Scott H Young

Creating Your Own Religion


Blended Faiths

Are you in a spiritual confusion? We live in a world where science, philosophy and various religions are in continuous conflict. You may want the certainty, values and purpose religion offers but this often means being forced to accept internal conflict. You may like the part of a religion that says love thy neighbor but dislike the parts that say you should persecute homosexuals. Faced with these problems I came to the point where I realized no one religion was the right one. So my solution was simply to make my own.

I’m hardly a philosopher or theologist. I’ve never even been to a church service. Although I descend from roughly three generations of atheists/agnostics I guess I would be Anglican if I want to trace it back. I don’t believe in God, Heaven, Hell or that there are specific moralistic laws guiding the universe. I believe our view of science and philosophy are horribly limited at best and simply agreed upon set of truths at worst.

Despite offending the beliefs of over ninety percent of the world with the above paragraph, I do believe that religion is a necessary component of life. Although there may be a lot of baggage with it, religion serves a very fundamental purpose in peoples lives. Religion offers explanation and meaning.

Curiosity is a strong motivator. Religion explains why the universe is the way it is. Religion answers the questions of why we are here, where are we going and what reality looks like. In this sense, science too is a religion, if an incomplete one. Most religions will answer all the questions of explanation with little or no evidence while science refrains from too much speculation.

The second offering of religion is meaning. Religion offers a code of values and principles for living. It is the code that tells people how to live and why. I consider your values and principles like being your strategy for life. If you don’t have a cohesive strategy, you don’t know what opportunities to take and which ones to ignore. Worst of all, without a cohesive set of values you don’t have meaning. Without meaning you can never know whether you are winning or losing the game of life.

Virtually every major human society throughout time has had religion. This is because the purpose that religion serves is as crucial to survival as food and shelter. Being someone who is in the unique position of having no background religions affiliation, I have a special privilege. Instead of swallowing an entire set of rules and dogma, I made my own.

Creating Your Own “-ism”

Some people disillusioned with religion and faith end up abandoning it entirely. Like throwing away all your clothes because some of them make you itchy, you end up throwing away the very warmth and shelter you needed those clothes for. The solution to itchy clothes isn’t to walk around naked all the time, but to make clothes that don’t irritate.

The reason you wear clothes is to keep the environment from damaging your body and to convey your identity to the world around you. Clothes have a function. The function of religion is to provide explanation and meaning. Whatever spiritual beliefs you have ultimately work towards these two goals. To understand how you exist and to know why.

Research Other Beliefs

If you don’t like the clothes you are wearing, the place to change your wardrobe is to go shopping. I worked on my belief system by researching as many different philosophies as I could. I was already well aware of Judeo-Christian philosophies given my Western heritage, so I read about Buddhism, Zen, Daoism and Greek philosophical traditions.

Science is a good way to help formulate your belief system. Although theoretical physics may seem like a dull subject to most, it fascinates me because I believe that it really carves deep into the quest at why the universe is the way it is. I’ve also read a lot on evolution and biology for a greater understanding at why life is as it is.

From this point it is good to look towards philosophy. Classic philosophers such as Descartes, Socrates and Nietzsche offer many unique perspectives. Even self-help authors have their own belief systems to offer meaning and explanation. Authors like Eckhart Tolle, Steven Covey, Steve Pavlina and many others have contributed to my belief structure.

Shadows cannot live in the open sun. Corruption cannot survive in an open mind. Many people are afraid to really experiment with their belief system because they are worried about straying from some ideal path laid out for them. This is ridiculous. Exploring alternative ideas doesn’t weaken your ideas but makes them stronger.

Trees and the Forest

If you want to be healthy you need to understand the fundamentals of eating well and exercising. Beyond that minutia such as which nutrients to eat and whether to run or swim are small tweaks. Similarly, you need to distinguish between the fundamentals and the minutia in your own belief system.

When you research other belief systems it is easy to get caught up in the minutia and miss the bigger point. You can look at the golden statues, meditation and reincarnation beliefs of Buddhism and miss the more fundamental aspects of pacifism and non-duality. You can look at the crucifix and quote the Bible without looking at the fundamental aspects of love and service.

