There was a long time in world history where religious groups believed they couldn’t live in harmony. We’ve come a long way since then. However, the result is that some people are left out of religious communities, in part due to what’s commonly referred to as the paradox of choice.
The idea is that when we’re presented with too many choices, we don’t choose one at all.
The people who find themselves caught between religions miss out on the benefits of activities and beliefs that come with being a part of a religious community. Even the people who subscribe to a religion will often hesitate from becoming too involved in it’s activities, understandably questioning the practices of a community seemingly so illogical.
The good news is, the benefits of being a part of a religious community is very similar to being part of a successful social community. The regular conversations you have with the people you relate with provides you with direction on what is considered right or wrong, people to watch out for and vice versa, and a sense of belonging. The difficulty with relying on social communities to provide you with direction is that they lack a core set of rules that everybody agrees upon.
This leads me to the idea that it would be beneficial to have a religion about religion, a set of rules and ideas, that every religious and nonreligious person (in the Orthodox sense) can agree upon. For this religion about religions to be most effective, everything has to be presented logically in a way that still “feels right” to people of various backgrounds and religions. The most appropriate name for this religion is Metareligion.
The prefix meta-, translates to about in English, and is often used to describe something that describes itself. For example, meta-data means “data about data” and meta-jokes are “jokes about jokes”. Following this logic, Metareligion is a religion about religions.
As I did a quick search on the term Metareligion, among other interesting ideas, I came across The Baha’i Faith, which one person describes as a Metareligion. The underlying idea for the Baha’i Faith is unity amongst the world. The teachings and rituals are vague enough to adapt appropriately to the existing religions and societal norms of each culture.
The Baha’i Faith model is new and exciting, while I question whether it’s enough to unify the world. In order to unify the world, you must include atheists an agnostics. It’s clearly difficult however, to come up with a set of rules that appeals to all religions and sciences.
Based on my minimal knowledge of existing religions and spiritual beliefs, I whipped together a quick example of some rules I imagine a Metareligion would have.
1) I will appreciate where I’ve been.
2) I will enjoy where I am.
3) I will look forward to where I’m going.
4) I will participate in a community or communities of people I love.
5) I will work hard doing what I love.
That’s basically the philosophy I follow. Would love to hear your thoughts.