One Cult for a Better World

I’m thinking of making Mannekin Pis, in Brussels, Belgium an object of worship in my new cult. What do you think?
I’m thinking of making Mannekin Pis, in Brussels, Belgium an object of worship in my new cult. What do you think?

I’m convinced that the world would be a far, far better place if we all belonged to a cult. Just to be clear, I don’t mean we should each choose from among a number of cults. It would have to be one universal cult. Well, maybe not universal. Just global. People on other planets can have their own cults.

But it would definitely have to be just one cult for all of us earthlings. Otherwise, we’d start fighting over which of our cult figures, deified or not, and which of our cult practices we should follow. Then, before you know it, cult-based terrorism would spring up. And maybe the occasional holy war. Then we’d be back where we started.

I should mention that I see only one difference between religions and cults: extent of acceptance. A cult is basically a religion that not enough people believe in (yet) for it to be taken seriously by the rest of us.

Some people will say, “No, no, no. Cults are crazy.”

Really? If a being from another planet who was not familiar with Earth-based religions or cults visited us, she, he or it wouldn’t see much difference crazy-wise between our religions and our cults. The former postulates, for example, an invisible, omnipotent being who wants us to pray to it and not use its name in vain. The latter, to coin a new cult, postulates a gal named Mersherlak who is in tune with the rhythms of the universe and wants us to praise her and not use the word guttersnipe in public. If you weren’t at all familiar with either of those, or any similar beliefs, they’d both sound equally insane.

A non sequitur aside: Some people dread the possibility of intelligent species from other planets visiting us. They fear that the aliens would subjugate or destroy us. I, on the other hand, would welcome the prospect of there finally being an intelligent species on Earth.

Cult Rituals

Rituals help to bind people together and keep the cult going through the ages. So, our cult will have to have some.

At ceremonial gatherings, we’ll solemnly eat wafers and drink wine. And we shall call these gatherings “Happy Hour.”

The wafers shall represent very thin, light, crisp cookies or crackers. The wine shall represent an alcoholic drink made from fermented grape juice. And it shall be deemed and believed that the wine was transmogrified into wine from grapes and the wafers into wafers from ground grains.

It shall be forbidden to prepare or eat rice pudding on Wednesdays. Rice pudding is vile and there should be at least one day a week when we don’t have to worry about getting anywhere near it. So let it be written; so let it be done.

Each day, a randomly chosen cult member (there’ll be no popes or other leaders) will issue one, and only one, new cult encyclical. The chosen cult member will publish each encyclical only on Twitter. None will ever be longer than a single tweet. And it will be strictly forbidden to copy them anywhere else. The use of abbreviations to shorten the encyclical shall be prohibited, but emojis will be allowed.

No one will be permitted to post a reply to the encyclical. Particularly not vicious replies. In fact, members will be encouraged to block or mute the encyclicals because a randomly selected cult member is highly likely to post nonsense.

Cult Commandments

Of course, for the cult to make the world a better place, it will have to have a few rules. Some of the Judeo-Christian Commandments would be a good start. For instance, thou shalt not kill and thou shalt not steal are useful rules. The only difference I would suggest is that this time everyone should follow them. Otherwise, what’s the point?

On the other hand, some of the Judeo-Christian Commandments could benefit from revisions. For instance, we should change “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour” to “Thou shalt not lie. Period.” The bearing false witness thing is unnecessarily wordy. And I’m not sure everyone one understands it refers to lying. Just say lie.

In addition, why should you not be permitted to lie to your neighbour, but be free to scam a guy who lives on the other side of town? Or your spouse? Or your children? Or your extended family? Or your colleagues? Or … well, you get the picture. Don’t lie. Period.

The commandment about honouring you mother and father also needs updating. I’d change it to “Honour thy parents, whether they be a mother and father, two mothers, two fathers, a single parent, or any other parental arrangement. The exception is, of course, if they’re cruel bastards who mistreat you. In that case, to hell with them. They don’t deserve honour from you or anyone else.” The commandment copywriters will need to do a little work on that one to make it more concise, but that’s the gist of it.

The cult shouldn’t have a deity. Deities are way too demanding and far too easy to blame and to rely upon when we should be taking responsibility for our our own actions. Without a god, we can get rid of all of the Commandments that have to do with God. If there is no god, we don’t have to worry about taking His, Her or Its name in vain. And if you think graven images are great home decor? Fine. Go for it. Just don’t worship them, because that’s ridiculous.

Sabbath As You Will

As far as the Sabbath is concerned, we’ll have to get rid of the commandment about honouring it. Because we’ll all belong to the same cult, if it had a Sabbath it would be the same day for everyone. That’s unworkable. We need people to keep stores, theatres, restaurants, bars, theme parks, spas, sports, transportation, and a bunch of other stuff open on the weekend. So, the Commandment “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy” will become “Remember to take some time off every once in a while. Otherwise, thou shalt burn thyself out. Totally. Work the days-off schedule out among yourselves.”

We could probably get rid of the adultery and coveting commandments too. Sex is just a physical act. Nothing sacred about it. It’s the lying to your spouse about that whole “forsaking all others” thing that makes adultery morally wrong. That’s covered under “don’t lie”. So the adultery commandment is superfluous.

Coveting

There are a few different versions of the no-coveting Commandment. Sometimes it’s don’t covet thy neighbour’s wife. Other times it’s thy neighbour’s house. And still other times it’s thy neighbour’s something else. Two points here. First, again, what’s with the “thy neighbour” thing? Why is only your neighbour so honoured?

Second, do we really want thought police? “To covet” means “to yearn for.” It’s a desire, not an action. It may not be healthy to yearn for something you can’t have, but as long as you don’t act on it, that’s your problem. And, at least in the case of material goods, acting to fulfill your yearning for someone else’s stuff is covered by the don’t steal commandment.

As far as not fulfilling your yearning for your neighbour’s wife, that raises another point. Where the hell’s the Commandment against raping your neighbour, spouse or anyone else? That seems like a glaring omission to me.

Our universal, global cult will have to have a thou shalt not rape commandment. In fact, let’s expand that to “Thou shalt not employ violence or harassment under any circumstances whatsoever except self-defence, which won’t be necessary because we’re all going to obey the commandments, right? I said, right? Right.” Again, the wording could do with a little tightening.

New Commandments

The cult should also add a few more commandments to deal with some aggravations that weren’t around at the time of the invention of the Ten Commandments. In fact, they weren’t much of a problem even as recently as when the film The Ten Commandments was made. For example, there’ll be a rule commanding that “Thou shalt not conduct telemarketing or send spam.”

And a glaring omission of all time, “Thou shalt not be a totally insensitive jerk,” would be another good one. However, that commandment will probably have to be defined somewhat more precisely for some people.

Here’s the exciting news. The cult’s U.S. temple might get recognized as a religion for tax purposes. If the IRS recognizes a Satanic temple as a religion, the new cult I’m proposing should be a no-brainer for them.

That having been said, I’m not American. I’m not sure if the tax dodge would work in my country, Canada. But we can get by without tax exemptions if absolutely necessary.

A cult for all. Who’s with me on this?

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