby Hugh » Sun Aug 27, 2006 5:53 am

PWrong wrote:How would one go about creating a full-blown religion? Would it be easiest to do it over the internet?

Probably. Are you interested in doing this yourself PWrong?

Religion may be defined as: "a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, esp. when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs."

So what exactly did you have in mind? :)
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Postby PWrong » Sun Aug 27, 2006 7:23 am

It would be interesting to see how quickly it might spread. Scientology has done pretty well for itself, and that was created before the internet. Maybe with careful planning, a religion could become almost as popular as scientology in less than a year.

Religion may be defined as: "a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, esp. when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies

Let's see, I've always liked the "pre-universe" idea that I read about in the Elegant Universe. In this idea, our universe is inevitable. If it suddenly stopped existing, the big bang would happen again. As for a purpose, I don't think we really need one for the univese. Some religions believe in a cyclic universe. It's hard to see how that could have a purpose.

usually involving devotional and ritual observances

I'm sure we could come up with a few of these.

and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs."

Utilitarianism is perfect for this. It's essentially one rule that governs everything we do. Instead of praying, one could study the effects of everyday decisions that you make, and try to gauge your own utility and morality.

Utility could be the actual thing we believe in, like Thetans in Scientology or the soul in Christianity.
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Postby Hugh » Sun Aug 27, 2006 8:30 am

The problem is, that on a day to day basis, most people are only looking out for themselves and their immediate family for short term gains, and not worrying about the long term greater good for the whole. It's what has helped individuals survive over the centuries, but it is in conflict with the general idea of Utilitarianism.
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Postby PWrong » Sun Aug 27, 2006 9:00 am

That hasn't stopped any other religions. As you said, most religions have some form of moral code that adherents follow. Even non-religious people have a moral code, usually one they decide on themselves, or one based on the law. I think most people like to know what they should do in certain situations, or have some way of working it out. People generally don't like making big decisions, and yet we make them every day without much guidance.

it is in conflict with the general idea of Utilitarianism.

Not necessarily. I mentioned the story about fathers in a playground in the utilitarianism thread. If you have 100 parents and 100 children, what's the best way for the parents to take care of the children? You simply assign one child to each parent. You take care of your own child, but not at the expense of other children (i.e. you don't steal toys for your kid or let your kid jump the que to the swings).
That's why, to be a good utilitarian in your daily life, you should take care of yourself (and your family) first, and the rest of the world second.
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Postby bo198214 » Sun Aug 27, 2006 9:04 am

PWrong wrote:People generally don't like making big decisions, and yet we make them every day


Do we? :shock:
I would guess there is not even a handful of major decisions in an normal humans life.
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Postby PWrong » Sun Aug 27, 2006 9:24 am

Well, I guess it depends on how you define "big decision", but you're probably right that most people don't make them every day.

I think any decision about one's health, career, family or love life would affect morality and utility to some extent.
Some people, like politicians, doctors and the police would make big decisions nearly every day.
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Postby Hugh » Sun Aug 27, 2006 9:29 am

Many religions also have a huge reward promised after death; an eternal life of bliss in heaven with their loved ones and God. That might be part of the draw because it's a reward that an individual can look forward to if he's good during his life. With Utilitarianism, you may have to sacrifice often for the greater good with nothing really in return, and no eternal life in heaven promised either.
PWrong wrote:to be a good utilitarian in your daily life, you should take care of yourself (and your family) first, and the rest of the world second.

But this may come in direct conflict with the greater good sometimes. In a Utilitarian world, some people may be told they have to use bicycles to get to work to cut down on pollution, for the greater good. What if they don't want to, should they be forced?

Who gets to decide? Who is the boss in such a world? Why them from that country instead of another? What about if justifiable slavery creeps into the equation, for the greater good?
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Postby PWrong » Sun Aug 27, 2006 10:36 am

Many religions also have a huge reward promised after death; an eternal life of bliss in heaven with their loved ones and God. That might be part of the draw because it's a reward that an individual can look forward to if he's good during his life. With Utilitarianism, you may have to sacrifice often for the greater good with nothing really in return, and no eternal life in heaven promised either.

True, but not all religions advocate being a good person based on self-interest. Many claim that you should be good simply because it's right, and people take this as a good enough reason. Utilitarianism doesn't force you to do anything. All it says is "you will be a better person if you do this". Whenever you think, "I don't know what I should do", utilitarianism will have the answer.

But this may come in direct conflict with the greater good sometimes. In a Utilitarian world, some people may be told they have to use bicycles to get to work to cut down on pollution, for the greater good. What if they don't want to, should they be forced?

We're talking about preference utilitarianism here. If people prefer breathing to driving a car, then maybe they are morally required to ride a bike. If it turns out that utilitarianism requires that some law be put in place, that law will be a good thing, by the very definition of "good". Fortunately, we believe the utilitarian definition will almost always coincide with our intuition of what is good. There is a reason for this. Our minds (and some animal minds) have evolved a vague approximation to utilitarianism, because following it benefits us as a species.

