I would totally attend a Sunday Assembly at the local shelter
But which kind of Satanism? The “original” Church of Satan, founded by Anton LaVey in the sixties (IIRC), was/is avowedly atheistic – though of a decidedly Nietzschean bent, rather than humanist:
11. When walking in open territory, bother no one. If someone bothers you, ask him to stop. If he does not stop, destroy him.
— The Eleven Satanic Rules of the Earth.
Mission failed. You’re already calling it a ‘church.’ If you want to create a group that is completely not in reference to or beholden to the history of religion in any way…don’t create a religion. Create a different category of group.
You could actually probably swing that homily in a UU or even a more traditional Christian church, if the reading that day was from Ecclesiastes…
Mission SUCCEEDED. (never assume somebody failed right off…you know what they say…)
Being a Church has it’s advantages as a legal construct and can stand toe-to-toe with the other churches that are filled with those who would like to be Gleeful Agnostics but don’t really have another home and don’t see ‘more or different spirituality’ or even ‘tongue in cheek fake deity’ as a truly sincere response.
That thought process had happened though, and there are lots of groups in that ‘other category’. I’d more of a min/maxer at heart…I see many advantages to ‘Church’ as a top layer.
We called it the debate team.
(Sorry, I couldn’t resist.)
Well…maybe. My problem with labels like ‘atheist’ and ‘agnostic’ is that they still assume I care about the implied question itself. I don’t. Even as a non-dichotomous question (‘What are your thoughts on the existence of God?’, I feel a totally valid answer is ‘blue’ because I refute the assumed validity of the question.
The only difference between a nihilist and a Taoist is that the Taoist just rolls with it. I’m down with that.
ETA: This discussion now reminds me of lyrics from a Marilyn Manson song:
Yesterday man, I was a nihilist / Now today I’m too fucking bored
By the time I’m old enough / I won’t know anything at all
This resonates with me more than I’d like to admit.
This is definitely for the teapot agnostic crowd, so basically what you described. Basically ‘don’t know, pretty sure it’s weird to care, definitely not a priority’
Maybe there’s a better name? I still like the idea of butting heads with the churches, they’ve got some great laws! And they’re FULL of people who are just there socially but would love the same basic concept without all being told by somebody who obviously can’t know what they’re saying what the universe is made out if.
And yup, Daoism is a nice parallel too. It’s interesting how the language itself led to some unique ways of describing things, I always found that fascinating.
I’ve come across the neologism 'apatheist’, though I’m pretty sure the people that term is referring to really don’t give a shit about the semantics of their position, seeing as they don’t have one.
And this is exactly the crux of the matter. I don’t like using words that assume premises I don’t see as valid. Most people don’t. The struggle is trying to detect when this is happening. That’s the insidious thing about language: it shapes our thoughts as much as it seems to enable us to express them.
There is also actually a ‘Church of the Apathetic Agnostic’, but that was kind of the point of the ‘gleeful’ bit. It’s one thing just to say ‘meh’, and another to say ‘I have no clue because I don’t NEED to have one! Let’s have some fun!’
It’s the joyously uncertain attitude that I think needs a home, y’know?
There are two really great songs that hone in on this—I don’t know what to call it—existential glee? Taoist wisdom? What the Zen Buddhists described as ‘the light from dark knowledge’? Anyway, you may already be a fan of these artists, seeing as their wordsmithing is every bit as good as their songsmithing:
Neko Case, ‘I’m an Animal’
Pick up that rock (drink from that lake)
I do my best but I’m made of mistakes
Yes, there are things I’m still quite sure of
I love you this hour
This hour today
And heaven will smell like the airport
But I may never get there to prove it
So let’s not waste our time thinking how that ain’t fair
I’m an animal
You’re an animal, too
Queens of the Stone Age, ‘If I Had a Tail’
In the land of the free
I wanna suck, I wanna lick
I want to cry and I want to spit
Tears of pleasure
Tears of pain
They trickle down your face the same
LOVE the Neko Case song! But the Queens of the Stone Age one is new to me, thanks!!!
Exactly, it’s totally a thing, and lots of us feel it. Some of us have no issues with not thinking too hard about the unknowable and embracing the knowable, the fun, and the lively. Some of us NEED it!
And we really don’t have the good places to gather where we can be as collectively powerful as a typical religion is, and I think a lot of us think that while we can respect people’s right to faith…religion can be a big problem and is really holding us back as a species and culture.
There’s also the idea of embracing science, but the secular thing can scare some people off and that just throws us back into ‘fragile’ constructs. Why not try to create something where we can do everything the Christians do and start making US the ones that are dominating the leadership. We’re not represented by people are afraid to not pray, and definitely not by the massive number of people in power who are actively anti-reality.
And I really like the idea of some of our ‘Churches’ being directly tied to Animal Shelters, Parks, Soup Kitchens, Nature Preserves, and that sort of thing. I think there’s maybe something that could be tapped.
I’m kind of in a stretch where a lot of opportunities are opening themselves up for me and things are coming together in some delightful ways, I like the idea of trying to engineer some futures that aren’t so damn Emo all the time!
Human civilizations will always find a cornerstone to embrace. 'Ism’s are our most secure shackles, which is why so many devote their lives to breaking them. To call them Buddhists or Taoists is an ironic joke.
Whether you’ve heard of Linji, you’ve almost certainly heard his famous saying: ‘If you meet the Buddha on your path, kill him.’
Linji’s upheaval of Buddhist culture makes Jesus of Nazareth’s revision of Judaism look quaintly conservative. Linji hit the living bejeezus out of his followers until they’d abandoned every artifice of what was then considered Buddhist thought. He did not give. a. fuck. about labels, words, thoughts, or creeds. Most historians of east Asian religion now consider him the godfather of Zen. If he were alive today, he’d probably tell both the historians and Zen’s adherents to shove that label up their asses, too.
I have no sources to back me up on this, but I am 99.9…% certain than Palahniuk based Fight Club character Tyler Durden on Linji.
There are subjects like “comparative religion”, but unless you go to one of a select number of universities and read theology you won’t get an understanding of what William Empson called “All those strong lies by which men long live well.” The biggest single problem is finding people able to teach basic theology and religion as a subject like history or geography in schools - and they’d probably be run out of town on a rail pretty quick in many places.
UK schools are supposed to teach the practicalities of religion as a subject, but we have our own problems with fruitcakes starting religious schools which break the law - Hassidic and Evangelical schools seem to be more of a problem than Muslim schools because they have been at it longer.
I am no expert, but if there is one religion that I suggest people look at seriously it’s Zen. Forget the specifically Asiatic elements, but look at its lack of interest in gods, its emphasis on direct experience and “naturalness”, and its take no prisoners attitude to sacred writings and authorities. T S Eliot, who was extremely well educated about different religions, decided to be an Anglican - but in Four Quartets he refers to “return to where we started and know the place for the first time”, which is extremely Zen.
Ha, beat me to it by two minutes. Great mines stink alike.
Linji was hardly alone. I forget who it was, but one teacher began a sermon with “What are the Arhats? The Arhats are a privy that has been shat in.”
But you can’t just read a book and become a person of Zen. It has to be experienced.
Holy crap, I had NOT thought of this but now that you planted the seed it’s pretty much stuck in my head.
I love when somebody gives me a bunch of free XP!
Yeah, we DEFINITELY would need some anti-‘ism’ creed in there somewhere. Gleefully clueless captures it fairly well, but there’s no such thing as too many backup plans, and when humans are involved, they need backup plans too.
If Linji saw my book collection, he’d probably soak it in kerosene and light a match. And then hit me.
And he’d be totally right.