Some of you may think I am being too casual with my beliefs, that things such as values and spirituality shouldn’t be the content of a personal experiment or a whim. I think the opposite is true. I believe that your core beliefs to give your world explanation and your life meaning are so important, you have to construct your own.


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25 Responses to “Creating Your Own Religion”

  1. […] Clothing apparel post by Scott Young for Clothing News […]

  2. Brian says:

    Scott,
    I’m a very devout christian, I disagree with almost everything you wrote in this post.
    BUT, I think it was a great post. It was well written, sucinct, and I think it adds greatly to the conversation. Unlike many Christians that are afraid to engage with “non-christians” or who must attack them, I think it’s great to have a dialogue.
    Excellent post, excellent thoughts near the end.
    Thanks for keeping us believers on our toes, and making everyone think a little more deeply.

  3. simon says:

    Frisbeetarianism is a parody religion of obscure origins. The basic tenet is that when you die, your soul goes up on a roof and you can’t get it down. A lesser known aspect is the holy event known as “The Ascension”, which is where someone comes along with a ladder and collects all the souls. What happens then is open to debate, though one theory is that the souls are brought back down in a sort of ultimate reincarnation.

  4. […] rotenochsen wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptThe second offering of religion is meaning. Religion offers a code of values and principles for living. It is the code that tells people how to live and why. I consider your values and principles like being your strategy for life. … […]

  5. Ruth says:

    I wish more people would think deeply about what they believe or don’t believe. So many just blindly follow without thinking. Good post.

  6. Christian says:

    I handle it the same way you do: Look around, take what you think is the best and dump the rest. It is very important to think for yourself rather than praising prejudices.

    Religion itself is wonderful but the misuse of its power discredits it.

    I recommend reading “Conversations With God” (trilogy) by Neale Donald Walsch. It influenced my life a lot. I’m so happy I (accidently!) read it that my eyes are full of tears.

  7. Scott Young says:

    Brian,

    If I made you think then I did my job, whether you agree with my eventual conclusions or not.

  8. […] Jonathan Lowe wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptThe reason you wear clothes is to keep the environment from damaging your body and to convey your identity to the world around you. Clothes have a function. The function of religion is to provide explanation and meaning. … […]

  9. Slade says:

    The conclusions that an individual comes to regarding belief are not nearly as important as the questions that brought him there.

    Superior post, man.

  10. Ramaloke says:

    well, continuing your metaphora, I must be nudist :P

    and christian religion is evilll!

    I personally prefer pagans, they good people

  11. Adam says:

    Interesting post. You should check out chaos magic. Existence of magic aside, it’s pretty similar to what you’re outlining above. Start with Peter Carrol and Austin Osman Spare and go from there. In a nutshell, though, ChM is about using belief as a tool. It can get complex at times, so I also advise finding a discussion board if you want to look at the philosophy in any depth.

  12. sushil_yadav says:

    Scott Young,

    Spirituality, Peace, Tranquility and Happiness require Slowness – they cannot exist in a fast world.

    For most of its existence on earth the human species has done hard physical work. Mental work [desk job] has only come into existence in the last 100 years. The switch-over from physical work to desk job has transformed our minds and society drastically. Science and Technology has greatly increased the magnitude of Social chaos, War, Violence and Environmental Destruction.

    In this context I want to post a part from my article which examines the impact of Speed, Overstimulation, Consumerism and Industrialization on our minds and environment. Please read.

    The link between Mind and Social / Environmental-Issues.

    The fast-paced, consumerist lifestyle of Industrial Society is causing exponential rise in psychological problems besides destroying the environment. All issues are interlinked. Our Minds cannot be peaceful when attention-spans are down to nanoseconds, microseconds and milliseconds. Our Minds cannot be peaceful if we destroy Nature.

    Industrial Society Destroys Mind and Environment.

    Subject : In a fast society slow emotions become extinct.
    Subject : A thinking mind cannot feel.
    Subject : Scientific/ Industrial/ Financial thinking destroys the planet.
    Subject : Environment can never be saved as long as cities exist.

    Emotion is what we experience during gaps in our thinking.

    If there are no gaps there is no emotion.

    Today people are thinking all the time and are mistaking thought (words/ language) for emotion.

