Saturday, June 8, 2013

Religion: Facebook Official

A few years ago The Washington Post published a semi-interesting (as these things go) article about the little box on Facebook where you get to type what your religion is. As the article pointed out, it's kind of daunting when you've got "Religious Views: _____" staring at you, knowing that whatever you write is going to potentially influence how people think about you (even if you don't write anything).

I think I left mine blank when I first got the account. But eventually I decided to put something there. "Atheist" doesn't accurately describe my "religious views," and why would I willfully reveal to hundreds of friends and friends of friends of friends the fact that I eat babies? What else could I write? "Former-Christian"? "Myth-Lover"? "Ask me when I'm dead"?

I took a cue (once again) from William Blake: "I must create a system or be enslaved by another man's." I came up with my own:

SPELLIANISM

(I named it after myself.) This is its description: "The prophetic writings of William Blake, the Joseph Campbell approach to myth, a marriage of humanism and mysticism, absolute liberty for others, and the necessary blasphemy of tricksters. (Major texts include William Blake: The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, Joseph Campbell: Thou Art That, Christopher Hitchens: The Portable Atheist, Paul Radin: The Trickster, and the First Amendment of the US Constitution.)"

If Spellianism were a religion (and it isn't), you couldn't join it. It's just for me. Even more exclusive than "God's chosen people."

I feel the description of Spellianism does a pretty good job of at least pointing you in the right direction. It's easy enough to unpack all the authors, terms, etc. and put together a decent starting picture of how I think about religion. Most important, no one has ever said a word about it to me, so I think that means it has done its job. Or it means that no one looks at these things anyway.

My political views on Facebook were a lot easier to answer. One word: "Angry."