How To Start Your Own Religion

One of the best films I saw at South By Southwest (SXSW) this year was Vikram Gandhi’s documentary Kumaré, in which New Jersey-born and raised Gandhi decides to pass himself off as an Indian guru (he is of Indian descent) to see if people will buy into his fake persona as a spiritually enlightened teacher. He succeeds all too well and faces a dilemma when it’s time to reveal the fraud.

Essentially Gandhi’s point is that spiritual gurus are frauds and anyone can be a guru if he can (so long as they are prepared to dress up, grow long beards, make up strange chants, etc.). With that in mind, I found a course on how to start your own religion, offered by 3rd Ward. I’m not sure if I’ll take it yet, but they do say the fastest way to make a million dollars is to become a millionaire. (If Kumaré succeeds at the box office, maybe it will be proof of that too). Here’s the class description for anyone interested:

While some perceive it as a pathetically static monoculture of oppression, religion in its most exciting form is actually an environment—a happening—of ever-evolving ideas, practices, and visual and sensual pleasures. Spiritual paths based on everything from chaos to love, to dada, to eroticism, and to eco-radicalism have found their way into the hearts and minds of seekers the world over. By looking at examples of some of these traditions, and by using them as a springboard for developing our own religions, students will come away with a better appreciation for what it means to “be religious,” and maybe even have a radical mystical epiphany or two.

In this class students will each write, design and craft a new spiritual path (as far out or traditional as desired), to be summed up and presented at the end of the course through presentations, handouts and booklets. Over the four weeks students will create hymns that can be used to exalt their beatitudes, define the tenets of their path so others will know what it’s all about, produce propaganda in order to call the willing to the Light, as well as explore the role of (read: draw/mold/create) deities in their new spiritual path. Using published examples from occult as well as mainstream traditions, we will look for inspiration from a variety of unusual sources. Students will be expected to play with what it means to even “be religious,” and should be prepared and willing to engage in a variety of mediums, including text, song and iconography. Some experience with making ‘zines or other DIY publications a plus, but not required.

Please come to this class willing to crack open all you believe a religion should be.

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  • DeepCough

    Consider it this way: we would have no wool if there were no shepherds to fleece the sheep.

    • AliceBalls

      Shepherds never fleece sheep, they fuck them rotten!

  • DeepCough

    Consider it this way: we would have no wool if there were no shepherds to fleece the sheep.

  • AliceBalls

    Shepherds never fleece sheep, they fuck them rotten!

  • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

    This man is epic!! Ya know what I worship…his sense of humor and willingness to expose the inherent level of ‘sucker’ rooted in so many people’s hearts. I gotta own this flick.

  • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

    This man is epic!! Ya know what I worship…his sense of humor and willingness to expose the inherent level of ‘sucker’ rooted in so many people’s hearts. I gotta own this flick.

  • Butter Knife

    Sounds a bit like “The Buddha of Suburbia”… with less Bowie and bisexual coming of age.

  • Butter Knife

    Sounds a bit like “The Buddha of Suburbia”… with less Bowie and bisexual coming of age.

  • Drinky McGee

    Ya’ll should check out a documentary from the early 70s called Marjoe.

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-178629120699935619&ei=DknNSemoOI24_AGuv4zXAg&q=Marjoe&client=firefox-a#

    Similar premise, but with Christian quackery instead of New Age nonsense.

  • Drinky McGee

    Ya’ll should check out a documentary from the early 70s called Marjoe.

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-178629120699935619&ei=DknNSemoOI24_AGuv4zXAg&q=Marjoe&client=firefox-a#

    Similar premise, but with Christian quackery instead of New Age nonsense.

  • http://disinfo.com ralph

    At first, this documentary sounded like this movie to me: I suppose truth is stranger than fiction:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Guru_%282002_film%29

  • http://disinfo.com ralph

    At first, this documentary sounded like this movie to me: I suppose truth is stranger than fiction:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Guru_%282002_film%29

  • ralph

    At first, this documentary sounded like this movie to me: I suppose truth is stranger than fiction:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Guru_%282002_film%29

  • Shmelke@yiddishacademy.com

    It doesn’t seem like “everyone guru is a fraud” was the point of the movie, after listening to the director being interviewed.

  • Shmelke@yiddishacademy.com

    It doesn’t seem like “everyone guru is a fraud” was the point of the movie, after listening to the director being interviewed.