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Memories of the 28th Century

On Starting a Religion

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This was written as an informative and was not intended to denigrate religion.

There is an ancient tradition of starting religions for fun or profit or as tools for propaganda, and as ancient as the tradition is, it is thoroughly modern also. I first became interested in that practice while watching the TV show "Route 66". In that episode, the heroes met an evangelist whose car had broken down. Todd and Buzz got the car going, but the evangelist had the lovely line, "I reap a mighty harvest, tax-free." I never forgot that line, and Iím not the only one who has thought that way through the millennia. Unfortunately, I can't find that episode, nor do I get any hits for that line; either I imagined it, or the source was elsewhere. Regardless of the origin, the idea is important to many religions, especially some of the recent innovations.

There are many options when it comes to how to set up a religion, from what Zarathustra did to what L. Ron Hubbard did. We don't have any direct evidence about the earliest founders of religion, but there are some stories about Zarathustra who is said to have written much of the Zend Avesta after having a spent several days in a drug induced state. That may have been between 1900-1100 BCE, or maybe another time. It is rather hazy.

Around 1900 BCE Abraham, the Hebrew met with El of the Breasts and the Hebrew religion was started. Since they didn't have group meetings, and Abraham didn't write anything down, because he was illiterate, those scriptures were actually written until after 900 BCE, but his work has had staying power, since people still read some parts of it. Unfortunately, it was specified that only Abraham's descendants can be involved in the deal she (El) made with him, so most people are excluded.

The Vedas of the Hindus are thought to have been written about the same time as the Zend Avesta, but we don't have information about the Rishis who wrote them, and it is claimed that they were composed many thousands of years ago (a similar claim is made for the Avesta).

Another early founder of religion was Siddhartha Gautama, AKA Buddha, (born fifth century BCE) who was an interesting character, but rather than meeting with a Goddess or taking drugs Siddhartha sat under a tree until he was enlightened, and apparently he didn't write anything or compose verses for others to write, but word about him and his revelations got around.

Saul of Tarsus, who put together what we consider Christianity now was another real character, and apparently he did live, and there were things written about him in addition to the letters and such that he wrote. We can't completely blame him for the founding of Christianity, because there were many people involved in church councils, etc. who decided what texts to include, and so on.

These are a few of the earlier founders of religions who might serve as models, but it might be more convenient to use Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, Madame Blavatsky, the founder of Theosophy of L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology as a model.
Joseph Smith was a professional con-artist before he started the religion, and the story of how he acquired and revised the book is a long story in itself. The facts about how the scam was set up were published a few years after Smith started the religion, but that didn't discourage the marks, see link below.

L. Ron Hubbard was a relatively successful science fiction writer before he got into the religion business, actually he went into the self-help field first with Dianetics, see link below. Before he got into the self-help and later religion business business he is said to have described to fellow science fiction about how he was going to start a religion, and from him that wasn't just hot air, because he followed through.

I don't know as much about Madame Blavatsky, but she was New Age type before the new age was invented, see link below.

If one is inclined to start a religion, the models seem to have been either con-artists or to have lived a long time ago. Hinduism and Zoroastrianism seem to be consolidations of the old faith with some of the stories and rituals standardized, but the rest were done for profit; although Christianity might have been set up as a tool of the Roman government. There have been several books about how the New Testament was written by people who were in the pay of the Romans, see links below.

There is an absurdly large of material for this business. I only mentioned some of the low hanging fruit here, and there are many other models from touchy-feely New Agers to people like Jim Jones. My observation is that starting from the ancient religions and building on one of them has been successful, and making the religion exclusive doesn't hurt at all and may even help. The source of the "holy book" is inconsequential, but be sure that there is at least one good writer available (Mormonism used at least six), while Hubbard seems to have done all of his own writing.

I could go on a great length about this subject, but this is enough for a blog post. The great length will come in the form of a How-to book.
Good luck with your true faith.
Zend Avests online

Mormonism Unveiled by Howe, published 1834
Christianity concocted
This one looks good

Updated 10-01-2018 at 07:10 PM by PeterL



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