Bnonn Tennant (the B is silent)

Where a recovering ex-atheist skewers things with a sharp two-edged sword

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I’ve invented the perfect religion

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7 minutes to read My cover is now blown, but who cares? I’ll be rich.

I haven’t wanted to tip my hand until now, but I am actually an evil genius. Of course, I know the Bible is true in what it says about God, man, sin etc. I am a genius, after all. But I’m not playing on God’s side. The Infernal Prince recruited me at a tender age, when my parents left me alone to pray under a statue of Mary.

This blog has just been a smokescreen, to divert suspicion while I was working on a singularly difficult task which The Shining One set for me.

Obviously he wants to see the gates of hell prevail. So he decided to create a new religion that will appeal as strongly as possible to as broad a group of people as possible—so as to lead them away from the truth.

Being a busy…fellow…he outsourced this task to me.

Needless to say, I’ve been under a lot of pressure, but I have finally got the job done.

I’ve already compiled my plan into a report and dispatched it to the Netherworld via spooky typewriter, but it’s hard to contain my excitement while I wait to hear back. Since I no longer need my cover, I’m going to just go ahead and post a few notes from my workbook here, so you can all marvel at my prowess. It’s not like there’s anything you can do to stop us now.

The first part is from many years ago; the second part is much more recent:

Conundrums

This all comes down to some pretty basic issues. Unfortunately they’re not basic in the sense of being easy. Here’s where I’m stuck right now:

  • How to get rid of judgment without getting rid of morality? No one wants to be judged, least of all by God. I need a religion without judgment, and especially without a final judgment. But judgment is a natural consequence of morality, and it is simply impractical to get rid of that. Natural man can’t function without morality of some kind. How can I get rid of one without getting rid of the other?
  • How to incorporate worship of divinity while maintaining human autonomy? The whole point of Adam’s sin was to take divine authority upon himself. So replacing God with another deity or deities is troublesome; natural man will resist submission to any deity. Yet he is still incurably religious and wants to worship. How to reconcile these pesky facts in a way that will be appealing to reprobate sinners?
  • How to recognize the need for redemption without recognizing the fall? This is really thorny. Man has an innate sense that he was made for something better, that he should be immortal, that impermanence and suffering are unnatural states; that the world is fallen. But to acknowledge this immediately raises the question of how it happened, and what the natural state should be. If we open that door it starts a chain reaction that can’t be stopped, and leads straight to Christianity. Dilemma.
  • How to promise salvation without requiring reconciliation with God and forgiveness for sin? I need to figure out a way to make a return to perfection seem plausible, but without admitting the obvious: that things are imperfect now because of human sin, and therefore the way to solve the problem is to stop sinning and love God. Obviously we want man to keep sinning as much as possible. Love is out of the question. How to do this…?
  • How to achieve salvation without relying on God? Not only must we recognize the need for redemption, and promise it somehow, but there’s another dilemma here: moral perfection is obviously a bar too high to achieve, yet we can’t risk offending man’s comical sense of autonomy by having God do all the work of salvation for him. (Better not to risk including God in this religion at all, I think.)
  • How to alleviate existential angst without eliminating existential meaning? No one likes feeling that their life is pointless, wondering what it all means, asking why they are here, why they aren’t as fortunate as others, etc. People need meaning, so I can’t just say there is none. But they need meaning without God. That’s obviously absurd since God is the ground of meaning…you can’t create meaning out of thin air if you life is objectively meaningless. Conundrum.

Solutions

I’ve finally come up with ways to defuse these problems. It has taken me a long time to refine these ideas into a coherent system, but they really fit together nicely now. Obviously it will all fall apart if you start poking around too much, but the Dark Lord doesn’t expect the impossible—he knows that any lie will fall crumble under scrutiny. Fortunately, man wants to believe, so as long as we make the lie consistent he won’t want to shine any light on it. Well, mission accomplished!

