The FAQ about Yoism

The FAQ was originally one of the main writings of Yoism. Here you can still find answers to questions that have yet to be fully addressed in other places. Eventually, these FAQ questions and answers will be revised and integrated into other sections of this website and in the relevant sections of The Book of Yo. We will continually revise and add to these answers as all of Yoism's writings are comprised of "living" documents.

  1. Is Yoism a religion?

  2. What are the main beliefs of Yoism?

  3. Does God exist?

  4. What do we mean by "Yo?"

  5. If everything and everyone manifests Yo, why should I manifest Yo by participating in Yoism and not manifest Yo by pursuing sex, wealth, fame, and power?

  6. How will Yoism fulfill people's needs?

  7. What is our obligation to other people?

  8. How do I know the ideas of Yoism are true?

  9. Why do you need all the religious notions? What is the difference between Yoism and a social movement or a philosophy?

  10. Why is this religious aspect important?

  11. Why is it important for Yoans to come together as an organized religion?

  12. What does it mean to be a Yoan?

  13. How is Yoism a community?

  14. What are the goals of Yoism?

  15. Don't other religions have a message similar to Yoism?

  16. How does Yoism differ from "modern" Christianity and other similar reformed religions?

  17. How can I get more involved with Yoism?

  18. Are there readings I can turn to get a better understanding of Yoism?



  1. Is Yoism a religion?

    Yoism is not like what most people mean when they use the word "religion." Unlike more familiar religions, Yoism embraces all existence as the pure manifestation of the Divine Mystery, Yo. Yo—the Divine Mystery, that is—manifests as the universe and everything within the universe, the trees, bugs, and animals, the rocks and rivers, the stars and galaxies.

    Direct, clear, and true knowledge of Yo is made available to us through our experience of Yo's Manifestation that is presented to us as Reality. Our study of Reality—the "Face of God" that is "turned toward" us, so to speak—provides the foundation for our beliefs and values. Commitment to our values and beliefs allows us to act together as a community, to better our lives, and to build a society that does not try to do the impossible, i.e., that does not try to oppose the Laws of Nature, Yo's Laws. A society built on a clear understanding of Reality can avoid the pitfalls of divisive delusions and, by harnessing true knowledge of the real world, can work wonders.

    We discover what these laws are through personal verification, what we call empiricism. Unlike religions that depend on some higher authority that tells you things that contradict your own experiences, Yoism's highest authority is the direct knowledge of Yo that we get through our collective, direct experience of Reality. In addition to your experience of yourself and the world, Yo's instructions have been written into each of us. Yoism teaches us how to find the truth within us and reclaim ourselves as whole people.

  2. The main beliefs of Yoism

    Our shared beliefs shape Yoism. Our commitment to them allows us to act together as a community.


  3. Does God exist?

    It depends on what you mean by "God." Yes, there is a Divine Mystery beyond what we know as Reality, beyond the world of our experience. We call this "Yo." But to be clear, this is not anything like what most religions tell us God is. By personifying the Divine Mystery and making claims of their own personal religious authority, they have perverted and exploited the incredible, mystical experience of the Divine. To the degree that they have led many people to to commit atrocities in the name of God, they must be acknowledged to be false religions. This—and some of the untenable notions that these religions espouse have—in turn lead many to reject the existence of the spiritual, the divine, and to deprive themselves of the powerful benefits of a valid religion.

    Yoism reclaims the Divine and spirituality from the false religions that appropriated them and claimed sole ownership. As you read this FAQ, remember that many of the words we use here, which you may associate with other religions, have been reclaimed and their meanings restored.



  4. What do we mean by Yo?

    Here is one way of understanding what Yo is (also see The Word, Yo, and the full Sacred Yo FAQ for more detailed, clearer explanations). As people we have sensations. If you assume that these sensations come ultimately from something beyond an internal mental creation, then something must exist beyond the mind—there must exist something outside of our mental conceptions that gives rise to and structures what we experience. The name for that which ultimately generates the sensations humans experience—that thus generates the universe and all that we experience—is Yo.

