Developing New Universal Religion
Please visit Theolosophy

Entry Two
Entry Three
Entry Four
Entry Five

Original Entry (edited)
I was raised Baptist. I'm not sure if I could tell you what sub-denomination; I've heard the term "Baptist General Conference," but I'm not entirely sure if that's our sub-denomination, or if it's like, some actual conferences somewhere. It hardly matters. I don't even really much care about denominations, let alone sub-denominations. I have my own ideas, anyway. Always have, always will. And so, once upon a time, I made up my own little denomination, called "D'Wardian Christianity." This would, I expect, have to have been sometime after I made up my own little nickname, D'Ward (which would be, I expect, sometime in my Freshman year of high school).

Not all of what I believe is yet entirely clear to me. Nor do I expect it ever to be, perhaps not even after I die. I tend to suspect that anyone who is entirely clear about everything they believe is probably a bit (or in some cases alot) too closed-minded, and thinking far too small. (Just ask the Foundationists.) But I do have, I think, a firm enough grasp on the fundamentals, the truly important bits.

Well, perhaps I should try to explain why I wanted my own denomination in the first place. Here is what I feel: religion is about the most important thing in Life, ultimately, particularly if you happen to believe in an afterlife, or in reincarnation. It is in fact just the sort of thing for which we were given Free Will. Now, deciding what you believe- or rather, figuring it out, because I don't really feel there's much actual decision involved, at least there's not for me- is immensely important. It should also be fairly easy. There are some things it may be hard to figure out, but I should think the basics will just pretty much be there, undeniable, inescapable, unmistakable. What you must do is search your heart, mind, and soul to find the things you believe in most fundamentally. The things about which there can never be any doubt, about which you could not possibly ever change your mind. There will always be things you are sure of or unsure of to varying degrees, and some of these you may or may not waver on, throughout your life. But there should certainly also always be things upon which you are completely unwavery.

It is very likely that a great deal of what you believe will comply with the religion with which you have been raised. It's also possible you'll find a few things within that religion with which you disagree, or at least potentially disagree. Perhaps things which your religion would have you believe are definite, absolute, and you must believe; and yet... you kind of believe them... but you're not entirely convinced that there's no chance that they could be wrong. And at any rate, I believe that with thousands of years, or even hundreds or dozens of years of history, there are many chances for misinterpretations, misunderstandings. With the older religions, there have also been many chances for mistranslations in religious texts. In fact, there are known mistranslations in the Bible, which I don't believe anyone's ever bothered to correct... at least not on a universal level. Maybe there are some Bibles out there with corrections. I dunno. I also think some things described in the Bible sound entirely too like any number of stories from any number of ancient mythologies, as well as some perhaps living belief systems and oral traditions. Stories presented not as clearly fictitious parables, but as realistic representations of actual historical fact. And perhaps some of these things I don't necessarily mean to say couldn't have happened as described, but I also don't think definitely did. I think they could be metaphors, or perhaps just were made up to make things more understandable to people living a long time ago... just as with countless stories from mythology. They were written to appeal to the mindset of the day. Also, I shouldn't be surprised if at some point in history, at a time when few could read, and there were no printing presses, so books had to be copied by hand, and there weren't many copies in the world... perhaps it was possible for small alterations to have been made here and there, to suit the mores of the day.

There are, I suppose, plenty of examples I could give; more in fact than I could think of now, and more than I'd care to try to think of. And it's not all terribly important, really. ...But I could give the example that many Christians, probably most, will believe that if you do not believe in and worship their God exclusively, you will go to Hell for eternity. Now, I don't know what Hell is like. But I have imagined some things far worse than I expect you to be able to imagine, and I would generally expect it to be far, far worse than even I can possibly imagine. If it's nearly as bad as all that, there are many people who do not come anywhere close to deserving to spend a second in Hell, let alone eternity. And any God who would send them there just for refusing to worship him, in my humble opinion, would be pure evil, and utterly undeserving of anything other than my fiercest contempt. Salvation, in that case, would be nothing other than a protection racket. Pay God what he wants, and he'll protect you... from his own wrath. Looking into my heart, mind, and soul, I can't bring myself to believe that he would be like that. God is not a racketeer.

