More from Mary Eberstadt and her new book, discussing how sex is the sacrament for the new religion and abortion is its sacred ritual. She also notes how if abortion proponents were truly “pro-choice,” there would be times for abortion’s defenders to choose against it, but this never happens. She also observes that people aren’t losing their jobs for self-publishing books against, say, stealing. No one gets in trouble for citing the Book of Ruth. Rather, virtually all of the opposition to Christianity and to religious liberty today derives from Christianity’s opposition to the sexual revolution.
Secular progressivism has assumed the form of an institutionalized religion, complete with orthodox dogmas that may not be questioned, saints and demons, sacraments and rituals. It has become a church–not the beneficent kind, but the sort that squelches liberty and seeks to punish non-believers.
Several years ago, I blogged about the adoration of Santa Muerte, St. Death (as in a feminine saint), the hooded skeleton being venerated by Mexican drug lords. But now prayers to this saint and the sale of her images and icons have come into the mainstream, and not just in Hispanic enclaves but throughout the world. You can now find her images in Wal-Mart.
Although the Santa Muerte cult takes the form of the veneration of saints in Roman Catholicism, the Church strongly opposes the practice. Taping dollar bills to her statue and leaving cigarettes and liquor as offerings are thought to cause Santa Muerte to provide good luck and protection. One expert says that worship of “Holy Death” is “the fastest-growing new religious movement.” I suppose it is fitting that a culture of death has a religion of death.
Read about the phenomenon after the jump.
Human beings are innately religious, so when they reject traditional religions they replace them with new ones. Often, they project their religious sensibilities onto other areas of life, such as politics or psychology or medicine, turning them into means of salvation or apocalypse.
Today, many people fear, love, and trust technology. I have heard of the “singularity”–that time when computers will allegedly attain consciousness–proclaimed as a means of finding eternal life, when we can all download out minds into our computers and live forever. Now a book is warning about a singularity apocalypse, when computers start to consider human beings–who will by then be cyborgs–to be the equivalent of dangerous insects. [Read more…]
A new religion, born of the internet age, is seeking legal recognition:
A Swedish religion whose dogma centers on the belief that people should be free to copy and distribute all information—regardless of any copyright or trademarks—has made its way to the United States.
Followers of so-called “Kopimism” believe copying, sharing, and improving on knowledge, music, and other types of information is only human—the Romans remixed Greek mythology, after all, they say. In January, Kopimism—a play on the words “copy me”—was formally recognized by a Swedish government agency, raising its profile worldwide.
“Culture is something that makes people feel much better and makes people appreciate their world in a different way. Knowledge is also something we should copy regardless of the law,” says Isak Gerson, the 20-year-old founder of Kopimism. “It makes us better when we share knowledge and culture with each other.”
More than 3,500 people “like” Kopimism on Facebook, and thousands more practice its sacred ritual of file sharing. According to its manifesto, private, closed-source software code and anti-piracy software are “comparable to slavery.” Kopimist “Ops,” or spiritual leaders, are encouraged to give counsel to people who want to pirate files, are banned from recording and should encrypt all virtual religious service meetings “because of society’s vicious legislative and litigious persecution of Kopimists.”
Official in-person meetings must happen in places free of anti-Kopimist monitoring and in spaces with the Kopimist symbol—a pyramid with the letter K inside. To be initiated new parishioners must share the Kopimist symbol and say the sacred words “copied and seeded.”
The gospel of the church has begun to spread, with Kopimist branches in 18 countries.
An American branch of the religion was recently registered with Illinois and is in the process of gaining federal recognition, according to Christopher Carmean, a 25-year-old student at the University of Chicago and head of the U.S. branch.
“Data is what we are made of, data is what defines our life, and data is how we express ourselves,” says Carmean. “Forms of copying, remixing, and sharing enhance the quality of life for all who have access to them. Attempts to hinder sharing are antithetical to our data-driven existence.”
About 450 people have registered with his church, and about 30 of them are actively practicing the religion, whose symbols include Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V—the keyboard shortcuts for copy and paste.
We see, of course, what the Kopimists are doing, seeking the legal protections given to religion so that they can pirate music, movies, and the like with impunity. And when they are prosecuted for internet piracy they can claim religious persecution!
And yet, isn’t this the pattern for the way many people approach religion today? Their theology is based on what they “like.” (People don’t like the concept of sin, judgment, and Hell or anything else that would restrict their behavior so they don’t believe in them.) The Kopimists are simply reasoning backwards, starting with what they like to do and building a religion around it.
What might be some other religions people could construct as a way to justify their bad habits?
How could courts distinguish between these bogus religions and legitimate ones?