Aug 12, 2006

Omism, a New Religion

A fellow writer recently read a little of my 'speculative fiction' [The Great Catholic Retreat] and told me that he had never heard of 'Omism'. Omism is my made-up name for a new syncretic religion that I expect to appear and mushroom in the next 100 years.

I think Omism will develop as a light lunch buffet of religious beliefs and practices that combines a variety of different faiths. This new religion will identify itself as containing the best of Protestantism, Catholicism, Taoism, Buddhism, Hinduism, etc.

Well, 'Omism' is here. Actually not yet in the U.S., but in Italy. The Vatican is alarmed about a best-selling book that presents Asian mysticism and spirituality as the keys to life. The author, Tiziano Terzani, argues that people have an “innate moral sense” and do not need institutionalised religion to teach them right and wrong. [Yes, except will the devil argue your case at judgment time?]

One critic said the book was “a confused mixture of Oriental philosophy, Marxism and Christianity” that muddled “St. Francis with Zen Buddhism”. In the past, Pope Benedict XVI has warned of the dangers of trying to reconcile Oriental and New Age spirituality with Catholicism.

Do you know how I picture Omism? As a twisting black smoke snake that my kids used to light on the ground at Fourth of July.

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