I’m currently working on a book about a spoof religion. It’ll be like Scientology, only more scientific. If fellow SF writer L. Ron Hubbard can do it, so can I! This will be a religion based on science and computers. (With a few extra bits thrown in for good measure). After all, why should other religions have all the fun when it comes to formulating weird, Harry Potter type theories, about the universe and everything? Especially since there are branches of science and philosophy that can come up with theories even weirder sounding than the ones created by religion! Theories based, not on some capricious deity, but on the strongest and most rigorously tested of all the sciences. Theories seriously considered by some leading physicists. Science has hidden its brilliant light under a bushel for far too long. Now it’s time to show religion who really is the Daddy!
It was a chance meeting between a science fiction writer and a former Master Gunnery Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps that ignited the spark that became Messiahnism. The writer, a fan of the film “The Matrix,” had read a book that had changed his views on what we call reality. The book, written by two eminent physicists, suggested that the next great leap in human knowledge could come from outside science. It was called, “The Quantum Enigma: Physics Encounters Consciousness.” But Messiahnism is based on more than this. It also pays homage to the Oxford philosopher Nick Bostrom’s simulation thesis in which he presents a strong argument that we may be part of a computer simulation. Indeed, computers as well as computer games play an important role in Messiahnism. In fact, computer games players will find several points of interest as we cover some popular games like “Fallout: New Vegas,” and “Saints Row 2.” But then so do dreams and certain aspects of Buddhism.
Take dreams, for example. The problem with dreams is not what they contain, but how they exist. Messiahnism is not interested in the interpretation of dreams. Anyone can cobble up a reason why we dream. Some more plausible than others. But Messiahnism concerns itself with a more fundamental problem. The precise nature of dreams. There are some misguided individuals who believe dreams are imaginary and have no physical reality. In other words, when I dream of house, then I’m dreaming about an object that has no size, shape, mass, weight, temperature, colour...indeed, an object that does not exist in a physical sense. And anything that has no physical form must, by definition, be invisible because there’s nothing there to see. Which begs the question: how can we see something that’s invisible? Yet the alternative raises even more problems. And why can only the dreamer see their dreams? Do they exist in another dimension...an inner dimension? As with quantum physics, our common sense notions about reality need to be drastically revised.
All these elements will, with the help of a former master gunnery sergeant in the United States Marine Corps, be welded into a religion for the 21st Century.
Of course, I must stress that this is a spoof religion and not to be taken entirely seriously. In the end it’s just a bit of fun.
The Former Grunt
After being discharged from the Marine Corps, the Gunny had worked for a while in New York before coming over to England where he’d dabbled with Scientology. But marines are pragmatic individuals. The Gunny had been trained as a combat journalist and a combat engineer. He was used to dealing with facts. What he was looking for was something more scientific. And when the two men met by chance on a train they realised that fate had singled them out. Given the Gunny’s inimical style of imparting information, the writer decided that he would formulate the theories and let the Gunny take care of training his Disciples.
Before purchasing this book readers will be warned that, unlike other religions, Messiahnism contains what is euphemistically described as “colourful language.” In this case, the colour in question being a decidedly dark shade of blue. Of course, I could defend this by pointing out that the Bible also contains obscene words. But, to be fair, not as many as this! Some would describe it as gratuitous obscenity. Others would accuse us of using naughty words simply to achieve notoriety. Aware of the ammunition we might be giving our critics, I mentioned this to Milton before he started writing the manuscript. I told him that perhaps he should dispense with scatology or, at least, tone it down. He responded by telling me to piss off.
What should I have done? Theologians will rightfully point out that in the normal course of events disciples just don’t tell their messiahs to piss off. I suppose could have remonstrated with him. I could have ordered him to clean up his act. On the other hand, given that we’re talking about a combat hardened US Marine, I did the only thing I could. Like Jesus I turned the other cheek.
Let me assure you that the ultimate goal of Messiahnism is a good one. One that exemplifies human greed and avarice. It’s to beat the disciples of the late Ron L. Hubbard at their own game and persuade celebrities like Travolta to move their money into the Messiah’s bank account. (Not to mention yours). This could be the next cult religion. But it won’t be easy. These things never are. Just look what happened to John the Baptist. And Christ didn’t have an easy ride, even with his connections. I’ve got almost 13000 words so far, but it’s a nightmare. There are over a dozen New Scientist articles regarding the latest research into quantum physics, consciousness and God knows what other shit. I’ve just started on dreams because Messiahnism will argue that they’re an important clue. Are they physical? If so, how big are they? How much do they weigh? And, if they’re non-physical, how can we see them? And where do we see them? Is our inner space another dimension?
And that’s just dreams! All this has to be turned into an entertaining philosophy that will make the cash registers ring out. Entertaining because this religion will contain humour. And how many other religions out there can make the same boast? Okay, atheists may argue that the Bible is one big joke. But apart from that.
Of course, I’d like to think that this will be a task of Herculean proportions. What an ego booster that would be! But it may turn out to be a lot simpler. I have a vivid imagination and I’m a devoted follower of Gonzo journalism. Who will this religion be aimed at? Well, the overall message will be that what we call reality is merely a form of computer game. This opens up lots of interesting speculations. When we die in a computer game we can resurrect ourselves. I so-called real life we can, occasionally, do the same. With the help of modern medicine. But not always. Are we able to resurrect ourselves in another inner dimension and play the game again? Perhaps we can play a variety of games. Is it possible to construct a rational argument to show this could happen using science?