    We say Yo is the Divine Mystery because of what science(!) tells us about the nature of Reality. Reality is "Divine," calling forth our deepest respect and reverence, for it is unimaginably awesome and omnipotent (i.e., it doesn't require a prior cause to be just what it is and to act exactly as it does). It commands us to "bow down" before it; to accept It as the only valid truth. We must listen to its dictates and we obey its Laws (of Nature).

    Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away. (Philip K. Dick)

    And it is a "Mystery." For example, the further we plumb the nature of Reality, as the Quantum physicists have shown us, the more unintelligible (unvisualizable, inherently paradoxical) our understanding of Reality becomes.

    In other words, Yo is an infinite, paradoxical entity, beyond human understanding, that manifests as all that exists. Each living person, every human relationship, every moment of the universe is a pure manifestation of Yo.



  5. If everything and everyone manifests Yo, why should I manifest Yo by participating in Yoism and not manifest Yo by pursuing sex, wealth, fame, and power?

    Deep within each of us are the same core human values: family, community, righteousness, decency, honesty, love and many others. These values are Yo's (Nature's, Reality's) instructions to us. They were written deep within our psyches during our creation over millions of years of evolution. They are the foundation of our emotional health and spiritual fulfillment.

    The true fountains of evidence [are] the head and heart of every rational and honest [person]. It is there nature has written [yos] moral laws, and where every [person] may read them for [yo]self. (Thomas Jefferson)

    Unfortunately we live in a society where the full range of our values and our deepest aims have become secondary to a narrow part of our beings, a narrow part that is dangerous when it is taken out of the context of the whole. We are encouraged to lust after material objects, status, and power. These things are not evil in and of themselves, but they have replaced other core human values that are also needed to give meaning and fulfillment to our lives.

    The result of replacing the full range of core human values with a narrow range of materialistic goals, the pursuit of status, and a sense of superiority over others is catastrophic. The consequences of our greed and our preoccupation with power and prestige is an endless series of genocidal wars, bloodshed, and the mindless destruction of our planet's ecosystem. Further, it has caused the confusion and meaninglessness which afflicts so many today and causes so much depression and alienation.

    Yoism wakes up sleeping souls from dreams that are rapidly becoming nightmares of isolation, emptiness, lust, greed, and hatred. With our eyes open, we must face the reality that the entire human species is in one boat together. We must create a human community that embraces all of humanity, or we will accomplish the destruction of our planet and most of our species along with it.



  6. How will Yoism fulfill people's needs?

    A human being cannot be truly whole without community. Yoism teaches people how to create and maintain communities to ensure their physical and emotional health. Communities care for people when they are in need, and provide the basis for a strong sense of personal identity, and social well being.

    In answering such a question, abstractions will not do. Let us give you an example of some clear specifics. In our society, the extreme concentration of wealth in the hands of a small minority of people results in a world where many people do not have enough to live, where most people are abused and powerless, and where societal decisions—such as how to treat our environment—are made for the short term benefit of a small minority. Yoism is working toward the creation of worker-owned cooperatives to transform our economy, our workplaces, and our lives. In worker-owned co-ops, people have true power over where they spend most of their waking hours, the profits of their businesses, and the creation of workplace community. Worker-ownership simultaneously preserves the important aspects of a viable, competitive market based economy.

    Ideally, as Yoism expands in size and scope, it will work toward the ideal of local autonomy mingled with regional cooperation in the form of a democratic federation of communities. This community federation will recreate societal institutions based on the needs of the people they are supposed to serve. These societal institutions include: hospitals, schools, police, insurance companies, banks, media, and many others.

    Most other religions are full of myths and illusions that leave thinking people—people who are unwilling or unable to replace their own sense of what is real with the dictates of some supposed authority—spiritually lost and morally confused. Yoism teaches people how to find true answers to profound and important questions about ourselves and the larger questions about the meaning of our lives. Yoism helps us to find the magic which is present in our lives and in the supernatural world. We then build strong viable communities upon a solid foundation composed of healthy values and beliefs that are consistent with Reality.



