Talk Is Cheap: On Religion

If you are religious one of the important things today, so it seems, is living your religion in your everyday life. Jewish folks want kosher meals in the staff canteen. Muslims want religious law in the bedroom. Christians want god-centered relationships, god-centered teaching and god-centered milk chocolates.

I'd like to tell you about how I live my day religiously. At eight twenty six this morning, I honoured the spirit Stay-In-Bed-Five-More-Minutes. The ceremony is simple - the supplicant looks at his mobile phone, which he has carefully placed on the floor at the head end of his duvet. Reassured that there is still some more time before eight thirty, he closes his eyes and lowers his head to the pillow again. It is a slightly moving ceremony. The less moving it is, the better.

Let me explain - I am an Inanimist. I believe that the world around us is inhabited by many spirits: the spirits of sessility, the ghosts of forsaken opportunities, the sylphs of idle moments. A thousand books could have been filled a thousand times with the mellifluous names of these little gods: Finish-It-Tomorrow, Only-Five-Minutes-Till-Lunchtime, Rest-My-Head. That these books do not exist is a secret of the religion, a tale passed on from one worshipper to the next about the minor deity Someone-Else-Will-Do-It.

You may not know it, but you have probably interacted with many Inanimist spirits in your everyday life. For instance, who has not felt the holy urge of Just-Rest-Here and Take-The-Lift, the spirits that lurk at the bottom of flights of stairs. I myself find that sanctity is available everywhere if you just know where to look. To my right, for instance, a pile of books has fallen over on my desk. At some point in the future they should probably be stood up again. Not now, though. It would only take a few seconds to right those volumes, but there is a nameless spirit that I can honour by taking those few seconds and instead doing nothing with them.

Unlike organised religions, Inanimists have no church and therefore have no fixed concept of a special time and place for their religious practice. Many people find the early morning and evening to be the most popular times for inactivity, but as there are no prohibitions against midday napping or afternoon procrastionation, each follower is left to find her or his own way to honour the spirits around them. I think this is good. Of course, it was never planned that way - it's just a happy coincidence that it's so much easier not to build a church.

Inanimism is, therefore, a practise that blends seamlessly with a worshipper's own life. Each day is so filled with opportunities for lassitude that I find it easy to live my religion, and trivial to proselytise - for I think this message is one that many people are looking for in this fast-paced, result-driven, modern-day world. Set against that backdrop, Inanimism is a rich and full religion that brings much needed peace to the soul. I could continue. But I won't.

It's against my religion.


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