Reposted from The Daily Kos.
NEO-MILLENNIALISM: A TREATISE
I stopped being a Christian around ten years ago.
This wasn’t a decision that came easily. I was raised as a devout Episcopalian, and my father was a minister and chaplain for over thirty years. Both he and my mother graduated from Virginia Theological Seminary, and from a very young age they gave me a Christian Protestant upbringing.
However, at a certain age I began questioning: what makes one religion any more real or authentic than others? Didn’t the ancient Greeks worship Zeus as a god? What made that mythology and the Bible truth?
In my twenties, my faith wavered as I learned of all the horrors committed in the name of not just the Christian God, but all of them. Every brand of religion has been used to justify oppression, murder, slavery, poverty, genocide, or some combination of the above at one time or another. My twenties also saw me despairing as the Neoconservatives rose to power, and began using my God as justification to wage endless war on anyone who wasn’t white, male, rich, straight, right-wing, and Christian. The horrors of the Aughts and beyond shattered my faith in any sort of God that would allow such perversion of his words. I became an Agnostic, and after several months I confronted my father with my feelings. It took him a while, but he accepted my decision.
The problem still eats at me, though: religious extremism is tearing the planet apart, and there seems no way to fight back. How can you win against someone who claims to have God on their side? How can you win against the kind of blind, stubborn, willfully ignorant faith that claims that treating other people like shit is a divine right?
Maybe there is no rational answer.
So maybe it’s time for an irrational one.
Maybe it’s time to fight fire with fire.
At the beginning of the 21st century, the New Millennium promised to be a brave new future, filled with advances in science and technology, a new frontier of knowledge. I was sixteen years old when the clock turned over from 1999 to 2000, and I remember being excited for what wonders would lay ahead in the time that so many of my favorite science fiction stories had dreamed about.
Then, that bright future was stolen from my generation, fourteen years ago today.
Thousands of young men and women my age were sent into an endless, pointless war and never came home… or came back to a world that no longer accepted them. We watched our jobs, our money, our homes, our health, our lives being snatched away by people who claimed God didn’t want us to have these things.
It’s unjust, it’s obscene, and it’s unfair… but how do you argue against people backed by religion?
By fighting back with a religion of your own.
Neo-Millenialism has no God, no central divine figurehead, but it is a religion nonetheless. What is a religion, after all, than a system of belief? In my view, the only difference between a religion and a cult is PR. A man in robes tells you that what he says is God’s truth… how do you verify or argue with that? There’s no rational way… so let’s respond with a little of their own medicine.
Neo-Millennialism’s core tenet is striving for a better future for all, not just humans, not just males, not just straight people, not just Christians, and not just the rich. And it is the sword duty of Neo-Millennials to do everything in their power to see that future that we were denied come to pass.
To that end:
THE FIVE RULES
- TREAT ALL WITH RESPECT. Everything that lives is precious. Neo-Millennials must treat all life with just as much reverence as they treat themselves, if not more. This is the Golden Rule for a new era: no caveats, no misunderstandings, no differing interpretations.
- YOUR WAY IS NOT RIGHT. THEIR WAY IS NOT WRONG. Unless it causes harm to others, all people should be within their rights to believe what they want to believe. Neo-Millennials must attempt to confront those beliefs that do cause harm to others, but it is not their place to judge those who hold those beliefs.
- PEACE THROUGH NEGOTIATION, NOT THROUGH VIOLENCE. Needless violence stripped away our future. Neo-Millennials must not sink to the level of the fanatics that have ruined the world. The only way to overcome savagery is to be a better person and lead by example. Remember the first two rules: Treat all with respect, and Your way is not right. Their way is not wrong.
- SEEK KNOWLEDGE. Standard religion limits the mind to merely one explanation of the truth. The key to true wisdom is to explore all possibilities, without limiting oneself to what is permitted by “tradition”. Neo-Millennials must constantly act to expand their knowledge, to always question and never assume.
- LIFE IS WHAT MATTERS. And finally, too much blood has been spilled over what may or may not happen after death. Neo-Millennials must concentrate on the here and now, the life happening around them and what they can do to improve it for the future. The past is the past… the only thing one can do about it is to learn from it. Forget grudges, forget tradition, forget “the way we’ve always done things”. Look back only to learn from what’s behind you.
So there it is: a religion that values respect, open-mindedness, tolerance, and seeking knowledge. I know it doesn’t seem like much… but frankly, religions have been based on far less. Is mine any more valid than anyone else’s?
Why not try to find out?
Let’s take back our future.