RE: on co-opting impulses towards organized religion

From: Reason (
Date: Sat Jul 28 2001 - 03:24:09 MDT

---> me


> > just human nature), is there any good reason not to attempt to found and
> > nurture a purposeful religion? By this I mean one dedicated to -- for
> > example -- either building or funding the building of God/a god
> (== true AI)
> > or achieving immortality. (Both very Gnostic goals, but Gnosticism had a
> > nice long run of things).


> > It allows for tapping
> > into a wellspring of human motivation;
> promise(/suggest/hypothesise) later
> > happiness/other benefit in exchange for resouces now. A number of
> > extropianist projects fall nicely into that category, mine included.
> >

---> Samantha Atkins

> I have thought about this many times. It might even be possible
> to organize such an endeavor so that the normal tithes and
> contributions are used directly to fund projects making for
> precisely the sort of future and results that the religion had
> as, or as necessary to its goal states. The adherents to this
> religion could be workers, beneficiaries and share-holders in
> common of these projects.

In theory, that was what many orders of monks approached back in the day.
Economic communes with a stated (if somewhat fuzzy) purpose, turning out
products that would supposedly aid that purpose.

[church of the immaculate data haven snipped]

Not a bad idea for an end run around the current less than optimal legal

> A religion based strongly in actual scientific and technological
> tools for making many of the promises and deep desires of
> humanity actualities could pull a lot of the best from
> traditional religions and also give an overhaul vision and since
> of purpose to many techies out there who are relatively cynical
> and are missing such a unifying image of what their work is
> about and leads to.
> A lot of fun and some quite serious good could well come out of
> soemthing like this.

Indeed. So why don't you try? Write the principia, build a website,
publicize a bit at a time. Invoke the Great God of Viral Meme Propagation. A
Church of Open Source would probably do pretty well right now in the current
atmosphere of cold war -- you strengthen by opposing, as MS is finding out.

(Suddenly clicking sound of synapses, and off to check Google for "Church of
Open Source" -- bunch of Satanists at, the following worthy
quote from Slashdot:

Re:Good for the newbie... Good for the preacher... (Score:1)
by xcedrinod ( on Tuesday November 28, @05:31AM EST (#66)
(User #148865 Info)

Larry Wall speaks so carefully and so directly in the interview that I found
it entertaining just to listen to Wall have a conversation with two people
whom are basically Open Source ignorant.
Several times he is asked to respond to strange and/or cliched metaphors
about Open Source (primitive tribe, priesthood) and himself (Prometheus,
"man behind the curtain", Wizard) that put him at a loss for words -- as if
they're tempting him into admitting "Yes! okay I'm just a cult leader and
these are my dutiful minions" -- and he points out that what they think is
counterintuitive (why give stuff away free? why let people read your code?
how is there convergence in what seems to be a committee... aren't
committees prone to dissent?) maybe isn't so counterintuitive...

And the interviewers start to understand the philosophical differences
between closed source and open source. They really picked up on the
significance of asking "Why not?". He really blows their minds with some
deep thoughts about the importance of sharing software ideas.

I think that the general message they get is that Open Source isn't a
business model, it's at least an ethic, and might even be a religion.

So, ./ers, if your Open Source faith is waning, or you're looking for
someone to convince you that Open Source is in fact the path of the
righteous, then hear the preaching of the Reverend Larry Wall of the Church
of Open Source... and be amazed.

...but not much else. The field is primed and wide open.

> It is now a bit harder to establish a religion legally. The IRS
> has some pretty finicky guidelines on what they consider to be a
> "legitimate" religion.

I'm sure we can all guess at where the blame lies for that.


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