In fact, God is a close personal friend of mine, I like to think. (I often call him by nicknames like "Chief" or "G.W."- short for "Great Writer.") He is very good, and loving, and generous, and kind. He is in fact the embodiment of such things, and more. If you can call him the embodiment of anything; I don't really think he has a body. I think of him as noncorporeal, a being of pure understanding and feeling. By this token, he does not have any gender; I use the masculine pronouns for ease of reference. Speaking of pronouns, I don't think for an instant that he minds in the slightest whether you capitalize his or not. I sometimes do; more often not. ...You may say, 'But aren't we supposed to be made in His image?' Well, I think that's more of a metaphysical thing. We can think, we can reason, we can understand. We have highly developed intelligence and emotions. These, more than physical form, are godlike qualities. This also leaves open the possibility for intelligent life in countless forms, including noncorporeal. Yes, I see no reason why God should not have created sentience elsewhere in the Universe. I strongly believe in the Vulcan philosophy of IDIC (Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations), and I can't help but feel God does, too... probably far moreso than any mortal could ever come close to fully comprehending.

So, as I say, you should figure out for yourself what it is you believe, and don't leave such an infinitely important matter up to others! Don't just blindly accept what others tell you to believe. Okay? Doesn't that seem wise? ...Anyway, do you see now why I had to create my own denomination? Good. It's very important that you understand this. Now we can move on and scratch all that.

At some point, I realized that this was too much about myself, and too much about Christianity. So I changed the name to Developing New Universal Religion. Okay, I still consider myself a born-again Christian, and always will... but I guess I'm not exactly a straightforward Christian. I am also a follower of DNUR, which is at most, and by one of its chief intended aspects, a highly disorganized religion, and perhaps not even a religion at all. I do hope to get more people to join DNUR, in a loose sort of way.

So, what is DNUR, exactly? To begin, I like to say its prime tenet is tolerance. No one really knows the truth about things, what religion is right; though of course, everyone will believe that they know, and that is how it should be. Just don't go overboard with it. Always, I think, one should allow for the possibility that there might be some part of what they believe about which they might conceivably be wrong, and that others might be right. Look at it this way: Take two people who believe diametrically opposed things. Say for the sake of argument that at least one of them has to be wrong, because their views are so completely different that it would be outside the bounds of logic for them both to be entirely right. Chances are they both believe whatever it is they believe equally as strongly as one another. Since we already know one of them is wrong, this means it is possible for a belief that feels like certain knowledge to be, mere belief. Once this has been established, it is plain that there is no real way of determining which one is right, as far as matters of faith go. And it hardly matters, I think. Personally, I believe there is some truth and some flaw in all belief systems, and that all faiths can have things in common, can work together to a degree.

This reminds me of Foundationism, the religion to which Dr. Stephen Franklin of Babylon 5 belongs. It is an idea conceived of in 2155, after humanity's first contact with aliens (the Centauri... lucky us...) which says that God is too big to be defined. Foundationism attempts to find the... well, the foundations... of all belief systems, find out what they all have in common. This is an idea I very much like, and I think it sounds a great deal to me like what I've long wanted DNUR to be. ...I've already said that I don't have a really clear idea of what God is, but that I don't believe he's what Christianity traditionally conceives him to be. Obviously, he is the God not only of Christianity, but of Judaism, Islam, and Mormonism, and probably a few others that presently elude me. I expect "he" is also the Goddess that some Christians perceive "her" to be. And if we are saying that God is too big to be defined, this leaves room for countless possibilities. He could be the Wiccan Goddess. He could be Nirvana. For all you Jedi out there, he could be the Force. He could be made up of all of us, or of all the Universe. When you start thinking along these lines, it becomes easier to see that there is no reason why all faiths, all religions might be to varying degrees the same, at their foundations. Even polytheistic religions... there is that we don't know what God is, and if he's noncorporeal, and he is everywhere (even Christians will tell you he is omnipresent) then we needn't consider him a single being. In fact, Christianity itself is in a sense tri-theistic, believing in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. And even polytheisticker than that, he is living in the hearts of all born-again Christians... so he exists in millions of forms! Then too there is that (if you want to accept the basics of the Bible, such as the Ten Commandments) "thou shalt have no other gods before me." This hardly precludes having other gods after or beside him....

By the way, originally J. Michael Straczynski had said that Foundationism was established in the late 20th Century, and only later decided it had been after our first contact with aliens. Which makes me wonder if he wasn't originally confusing Foundationism with DNUR. :^)

Now, what else was there? Well, I think you can begin to see how easy it should be, how very natural, for people of various beliefs to come together, to share their beliefs, to... not only tolerate one another, but in fact to rejoice in their differences, to celebrate them. And to understand that we're all the same, we're all human beings (or whatever alien race you might happen to be), we're all equals, we all came from the same place (whether it was through evolution, or through Creation by God, whatever you perceive him/her/it/us/everything to be, or through the Universe trying to understand itself, as the Minbari believe...). Hmmm? Don't you think the world will be a better place for it? I do.

