A Gamer’s Guide to Starting Your Own Religion

Are you bored with nothing to do? Would you like to increase your income in your free time? Do you find that you don’t get enough worshiping? Are you more cynical than happy? If you answered yes to any of these questions, I have the solution for you: founding your own religion.

Founding your own religion is easier than you think. All it takes is pen and paper, a few loyal friends or relatives (it helps if they are willing to do anything for money), a 20-sided die, a 10-sided die and a complete lack of scruples.

1.- Choose your congregation

People who start religions often forget this step, but you must not. The first thing to do is to establish the balance you want between quantity and devotion. I call it the Followers vs Fanatics Factor because I can then spell it “FFF” or “3F” and acronyms are always cool.

If you want to have a huge fan base and get as many “likes” as you can, then the required rules, obligations and rituals of your religion should be kept to a minimum and be very relaxed. This is the follower factor and it’s the best approach to take if what you’re going after is something simple and non controversial that everybody has, like money.

With enough donations, you can buy heaven.

On the other hand, if what you want is things that are difficult to get, like sex with virgins or sending people to other countries to kill others, then you’ll have to have more complex and demanding rules. This is the fanatic factor and if you decide to go for this approach, it’s better to market your church to those who didn’t finish high school.

Your FFF factor will be a number between 1 to 5, with 1 being the follower extreme and 5 being the fanatic extreme. Once you select your number, you’re ready to move on.

2.- Select a name for your church

The best approach to this is to combine a traditional term with a modern term. You don’t have to be terribly original, and frankly, most new religions are rip-offs of others. If you need help, use the chart below.

Instructions. For each number, roll a 20-sided die and write the corresponding word on the list on the corresponding blank.

The ___(1)______  ____(2)_______ of __(3)_____.

-1 -2 -3
1.- Magnificent Church God
2.- Great Temple (your town)
3.- New Mosque (your country)
4.- Amazing Ziggurat  the World
5.- Awesome Cathedral the Truth
6.- True Synagogue Wisdom
7.- Last  Shrine These Days
8.- Eternal Center His Holiness
9.- Jocose Institute the Saved
10.- Spiritual Basilica Heaven
11.- Ecumenic Pyramid the One and Only
12.- Holistic Pagoda the Blessed
13.- Sage Hussainia the Answer
14.- Wise Monastery the Sanctified
15.- Ground-breaking Convent Salvation
16.- Sacred Abbey Eternal Life
17.- Enlightened Mithareum the Divine
18.- Illuminated Gurdwara the Protean
19.- Welcoming School the Unprofane
20.- Holy Meetinghouse the Untainted

 

3.- Select a title and name for yourself

You are the chosen one and thus you have to have a title appropriate to your status (mmm, chosen one is actually a good one). This is where you take out the dictionary and look for the most impressive and pompous words you can find. It’s ok to copy, but be careful not to choose names that refer to a single individual. So, while you can be a Wise and Wonderful Wizard (repeating the first letter is useful for memorizing your title), don’t go for Pope or Dalai Lama.

Don’t limit yourself to religious titles. Use political or even educational titles as well, like czar or professor.

Also, if you’re going “fanatic” on your FFF, using a lot of titles is appropriate. Follow the example of the Ugandan leader Idi Amin Dada who gave himself this title: “His Excellency President for Life, Field Marshal Al Hadji Doctor Idi Amin, VC, DSO, MC, Lord of All the Beasts of the Earth and Fishes of the Sea, and Conqueror of the British Empire, in Africa in General and Uganda in Particular.”

Glorious Leader kind of has a ring to it.

 

If your real name is kinda lame, you will want to go for a new one too. Saint Leader of the Faithful  and Commander of the Believers Bob Johnson kinda breaks the spell. Tip: Latin names like Bovem Stercore are much more impressive.

4.- Select one or more after-death prize

Nobody does anything for free these days. If you want people to give you their earthly possessions or worship you, you have to give them a dazzling reward in exchange. The good news is that you’ll have to deliver this reward after death.

