New York, NY (PressExposure) April 13, 2009 -- On his website, http://www.thegodvirus.net, Dr. Darrel Ray invited readers to devise their own religions. Numerous atheists, agnostics, and practical utopians sent in descriptions of ideal religions, ones with neither sin nor hell as components. Dr. Ray posted the entries on his site, and then asked readers to vote on the best religion. The winner would receive a copy of Dr. Rayâs best-selling new book, The God Virus, a $50 U. S. Savings Bond, and a rational blessing for a good life.
âThe winner, by far,â announced Dr. Ray, âis Anna West, who created a highly humanistic and compassionate religion, which she calls Compassionism.â Ms. West, who is 35 and is a professor at Virginia Commonwealth Universityâs School of Mass Communication, in Richmond, Virginia, wrote that as a believer in Compassionism, she not only makes every effort âto be as considerate as possible towards to fellow humans, but also to live in a way that causes the least amount of harm to animals, who we humans eat, experiment on, wear and bully for entertainment by the billions every year. I'm a vegan (eat no meat, dairy or egg); avoid wearing leather, wool and of course fur; avoid circuses and rodeos, where animals are goaded into doing silly tricks; and I make sure the soap and shampoo I use is not tested on animals.â Ms. West wrote of Compassionism that it is âbased upon the maxim âBe kind.â This maxim can be traced to the origins of most world religions, but since these religions have been manipulated by self-serving and delusional humans for eons, the idea of compassion was buried and eventually squelched by contrived rules that were used to manipulate the masses, leading to the horrific treatment, enslavement, and slaughter of countless beings. To prevent this kind of contradiction from happening again, Compassionism keeps things very simple. The main text has only one page, which contains the one Compassionist maxim: âBe kind.â"
Following is Ms. West description of Compassionism:
History Be it Christianity's pregnant virgin or Zeus' sexual escapades, every religion needs a good story. Compassionism's story is based on the belief that the fundamental experience of life is the same for all sentient beings. It is this unifying factor, this fundamental core, that Compassionists believe is the heart of Compassionism. In this way, a human being is no better or worse than, say, a chimpanzee or a squirrel. All beings are able to feel emotion, a sentiment that is curiously both shared and simultaneously overlooked by most current world religions.
Compassionists view humans as less evolved than other animals who have been on the planet for much longer and show resilience that will allow them to survive the impending doom that humans have mapped out for themselves with a complex web of greenhouse-gas emissions and nuclear missiles. The fact that humans are less advanced explains why suicide is the fourth-leading cause of death for adults, despite the prevalence of iPhones, movies with $200 million budgets, TiVo, and plasma-screen TVs. Conversely, more advanced beings, such as squirrels and armadillos, are perfectly happy with the basics of food, water, space to explore, and a bit of soil to dig in.
Practice Compassionists understand that all sentient beings are unified by their ability to experience mental states, such as pain and joy. They understand that, regardless of who experiences it, pain and other negative emotions, such as fear and loneliness, are something to be avoided, so they see these emotions as "evil." Positive emotions, such as joy and comfort, are "good," regardless of whether a person, a dog, or a guinea pig experiences it.
Based on this, Compassionists look for ways to increase good by increasing positive feelings through acts of kindness. Conversely, they look for ways to decrease negative feelingsâevilâthrough acts of compassion. The species of the beings who happen to experience the positive or negative feelings is irrelevant.
Diet Compassionists are vegan, of course. They would never want to tear apart cow or chicken families only to put these animals through the terrifying process of slaughter. To do so would be to propagate hideous states, such as fear and pain. Compassionists follow a peaceful and healthy diet of grains, fruit, legumes, and vegetables. Their traditional dish served on holy days is tofu lasagna with spinach and soy cheese.
Clothing Compassionists refuse to wear any clothes whose production may have required other beings to suffer. They avoid fur coats and leather shoes, and because of http://www.savethesheep.com/ cruel practices used by the wool industry, they choose to avoid wool sweaters too.
Medical Treatment Because Compassionists have such a healthy diet and stay physically active with compassionate acts, such as walking dogs and rescuing birds who are tangled in fishing line, they are typically physically fit and healthy. This means that they are far less reliant on pharmaceuticals. With a decreased need for medicine, Compassionists are able to save countless sentient beings from the ghastly, barren, and terror-filled days that animals endure in laboratories, where they currently are used by the billions for painful experiments.
Entertainment Compassionists would never enjoy anything that involved forcing a sentient being to act against his or her will. Since most entertainment that incorporates animals, such as circus acts or rodeos, involve forcing animals to perform out of fear, Compassionists seek out animal-free entertainment, such as the Cirque du Soliel or a Broadway play.
Symbols Compassionism is symbolized by a cockroach. Self-sufficient, cockroaches have been around for a few hundred million years, which is a testament to their remarkable design. Far inferior is the fragile human, whose thorough job of depleting the planet's resources has ensured our species' doom, if the nuclear bombs don't do the trick first.
Future Since the entire bible of Compassionism is only seven characters long, it can be texted, Twittered, and tattooed in its entirety, making it irresistibly transmittable. If this tactic worked for the Obama election campaign, it might just work for our larger task of saving the planet. As certain doom looms over us, can Compassionism's maxim bring about the change that we need to save life as we know it? Yes, it can.