It is no secret Hellen has always been a critic of major religions. I also think people have the right to believe as they choose. It's just that Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and other religious leaders pervert that to mean they have the right to force their beliefs on others. That is not news; it's been going on for millennia. More recently, some religions have experienced major challenges to the continued persecution of LGBT+ individuals, subjugation of women and continued contributions to racial bigotry. Some religious institutions have actively changed their dogma to be more inclusive, though most are still have a long, long way to go before they can actually be open-minded. Still, it is gratifying to see progress, like the Mormon Church engaging in a dialogue with leaders of the LGBT+ community. The Vatican Pope has repeatedly said that Catholics need to be more loving toward the community and has at least taken some responsibility for ensuring that his priests stop their sexual abuse on parishioners.

To quote Wikipedia, "In 2020, 47% of Americans said that they belonged to a church, down from 70% in 1999." That's a 30% decline in just one decade!!  Frankly, those religions that can't adapt fast enough will perish. I think many people are tired of being taught to hate and judge other; most would prefer to lift each other up.

Hellen believes that religion is based more on what is beaten into a person's head while they are a child than what they intuitively believe is real. The problem is that most people have also been taught that changing your mind about your beliefs is worse than sinning. On the contrary, I believe having the ability to review and modify your belief system is a sign of maturity and intelligence. All human progress has been based on the ability for members of society to accept additional facts, even when the previous facts were supposed to be incontrovertible.
Despite being a critic of major religions, most of Hellen's friends consider themselves to be Catholic, Jewish, Buddhist, Protestant, or a member of another major religion. We are friends partly because we agree that we can have different points of view and even discuss our differences without being disrespectful or trying to convert each other. My friends are all open minded and progressive as well. Each and every one of them can find the humor in all religions including their own beliefs. No one tells a better Protestant joke than a Protestant minister! And Buddhist monks always find a way to sneak some humor into when telling their history! It can be fun to hang out with people like that, even when they are talking religion. Contrast that with religions that can't laugh at themselves. Think about it; how pathetic is a god or profit that makes his followers protect him from even good-natured jokes? That's hardly what I'd consider mature, let alone praise-worthy.


For those that didn't know, Sister Hellen is a practicing Heretaowican.*

"And what the Hellen is Heretaowica?" I hear you ask. Well, it a unique spiritual/religious belief system that has been built up over many decades to incorporate the best of numerous belief systems. Among other aspect Heretaowica incorporates the enlightenment of religions like Tao Buddhism mindfulness, the pomp of Catholics, the skepticism of atheists, the wonder of mystic, and the wiccan belief that a person can affect the universe with their mind. Heretaowicans also believe that all, and I mean ALL other religions are stupid. That includes the atheism, so everyone can feel equally insulted (though some should rightfully be more insulted that others. At the same time, Heretaowicans don't gloat at being superior or deride other religious followers. that would serve no purpose and be small-minded. Heretaowica does encourage stylized rituals including celebrating the bigining and/or ending of things. We believe that having things come to an end should be celebrated too as the universe is finite and something has to end for something new to begin. I personally celebrate Fridays as the end of the week, the last day of the month, and New Years Eve by wearing specific jewelry or clothing. I went out and got drunk when I quit my last 9-5 job.

The following are the basic tenants of Heretaowica

  1. Spiritual belief should be fluid; not rigid and inflexible.
    True belief stems from an inner search for truth and beauty. This is the exact opposite of what most religions teach. they give an often arbitrary set of non-nonsensical rules that were written in a buying a wife you'd never seen before was perfectly acceptable. But today, there is no reason to be stuck in the same belief system written hundreds of years ago. No true religion comes from what other people force you to believe. Everyone quoted God’s imputable laws was wrong whether they were preachers, philosophers or scientists. Just accept that and move on. Heretaowicans review their beliefs often and have no problem with adjusting them to be better in line with how the universe is actually working. Their view on life after death, a one true god, many gods/spirits or how consciousness works evolve and change over time. This is the way life works; the way your mind should work. Why have a static dead religions when you can have a living, dynamic religion?

