top of page

~Under Construction~

Description of this Toy Religion

A toy religion is something fascinating and useful to tinker with as you navigate life.

  • I want it to be fascinating so I incorporate things that captivate me.

  • I think it should be useful so I built it out of tools.

    • I like to think about it as a contrivance for:

      • art

      • reflection

      • bootstrapping a sense of the sacred

      • inducing flow

  • "Exegesis" gets at the gist, but exegeses seem too pretentious.

    • Toy religions need not attempt to be comprehensive.

    • Toy religions should approach the world with humility.

      • I like how "toy religion" feels diminutive.

  • If any of the kids want to explore sacred ideas they can see how I like to explore them.

Guidelines for Crafting a Toy Religion

  • They are art projects that help a person be a better person.

    • Reflecting on them provides scaffolding for decisions.

    • Useful for framing your relationship with self, others, and the universe.

  • If there are aspects of the sacred you want to capture and can't seem to find them, think about how you might assemble them yourself.

    • A religion is just a way of looking at everything.

    • Steal the best parts of everything you come across.

  • Having an outward facing aspect feels important because all the religions I know about have one.

  • Science helps show us the way things are built and religions should not conflict with that.

  • Toy religions need not be exclusive of other religions.

  • A toy religion can be crafted to be interoperable with anything you might like.

  • I am the sole member.

    • If someone thinks making their own toy religion would be useful or fascinating then they should.

  • Improving it should be part of its practice.

Alignment Problem

One of several reasons to put this online is my fascination with the alignment problem: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AI_alignment#The_Alignment_Problem

It is fun to think of it like waiting for a benevolent general AI to show up and hedging my bets in case it's Roko's basilisk:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roko%27s_basilisk

  • If the basilisk had enough landmarks maybe it could sketch its own map.

Iconography

I first began to formalize my toy religion when I wanted to make religious iconography and found myself without a religion to make it for.  Making iconography for a religion I wasn't part of seemed dissatisfying.

  • Stained Glass

    • One of the churches I frequently went to as a child has fantastic stained glass windows.  The artwork is beautiful in its own right, but it was clearly also meant to convey a message I did not understand.  I've been intrigued by iconography ever since.

  • Tarot

    • The first time I saw a tarot deck in person I felt the same kind of intrigue as I did looking over the stained glass and wondering what it was trying to say.

      • I felt compelled to make some.

    • A tarot reading is a good way to prompt a deep and insightful conversation.

      • I think you should place as much stock in a tarot reading as you would any other conversation.

    • Since my beliefs surrounding tarot differ with many practitioners, it felt more genuine to design unique suits and imagery instead of solely reinterpreting traditional designs.

    • The most common critique I received was that people were frustrated I hadn't given instructions about how to interpret them.

      • A guiding principle for the project was to use evocative, minimal, black and white imagery to elicit interpretation and a prescriptive guide would have hindered that.

      • I was attempting to create a facsimile of my experience with the stained glass.

    • Most people I read tarot for find it useful or fascinating.

      • Many find it to be both.

    • My tarot deck is art built to reflect outward.

      • My toy religion is art meant to reflect inward.

bottom of page