So here is my new religion, and I like it very much. Its working title is “Elan Vital,” taken from French philosopher Henri Bergson.
We have a number of prophets who we have drafted, without having asked the permission of said prophets. We wouldn’t be the first. (I know of at least one religion whose messiah was certainly not asked before being involved. That very same messiah was involuntarily drafted as a prophet in yet another, similarly-booked religion.) They include A. A. Milne, Lemony Snicket, Astrid Lindgren, Maurice Sendak, Lao Tzu, Chuang Tzu, Rumi, and quite a few others who I haven’t discovered yet.
For myself, I am unfortunately not a prophet. I would like to be someday, but for now I’m just the guy who made it up.
Non-practitioners of my religion are not Vitaliers, whereas practitioners are Not Vitaliers. It’s a subtle distinction. We are best understood negatively: we’re not Rastafari, Hindu, Zoroastrian, Buddhist, or Of the Book; we’re neither atheists nor agnostics.
“So what,” you ask (having left aside the tired question of whether atheism is a religion*), “you believe in nothing?” Yes, fervently!
(I should add that we’re not nihilists, who don’t believe in anything, but fervent believers in nothing – at least, I think we are. Still working out the kinks.)
Many religions are thought to be compatible: it’s popular in our times to be a Jewish Buddhist, a Christian Taoist, or just a Unitarian who believes all religions can get along. Elan Vital, however, is quite incompatible with every religion except Taoism, which we admire very much, and with which we have really no disagreements. We’re really just wanna-be Taoists, come to think of it, with a passing understanding of Taoism that we got from reading English books by Benjamin Hoff.
I suppose this religion would be a bit redundant, and isn’t worth starting after all. Pooh.
*(Duh, it’s totally not! -nuh uh, it is too! -NOWAI, SCIENCE! -YUH-HUH, YOU CAN’T EXPLAIN THINGS! -GOD DOESN’T EXIST, NYAH NYAH! –YOU TAKE THAT BACK!!!! -READ RICHARD DAWKINS!!! -SOUTHPARK OTTER EPISODE!!! -RAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRGGGGHHHH!!!!)