1. Creation of a New Religion
I am not entirely satisfied with any of the existing religions today. The thought occurs to me to create my own. Therefore let me wave my magic wand and do so. As of today, I found the “Universal Democratic Religion.” I am at this moment the head of a religion of one.
I am not a prophet, master, or enlightened soul. I am an ordinary but engaged citizen of this planet, who wishes to increase the possibilities inherent in religion by exploring the subject with you.
You are welcome to join me in my exploration.
Here is my "wish list," my vision for a new world religion.
My religion would be "universal.” It would involve spiritual practices accessible to anyone and everyone, at any time, in any place. While universal in scope, these practices would be generic in content, portable and affordable. (1) [For footnotes, see bottom of this page.]
If a practice is not universal or affordable, it will leave someone out.
If it is not generic, it will be difficult to understand and will not unite us.
If it is not portable, it will be difficult to practice when we are old or sick.
By creating it, I aim to draw together a set of disciplines which would allow me to pursue my practices with as few interruptions and as little downtime as possible.
Founders of religions are supposed to “decree,” are they not? Well, let me try my hand at decreeing. I decree that my religion require no ministers, organizations, or hierarchies in deference to whom individuals must mould or modify their practices. (Yes, this feels good.)
I decree that, in my religion, no one has the right (especially me) to require that he or she be recognized as a final authority over others. Let there be no (human) intermediaries between ourselves and God.
I decree that you are your own final authority, within your own field of competence, but … within that field only. I decree that authority in this religion is non-transferrable. (This is as much fun as Trading Places.)
My new religion would be "democratic," not simply in the sense that it recognizes that the people rule, but also in the sense that it encourages the people to consent to be ruled by just and fair laws, based on human rights and natural justice.
What Buddhists call “dharma” and “right conduct” is an important element of my religion. As a spiritual practice, I invite all who wish to join me to ever-more-consciously adhere to the human-rights tenets of the international charters and covenants that the world has agreed to. Primary among these is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
I decree that my new world religion favour no culture or language group over another. All cultures and language groups would be welcome to apply these practices and add to our knowledge.
I further decree that my religion remain generic so that everyone can know, to the greatest extent possible, what is being worshipped and referred to. I consider the process of rendering spiritual concepts generic to be itself a worthwhile discipline.
At the same time, I would accept the use of words that are universally revered and applied (such as “God” or “Lord”) or the use of universal metaphors that point to spiritual realities (such as “Father,” “Mother,” or “Child” -- more on these later). I write this, my one-time manifesto, to encourage freedom from dogma, not to create new dogma.
Anyone who joins me in this is welcome to observe any other faith while practicing this one.
As the founder of my own religion, I would not lean, personally, towards the evangelical (2), although I do respect the right of other religions to do so. I prefer no pressure when it comes to religious matters.
2. Reverential Objects
Ah, but now seriousness inescapably enters. Here comes the discussion of the objects of reverence in my new world religion. For those of you who wish to wrestle with a theological framework, I offer these hypotheses, the proof of which is to be found in enlightenment. (For those of you uninterested in matter such as these, please skip to section 3.)
The first hypothesis introduces the One without which nothing exists. It holds that there is only one God who has become all forms and who, through agents, creates, preserves, and transforms all life as we know it.
The second states that the senior of these agents is God as the Trinity, an identity known to many world religions. It is as the Trinity that He created the world and mysteriously inhabits it.
I decree new names for the Trinity. God the Father becomes known as the Transcendental. (3) God the Mother (formerly known as God the Holy Spirit) becomes the Phenomenal. (4) And God the Child (formerly known as God the Son) becomes the Transcendental in the Phenomenal.
The proof of Their existence is to be found in realizing Them.
For anyone looking for a broader statement of the case, here are ten hypotheses on spiritual evolution from my own explorations, which you are free to accept or reject, as you please.
1. Every man, woman, and child on this planet is God. Every man, woman, and child lives forever, through countless physical lives.
2. All of us have journeyed out from God, by His command, and will return to Him once we know that everything in this world, including us, is God.
3. The Father created the domain of the Mother (mater, matter) as the setting for our spiritual journey and education. We wander in this material realm lifetime after lifetime, constantly learning.
4. The Father made the material domain lawful. The most important law for us to know is the law of karma, which requires that what we do unto others shall be done unto us.
5. The form of our total journey is a sacred arc, like Jacob's Ladder, away from and back to God. But, day by day, we also follow a spiritual spiral, returning to the same karmic lessons until we learn them.
6. From one day to the next, we may expand or contract, but all the while we are cosmically drawn back to Him by a sub-sensible, eternal longing, planted there by Him, for Him: a longing for liberation. (For more on this, see "The Longing for Liberation" at http://www.angelfire.com/space2/light11/longing.html.)
7. In the cosmic Drama, there are three Actors we must realize: God the Father, God the Mother, and God the Child. These are the Transcendental, the Phenomenal, and the Transcendental in the Phenomenal. Christians call them (note the change in order) the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Hindus call them Brahman, Atman, and Shakti. The Formless became two Forms, made trillions of forms, and then mysteriously entered them. We are required to know the Trinity.
8. Everyone will reach Him – some in the morning; some in the afternoon; and some in the evening. Experiences will vary, but all will eventually know God.
9. Every genuine path will work. God plays all roles and observes all actions. He has become many; next to Him, there is none.
10. In His love, He is universal, impartial, and supreme. What He wills must happen. He decreed this Drama for His own Pleasure. Each time someone knows its Self -- "Oh Thou I!" (5) -- God meets God!
For more on these subjects, see The Purpose of Life is Enlightenment at http://www.angelfire.com/space2/light11/index1.html.
3. Spiritual Practices
As founder of my own religion, I shall explore and identify spiritual practices that are universal, generic, portable, and affordable.
Examples of existing practices which meet these requirements are prayer, singing divine hymns, adoration of God, loving everyone, selfless service, Self-enquiry, meditation, and mantra recitation.
These disciplines lend themselves to generic practice. They are universal in that they are capable of being done by anyone at any time in any place. They are portable, in that they can be practiced without resort to external objects or rituals. And they are affordable in that they cost nothing to perform. I adopt them and look for others.
Well, then, this is my religion of one, my new world religion. May the Lord bless it and may He bless all world religions, yours and everyone else’s. May growing understanding and uninterrupted practice bring us all endless enlightenment.
That having been said, I now step down as head of my own religion and surrender the power of decree.
Thank you for joining me in an exploration of religion as I would like to see it.
(1) All definitions are from Merriam-Webster Online.
Universal: including or covering all or a whole collectively or distributively without limit or exception.
Generic: relating to or characteristic of a whole group or class.
Portable: capable of being carried or moved about.
(2) Evangelical: marked by militant or crusading zeal.
(3) Transcendental: being beyond the limits of all possible experience and knowledge.
(4) Phenomenal: known through the senses rather than through ... intuition.
(5) Bayazid of Bistun's exclamation upon realizing God. See Aldous Huxley, ed., The Perennial Philosophy, p. 12.