  2. Love your neighbor. Figuratively and literally.
    That means be nice to strangers, kind to your friends, and fun for your sex partners. Heretaowicans don't burden themselves with monogamy based on religious belief though mutual respect can sometimes lead in that direction. In short, try to be kind to everyone. Jealousy, cruelty, selfishness, and power-plays are for the weak-minded. Try to be patient with people when the act childish or narrow minded; they have probably been brainwashed by their parents and holy-people to act that way since they were born.

  3. You don't have to love your neighbor if your neighbor is a duche.
    People make mistakes, we all have different wants and need, and it is always preferable to show patience with everyone. BUT some people really are nothing more than selfish little bastards that do more harm than good in this world. To be more specific, Heretaowicans are not required to do business with, be polite to, or even converse with people who teat others disrespectfully regardless of their reasons. Religious beliefs, egotism, bigotry, or whatever allows them to act with prejudice toward entire categories of humans they have chosen to degrade don’t mean anything. In other words, Heretaowicans are not required to provide comfort or kindness, let alone do business with right-wing Baptists, Evangelical Catholics, Seventh day Adventists, conservative Mormons, or Donald Trump. For that matter, feel free to completely ignore anything they say. At the same time, don’t fall into their trap. There are perfectly wonderful Mormons that are open-minded and gracious to people that their religion has persecuted in the past. Likewise, there are good Catholics along with the bad.

  1. Don't follow the crowd.
    Most people are inherently sheep! If you don’t think so, explain man-buns!! If you follow them, you risk falling off the cliff with the rest of the lemmings. OK, lost my mammalian sense of direction there... But seriously, if there was one true religion, then why doesn't even 20% of the world's population follow it? Does God want the majority of people to fail? The fact is, there are more atheists than any formal religion should be a clue, but even they don't agree on what life means, and most hold some kind of idea of a higher state of being or enlightenment.

  2. FU<K 'em if they can't take a joke!
    Laugh at yourself as you would laugh at others. Religion, by definition, is not logical, so there is always an overlap between belief and comedy. Comedy is basically incongruities that amuse a mind. It's only the pathetic little sad-sacks that can't find humor in their religion. I know lots of ministers and priest that are devoted to their religions but poke good-natured fun at them all the time. ... I like them.

  3. Fate favors the adventurous.
    "Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Although Heretaowicans don't subscribe to the idea that you have to try something once, it still is a good idea to constantly expand your horizons. Go backpacking in the Alps. Try that new Ethiopian restaurant. Take a course on theoretical physics. Who knows? You might find something you didn't know you would love.

  4. Explore.
    Don't sit in front of a computer, bury your face in your phone,  watch hour after hour of TV or immerse yourself in endless gaming. All these distractions can be fun in limited doses, but there is a much bigger and more exciting world beyond them. Do find the beauty in nature, people and yourself. Do create new art or invent. Do help others to be better people.

  5. Enjoy yourself.
    Life is short and even if you believe you might get a do-over, that doesn't mean you should waste this one. Enjoy an organism even if it's by yourself. Eat something decadent. Go to that party with your friends. And indulge in other occasional vices; ESPECIALLY HUMOR.

  6. Ritual ritual ritual!
    Life is just more fun with a little pomp and circumstance. Heretaowicans don't worry about borrowing from other religions and spiritual beliefs in order to fulfill their lust for ritual; even if they don't believe in it at all. I mean, who wouldn't want to dress up in pure white, with a gold embroidered pointy hat while peons grovel at your feet? Granted, finding peons isn't always that easy, but there are plenty of ritual that a Heretaowican can enjoy alone or in groups. Heretaowicans use a variety of rituals, from breaking objects to send them to the next plane of existence or eating food that symbolizes devotion/faith to walking Labyrinths or making offerings to personal shrines. Pick what works for you and always be open to different rituals that might brighten your short time on this Earth. It should be noted that most Heretowicans ritualize either beginnings or ending or both. That may include births, deaths, week endings/beginnings, New Year etc. Every time something ends, something new begins. The universe is change.