If you’re going for an extreme follower FFF approach, then just promise a place where people will be happy for all eternity. If you’re lazy, call it Heaven. If you’re looking for something more exotic, call it nirvana, paradise, elsyum, utopia, or something similar. On the other hand, you can go for something more ambiguous or mundane, like afterworld, afterlife, kingdom in the sky, eternal glory or the like.

Now, if you’re going for the fanatic FFF approach, you’ll have to promise more awesome rewards. You can use the following chart in case you don’t have any ideas. These will be the promises you’ll give to your followers/fanatics.

Instructions. Roll a 20 sided-dice times your FFF number and take note of the numbers it rolls.

1. 10,000 virgins
2. a wish
3. eternal health
4. eternal love
5. a garden
6. talking to animals
7. reincarnation
8. beer
9. no suffering
10. no poverty
11. flying
12. protecting your loved ones
13. sitting to your right
14. eternal joy
15. eating but not gaining weight
16. free cable
17. cookies
18. no mothers-in-law
19. world peace (only in the afterlife)
20. customer service where a person answers

Experience the honor of sitting to my right.

5.- Declare all other religions to be false

Yes, it would be nice if everyone was cool with other people’s religions, but if you want to be successful in this industry, you can’t play nice.

One of the main tenets of any respectable religion is to claim to be the one and only and to declare all others to be false. You also have to establish some sort of punishment for those who choose not to belong to your religion.

Once more, your FFF comes into play. The more follower oriented you are, the less punishment you’ll declare. At the extreme, the punishment will be simply not to receive the benefits of belonging to your one and true religion. At the fanatic extreme, the punishment will have to be more severe.

If you’re unable to come up with an original punishment for the infidels, here’s a list to help you.  All of these punishments have to be declared for the length of time the infidel will be dead.

Instructions: Roll a 10 sided-die times your FFF number.

1. Eternal fire
2. Eating airplane food
3. Having your organs eaten and then healed
4. Pushing a boulder along a steep mountain
5. Slow Internet connection
6. Being reincarnated as a illegal immigrant
7. Being struck with lighting
8. Gay hurricanes
9. Living in Wyoming
10. Eternal hunger with food 1 inch from your reach

Infidels must eat airplane food.

6.- Create a human resources department

People make your organization and that’s truer when founding a religion than anywhere else. You have to create a structure with roles and titles. You might want to take a look at some organizational charts to get some good ideas. I strongly recommend a pyramidal structure with at least 3 levels (you, your close allies, and everybody else). However, the more fanatic focused your FFF is, the more levels you should have.

Having a lot of levels also allows you to charge money or sell courses for those who want to move up to the next level. Again, this works better with a fanatic FFF since they’re more willing to give you higher amounts of money and time. On the other hand, a follower FFF will give you much less money from every individual, but you’ll have more individuals to get money from.

Also, the more follower oriented your FFF is, the more original you have to be with the names and titles of your followers. It’s only the fanatic FFF religions that can get away with cliché names like “my 12 apostles.”

7.- Create a holy book

Unless you loooooove to write, I suggest you hire someone to do this job for you. There are many freelancer sites where you can get third-world professional writers that charge much less money than the kid who spits on your burger at McDonalds.

If you want to make it even cheaper, then just borrow an already popular holy book and make some changes, add a few extra chapters, or both. This approach works better with a fanatic FFF, so if you’re more follower oriented, then you’ll have to be more original.

8.- Create a logo

Again, unless you like design or work as a graphic designer, it’s better to have this done by someone else. And again, the more follower oriented you are, the more original you have to be.

Whatever ends up in your logo, you’ll have to make it symbolic. It’s better if the symbols refer to you. For example, if you’re fat and hairy, then a teddy bear would be a good logo for you.

Make sure that the logo is not too complex. It has to be easily reproduced, so that it can be used in t-shirts, caps, religious clothing, signs on your religious building, websites, magazines, books, ashtrays, and stuffed animals.

Here´s a awesome example.

9.- Create an ideology

This is one of the most important parts of your religion. An ideology, for the purposes of this guide, is a set of obligations, prohibitions and rituals that the members of your religion will have to follow. The more fanatic oriented your religion will be, the more obligations and prohibitions you’ll want and vice versa.

