I was raised as a Christian. However, I found the religion to be too stifling for me, and I renounced it. For a time I was honestly nothing, I didnt think about the metaphysical aspects of life at all. However, I am a somewhat spiritual person, despite my overwhelmingly logical outlook on things in general. I did not find any other established religion particularly appealing, and my mindset was not such that I could accept a religion based on any appeal besides the purely intellectual one. However, I could also not accept that the universe is no more than a chemical equation, or that life has no actual meaning. I found it best to gain spiritual guidance from within, and so I have formed the basis for a religion of my own.
The name Chawktheism is misleading, because it implies the belief of a deity, and more so, that the deity is Chawk. In actuality, I do not believe in a god; at least, not in the sense of any portrayal of a god I've encountered. I dont believe in a being that controls the universe. I dont believe that there is a supreme will, or that we're being judged or loved by any omnipotent power. Many people have the presumption that spirituality must be directed toward someone, but this is not the case.
I believe there is a force that makes the universe what it is. It serves two purposes. First, it governs the universe. This force is the laws of physics, and chemistry, and mathematics, which ensure that our universe always makes sense. This force is what keeps molecules together, what keeps the planets spinning, and what keeps two plus two equaling four, and not seven or pi or a penguin. Without this force, there would be only chaos, and no chance for meaning. (stop and consider this if it helps) What this force does is provide the necessary order which then permits the possibility of truth and eventually meaning. The second purpose of this force ( I really ought to name it, this is sounding like Star Wars) is to give the universe direction. Even with the force maintaining order, that still leaves the universe with infinite possibilities. There's no reason why it couldnt be made entirely of evenly dispersed quarks, for example. However, upon looking at the history of the universe as far as we understand it, we see that these simple particles were inclined to form atoms, and then molecules, giant solids, collections of constantly reacting gasses, and eventually, the beginnings of life, the development of humans and even the advancement of society. The universe is constantly making itself more complex. A physicist will assign names like gravity to some of the individual forces, an evolutionist will call others natural selection, and a sociologist will say the latters are capitalism and such. I see this as naming smaller parts of a giant, all encompassing force that entices complexity. I do not chastise these practices; I think they are a good thing, comparable to having ten commandments instead of just saying "Be Good."
It should be noted that, according to my beliefs, there is nobody controlling this force. Nobody wrote the rules down. Nobody set it off at the beginning of time. In fact, this force is a prerequisite for time itself. When I said that I didn't believe in a god, I meant it.
That said, how does one practice these beliefs? First of all, no one is to be worshipped, as it would be a blatant contradiction. You cannot praise this force for giving life meaning any more than you can praise the letter C for being round or the speed of light for being fast. It would be foolish to think that by accepting this belief you're gratifying anyone on a cosmic sense, as reading the Torah gratifies Yahweh. Attentions therefore should not be put into thanksgiving, but instead understanding. The fundamental call to action for my belief system is to spend your life learning, in hopes that you might better be able to comprehend this force and so the universe as we know it. Reading, discussing, researching, learning; this is the most spiritual way you can live your life. A lot of people will say "Now that doesn't sound very spiritual at all." But when you consider the beliefs I've presented and the alternative to living an enlightening life, it begins to make sense. And that's what this is all about: making sense. The "heaven" of my religion is quite unachievable, and is very close to a Buddhist's Nirvana. My heaven is universal understanding, and I believe that with universal understanding comes real peace. But it's not an all-or-nothing deal. Even though you can't hope to ever know everything, the more you know, the higher you will "ascend." Weve got a universe to explore, and it seems a shame to waste it.
These are of course only my personal beliefs. Ideas would be a better word, as it is not only probable but necessary for them to change as I mature spiritually. However, the actual fundamentals of Chawktheism are much wider and larger than that which my own head can come up with, and broad enough to contradict themselves. Let's take a look at
THE FUNDAMENTALS OF CHAWKTHEISM
The main principle of Chawktheism is that spiritual gain comes from ideas and knowledge on a personal level.
The proposal is that the more you learn and the more ideas you are exposed to, the better off you will be spiritually.
All of that "force" nonsense was just an idea of mine.
That said, the Virtues of Chawktheism are
Curiosity - You must have an interest in that which you don't know, or else you will be satisfied by ignorance
Open-mindedness - You must be able to consider other options, or else no progress can be made.
Intelligence - This is an indication of a successful Chawktheist, but intelligence is also necessary to further the goal.
Civility - You must realize that all people are useful if for no other reason than to learn from, and acting with civility facilitates the exchange of ideas.
Patience - You must be able to put life's trials in perspective and take them lightly in order to fulfill your goal.
These qualities are also virtues of a good arguer. This is no accident. Chawktheism is most successful in a free exchange of ideas.
Because of the open-minded aspect of Chawktheism, it is possible for a practitioner to believe literally anything, and even contradict the founding principles of the religion.
Chawktheism does not carry with it the solemnity or the reverence of other religions, and so it can be practiced at any time with any body. It cannot be a "touchy" subject.
Chawktheists are never required to attend a church for the purposes of supporting the religion. However, the religion may best be supported in an open debate. In such a debate, no topic is off limits, no idea is rejected and no doctrine must be followed, including this one.
Chawktheism does not require any tithing, admittance of faith, or even acceptance of core principles.
Chawktheism does not damn those who are not Chawktheists. Under no circumstances should a Chawktheist pressure someone into joining, though the spread of the idea is permitted and encouraged.
Chawktheists and their organizations should never be granted any level of immunity or benefits associated with the religion. Chawktheists can never hide behind their religion for legal or moral purposes.
A true Chawktheist would not consider it a religion, and would not feel obligated to follow any of these guidelines.
A liberal is a man too broadminded to take his own side in a quarrel.
Robert Frost (1874 - 1963)