Forking Religion

So, gonna put this up here — this isn’t related to tech, and if you don’t want to read about religion, or cannot manage a rational and decent discourse, you may want to shuffle off and read something else. This isn’t intended to be inflammatory, but you have been warned.

In the software development world, when a public/open source project no longer serves the need of the many, or the community, or the project owners abandon software, it is forked. That is, a copy of it is made, and a new direction is taken. Some of these forks never gain traction — the Drizzle fork of MySQL is a wonderful example of this. Others co-exist reasonably well — the MariaDB fork of MySQL has gained significant traction, but hasn’t killed off MySQL (though that may be due to Oracle simply refusing to let such a thing happen). Yet others completely supplant the original project — X.Org utterly killed XFree86.

This system by which an existing system is modified and attempts to co-exist or replace a seemingly flawed implementation can be applied to religion as a whole. Christianity can be considered a fork of Judaism, where the New Testament addition extended the original. Islam, to an extent, can be considered a fork of Christianity.

Similarly, each religion itself can be forked — Islam has Sunni and Shia sects, each of which can be further subdivided. Christianity cannot seem to help but fork itself — the Reformation took Roman Catholicism and added five or six different new implementations: Lutheran, Anglican, Reformed, etc.).

Religious forking doesn’t even have to happen over articles of faith — the Church of England broke away from the Roman Catholic church to allow Henry VIII to get a divorce!

If we can accept that religious change is due to a group wanting to reorient the direction of a particular faith, then I posit that Religion needs another fork, for the modern age. This can be distilled in a few very specific codas:

  • Be nice
  • Be accepting
  • Apologize when you make a mistake, or hurt somebody (intentionally or otherwise)
  • Forgive
  • Champion those who have a more difficult time, whether due to ethnicity, gender, creed, socioeconomic class, or level of education; always seek to uplift others
  • Learn, grow, change, adapt
  • Do not be dogmatic
  • Do not seek to convert others
  • These rules are not written in stone, and should change and adapt as the world does

We can call this fork Rationality, and make the world a better place. No stories to get caught up on or misinterpret, no focusing on a vengeful being (or beings), no carrot/stick approach, no “one of us or against us.” Just… be a good human being to others.