  7. What is our obligation to other people?

    Many years ago, the visionary architect and inventor, Buckminster Fuller, suggested that we are all travelers on "Spaceship Earth," an enclosed ecosystem-system hurtling through space. In a drastically overcrowded world, we can no longer afford to turn a blind eye to the lives of our fellow travelers. As is rapidly becoming unquestionably clear, if we try to ignore everyone outside our protected borders, what now seem like the problems of others—disease, pollution, war, famine, ideological violence (including terrorism), and crime—will inevitably overtake us.

    Yoism responds by refusing to shut our eyes to the world wide suffering, the increasing probability of massive famine or plague as the result of the continuing population explosion, and the ongoing rapid destruction of our planet's ecosystem. As much as is humanly possible, we must strive to create a world where everyone's basic needs (sustenance, shelter, community) can be met through a sustainable process.



  8. How do I know the ideas of Yoism are true?

    Yoism is founded on empiricism. Empiricism is simply what happens when "we open our eyes." We place our faith in our senses and minds that were "evolved into us" over millions of years. Personal verification, using these "Yo given" virtues—not the claims of some preaching authority—must be the foundation of all valid beliefs. You will know Yoism is true if it feels true, i.e., if it fits with your experience. Further validation can be obtained by seeing if it comports with the direct experience of other people. Yoism does not ask you to believe in some ancient book or miracles attested to by some special authority. Rather, Yoism is based entirely on what you, yourself, can directly experience and test. We beg you to tell us if our beliefs contradict your direct experience, so we can correct what we have constructed as the Truth. If we cannot work together to co-create a better Truth that is consistent with our intersubjective, experiential worlds, then we beg you to disregard Yoism.



  9. Why do you need all the religious notions? What is the difference between Yoism and a social movement or a philosophy?

    Yoism shares features of religions that are quite different from philosophies or movements. Religions—unlike movements and most philosophies—attempt to focus on the awe inspiring, the incomprehensible, the infinite, etc. While unlike traditional religions, Yoism includes beliefs in the Divine Mystery, Yo, 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 religions—usually mean by them.



  10. Why is this religious aspect important?

    Yoism satisfies the eternal human longing for answers to the ancient questions of: What is the ultimate reality? Is there a God? What is our relationship to a "Supreme Being" or this "ultimate Reality?" What is the meaning of life? (Also see Why is that important?)



  11. Why is it important for Yoans to come together as an organized religion?

    There are several reasons why organizing as a religion is important.

    First, we need community and there is a good deal of evidence that suggests that truly effective human communities require religious belief systems (ideologies, shared beliefs) for their effective organization and maintenance.

    Second, our beliefs become meaningful and important when we live them; when we live them with others, they can become powerful and deep.

    Third, we must tap into the religious aspects of cultural identification, belief, and organization that historically have enabled massive, coordinated, and significant human action if we are to have a chance of changing the course of humanity from its current path toward destruction. (Also see Why is that important?)



  12. What does it mean to be a Yoan?

    A Yoan is someone who embraces the beliefs and values of Yoism, who commits yoself to live by them, and, through doing so, participates in and makes a positive contribution to the Human community.

    1. How does one participate in Yoism?
    2. What does it mean "to be a Yoan"?
    3. What does it mean to be a "Consensus Yoan?"
    4. How does one become a Consensus Yoan?
    5. How does one participate in the evolution of the Yoan beliefs?
    6. Do I have to give up my personal beliefs to become a Yoan?
    7. So, is it possible for me to retain my identification with Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, or other spiritual practice and still be a Yoan?
    8. Why must Yoans fully understand and embrace the beliefs of Yoism before becoming Consensus Yoans?
    9. What if someone mostly agrees but there are parts yo disagrees with or does not understand well; can yo still become a Consensus Yoan?
    10. What if later I change my mind about certain portions of Yoism, does that mean I'm no longer a Consensus Yoan?
    11. Isn't this a "cult mentality" where everybody is compelled to think the same thoughts?


  13. How is Yoism a community?

    As a religion, Yoism is not a disembodied belief system. The members of the community support each other, socially and emotionally. These relationships strengthen the commitment to making the dream of Yoism a reality.



  14. What are the goals of Yoism?

    To help everyone see the world as it is, to eliminate delusions, and to continually extend human knowledge.

    To provide strong communities for everyone, helping people heal from a society racked by controllable ills such as poverty, crime, anomie, addiction, and mental illness.