So, there you have it. There were other things I wrote before (and lost due to technical trouble). There was stuff about the nature of organized religion, and some of the problems and benefits of it. There was that human beings tend to be both social and spiritual creatures, by design, and that we need to come together for various reasons, including to share our spiritual beliefs. And that DNUR provides a place for those of us who are disenfranchised or disenchanted of organized religion; who want, who need to come together to worship, to share their beliefs, but don't feel we need to convert anyone, or be converted, or be harassed... We just want to be together, we just want fellowship with one another. We want open-mindedness and mutual respect and understanding. We don't need to have any common beliefs, necessarily, except that we all should believe we could all be a little bit wrong, and we could all be a little bit right, and we won't hold one another's beliefs against them. We won't have any preachers (though I sometimes call m'sef friar tek, just for the fun of it) or proselytizers (but I do like that word, proselytize. Don't you think it's a kool word?).

So, uh... I guess that about covers it. I may think of more to say sometime, but that's it for now, I think.

11/22/98 -Entry Two
Addendum: It occurred to me today, because of something a friend said, though I don't know that this is what he meant, but things I hear always get me thinking of other things, so all that really matters is that I thought of this at all. It seems to me that perhaps I have not been clear enough on this matter: I have said that perhaps most people will feel a need to share their beliefs. But this does not mean to suggest that everyone will, nor that everyone who has any interest in DNUR will. If you want to keep your beliefs more or less to yourself, you may feel perfectly free to do so, and still associate with DNURites... still consider yourself a DNURite to whatever degree you feel comfortable with... And you needn't even talk about what level that is or what specifically you agree or disagree with... religion is, as my friend said, a personal thing. That, as I said, is sort of the point. Please don't misunderstand what I mean about "sharing." It can mean talking with others about your beliefs and your feelings, yes. That can be an important part. But perhaps more important is a sense of fellowship with others, even if you have disparate beliefs, even if you don't necessarily know completely what one another believe... because you know it's not really all that important, as long as you agree with the fundamentals of tolerance and unity. IDIC. E pluribus unum, and all that....

12/14/99 -Entry Three
Update: I've been meaning for some time now, since seeing
Dogma, to mention in passing that that li'l flick reminds me a heck of alot of my own religious feelings...

5/17/01 -Entry Four
Updated: For the past... oh, I don't know, since say early 2000 or even late 1999 (even before the previous update, perhaps), my religious feelings have been rather confused, uncertain. I've been feeling more and more like there is no spiritual nature to the Universe, no God, or nothing. That it's all just based on science, and pure random chance, and that if there is any higher power, it would probably have to be very, very cruel, evil, malicious. That it just wants to cause us pain- if not all of us, then some of us more than others, for no apparent reason. And that any happiness it ever allows us is just to set us up to hurt all the harder when it takes it away. This does not mean to suggest that I would ever abandon any of the basic tenets of DNUR. I still believe whole-heartedly in tolerance and diversity and such, and I always will. Nor have I given up on the idea of a good and loving God, albeit not entirely just. It's just that I get so depressed, annoyed, pissed off, frustrated, hurt, confused, etc., by my life, by life in general, by the world, by human beings and humanity as a whole, by myself... and, really, by pretty much everything. It all sometimes seems so unfair. And I can't help having serious doubts about any sort of religious beliefs. But they are just that- doubts, not outright abandonment. And, as I say, whatever I may believe or fail to believe, I will always support the right of others to believe whatever they believe. Well... I guess that's all to say abou that, for now.

1/20/03 -Entry Five
Okay, I've been meaning to say a couple things for awhile. One is that I'm not really comfortable with the name "Developing New Universal Religion," because I don't like the idea of religion, so much. Maybe spirituality or something like that would be more accurate, I dunno... but in any event, I imagine I'll retain the name DNUR for now, just because I'm used to it.

The other thing was, and this is somewhat tongue-in-cheek, that these days it often seems like my belief in God or lack thereof has a great deal to do with whether the satellite dish chooses to work or not. Cuz alot of the time, it doesn't. And it strikes me as a fundamental unfairness in the Universe, when I have so little in life sometimes worth living for other than, say, watching a little TV, maybe taping something for a friend... So if it doesn't work, for no apparent reason, I take it as a sign that either there's no justice, and therefore no God, or that God is just evil or hates me and wants me to kill myself. But as I say, I don't fully believe that. Although I do think that saying it probably sometimes prompts God to make the satellite work for a little while....

return to top
Psych Index