Is Yoism a Religion?
While Yoism is not like what most people think of as "religion," it does share some features of religions that are quite different from philosophies or other forms of social movements. For example, Yoism includes beliefs in The Divine Mystery, Yo, as well as notions such as the soul, supernatural revelation, worship, the sacred (vs. the profane), and a quest for salvation. However, these Yoan words refer to things that are different from what many people—who were raised in the common fantasy-based religions—usually mean by them.
- The Soul
- Supernatural Revelation
- The Sacred
- The Soul
As a divine manifestation of the Infinite Being, your eyes are the Infinite One's. You are the Holy One staring forth from your eyes, experiencing the wonder of existence.
As a result of a thousand million years of evolution, the universe is becoming conscious of itself, able to understand something of its past history and its possible future. This cosmic self-awareness is being realized in one tiny fragment of the universe — in a few of us human beings. Perhaps it has been realized elsewhere too, through the evolution of conscious living creatures on the planets of other stars. But on this our planet, it has never happened before. (Julian Huxley)
You are more than a pot of chemical reactions. You are clearly a sensing, feeling, thinking being that is more than the motion of material parts. We do not know how to say what this being is or where it is located. But we are sure that it is something more than a bunch of molecular billiard balls bouncing around. Your experience of being (sensation of self) cannot be reduced to the chemical reactions of molecular matter anymore than the experience one has when viewing a great painting can be reduced to a chemical analysis of the pigments used in the painting. Your experiencing self—which is clearly something other than the action and reaction (the movements) of chemical billiard balls in a brain—is your psyche, literally your soul. (See The Divine Mystery for a fuller description of our paradoxical, sensing, aware selves.)
We are the local embodiment of a Cosmos grown to self-awareness. We have begun to contemplate our origins: starstuff pondering the stars; organized assemblages of ten billion billion billion atoms considering the evolution of atoms; tracing the long journey by which, here at least, consciousness arose. (Carl Sagan)
- Supernatural Revelation
By making claims of supernatural revelation, the traditional religions have reduced the truly miraculous wonder of revelation to the mundane: Something is only supernatural if it violates natural law. In Yoan thought, the natural world operating in a regular fashion (according to natural law) is a truly miraculous wonder.
If you wish to witness a genuine miracle,
click the heart of Jesus:
One way of understanding why we think the word "miracle" properly refers to everything can be seen when we consider the miracle of revelation. Through miraculous revelation—i.e., the natural transformation of bits of sensory information into the world of our experience—the underlying Divine Essence of the Unknown presents (manifests) Yoself to us in the form of our experiences of being-in-the-world. There are profound mysteries inherent in this fact, from which we get the paradoxes of the Mind-Body Problem. Despite developing knowledge in the field of neuropsychology, we have no truly satisfactory understanding of the way the physical world, our nervous systems, and our experience of being-in-the-world are related.
We stand in awe of this miracle, of truly supernatural revelation. We find it to be a fundamental error, a misunderstanding, to claim that natural revelation is not SUPER! Rather, differentiating the "mundane" natural world from the supernatural world can only be done by introducing magical, super powerful, invisible beings. Without evidence, we are supposed to believe in such beings because an authority "said so." The claim is then made that "supernatural revelation"—something for which we have no evidence—is greater than the miracle of natural revelation! We hereby reclaim these words for their proper use: Supernatural revelation and natural revelation are one and the same and both are only meaningful—since a word that refers to something that ostensibly exists but in actuality does not, carries no real meaning—when they are used to refer to the only form of actual revelation.
There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle. (Albert Einstein
Yoans come together to celebrate the glory of Yo's manifestation, Reality. We have regular gatherings in which we join together to reaffirm our wonder at Yo's Divine Manifestation and to experience ourselves in our sacred roles as brothers and sisters in the Human Community.
- The Sacred
For Yoans, many things are sacred: For examples consider: clean air and water, justice, liberty, love, the forests, and caring human community. There are also many profane horrors in the world: for example, genocide, the misguided fantasy religions (e.g., when they are used to facilitate such genocide), rape, unnecessary consumption for the sake of impressing others, consumption to ward off the meaninglessness of empty lives, and grotesque inequities in wealth, opportunities, and rights. We do not believe that the sacred is simply good while the profane is bad. The sacred is sacred because, through the miracle of evolution, these central human desires, aims, and values were written into our souls (our psyches); the human heart was designed (by supernatural selection) to know and intuitively recognize justice, caring human community, and love, and to be able to differentiate them from injustice, hatred, and evil.
But the most sacred—the "holiest of holies"—is acknowledgment of Reality, the divine manifestation of Yo. Reality—the world as we each can directly experience it—is the "Face of Yo turned toward us." We "bow down" to Reality; we place no other "Gods" before the holy Face of Yo. In following the dictates of Reality in pursuit of our primary human values we are following Yo's Divine Instructions, when we distinguish the sacred from the profane.
We are incarnations of the Divine Mystery that have to (have been designed to) struggle to live and love. As it is true that all that occurs is the Direct Manifestation of Yo, if we fail to survive and learn to care for our world and our species, then Yo's "Will" (so to speak) will have been that the human species fail, like so many species before us. If we succeed in learning to live together in a world we learn to love and protect, then it will have been the Will of Yo that the human community survive and thrive. At this moment, we don't know what will happen. But we do know something about the Divine Will of Yo: It is clearly Yo's Will that each of you, who understand what we are saying, struggle with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might to follow the commandments that—through millions of years of evolution—were "written" into the core of your being. We, all of us, are incarnations of the Divine Being/Universal Field. If we want to survive—if we want humanity, our children, and our children's children to survive—then we express the Holy Spirit's wish for humanity when we act to ensure our species' survival. If we succeed in our struggle to express what we know in our hearts to be the Divine Will of Yo—i.e., as pure manifestations of Yo, our will—then we will have brought about its realization. This work is the road to salvation. Dare we not try with all our might?
I am totally confident not that the world will get better, but that we should not give up the game before all the cards have been played. The metaphor is deliberate; life is a gamble. Not to play is to foreclose any chance of winning. To play, to act, is to create at least a possibility of changing the world. (Howard Zinn