    To support a sustainable economic system that allows people to have more control over their lives and supports the creation of the communities required for healthy living.

    To give each person the chance to fulfill their basic needs, among them the need for loving relationships.



  15. Don't other religions have a message similar to Yoism?

    1. We are unaware of any religion that combines Holy Wonder and Awe at the existence of God with a strict adherence to the principles of empiricism and the best values of scientific inquiry and understanding.

    2. No other religion has at its core a profound understanding of the danger of religion. In our empirical/scientific understanding, we see religion— along with its valid and necessary functions—as an evolved tool for the promotion of one's group, often at the expense of brutality to others. Only with the fullest acknowledgement of this grave danger, can we hope to avoid this religious pitfall.


  16. How does Yoism differ from "modern" Christianity, Reconstructionist Judasism, and other similar modified religions?

    No branch of "modern" Christianity has fully shaken off the exclusionary belief system of Jesus as the one true god. Reconstructionist Jews still feel a need to identify as a separate group and thus to reify the illusory group identifications that cause so much unnecessary suffering. No Jewish, Christian, or Muslim group has committed to the mystical fact of God's existence separated from a tale told by a bunch of ancient, relatively ignorant people who believed in magic, superstition, and the supernatural(in the unnatural sense of the word).



  17. How can I get more involved with Yoism?

    Come to a meeting. Yoism holds regular outreach and worship meetings. At these meetings we talk with each other and expand our community, building internal commitment and expanding the size of our community by bringing in more people.

    Additionally, we are in the process of building housing cooperatives, and worker-owned businesses. We can always use another hand in these efforts.



  18. Are there readings I can turn to, to get a better understanding of Yoism?

    Yes. The following written works are particularly inspiring and/or contain ideas that formed part of the foundation of the Yoan understanding. Much of the literature of Yoism has yet to be written, but many who have gone before us have contributed to our deeper understanding of the world. Below is a list of writings that may be of value to you. (Also see Inspirational Writings.)

    Philosophy and Religion
    The Ethics: The Road to Inner Freedom (Baruch Spinoza)
    I and Thou (Martin Buber)
    The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are (Alan Watts)
    The Way of Zen (Alan Watts)
    This Is It (Alan Watts)
    Does It Matter? (Alan Watts)
    The Joyous Cosmology (Alan Watts)
    The Future of an Illusion (Sigmund Freud)
    The Only Scientific Theory of Creation: Evolutionary Biology
    The Selfish Gene (Richard Dawkins)
    The Blind Watchmaker (Richard Dawkins)
    Social Evolution (Robert Trivers)
    The Evolution of Reciprocal Altruism (paper by Robert Trivers)
    Parental Investment and Sexual Selection (paper by Robert Trivers)
    Parent-Offspring Conflict Theory (paper by Robert Trivers)
    Psychology and Psychiatry
    Toxic Psychiatry (Peter Breggin)
    Talking Back to Prozac (Peter Breggin)
    The Adaptive Design of the Human Psyche: Psychoanalysis, Evolutionary Biology, and the Therapeutic Process (Malcolm Slavin & Daniel Kriegman)
    Mad In America (Robert Whitaker)
    Our best understanding of who we are regarding the problems confronting us:
    War Before Civilization: The Myth of the Peaceful Savage (Lawrence Keeley)
    Demonic Males (Richard Wrangham & Dale Peterson)
    War and the Evolution of the Human Propensity to Form Nations, Cults, and
    Religions (Daniel Kriegman & Orion Kriegman, unpublished paper obtainable here)
    The Population Explosion (Paul Ehrlich)
    Social Studies
    A Pattern Language (Christopher Alexander)
    A People's History of the United States (Howard Zinn)
    Lies My Teacher Told Me (James Loewen)
    Making Mondragon (Whyte & Whyte)
    Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media (S. Herman & Noam Chomsky)
    The Timeless Way of Building (Christopher Alexander)
    Potential for Economic Democracy in the United States (unpublished thesis by Orion Kriegman, available here)
    Picture Books
    The Missing Piece meets the big O (Shel Silverstein)
    The Nibble Theory and the Kernel of Power (Kaleel Jamison)