A New Religion


A New Religion


Every religion needs a deity, a prophet, and a set of doctrines. These should, if possible, all be absurd, mildly exotic, and essentially arbitrary. The religion needs to appeal to the imagination of children so that they can be easily indoctrinated in its tenets. It should demonstrate a boldness of belief in its adherents that adds up to a leap of faith; on no account must the religion follow common sense. It needs to distinguish the believer from the non-believer, so that he or she feels set apart from other people. With these desiderata in mind I have devised a new religion with the necessary ingredients.

            The cardinal truth of this religion is that God is the Earth, or the Earth is God: this is a strict identity statement, admitting of no qualification. God is not distributed around the universe or placed in a separate realm; he is right here under our feet. He keeps us grounded, literally (now we know what gravity is for: it keeps us attached to God). This means that the Earth is the center of the universe, because it is where God is located. (Actually, he is not strictly a he, but it is convenient so to designate this essentially sexless being.) God can show his displeasure by creating earthquakes and storms, but he can also display his benign side in the form of mild weather and beautiful vistas. Naturally, the divine Earth created human beings and the rest of nature: in fact it happened at the time of the dinosaurs when God caused the oceans to bubble into life. We did not exist then, but we were there implicitly: what is called the dinosaur extinction event was in point of fact a transformation of dinosaurs into human beings (think caterpillars and butterflies). The dinosaurs morphed into people in a really cool way; some would describe it as miraculous. Anyway it was a long time ago and it doesn’t happen any more. Where dinosaurs once ruled the planet, we became the Top Dogs, superior to them in every way. And the Earth was well pleased and rested for a while.

            The prophet of this religion was an obscure European who invented pizza. Some say he was from Luxembourg; others favor Latvia. His name was Jack. Not only did he invent pizza, he made the best pizza ever made. He it was who introduced the world to the true God—our very own planet. If you went to his rallies, you would get pizza for just a few coins (needed to finance his special pizza ovens). Even today, if you turn up for Earth church, you get a slice—it’s nice, always hot. The pizza is nowhere near as good as Jack’s original pizza, obviously, but it is still pretty damn good. History records that he was killed by a rival pizza maker, a man called Joe, thus destroying the original recipe (Joe became the Devil in early iterations of the religion). Hence the religion is often called “Jackism”, though purists prefer “Earthism”. Allegedly, the very finest pizza is made in special lava ovens, because this brings the pizza closer to God (the dough has a wonderful crispiness to it). Anyway it was Jack who first preached the true gospel of Earth’s godliness, cogently noting that his delicious pizza was made of Earthly ingredients.  [1]

            As to doctrine, we have the following tenets. Obviously the Earth is an object of worship and must not be abused, contaminated, polluted, shat upon, or otherwise fucked with. We must practice diligent Earth husbandry, anti-littering policies, animal rights, and species preservation. We have special holidays to celebrate Earth-related events such as Cambrian Explosion day and Crust Formation week. The Moon is conceived as the antithesis of the Earth, being cold, barren, and somewhat sinister. The stars are Earth’s distant admirers. There is a mystic union with the Sun, which is regarded as the son of the Earth (hence the name). The oceans exist to separate the continents and prevent war; in the old days they were joined and war was constant. The omniscient Earth came up with the obvious solution—keep the warring tribes apart. The Earth God has the name “Nabo”, nobody knows why—though it has led to a religious veneration of the writer V. Nabokov, whose novels enjoy biblical status. In religious songs “Nabo” gets abbreviated to “Na”, which is nice and simple (always important in religions). Church services feature nature documentaries and teach geology (though not always of the kind heretics call “scientific”). All types of immaterial spirit are eschewed and deplored: the solid Earth is what is truly holy. Bathing in the oceans and mountain climbing are viewed as devout acts. The Earthist church is officially apolitical, though it is inclusive and welcoming, accepting all races, sexes, sexual orientations, social classes, and tastes in popular music. It is, however, not open to all sentient beings (though this doctrine is contested by radical members)—with the interesting exception of lizards who are accepted as equals before God (something about their species longevity and general earthiness). For the intellectuals, Spinoza is cited as a forerunner, on account of his identification of God with Nature and the fact that many so-called “atheists” are really Earthists at heart. All in all it’s a nice mixture of the sensible, the preposterous, and the whimsical—with nothing to offend anyone and no onerous moral commandments (being rich is not deemed a sin). Perhaps it is somewhat lacking in persecutory elements, or violent conversion recommendations, but these can easily be added if need be. It has something for everyone, and the pizza is definitely a come-on. So let the word go forth!  [2]


  [1] In some circles this is taken as an ontological proof: how else could the Earth produce such perfect pizza without itself being perfect—hence the Earth is God.

  [2] For those rare individuals who don’t like pizza it has to be said: this is not a religion for you. And don’t plead that you like the God-is-Earth part, because you can’t just pick and choose what parts of a religion you fancy and what parts turn you off. Religion is serious stuff (and pizza skeptics have always seemed like sinister types). Fortunately pizza has conquered most of the world.

4 replies
  1. Free Logic
    Free Logic says:

    A great stand-up comedy piece (after some minor further simplifications of course) ! I can imagine Dave Chappelle performing it in case the author doesn’t feel like doing it himself.

    • Colin McGinn
      Colin McGinn says:

      Yes, and now we have it on good authority: the “pale fire” of the moon is the Devil’s mantle. It comes out at night when the good Sun is asleep and bad thing happens under its watch. It also has a meretricious beauty and causes flooding.


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