Our $acred Catechism
Our Sacred, Unchanging Catechism (re-interpreted daily)
(As revealed by a burning bottle to J. Darwin himself, fresh from a pilgrimage to Mt. Seagrams)
For in the beginning, there was no light.
In fact, there wasn't just an absence of light, there was a total absence of everything.
Which is to say there wasn't anything at all.
Do you see?
That's why they call it the beginning.
Oh sure, there might have been something.
But if you couldn't see it, was it really there?
Anyway, a little later, say a few billion eons, there was man.
And one day man looked up and said to himself, "Jeepers, that sky sure is big!
And if I squint just right, I think I can make out a guy's belt!"
And thus religion sprang forth.
And here we are.
For verily, we knoweth naught.
And we knoweth that we knoweth naught.
And in our not knowingness, we knoweth that thou likewise knoweth naught.
And thou knowest deep within thy bosom that thou knoweth naught either, as thou knowest that we knoweth that thou knoweth naught, just as we knoweth that thou knoweth that we knoweth naught.
Because this knowingeth naught thing cuts both ways.
After all, let's face it, none of us really knows a damn thing.
For we stand upon a rock.
Well, not a rock, really.
More like a speck of dust (about 8,000 miles in diameter) whirling through the black vacuum of space, trapped in orbit around a somewhat puny (Class G) star, lost within a vast and unfathomable nowhere that has no top, no bottom, no edges, no inside and no outside.
A great, cosmic D(o)nut H(o)le.
A never ending Moebius Strip of beingness.
An all-encompassing Klein Bottle.
A cosmological Holodeck on which every holy man must play his part and pass the plate.
Hey, we know it's all so terribly confusing, and even a little scary.
But we can straighten it all out for you.
Of course, this type of research isn't cheap.
And true belief costs even more!
So be sure to stop by the collection plate on your way out.
Nor do we pretend to know anything, which distinguishes us from those other religions replete with their invisible, jealous sky gods, pious ministers in silly hats and unbelievable plot twists.
For we stand naked in our not knowingness before The H(o)le-y D(o)nut and supplicate ourselves before the vast and perfect emptiness wherein no human mind has gone before, nor is likely to go anytime soon for that matter.
For we are a somewhat limited species in an unlimited universe.
We are like the fly that got caught in the Space Shuttle.
Not only do we not know where we have been, we do not even know that we even went there, let lone knowing where we are now.
And so we smile in our not knowingness as fatuous clerics of religious officialdom don funny costumes and spout schizophrenic catechisms about anthropomorphic deities whose vile and barbaric fulminations of hate are alleged to have been dictated, verbatim, to ancient schizophrenic scribes who wouldn't know logic and reason if it hit them in the head with a burning bush.
And so we humbly offer ourselves as a refuge from the raging storm of irrationality, as an oasis of openness in an arid desert of paleolithic credulity, a lifeboat of sanity in a roiling ocean of tortuous, wishful thinking. With open arms:
* We welcome the True Believer who condemns us to his personal hell for choosing not to fall for his personal brand of salvation;
* We welcome the hard-nosed Skeptic who teeters on the verge of Solipsism;
* We welcome the rational Empiricist who clutches to the bosom of science;
* We welcome the happy Ignoramus who has never given these matters as much as a moment's thought, preferring to watch television instead;
And so we welcome with open brachiated appendages every sentient life form everywhere, brachiated or otherwise, that can interpret our philological symbology and figure out a way to communicate with us somehow.
Maybe digits of Pi?
Yes, we welcome you all to The Church of The H(o)le-y D(o)nut, where curiosity is our wine, contemplation is our Eucharist, and Humble Pie is our sacrament.
Where we gather together each Sunday in a consensually shared reality to wonder at the cosmic farcity inherent in supposing that mankind even has a clue.
For we know that you know that we are closer to the truth in our know-next-to-nothingness than are others in their pretend-to-know-everythingness.
For The H(o)le-y D(o)nut does not talk to us inside our head and tell us to invade foreign nations.
He does not whisper to us in the wee, small hours of the night to take out foreign leaders.
He does not wheedle us to rape, plunder and pillage the innocent for not believing what we believe, as they would, if given half a chance, rape, pillage and plunder us for not believing what they believe.
Yet we do not condemn the Infidel to an eternity of agonizing misery in a fairy tale hell made of our own fervid yet deeply pious imaginations for failing to believe that there is any such concept as Hell, for we too are infidels.
For each man's infidel is another man's True Believer.
We simply believe in letting each man follow his own particular, nutty brand of salvation.
We'll drink to that!
Which is why we encourage you to start your own religion.
Then join ours, for here you will find error made perfect.
For we are the church that is not a church, the religion that is not a religion.
Ours is the scripture that has yet to be written, the gospel that has yet to be told, the sermon that has yet to be delivered, the hymn that has yet to be sung, the afterlife that begins at 40.
As for you, you're just a philosophical peasant trying to figure out which belief system to plug your ontological umbilical cord into.
So won't you please make a substantial donation to help us in this important work?
For our mission is to go forth and multiply the number of fellow sapiens who vote with us when we say that we have to get the hell off of this lunatic asylum of a planet and go someplace where there are beings who share our deepest and most profound sense that if we ever stopped laughing, we would never stop crying.
For as it was in the beginning, whenever that was, so it shall be unto eternity, whenever that may or may not be, world without end, amen, although the terms beginning and eternity have no meaning to a species without sufficient brain cells to comprehend why a plain horseshoe magnet stuck to the side of a refrigerator will stay stuck there forever with no detectable outside source of energy, let alone who, what (or what committee) created the Universe so that a species like us could come along and ask questions like, 'If God is so perfect, why are there bunions?"
And so we come before thee, oh great, invisible, imaginary materialization of everything that is material, with our hearts in our hands and our heads in anal inversion, beseeching you to let us know what the hell we're doing here and why you gave us a brain just large enough to ask semi-intelligent questions, yet too small to answer them.
Give us the weakness we need to further our fabulous, totemized religions with all of their preposterous vestments and pious trappings, and help us to continue on the path of self-righteousness for the sake of feeling satisfied in our know-nothingness.
This we ask in the name of every innocent freethinker who was ever burned alive, boiled alive, flayed alive or drawn, quartered and then burned alive (your sequence may vary), all in thy loving name.
But we are not yet done in begging for your tithes.
And so we ask that you dig a little deeper in this hour of need and cough up a sawbuck or two for the only church with the testicular fortitude to admit that there are no churches, only temples of hope wherein the unwashed masses, scared to die, can convene in pews to derive comfort from each other and compare clothing.
So dough-nate, Brothers and Sisters, and give until it hurts.
For we seek to expand our outreach in keeping with the great evangelistic tradition of all religions which have urged (and occasionally tortured) their followers into spreading the good word and pestering (and if that doesn't work, slaughtering) infidels (which is, like, everybody else?) into buying their unique brand of salvation.
Act now, and we'll throw in a FREE Absolution, good until the sun balloons into a red gas giant and engulfs the orbits of the three inner planets, toasting our ancestral home and cremating the bones of every religious con artist who ever lived.
In the next revision, we'll tell you how we really feel.