A catechism can summarize the fundamental facts and doctrines of religion from our perspective. The word "catechism", which now broadly means an elementary instruction manual in a given field, has for seventeen hundred years meant, more precisely, exercises for instructing Christian neophytes. Before the word achieved popularity in its Latinized Greek form, it may have come from the combined words "tying down", connoting a binding divine covenant. Less religiously, it recalls a metaphorical American usage of the same words, as when we "tie down" a matter so as to put it is form for easy handling. Our catechism here intends to tie down in a well-known format the basic facts and doctrines of religion deriving from our study.
Setting forth a catechism exposes to a pitiless light our beliefs concerning religion. The onus of proselytism comes with it, for a catechism must tell people what they should believe. There are health and strength in such an exercise.
1. How was the universe created?
The world has always existed in some of its infinitely possible manifestations, and is being created in some others today, and so it will go on.
2. How long will this Earth endure?
The Earth will endure for an inestimable time, depending upon mostly unpredictable natural, and divine human events.
3. How much can a person know about the world?
One can know more than one can learn and much less than what exists. 4. Can one know oneself?
One can know oneself within the limits of one's abilities to know oneself.
5. Are the limits of these abilities known and achievable?
The limits of the abilities to know oneself are unknown but more extensive than the abilities anyone has shown.
6. What should a person know of oneself?
One should appreciate one's operative complex of self-controls.
7. Does a person have free will?
One acts in accord with one's nature and circumstances; free will as action in ignorance of one's nature and circumstances can exist, but is not characteristic of an autonomous rational person.
8. What is known absolutely?
Nothing that matters. The absolute should be ignored because its main function is to promote absolute fear.
9. What is absolutely clear?
Nothing, and tolerance of ambiguity should be a religious principle, both to combat fear and to express the supernatural.
10. What is science?
Science may be usefully defined as the method of choosing the largest chance of certainty in solving problems whose conditions and objectives are known.
11. How should science relate to religion?
Science should solve an increasingly large number of the indefinitely large number of problems of religion, while religion expresses some of the directives and limits of science.
12. How should we express our relation to cosmos?
We should relate to the cosmos by understanding it and celebrating it.
13. What needs has one?
One's needs are fearlessly to subsist, to experience, and to be treated justly.
14. What duties has one?
One's duties are to help others fearlessly to subsist, to experience, and to be justly treated.
15. Who is divine among people?
Whoever studies and expresses the divine is divine.
16. What differences exist between means and ends?
A means is a process of action that contributes to a more general process of action; it is rational according to how it works; it is deemed good or bad in its own effects and therefore contributes more or less good or bad to the end process.
17. Is good rewarded?
Insofar as the religious and secular realms are consonant, good action is rewarded in both; the rewards of religion should be in its practice and in the health of character that it fosters.
18. Should evil be punished?
Evil should be compensated for, personally and socially, not punished; it should be treated as a problem of coping with natural forces.
19. Do right and wrong belong in the realm of the gods?
Yes, they belong where the human and divine realms interact.
20. Can a person distinguish right and wrong?
Yes, by exercising himself in the fringes of the supernatural realm where the mundane realm fashions its judgments.
21. What is right or wrong?
Right is a determination of consistency in the consequences of an action with the divine aspect of a person.
22. By what rules should a person act?
A person should act by the rules of one's nature adjusted to the related ordinances of a consensus of like-minded others.
23. How should a person behave toward oneself?
One should accommodate consistently one's divine and mundane character.
24. How should a person behave towards others?
One should act towards others as to a differently shaped development of oneself, hence part of oneself, hence considerately, hence helpfully.
25. How should a person behave toward plants and animals?
One should behave toward plants and animals as toward others, while recognizing in them an acute differentiation from oneself in the tragic divine need to derive instinctive gratification from their exploitation.
26. How should a person behave toward natural objects?
As toward animals and plants, in descending series of their divinity.
27. How should a person behave toward the supernatural?
One should practice an understanding of its potential.
28. What morality is devoid of religious significance?
All morality should be religiously and politically promoted.
29. What morality should be religiously and politically promoted?
Morality should be promoted which comes from a constitution that is based upon consensus and offering procedures that among other effects tend to establish the dominion of divinity in humans.
30. Is a person without religion bound to be wrong and evil?
His views are narrow and he may not understand his own religiousness, but his actions may neither err nor have bad consequences.
31. What function does a person serve in the world?
The person represents and takes part in universal manifestations.
THE SUPERNATURAL AND DIVINE
32. Is there a supernatural part of the world?
What one cannot perceive and what one cannot understand, even if he learns something about it is the supernatural.
33. Is the supernatural divine?
The supernatural is divine insofar as it is meaningfully integrated into human mentation, but divinity implies no superiority over the pragmatically knowable.
34. What is the divine on Earth?
The divine on Earth is a uniquely human way of looking upon oneself and the world.
35. How does one worship the divine?
The rituals for worshiping the divine are whatever exercises are useful to achieve it.
36. What is sacred?
Everything viewed in its supernatural and divine manifestations is sacred.
37. What is faith?
Faith is positive morale, a conviction of meaningfulness about what one is thinking and doing, which when related to the divine is religious faith.
38. What is revelation?
Revelation is the recognition by an internal or external stimulus of an important pattern to existence, not previously experienced, to which if a divine element is present, the term "religious" can be attached.
39. What is discovery?
Discovery is a revelation purposefully brought about, whose applications are readily apparent and available to others.
