A New Religion

a new religion

By Troy Headrick

Edward de Bono, the creator of the concept “lateral thinking” and author of the highly acclaimed Six Thinking Hats, has written approximately sixty books on all sorts of subjects, making him both prolific and wide-ranging.  Having read several of his works and finding them both profound and incredibly accessible, I recently decided to pick up his The Happiness Purpose.  Before even leaving the library, I opened up to the first page and read this whooper of a line:  “The world may need a new religion because it intends to find one anyway.”

Such a start!  His opening sentence sent my head spinning.  It even prompted the blog that follows.

If de Bono is right, what would this new religion look like?  What would its precepts be?  Would it offer a new kind of creation myth?  Would it tell us about heaven and hell?  What sort of values would it promote?

I noticed that the author used “intends” in his opening line.  His phrasing prompted me to wonder if he was suggesting that all established religions are obsolete, no longer fulfilling their original function, thus prompting human action.  Perhaps.  Or maybe he means that human beings have become spiritually fickle?

Since it’s impossible to answer these questions without getting further into the de Bono treatise, I’ll just take the idea expressed in his opening sentence and run with it.  If I had the power to create a new religion, one especially needed for the challenges facing us today, what would it look like?

I think that maybe a religion is needed which emphasizes finding salvation now—not in the future—not after we die—and not in the usual way either.  Many of those who practice what de Bono would call an “old” religion, have pretty much written the present off and are looking to find their reward after they’re gone.

I think the perfect new religion should laud the idea of a common good and argue that finding heaven might be akin to the bliss that comes when we serve others—when we lift up the downtrodden, share our wealth, feed the hungry, nurse the sick, educate the unlearned, and so on.  What if the new religion de Bono speaks of were to teach that we should absolutely ignore our skin-deep differences and reject individualism?  What if it abolished the idea of class and promoted the idea that there was a role for us to redistribute wealth?  What it if taught that it was sinful to allow a large economic gap to open up between the rich and the poor?  What if it vociferously claimed that service to others was the pathway to self-actualization and greater happiness—two synonyms for “salvation”?  What if it espoused the notion that unmitigated self-interest is unnatural and unhealthy?

What sort of world would there be if these were agreed upon values that were seen to be expressions of god’s will?

I think de Bono is certainly right.  The world not only needs a new religion; it is in the process of creating one.  The fact that it is within our power to make this new moral code means that it won’t be handed down from above; it’ll bubble up from below.  It will be seen as a kind of survival guide as we face an array of unprecedented challenges.

Troy Headrick’s personal blog can be found at Thinker Boy:  Blog & Art.


12 thoughts on “A New Religion

  1. Interesting thoughts on “finding a new religion” but I truly believe the world is closing the door on all/any traditional form of religion…people are realizing the changes and progress necessary can be accomplished by themselves or with others and simply don’t need an archaic mythical god/goddess!

    1. I agree. I’m hoping the secularists will win out in the ultimate battle (that’s certain to occur) between those who find no need for a “god” and those who not only believe in deities but feel compelled to force the rest of us to believe in them too. By “religion,” I think I meant that the concept of religion itself might change. It may come to mean service to others as opposed to service to god. That’s the sort of “religion” I could fully embrace. Thanks for your comment. My feeling, if I’m reading your comment correctly, is that you and I see the world in quite similar ways.

      1. Thanks, I did think you were originally talking about, “the concept of religion itself” as opposed to service to “gods”…I would replace the word ‘religion’ with something like ‘new world view’, or ‘human nature’, something with no connotations of designated spiritual behavior?

    1. I absolutely agree. I haven’t finished the de Bono book, but I believe he’s going to argue that “happiness” become this new religion. When I think about Christianity (and I was raised a Christian but have now moved on from that starting point), I recall that that belief system makes the point that humans are created in the image of god. If that’s the case, wouldn’t service to people be something akin to service to god. If we are all mini-gods, then we serve god by serving each other. Is my logic weird here? My feeling is that it isn’t.

  2. One book that might be very interesting to read with this idea in mind (that the world intends to find/invent a new religion) is Stephen Batchelor’s “After Buddhism: Rethinking the Dharma for a Secular Age.”

    1. Thanks. I’ll check it out, Philosophic Advisor Cleveland. The title is certainly suggestive. By the way, I’ve been meaning to reach out to you to find out more about your practice, so I’ll use your contact form to do so. I see that you are especially interested in Stoicism. I am too and have read and studied it extensively, especially when I was working on my PhD. Again, I’ll reach out to you. By the way, your mentioning of Buddhism reminds me of how many interesting connections there are between Buddhism and Stoicism.

  3. I’ll have to add that book to my list! I just finished The Moral Landscape by Sam Harris, which explores human values from a scientific point of view. In my opinion, religion–or any doctrine viewed as “absolute truth”–is dangerous. When an idea comes from the mouth of a god, anything can be justified. Unfortunately, we have seen this throughout history. The oppression, bigotry, shame, and death caused by religious dogma–no matter its form–is a horrific virus on the human condition.

    1. Thanks for the comment. I’ve read something by Harris. The book’s title was Letter to a Christian Nation or something like that. He made some powerful critiques in that polemic. Yes, I totally agree with you. A good example of the point you make is what’s happening in American politics now. The evangelicals have become Trumpists because they’ve convinced themselves that he is carrying out “the mission of God.” Sorry about the delay in responding to your comment. During the weekends, I often step away from my computer and email and such.

      1. 𝙽𝚘 𝚠𝚘𝚛𝚛𝚒𝚎𝚜! 𝙸’𝚖 𝚊 𝚏𝚒𝚛𝚖 𝚋𝚎𝚕𝚒𝚎𝚟𝚎𝚛 𝚒𝚗 𝚝𝚊𝚔𝚒𝚗𝚐 𝚝𝚒𝚖𝚎 𝚝𝚘 𝚞𝚗𝚙𝚕𝚞𝚐.
        𝚈𝚎𝚜, 𝙻𝚎𝚝𝚝𝚎𝚛 𝚝𝚘 𝚊 𝙲𝚑𝚛𝚒𝚜𝚝𝚒𝚊𝚗 𝙽𝚊𝚝𝚒𝚘𝚗 𝚌𝚑𝚊𝚗𝚐𝚎𝚍 𝚎𝚟𝚎𝚛𝚢𝚝𝚑𝚒𝚗𝚐 𝚏𝚘𝚛 𝚖𝚎. 𝙿𝚘𝚠𝚎𝚛𝚏𝚞𝚕 𝚜𝚝𝚞𝚏𝚏. 🕊

      2. I’m trying to nurture a quietness of the mind, and one way i do that is by disconnecting and just “being.” I’m thinking it’s about time for me to go back and reread the Harris book. Take care!

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