    When society switches-over from physical work (agriculture) to mental work (scientific/ industrial/ financial/ fast visuals/ fast words ) the speed of thinking keeps on accelerating and the gaps between thinking go on decreasing.

    There comes a time when there are almost no gaps.

    People become incapable of experiencing/ tolerating gaps.

    Emotion ends.

    Man becomes machine.

    A society that speeds up mentally experiences every mental slowing-down as Depression / Anxiety.

    A ( travelling )society that speeds up physically experiences every physical slowing-down as Depression / Anxiety.

    A society that entertains itself daily experiences every non-entertaining moment as Depression / Anxiety.

    Fast visuals/ words make slow emotions extinct.

    Scientific/ Industrial/ Financial thinking destroys emotional circuits.

    A fast (large) society cannot feel pain / remorse / empathy.

    A fast (large) society will always be cruel to Animals/ Trees/ Air/ Water/ Land and to Itself.

    To read the complete article please follow either of these links :

    FreeInfoSociety

    ePhilosopher

    sushil_yadav

  13. […] Then, two weeks ago, Scott Young wrote an interesting article about Creating Your Own Religion . This resonated with me, as since Carl’s post I was also set on a thought path (or ‘internal conflict’) about my own religion that had been going on inside my mind for a couple of years: I was having a Crisis of Faith. […]

  14. Infernoz says:

    Wuss

    You talk about religion as though it was some harmless fashion accessory without realising just how toxic it can be, even in those who don’t consider themselves religious. Religion seems like just another word for Cult. with all the deserved negative connotations which go with it.

    As for philosophy, a lot of it seems like justification for societies and cultures abuses. Try reading a bit of Marquis De Sade, he made some acute observations and not just about sex. Some occult and alternative psychology authors also shed light on how blinkered many people are.

    You may want to read The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins to see the many dangers and childish ideas in religion and philosophy.

  15. Scott Young says:

    Infernoz,

    Everywhere I used the word religion I could have used philosophy. Religion does serve some useful purposes, even though it can cause problems. I’m an atheist and I have never belonged to any religious organization, so perhaps I haven’t felt the touch of a religious upbringing.

    I plan on reading The God Delusion, but frankly the book would sort of be preaching to the choir. I’ve never believed in a supreme being. Any manifestation of God I see in humanity and the universe itself rather than a divine creator.

  16. stefanie says:

    i want to make my own religion, all are welcome to join its about making inner peace with yourself and living to make something happen

  17. Whether one believes in God or not; ever looked into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints? – otherwise known as Mormons – interesting thoughts that could contribute to the lives of anyone that has written on this post.

  18. Truthseeker says:

    Great post, it does make you think. Personnaly i find that religion has divided us for various reasons and that there should just be one gobal religion with no suprime being or leader(every one is equal), with a moral code made from aspects of other religions, also everyone can answer the big question for themself(Exemple: What happens when I die)

  19. Serendipity says:

    July 8, 2011

    Scott, just read your article on creating your own religion. I don’t subscribe to your way of thinking in this area. Although I read other philosopher’s meaning of life, I believe strongly in the one true God and the Bible that is written by him, thru others. It is the one book I do not approach with an intellectual curiosity. Like anything else in life, it takes a “desire” to have a personal relationship with God, based on faith, which comes from absorbing knowledge from God’s word; hearing the Word from the Bible, and putting into practicing that knowledge in our everyday life. Notwithstanding that, anyone can have an experience like Paul on the road to Damascus that changed his way of thinking about God. Also, my belief is that God gives each one of us a choice. Wanted to convey my personal views. However, your article was well written and well thought out as usual.

  20. christopher says:

    My name is Christopher. I come from a Christian family. Way back, after finishing my schooling and when I was doing my Intermediate (junior college), I sensed a kind of emptiness in my heart. (This emptiness, which I later-on understood, was God’s way of drawing me to Himself). In my desperate attempts to solve this problem, I found myself bunking college and attending Christian meetings and visiting Christian bookshop with the hope of finding a solution. During one such visit to a Christian bookshop, I came across a small book-let titled; Tell me plainly, how to be saved. Through this book-let (written according to the Bible), I have understood that every human-being is a sinner and is bound to go to hell after one’s time on this planet-earth is over. But God’s great love for man-kind made Him send His only son, Jesus Christ, into this world. Jesus, who lived a sin-less life, suffered an account of our sins and died on the cross in our place. He rose again from death the third day and is now in the midst of us in the form of the Holy Spirit. Whoever believes in Him will become a child of God and will skip hell to enter heaven, the presence of the Almighty God.

