Furthest Right

MinRel: A Lightweight Religion and Spiritual Study

Concept: a religion without the cruft and precedent that forces eventual paradox and therefore inversion.

License: free to use for all of humanity (and whoever else is listening). Each church founded on this principle should send me some tobacco, e.g. a transitory sacrifice.

Table of Contents:

I. Microkernel
II. Rituals
III. Self-Care
IV. Extra-Personal Morality
V. Mortality
VI. Binding

I. Microkernel

In order to keep this religion, named “MinRel” for “Minimum Religion,” lightweight, we use a very small core of instructions.

You believe:

  • This is a logical universe
  • It tends toward goodness, intelligence, sanity, and logic
  • Something not horrible happens after you die
  • Your life is part of a larger plan or event
  • You should be good to good people and intolerant of bad ones

That is all that is required. You can symbolize, represent, formalize, describe, or fantasize about the above in any form that you require, e.g. gods or a single god, an AI singularity, or some other notion of ultimate unity.

This section was inspired by Aldous Huxley’s essay “The Perennial Philosophy”.

II. Rituals

Based on a study of religious and spiritual rituals through the ages, the following are mandatory:

  1. Daily Awakening: Upon being renewed each morning (or afternoon, if you are lazy like me) you go through the following steps of ritual:
    1. I am nothing. I am meaningless, without inherent worth, irrelevant, and will soon be cosmic dust.
    2. However, I am given a new day and a chance to do something both rewarding and good with it, so I will do this because to do otherwise is to reject this gift.
    3. In doing so, I join the larger process of this universe becoming ever-clearer, more beautiful, and benevolent, even if its methods are violent and terrifying.
    4. I will set aside my fears, narcissism, lusts, greed, pretense, and self-hatred for the course of this day so that I may function well.
    5. Whatever I encounter that is good, I will advance; whatever I encounter that is bad, I will smite.
    6. When the day is done I will return to sleep and the land of dreams, where I will see what it is like to be dead, and hope for rebirth tomorrow morning.

    The hangover variation: add “my heart really hurts” to the first step, and “although I am worthless and filled with regret for stupid things I did while intoxicated” after the first comma on the second step.

  2. Birth: for the birth of a new sentient being, we perform the following steps.
    1. Universe, please bless this tiny creature so that it may grow into something great, a process fraught with risk, humiliation, misery, pain, doubt, and fear.
    2. Grant to this small creature the opportunities it needs, repetitively if necessary, to learn how this universe operates at an intangible level, what we call “natural order” and the need for honor, hierarchy, thymos, honesty, chastity, and the need to avoid hubris.
    3. Allow this being to form itself around a positive motivation toward what is good, instead of avoidance of what is bad or controversial, and in evasion of the tendency toward obeying the words of the law without applying its intent and meaning, as the pharisaic sophistry of socializing encourages.
    4. Last but not least, if this creature has been malformed or made horrible by a mental deformation such as schizophrenia, psychopathy, sociopathy, neurosis, promiscuity, retardation, or other insanity, give us the strength to bash it with a rock until dead and try again.
  3. Death: for the death of a sentient being, we perform the following steps.
    1. Universe, please accept our thanks for the time we have had with this creature, and take into your much wider field of information the structure of the personality and soul of this being.
    2. We who have no idea what lies beyond the wall of sleep that is death believe that this universe tends toward the good, therefore whatever comes after our physical end cannot be truly horrible.
    3. For this reason, we give our trust to you in belief in your goodness, and the hope that you will care for this person who was so important to us while they were here.
  4. Coming of Age: for a culturally-determined time when a sentient being is ready for adulthood.
    1. Forces of nature, please guide this young person as they attempt to understand the world in which they have awakened.
    2. Show them the good, since the struggles of adulthood are becoming clear to them, and this can submerge them in a defensive negativity.
    3. Protect them as they navigate the trials of socializing, courting, and planning their future.

III. Self-Care

As part of this minimal religion, the individual is encouraged to focus on the self, with knowledge that the self is part of the world, and therefore the fates of the two are linked.

No one comes to religion for the sake of something other than themselves. In fact, the concept of the Good, gods, or God is boring — a perfect and benevolent being, an orderly universe, and everything being roughly in hand if we pay attention to that — and stimulates no one except the fearful.

We hope to redirect fear, selfishness, and narcissism toward an awareness of the world outside the self as something necessary for the self to know itself in this relative universe, and for us to find meaning in the ordering of our minds parallel to the order of nature.

Consequently, in this religion we openly admit to being selfish egotists but see nothing wrong with that, as long as we understand it correctly, which means that we protect and nurture our world so that our selves might be relevant to something other than our lonely whims.

IV. Extra-Personal Morality

Most religions aim to control people, and therefore preach being nice to everyone, assuming that humans are by nature violent and that this violence is never justified.

We take a realistic view: good people need to support other good people, and by “good” we mean the intersection between productive, creative, benevolent, and affirmative nurturing and the competence to achieve it, and send away the bad people, or those who destroy, damage, or corrupt good things.

The order of nature rewards competence, but those who are actually competent tend toward the good, since being bad leads only to short-term rewards and then produces long-term crises. For good to prevail, bad must be actively destroyed, like removing ticks, weeds, fleas, or microbes.

V. Mortality

No religion can offer what people think they want, which is an assurance of life after death. If there were writing on the wall, and science were to prove immortality, people would probably treat life as less precious than they do even now.

For this reason, as with most things religion-related, the mystery must be preserved.

We believe that this is a good universe, motivated to achieve the good and competent, and that therefore it will not lead us to a fate of nothingness, but some form of somethingness.

VI. Binding

Autonomous sentient beings cannot be forced into loyalty. They may not have free will, but they have choice, and that includes the choice to violate any oaths they have taken.

All that we can say is that we think our views are more likely correct than not, and we keep them minimal to avoid over-promising or confusing our symbolism for reality. We believe that those who keep this religion will be rewarded by the best possible outcome, even when that is not what they would have wished to have happen.

We do not feel compelled to participate here. We choose this, figuring that in a relative universe we must meet halfway what we hope to see in the world, and bind ourselves to it through positive choice not fear. Love works this way, as does learning.

Consequently, we make no claim of binding, except to say that now that you have seen our vision, it will haunt you if you choose anything lesser, since you will always know that you could have had this instead.

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