Rituals. on the other hand, should have rules about frequency. Here are some examples of what might be required daily practice or what might be required to be completed at least once in a lifetime. However, feel free to change the frequency of these.

If you need help in deciding what the obligations, prohibitions and rituals of your religion should be, use the following chart.

Instructions. Roll a 20 sided-die times your FFF number for each of the following lists and take note of the numbers it rolls.

Obligations

Thou shall _________

1. Give 10% of your income to your religious center
2. Visit random people and try to get them to join your religion
3. Light a set of 10 candles every Friday night
4. Pray 4 times a day
5. Wear a funny hat
6. Wear a specific type of underwear
7. Shave your head
8. Wear a scarf
9. Wear a t-shirt with the logo of your religion
10. Eat broccoli
11. Buy a specific product (works better if you have a company that produces said product)
12. Give 4 hours of free work per week to your religious center.
13. Play the trumpet
14. Sacrifice a banana
15. Meditate
16. Help the poor
17. Walk from point A to point B with X frequency
18. Talk to animals/plants
19. Worship your oldest known ancestor
20. Wear a certain color

Banana, preparing for sacrifice.

Prohibitions

Thou shall not_________

Roll a 20 sided dice

1. Eat pork
2. Eat red meat
3. Drink Coca-Cola
4. Practice a specific type of sex
5. Wear a color
6. Use public transportation
7. Have cable
8. Watch anime
9. Litter
10. Loiter
11. Believe in vaccines
12. Believe in accounting
13. Vote
14. Allow women/men to work in ______
15. Watch documentaries/indie movies
16. Speak a foreign language
17. Buy _______
18. Live in ______
19. Talk to _______ (ethnicity, people who follow a certain religion, people who follow a sexual practice)
20. Marry a second time

Daily rituals

Instructions. Roll a 10 sided-die times your FFF number for each of the following lists and take note of the numbers it rolls.

1. Pray
2. Do a gesture with your hands
3. Read your holy book
4. Position your body in a certain way
5. Prepare food without oil
6. Bow before an image of you or your logo
7. Do the harlem shake/gangnam style
8. Write a blog (about you or your religion)
9. Invite a random homeless person for dinner
10. Wake up on a certain side of the bed

Worshiper bowing before your logo.

Other Annual or “Special” Rituals

1. Have a ceremony when someone is born
2. Have a ceremony when someone dies
3. Have a ceremony when someone joins your religion
4. Have a ceremony when someone goes up one level in your religion’s organization (only once per level)
5. Have a ceremony when a person does something important in his or her life, like getting a job, or buying a house
6. Have a ceremony when someone marries
7. Travel to your city
8. Do something to a person’s genitals the moment they reach puberty (nothing painful or harmful tho, you want them to reproduce to keep augmenting the number of your religion members)
9. Earn your personal blessing (great for asking specific favors)
10. Work as a waiter

11.- Start recruiting

That’s it! You can now start recruiting people. Your family and friends are the best way to start and show that people believe you really are the chosen one.

Here are some good places for recruiting:

Craigslist
Country radio stations
Blogs
Magazines
Classified Ads (preferably those of newspapers with horoscopes in them)
Facebook
Tweeter
Jackson, Mississippi

Time to Pass the Plate

If you liked this article but don’t have the motivation to start your own religion, you might consider contributing to Flippy’s Mendacious Congregation of the Innocuous. In addition to donations, we’re also accepting new members, with preference given to cute girls with cars. If you’re interested, please send us a letter of intent with your donation and a picture of the car. Credit cards accepted.

When not busy mixing his whites with colors, Flippy works as a writer, translator, and language teacher. In his free time, he plays video games, takes photos, and writes funny stuff. You can find his role playing book for parents and bronies, Tiny Horsies, the RPG, published by Relentlessly Creative Books on Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/Tiny-Horsies-Role-Playing-Game/dp/0989540693.

©2016, all rights reserved
published with permission of the author

Flippy thinks he can also write about other stuff. Here he talks about how, due to the bad economy, even his dreams are on a budget.

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