  7. The unexamined life is not worth living.
    Seriously, Heretaowicans were not raised in a barn like some religion's deity. Ahem, no names mentioned! They believe in using their minds and turning their thoughts inward to examine who they are as people. There is always room for improvement, as we can learn something new every day.

  8. Practice reasonable tolerance.
    Everybody is different. No one else is exactly like you. At least 99% of the world looks different from you. At least 90% of the globe has different religious practices than you. And everyone loves differently, including you! So there is no reasonable excuse to treat people poorly just because of these differences. Show some of the intelligence you were given and grow a pair! (Balls, boobs or both.)  That said, even tolerance has it's limits. Heretaowicans are not required to be tolerant of asshats and psychopaths. People who deny service to others based on their skin color, age, perceived gender, perceived sexuality or religious affiliation are jack asses. People who knowingly harm other humans because they think it's OK are psychopaths. Heretowicans are not required to serve or even be polite to either of these types of miscreants. Specific examples; racists, misogynists, bigots, homophobes or thugs..

  9. Community Service is required.
    You don't need be a Sister of Perpetual Indulgence to be a Heretaowican, but you are expected to do something for other people. Volunteer at a senior center, coach a little league, do beach cleanup, etc. There is no excuse for not helping the society that you are a part of.

  10. Be respectful of the @#$%ing peasants!
    Although nearly all people on the planet have religion wrong and as a Heretaowican, you have it right, doesn’t mean you need to be a dick about it. It is nearly impossible to change people's mind about their beliefs (this has been scientifically tested.) Logic is useless against that, reason is ridiculous, and examples ineffective. So why not try to get along with the heathens as the smoke from burning bridges will only give you asthma anyway.

  11. Knowledge is power.
    Education isn't just for school, much less a degree. We all know people with degrees that are complete idiots . And there are also people without them that are highly intelligent, successful, and even admirable (think Bill Gates.)  Take time to read, especially about relevant topics like health, science, history, and political justice. It doesn't hurt to read about different religions and philosophies either. You can better understand and anticipate peoples' reactions when you know how their religions will force them to act; especially when they have never stop to consider how they are being controlled.

  12. Communication is key.
    The best way to learn new facts and find new interests is to talk to people. Even people that you might now especially respect can surprise you with new and invigorating ideas. What's more, you can occasionally influence other's idea, especially with religious freedom and respect. The more centered and calmly a Heretaowican discusses their superior religion, the more likely they will influence another person to at least be open to people who do not share their particular zelotism.

  13. Sex should be enjoyable for all involved.
    Whether you believe in monogamy, free love, or you're just a plain old slut; you should enjoy sex, and so should your partner(s). That means you need to listen to and consider your partner's needs, as well as express your own desires. Don't assume they know how fast, slow, hard, or wet you want it; tell them! Ask them if they want something and consider at least occasionally compromising. Practice safer sex if you can, and if you can't, at least talk about risks and if you have any STD issues beforehand. Don’t feel guilty if you don’t want to do it again with an individual. You don’t have to agree to anything if you don’t want to. Neither do they. And remember to say "thanks" if you had fun.

  14. Heretaowicans do not Proselytize.
    Who the hell cares if people follow your belief system? The answer to that is week-minded insecure people who don't really believe all the tenants of their religion. Since Heretaowica is so fluid there is no need to worry whether others will follow the path. It’s fun to be part of a truly unique religion; kind of like being in an exclusive spiritual fraternity. Or, like being in on an inside joke that only you and God get.

* I should note that the order, The Daughters of the Divine Eruption are not specifically a Heritaowican order.