    The book-let went-on to say that the way of believing in Jesus Christ is by repenting of our sins and asking Jesus for forgiveness for our sins as only the blood of Jesus Christ has the power to cleanse us from every kind of sin. Then we should invite Jesus into our hearts. When I did all this, the emptiness in my heart left and the love, joy & peace which I never had till then filled my heart. Since then, the Lord has been wonderfully leading me and has never left me alone, as per His promise in the Bible for all those who come to him in faith. He gave a purpose for my living. Whatever I have been going through in life, I can say with all confidence, that there was never a time that I felt or was left helpless; this is so as one of the precious promises in the Bible says: “Even lions go hungry for lack of food, but those who obey the LORD lack nothing good.”

    This is how the Lord has sought me, forgave my sins, made me His child, gave me a purpose for living, has been meeting all my needs and put His peace & joy in my heart that no person or experience or circumstance or problem can take it away.

    It’s a Biblical fact that every person has a heart with a God-shaped vacuum and nothing can fill that vacuum, except God Himself. This is why we need to invite Jesus to come into our hearts after repenting of our sins.

    The one decision I will never regret is, giving my heart to the Lord Jesus Christ. I hope and wish that you also will make a decision to make Jesus Christ your personal Lord and Savior. If so, please say this prayer meaningfully from your heart:

    Lord Jesus Christ, I believe that you are the Almighty God. Thank you for suffering on the cross for my sake. I now repent of all my sins. Forgive me of my sins. Cleanse me with your precious blood. Come into my heart, Lord Jesus and make me your child. From now on, I will read the Bible regularly and obey what it says. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

    If you have made a decision to follow the Lord Jesus Christ, please let me know the good news. Thanks. May you know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

  21. Emily says:

    Mormons are really nice. :)

  22. ricky says:

    I wanted to find my own religion and I believe in many of the things that you have said great post

  23. Kei says:

    You have a ‘printer friendly’ button but it’s not suppose to print out the comments, only the article. I had to print out 11 pages, your article is only 2. ;( Please fix. Waste of ink and paper.

    Anyways. I’m doing an essay on science and religion, how they are fundamentally the same in certain aspects as you said religion offers explanations and meanings, so can science.

    I don’t think it is necessary to make up your own religion or creating one, at least not in the way you are saying. But now we have New Ageism. It is sort of a religion but not. It is more of a movement today where people as you say, are not finding spiritual satisfaction in just one religion. So people are church hopping, or/and mixing Eastern beliefs, or New Age beliefs in their religion. I guess you can say we are creating our own religion. We get to choose how we want serve god/gods, or even serve or worship or pray to a god at all. We can just meditate or do yoga. Use tools like incense, oils, crystals, tarot cards. We don’t have to use any tools if we do not wish.

    “Do unto others and treat others as you want to be treated” is basically what you would live by. Don’t really need to create your own “-ism” but if that is what you wish, I do not see anything wrong with that. But I think you are heading in the right direction. I have interests in Eckhart Tolle and Steve Pavlina as well, but more his wife.

    I do not think you are being too casual with your beliefs. It is possible you are still discovering yourself and searching. You tend to think outside the box unlike many others who as you say might be afraid. Some just rather not leave their comfort zone and I dont see anything wrong with that. Whatever makes people comfortable is good and okay.

  24. Swiftpaw98 says:

    I’ve made my own religion, with 8 Gods and explainations to why everything is as it is, using science AND spirituality. Each person in my religion has a Daemon. Just wanted to add that. Coz I’m cool. owo
    I got sick of people telling me that because I don’t go church, that means I’m not a christian, even though I was christened into the religion. So, to make everyone happy, Imma have my own religion now. Me and my mates are part of it.
    Take that, world.

Debate is fine, flaming is not. Pretend that this comment form is a discussion taking place in my house. That means I enjoy constructive criticism and polite suggestions. Personal attacks, insults and all-purpose nastiness will be removed especially if it is directed at other readers.

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