Thought Experiment: Near Future Invented Religions

Today I stumbled across this dissertation about invented religions (includes this link religionvir.us).

Here’s the lay summary:

“As an artist I have spent the past 13 years inventing a fictional religion as art. My project, called RELIGIONVIR.US, has been performed, exhibited, screened and published in over twenty five countries worldwide. My projects are presented as episodes in an ongoing performative space opera, exploring broadly how religions are constructed by constructing my own religion as a philosophical, ontological exercise. Following many of my ritual performances audience members have approached me to inform me of “religious experiences” they had inside of my performances and installations, although most of these confessors admit to not being religious. I became interested in how religious experiences were constructed and they were possible to artistically manufacture. This thesis is an attempt to probe what constitutes a religious experience and what artistic media or devices are required to elicit such a response. I muse on questions surrounding the nature of belief and art in the information age, proposing religion as an artistic medium, and the notion of religion as a form of multi-media production. I attempt to situate my own invented religion within the study of invented religions, emerging out of religious students and the study of new religious movements. Ultimately this thesis explores my 13-year practise of inventing a religion as art while analysing the phenomena of fictional religions from the unique perspective of being both student and practitioner of invented religions.”

I love this idea of creating a fictional religion. In fact, given the massive cultural fracturing we’re undergoing, I imagine a few hundred thousand new religions blossoming across the globe.

A little further digging shows that Michael Dudeck (author of this dissertation) is way ahead of me. He created a Invent Your Own Religion Workbook as part of a conference intervention/provocation.

This project is so much fun, and thought-provoking. My only quibble is that he attributes Discordianism to Robert Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land instead of Greg Hill with Kerry Thornley (and later popularized by Robert Anton Wilson). Heinlein’s religion in Stranger was The Church of All Worlds (and introduced the word grok as a unique type of comprehension). But that’s truly a minor detail considering the substantive amount of work and research put into this project. I think I’ll try to conjure up a new religion or two this weekend.

(100 Days of Blogging: Post 051 of 100)

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