The Church of Me
...is founded on the premise that the only universe I can know is the one made of data scooped up by my sensory input devices and piped into my brain. Everything that allegedly exists does so solely within the confines of my cranium.
I call this concept Non-Existentialism.
The Church of Me was founded one Tuesday morning around 10:30. I was doing the dishes when suddenly I had a religious awakening. Quickly I grabbed a pen and a scrap of paper and started writing. This sacred document, now enshrined on my refrigerator, has become the cornerstone of The Church of Me.
The 3 Holy Tenets of The Church Of Me
1. The congregation shall consist of every single living thing on the face of this planet that I can be absolutely certain exists. In other words, I am the only member.
2. The congregation shall go forth and witness to nonbelievers, and help them to see the truth: That outside their heads exists a roil of matter and energy, and inside their heads exists a universe of their own making.
3. The Church of Me wholeheartedly supports the doctrine that any religion, no matter how minuscule its membership, no matter how brief its history, shall be exempt from all taxation.
Pilliard Dickle, founder and only member
What About You?
Many people—particularly those who consider themselves to be existent—feel that Non-Existentialism excludes them, and even brings into question their very is-ness. And they are right. But what other conclusion can I, or anyone, possibly come to? Because all incoming information about the universe (or whatever it is that might exist out there) must filter through my senses and be processed by my brain.
This is not to imply that you do not exist. If you are reading this, I'm sure you probably do. Undoubtedly there is a chunk of matter and energy somewhere out there that corresponds to what you, your friends and the general public think of as "you."
But even if I see you standing right in front of me, plain as day, and hear your voice telling me how existent you are — even if I reach out and touch you, or feel myself getting pelted with rocks as you hurl them at me shouting "Now do you believe I exist?" — I can never directly perceive this "you." All I can do is interpret the vibrational patterns that bombard my sensory input devices.
It's a convincing illusion, in glorious 3D, Dolby surround sound and even Smell-a-vision. But in the end the only thing I can ever have any direct knowledge of is my own cognition.
Stare at the center of this circle and count to ten, then look at a white wall and blink your eyes rapidly until holy deity appears.
The World's Only Religion?
Christianity. Catholicism. Islam. Judaism. Bagism. They all claim to be the one true religion. (Well, maybe not Bagism). But The Church of Me is not the one true religion. It's the only religion. All those other isms are simply the noise of people outside my head chattering about things they've heard other people chattering about.
I've created all the world's religions from light waves bouncing off robes and crosses and pointy hats and hitting my retinas.
What about all the other stuff out there?
Do the tenets of The Church of Me apply to all the rest of the stuff going on in the universe, besides religion? The answer is a hearty Yes-in-deedly-do! Everything from the surface of my cranium outward to infinity I concoct in my head through vibrations piped in through my sensory input paraphernalia. A bee, a pimento cheese sandwich, Penelope Cruz's philtrum, the Andromeda galaxy—these all are but neural impulses in my brain precipitated from the roil of matter and energy that lies "out there," on the other side of my cranium.
Isn't It All Just Stuff You Say?
The prophet George Costanza uttered the above words in reference to marriage. (He was engaged to Susan Ross, who later died from licking faulty wedding invitations.) And he was right!
Ambrose Bierce, in The Devil's Dictionary, expressed a similar concept:
boundary (noun): an imaginary line dividing the imaginary rights of one set of people from the imaginary rights of another.
Or as The Reverend Roscoe put it: "I am all there ever was, or ever can be."
So who the hell is Roscoe? A character in my upcoming novel Roscoe's Revenge, coming out in the year 3000. He became aware one day of an out-of-focus mound of flesh protruding into his field of view. It was his nose. It pestered him to death at first, but over time it came to serve as a sort of visual mantra, constantly reminding him of the dividing line between the out-there and the in-here. It eventually caused him to have a religious awakening, and he started a church called The Church of Roscoe. Which is nothing more than a blatant and totally litigatable ripoff of The Church of Me. But I digress.
How to Join the Church of Me
Unfortunately, our membership quota is currently full. However, you can join the Church of You! Here's how: Simply send me an email stating that you wish to join The Church of Me (meaning, of course, The Church of You). You will be contacted by someone in our church. Namely, me.
When you join The Church of You, you will be not only the founder and only member, you will be the minister as well. Or rabbi or high priestess or whatever the hell you want to call yourself. After all, it's your church!
Now fall through here into another reality