40. What should authority be?
Authority should be the legitimate power of one person over another, which may be religious; it should receive its legitimacy by the consensus of those ruled and should lose its legitimacy to the extent to which it is physically and mentally coercive.
41. How should we behave toward the sacred?
As toward the mundane, although, as with mundane varieties, we should act toward the sacred appropriately in accord with its distinctions.
42. How much of our energies should be given to the divine?
As much as necessary in order to receive divine energies in return, from ourselves, others, the world and gods.
43. What is divine energy?
Divine energy is the morale that comes from developing relations with the supernatural.
44. Is there a sacred community?
Yes, the community of those whose understanding of the divine is similar in forms, scope and intensity.
45. Will the cosmos ever be divine?
The theotropic universe will ultimately dominate the entropic universe.
46. Is the divine also god?
Yes, insofar as its mental integration functions as a presentation of the human mind, the divine is godly.
47. To what futures should a person relate? A person chooses and lives partially in whatever futures one wants and is capable of participating in, except that upon death one's future is resolved into the cosmos and reconstructed beyond personal minding and control.
48. Is it proper to expect gods?
It is proper to expect gods, as it is to expect enlightenment.
49. What is a god?
A god is a generalized and immanent being, manifesting itself in material ways and through a demonstrable external cosmic spirit, operating in the human mind as the repository of the supernatural.
50. Is god material existence?
All material is effective: insofar as the divine is effective existence, and existence is all material, the divine is material, and so is god.
51. Where is god?
The god is wherever it can be and acts so as to be.
52. Is there one god or many?
There are both one and many gods, depending upon how the mind assembles the divine facets in its behavior.
53. Do gods behave like humans?
Yes, but only as the human in its universal and supernatural aspects.
54. How many gods exits?
We have not discovered how many, if any, gods exist on Earth, while in the universe myriad gods exist.
55. What proofs do we have that there exists a supernatural, a divine, and a god?
That divine beings exist is known by the logical extension of our ignorance and limitations into areas where divinity must being and exist.
56. Do all gods have the same traits and behavior?
Traits and behavior are limited ideas and actions to which the gods cannot be bound.
57. Where is god in relation to the human?
The god is where the human mind is affected by the supernatural and the divine, or may ultimately be in conscious contact with it.
58. How is a person related to god?
Personally, as to an aspect of oneself, socially as to a joint aspect of oneself and others.
59. Does a person elect god?
A person chooses god but his election is jointly with others to the extent that the gods of others permit a joint representation.
60. Can I will against gods?
One can will against gods entropically for self or universally, including reductionism to greater instinctive animality.
61. Can all historical gods be attributed to catastrophes and
other natural causes?
All historical gods are in at least some of their manifestations catastrophic.
62. Are gods historical?
Historical gods have been the outcome of persons interacting with events, and, though probably non-existent, persist in some of their earlier manifestations, so that all are partly gone and partly present.
63. Should a person obey historical gods in their original
The gods of the past are to be treated as hypothetical models to avoid and imitate as they reflect upon the present and future and satisfy today's conditions of existence.
64. Are the gods rational and welcome?
Insofar as they are theotropic rather than entropic, the gods are rational and welcome, and are to be preferred.
65. Can society hold together without religion?
Society cannot be conceived without religion and therefore cannot hold together without it.
66. Should two persons have the same religion?
No two persons can have or should have the same religion; all religion is therefore personal.
67. How are persons united by religion?
Persons sharing significant religious perspectives identify with each other and constitute a church if they recognize their mutual identity.
68. How should we regard existing religions.?
We should regard existing religions as in large part historically invalidated in terms of the ongoing and future historical process of religion, and encourage their voluntary assimilation and development into current standards of validation.
69. Should there be priests?
Priesthood as religious leadership must exist, and should be practiced ideally by all when they can, and by the fewest possible full time forever.
70. What gifts should religion bring?
Religion should bring joy of thought, wonderful awe, a divine community, and freedom from fear.
71. What gifts should be made to religion?
One should give to others by devotion, rituals, and cooperation the intelligence afforded by religion.
72. What does religion offer to human suffering of body and mind?
Religion offers to the suffering body and mind the knowledge of self, morale, scientific pragmatic support, and a cosmic sense of proportion.
73. What symbols should be sacred?
Symbols that retain the least historical implications and represent the major points of this catechism should be created and promoted and become subjects of admiration and stimulation; present sacred symbols should be reduced in significance and intensity.
74. What are sacred scriptures?
All graphic and written material that was ever sacred is still sacred and worthy of wonder and study, but at a reduced level of psychic investment, while new contributions intended as sacred scriptures should be no more sacred than any other sacrally intended or scientific or literary work for which merit is claimed.
75. Should our rites be simple or elaborate?
Rituals should be as elaborate as necessary to learn the purpose of the ritual, as stressed as necessary to enjoy its reassurances, as simple as the available energies would afford, and should be productive of other goods aesthetically and otherwise.
76. What is the educative task of religion?
Religion should educate people theotropically, which is the constructive life force.
77. What is the task of politics?
The task of politics is the same as religion morally, but politics contends largely with the pragmatic problems issuing from theotropism.
78. To what extend should we be bound by our religion?
We should be bound to our religion to the extent and so long as it helps us fulfill our obligations to ourselves and the world.
79. How long will it be before humanity becomes religious?
Mankind will become religious when it discovers the existence of gods on experiential principles without delusion.