Who gets to decide?

There is no decision in utilitarianism. (There are preferences, but that's different). When the idea is perfected, it will be deterministic. You wouldn't have a judge who decides whether you've done the right thing, you'd have a judge who calculates it, or makes an educated guess. The judge has no power over the judgement, and this is a good thing.

Who is the boss in such a world? Why them from that country instead of another?

I'm not yet talking about a government based on utilitarianism, although that would be good too. I'm talking about a personal religion. You would probably judge yourself, and try to calculate your own morality. When faced with a big decision, you'd try to figure out the best course of action based on utility.

What about if justifiable slavery creeps into the equation, for the greater good?

You're essentially asking, "if slavery was a good thing, would it be a good thing?" The answer is, of course it would. However, under utilitarianism, slavery almost certainly isn't justifiable. We all know it's bad, and the reasons why. The equations will reflect this.
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Postby papernuke » Sun Aug 27, 2006 4:31 pm

I'll join your religion (if you even make it).
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Postby Nick » Sun Aug 27, 2006 10:15 pm

Religions are very easy to make, as long as they propose something unique (or uncommonly heard of), and tell people what they want to hear (afterlife, predistination, fate, etc.). As long as it has no major contradictions (well, not in the beginning, at least) , it should be very easy to start.
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Postby papernuke » Sun Aug 27, 2006 11:34 pm

Can't you just make a religion following evolution then?
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Postby moonlord » Mon Aug 28, 2006 9:10 am

People believe in a religion because it gives them faith. Now, what benefices do you have (personally, on short term) if you believe in evolution? I see none.
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Postby PWrong » Mon Aug 28, 2006 12:23 pm

I'll join your religion (if you even make it).

Thanks Icon. :D

Religions are very easy to make, as long as they propose something unique (or uncommonly heard of)
I think my idea is pretty unique.

and tell people what they want to hear (afterlife, predistination, fate, etc.)

As I said, I think many people have situations when they would like to know the right thing to do. Utilitarianism offers them this.

it should be very easy to start.

Well we already have two adherents, and I haven't even written anything yet :wink:. Anyone else want to convert? Maybe I'll make a website about it.
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Postby papernuke » Mon Aug 28, 2006 5:53 pm

PWrong wrote:
I'll join your religion (if you even make it).

Thanks Icon. :D



No problem.
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Postby Hugh » Tue Aug 29, 2006 8:24 am

PWrong wrote:Maybe I'll make a website about it.

Howbout: RightFromPWrongUtilitarianism.com :)
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Postby Universally_thinking » Thu Sep 14, 2006 9:58 pm

sorry but religeon is for the deluded/arrogant.
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Postby PWrong » Tue Sep 26, 2006 3:57 pm

sorry but religeon is for the deluded/arrogant.

I think you're confusing religion with a few particular religions. I don't think many buddhists are arrogant. There are plenty of deluded and arrogant atheists as well.
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Postby thigle » Tue Sep 26, 2006 7:13 pm

yep. religion is not just for deluded/arrogant. but etymologically, 'religio' meant 'to become bound', 'to bind'. like you become bound by some vows. or bound by ideology or idea of god, or some type of (mystical) state of mind.

so anyone can be religious about anything, if there is enough of sacred bond between the person and whatever it is that one practices. an atheist might be religious as well, about/with/through his art for exemple, or about certain concepts and domains,etc.

and buddhism is not a religion per se, i would argue, but that's another topic.
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Postby thigle » Tue Sep 26, 2006 7:18 pm

to finish, religion is not only for deluded/ignorant but also for awakened. a yogi is bound by his sadhana(practice), a monk by his vows, anyone who imposes on oneself a bound to a practice of a meaningful essence becomes & acts religious.

religion in positive sense might be understood as meaningful sacred sacred relationship.
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Postby pat » Tue Sep 26, 2006 8:26 pm

There are already a few Internet religions:

There are also some religions that have made great strides using the Internet:
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Postby Nick » Tue Sep 26, 2006 9:37 pm

Don't forget the church of the flying spaghetti monster. May his noodly appendage touch us all :)
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Postby PWrong » Fri Sep 29, 2006 9:13 am

Those are all parodies of religion, except the church of all worlds. I'm talking about the real thing.

I guess the best way would be to create a large website, and maybe write a book. Maybe I'll do it when I'm older and have nothing better to do :lol:.
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Re: Starting a religion

Postby unicole » Fri Mar 06, 2015 5:36 pm

Hello! I have done just that. My religion is called Unicultism. You can find out more about it here http://www.un1v3rs3.com

I am working on a book right now called Create Your Own Spirituality I will be happy to send you the draft if you email me unicole.unicron@gmail.com
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