Okay I’m a little freaked out. You’ve heard of the Stanford psychology experiment of 1971 that enrolled some college students and assigned them to be either guards or prisoners? Within a short period of time, the mild-mannered well-adjusted students fell deeply into their roles as either sadistic guard or depressed prisoner and the experiment had to be prematurely aborted.
Well as soon as I jokingly introduced the idea of establishing a religion, my mind immediately latched onto the idea and began deciding what rules would be foundational, what dogma members would absolutely have to agree to in order to belong, what beliefs were indispensable.
Precisely the reason I find myself unable to join any already established religion — because there will always be something that I can’t get behind.
And I immediately begin to justify my choices. “‘Love is the Law.’ No one can argue with that, can they? Everybody knows Love is the highest good. Surely anyone worth being associated with would swear allegiance to such an idea.”
But precisely because it’s an idea that members would be asked to embrace absolutely and without any exception is what makes it feel really dangerous to me, when I step back and look at the monster being built.
What if there was an escape clause of sorts? A mandate to “Think for yourself” or “Everyone is responsible for their own Trip.” Then any rule, principle or directive issued would have to be filtered by each individual through their own mental machinery to see what comes out the other side for them.
And then of course you’d have to have some kind of clause insisting that “Diversity is to be tolerated, encouraged and celebrated” so that when we’re all standing around holding a different result from the same starting point, no one has to feel the outcast or throw theirs in the trash.
It gets fantastically messy real quick.
No wonder the other founders of religion ended up creating such giant cesspools of insanity.