How to create new religions: resources for would-be founders

Cultpunk begins with the premise that all religions are invented as works of art (thereby alienating the gigantic majority of the conventionally religious) and then insists that it is deeply desirable to act on that premise (thereby alienating the gigantic majority of atheists).

Some of the happy few we count as pioneers in this field have gone beyond the call of duty by devising courses and workbooks to assist others. In chronological order, these include:

  1. Start Your Own Religion by Dr. Timothy Leary (1966)
  2. Start Yr Own Religion (in-person course with Bob Doto, circa 2011)
  3. Building the Cathedral: Answering the Meaning Crisis through Personal Myth (Metamodern Spirituality Book 4) by Sadie Alwyn Moon and Brendan Graham Dempsey (2021)
  4. Invent Your Own Religion (course and workbook by M. Dudeck, ongoing)

There are also numerous listicle-style “how to” resources online teaching how to invent new religions, ranging from thought experiments to more-or-less serious advice. Here’s a lightly curated sampling, eschewing the most cynical/satirical:

And there’s plenty of advice on creating fictional religions, too, for writers and game designers:

There have also been “create your own religion” contests, such as this one run by the Huffington Post in 2011 and this (much more earnest) 2016 competition run by the NYC 92nd Street Y and OnBeing. Unfortunately, only a few scattered remnants of the latter contest remain online. The good news is that the same theme has also inspired various high school and college-level course assignments, such as this series presented on Prezi.

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