Some of these ideas do look kind of familiar, but I guess that’s just because they’ve been spinning around in my head for so long that I’m starting to get déjà vu about them.

  • We can get rid of judgment by having man work off moral debt through many lives. This substitutes infinite second chances for a final judgment, promising to put off forever what man innately knows is inevitable. By working off past wrongdoings through reincarnation, he gets to keep his basic intuitions about right and wrong, but without the fear of death. Bonus: man gets to feel spiritually superior to people who make poorer moral choices than he does, while preventing him from interfering, since those people must work off their own debt to move up the ladder. Overall effect: long-term degeneration of society under the pretext of spiritual advancement. Very pleased!
  • We can incorporate worship by making man himself godlike. This is so obvious I can’t believe it took me so long to think of it. The need for worship is solved by making man himself divine—so he gets to keep his innate sense of God’s existence, while retaining autonomy by redirecting worship into himself. The very essence of perpetuating Adam’s sin—I expect this to be highly popular. Bonus: if man is divine, it also explains his feeling that he should be immortal. Hilarious false positive. Love it.
  • We can recognize the need for redemption by attenuating man’s divinity. Clearly, he isn’t yet in touch with his divine nature; what he needs is to advance spiritually until he is fully aware of this “true” reality. Redemption becomes not a change in moral status, but a change in awareness. We can couch this in terms of “inner divinity”, and of course we can incorporate biological evolution too. If everything is evolving into a higher state of awareness, it kind of makes sense if you don’t think on it too hard (and natural man is so good at convincing himself that it sounds like nonsense because it is lofty!)
  • We can promise salvation because redemption is non-moral. This lets man keep his intuition about how the world is fallen, but without having to turn from sin, or submit to/rely on God in any way. Salvation is not from sin, but from the illusion of this world that keeps us from recognizing the true nature of reality. It’s about developing an awareness of one’s divine nature. I’m calling this “enlightenment”. Sounds pretty cool right? Note: ultimately individuals will have to be subsumed under a single, universal divine consciousness. That’s just inevitable to cater to the touchy-feely types who want harmony, as well as for defusing the noticeable problem of contingency. Should work just fine.
  • We can achieve salvation by incremental, superficial rituals. Man takes special umbrage at being told he is impotent to save himself, and that God must do it for him. Any false religion has to have some kind of system for man to work for his own salvation. This reincarnation idea really fits in nicely to obscure the absurdity of this. Not only have we obfuscated what the goal actually is (perfection—lol, how do you ever achieve that?) but if you have infinite time to achieve enlightenment by being born again and again (heh), then it actually seems like you could get there. Eventually. I mean, you can do anything with infinite time, right? Bonus: how’s this for a sweetener—with infinite time, man never actually has to do anything to be saved. Why do today what can be put off for infinite tomorrows? We don’t want anyone making moral progress, after all—even by accident. Man himself doesn’t want that! He wants to wallow in his sin while reading about spirituality, and planning to be enlightened, and thinking about how spiritual he is. So this is just ideal—a religion that makes no actual demands, but presents the illusion of progress through superficial feel-good rituals. Note: meditation should definitely be central in these rituals. We want to ensure man feels his commonsense perceptions are unreliable. Sensory deprivation or overload are both great for that, but meditation has a built in woo-woo factor that is irresistible. I’d twirl my mustache if I had one.
  • We can alleviate existential angst by making man’s goal “becoming one with the divine”. This is especially ingenious because it’s such a delicious half-truth. We’re just replacing man becoming onetogether with God, with becoming one with “god”. It’s so audacious it would make the serpent himself blush.

Obviously there are a lot of details be worked out still. But the structure looks very promising. A clever system for pulling the wool over man’s eyes while he’s in his handbasket. With these basic concepts in place, we can create the perfect religion (maybe even religions?) for anyone who wants to claim to be wise while actually having become a fool. A religion custom-tailored to the natural man.

 1 comment

Cody

One would think you were related to Screwtape himself. He would be very proud.