if you were to create your own religion, you would normally do it out of your own personality – you would channel words from god and they would be scripture. like in the bible. like in the book of mormon. like scientology.
or you could turn it over to everyone, and create a composite religion, containing the best people could come up with as a whole.
i really like the sound of that, so i’m reproducing this article in its entirety.
Dear Reader, have you acquainted yourself with the way of Yo, already? This thing is a quite new acquaintance for me at least, but I did enjoy reading the website of Yoism with great interest for many hours a while ago at http://www.yoism.org
Yoism is quite unique, as it is the first open-source religion in existence. It’s members do decide in a democratic process what things are included in religion and what not. In practice, Yo gives wholly up the age-old practice of religions of having unmoving and unchangeable central tenets.
Yoism does refuse similarly all the supernatural explanations that are offered be existing religions. Most of Yoists definitely refuse to believe in the angry desert god of the Abrahamic religions or Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
They do have a concept of god, but for them, ‘god’ is just an original cause that does not interfere in the affairs of mankind or real world in any way. So Yoism is a Deist or Pantheist religion in the true Einstenian fashion.
The “Ten Sacred Principles” and “Five Pillars of Yo” of Yoism can without doubt be accepted by every humanist also: see http://www.yoism.org/?q=node/40 and http://www.yoism.org/?q=node/49
I must admit that it took a long time for me to become convinced that the thing was not just an extended joke and I am still not quite sure of it. At places, the website of Yo feels like a grand joke, but at very many places there is a genuine feeling of true and genuine philosophical pondering of the nature of humans and reality.
In fact, the true nature of Yoism does not matter, as this nagging fear of being just had added a new layer of interest in reading the hundreds of pages of text available in the Yo-website.
You must always think if any particular thing is written tongue-in-cheek or does its writer really mean it. This kind of suspense is rarely on offer in older religions! Yoism is really the very first religion with a sense of humor.
This discrepancy can be of course due to the very open-source nature of Yo. There just might be people who treat the thing more lightly than others. However, some people just might be really out there to seek a way to combine the feelings of spirituality with a realistic view of our world.
All in all, in my eyes the Yo-thing is a combination of all of the things that can be worth our while in human endeavor in a single neat package. In the end, Yoism stands for all the good things that can further the cause and survival of humanity and our common ‘Spaceship Earth’.
Ecology is a very central theme in this modern religion, as of course it should be also in the older ones too in this day and age.
There is a lot of New Age -like trivia included, but most of things in the website of Yo are quite rational, honest and well thought out. There is of course alarming amount of idealism, but a religion without idealism would be doomed from the outset.
Yoist’s do not believe in life after death, but they would like to build the Heaven on Earth. Not so that they would believe it to be possible, but they do think that striving for this kind of goal can improve the lot of humanity at large.
The future of our common Earth is a very central issue at Yoism, and it is addressed in almost everywhere is its teachings. One could easily call Yo the religion of ecology.
Yoism was created by psychologist Dan Kriegman. He has admitted in an interview in Boston Globe that creating a new religion did embarrass a bit him also. Kriegman, however, points out that Yo is based wholly on things that can be proven scientifically.
Kriegman points out that the followers of You do not bind themselves to any spiritual leader lake Jesus of Buddha, but the teachings of Yo are created by the followers of the religion themselves. Yo does, however, treat people like Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud and Bob Dylan as its saints!
Every Yoist has the right to suggest the things they want to be included in the teachings of Yo. If they gather support, they will be eventually included in the Holy Book of the religion, called of course the “Book of Yo”.
The decision-making process in Yo is very much like the scientific method, where the common pool of knowledge consists of a great number of individual contributions, but only the ones that gain real consensus of the community are included in the official canon, but this canon can be easily changed if consensus changes.
I think that, in the end, Yoism is real experiment in trying to combine the scientific world-view with the spiritual and mystical elements of the human mind that really seem to always exist in the minds of some people. It would be really commendable if Yo could offer a reasonable and rational way for those people who feel that they need a vehicle for expressing their spiritual needs as well.
Finally, here are “The Ten Sacred Principles of The Way of Yo”. I do not think any humanist would have something to say about them:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident,
1. That all humans are sacred beings that come into the world with equal unalienable Rights.
2. That among these Rights are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.
3. That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among people, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That these Rights may be constrained when, and only when, their constraint is necessary for the maintenance and operation of an effective Government that can secure these Rights.
4. That these Rights may not be constrained because of religious beliefs, gender, sexual orientation, race, discomfort with the ideas espoused or actions taken by others, or any other reason that may be put forth to justify constraint other than that constraint that is necessary for the operation of an effective Government that can secure these Rights.
5. That all children should be given the chance to grow, thrive, be loved, and to explore their potential to the fullest. That all people—whether children or adults—who have not had sufficient opportunities must also be given the chance to thrive and grow, to the fullest extent that the community can provide.
6. That, as profoundly social creatures, we can only achieve our potential when we have the option of participating in healthy, supportive, loving relationships and communities. That participating in the creation of such healthy communities is the sacred duty of all Yoans.
7. That adequate food, shelter, clothing, health care, and other material essentials—in addition to free access to information, including the accumulated stores of human knowledge and culture—are necessary for these Rights to be realized. All who are willing (whether able or not) to engage in a fair share of productive work have a Right to have access to these essentials, at least to the degree necessary for the exercise of these Rights.
8. That it is our sacred duty to protect the life sustaining biosphere and the diversity of living creatures.
9. That—in addition to loving, cooperative communities—dangerous ideas, forces, delusions, and sick coalitions of people abound in our world, a world filled with deceptions and self-deceptions. These dangerous others can NOT be identified by the extent to which what they believe conflicts with what we believe. Rather, these dangerous others can be identified by the degree to which they act to deprive others of Life, Liberty, and the ability to pursue Happiness. It is our duty to help others come to understand these Sacred Truths and to enable The Way of Yo to grow into an effective force for healing our world. Simultaneously, it is our duty to continually recognize the danger of defining in-groups (Us) and out-groups (Them), for such definitions have been used to justify and encourage terribly evil actions against others. Toward this end, we include in our Gatherings the singing of The Hallelujah Prayer of Yo.
10. In pursuit of these goals, Yoans are not guided by dogmatically proclaimed, fixed truths. All Yoans turn to the court of their personal, direct experience of the world and then, employing the Open Source Truth Process, join in our collective attempt to formulate the current (best we can do at the moment, unfixed, and open to further revision by the community) Open Source Truths (OST’s) that guide us in our pursuit of these Sacred Goals.”
(This piece was re-written on 19th of September, 2011)