Subject: Re: commitment

Date: 25 Oct 1996 15:00:52 GMT

From: ljduchez@en.com (Lou Duchez)

Organization: Exchange Network Services, Inc.

Newsgroups: alt.slack

References: 1

 

Rick Smith <rls3z@virginia.edu> wrote:

: All right, I've posted with alt.discordia and gotten a reply. But I need

: to ask the same questions of alt.slack:

: I don't get it. If you guys call yourself a religion, how can you foster

: commitment among members if you encourage them "not to join."

 

Answer: we don't try to foster commitment. But you're confusing religion

with group-thinking. The two need not go hand-in-hand. A person's

spiritual beliefs can and SHOULD be completely personal, and not subject

to alteration simply because someone else said so. The Church of the

SubGenius is one of the first religions (palatable to western tastes) that

emphasizes what YOU believe, not what is written in the official texts.

There's a reason why the main book is called "The Book of the SubGenius"

and not "The Book of 'Bob'": because this religion is ultimately about

YOU, not "Bob".

 

: I've read

: the Book of the SubGenius (it was handed to me by someone who bought it,

: read it, but still doesn't get it) and it says nothing about gathering

: together, how to form solidarity among members etc.

 

Sure it does! The chapter on Clenches and schisms. And that's the key

here: schisming is a primary concept, because the point is to follow

yourself and no one else. Not even Stang, except to buy some crap from him.

No, the irony is not lost on us: following instructions that say to not

follow instructions. The key out of the paradox is to take the "not

follow instructions" part to heart: then if you choose to schism, or

whatever you care to do, it's because YOU want to and you're ignoring

everyone elses's dictates. THAT'S what they're trying to teach.

 

: A faith needs to provide stability and security among its members, not

: spread discord, strife, and confusion.

 

Untrue. Many faiths shoot for this as a goal, but that doesn't mean that

all faiths have to follow this model. Consider that most faiths make

their followers feel "stable" and "secure" by telling them that God loves

them above all others and they're going to get a big chocolate chip

cookie when they get to heaven. All of which, of course, is a lie, but

at least it makes the followers feel very happy ... makes 'em feel almost

bovine, in fact. (Sorry, Jools.) But a *realistic* religion needs to

admit that there's a hell of a lot of uncertainty in any metaphysical

ramblings, and this is one of the few religions that concedes as much.

Maybe it doesn't provide us with fuzzy answers, but by damn at least we

know that we can't stop looking!

 

: How will you get anything done as a group if you never gather

: together...join together?

 

A good question. Follow-up question: what do, say, Christian groups ever

get done? Not a whole lot of good, if you ask me.

 

: It seems to me Bob has a message but everyone on this newsgroup is

: afraid to ask what it is because "if you have to ask, you'll never

: know."

 

The message, ultimately, is "look elsewhere for answers". Which is a

hell of a lot more honest than the competition.

 

: I don't know, maybe I'm 'pink.' But it sems that this group won't last

: long if it doesn't plan regular meetings and establish bonds among

: members.

 

We've GOT bonds. We use the Internet to interact. So we don't operate

like a well-oiled machine ... I think that's a *good* thing.

And no, you're not "Pink" for asking. But you're looking at this like

it's a normal religion and finding it doesn't operate that way. That's

good. That's part of the deprogramming lesson: to look at things in new

ways. Now apply that to everything else and you've got it.

 

Eager to get in your pants,

Lou