July 24, 2004

IRS is having a hard time deciding

I called the IRS yesterday and apparently they are having a hard time deciding whether or not to recognize the Church of Reality as a real church. I applied for 501(c)(3) status on December 3rd 2003 and it's not 8 months into a process that normally takes 3 months.

All I know at this point is that it stumped the normal process and that it has been sent to Washington where it is sitting in a queue waiting to be assigned to someone. And they have no idea at all when it will be processed. There is no one to call and no one to email about this. So - if you are the IRS and you are reading this - email me with a phone number and lets talk about whatever issues have you confused. I think you should at least let me know that's going on.

I have some concerns about the "special treatment" of our application. First - the IRS isn't supposed to make decisions on what is believed as long as the members sincerely believe in it. And - our Realists do sincerely believe reality is real. So it makes me wonder if they are thinking that we need to worship a mythological diety in order to be a religion. In other words - does the government require a religion to believe in the invisible guy in the sky? Well - I storngly suspect that if we did we would already have church status.

Officially the Church of Reality doesn't take a position on the existence of God. If God comes out of hiding and shows up somewhere in a public place then we will believe in him. Assuming that God is omnipotent and therefore can appear if he choses to - and he doesn't appear - that means that he wants to be hidden. It really is that simple. And who is God hiding from? Perhaps he is hiding from Realists like myself. And if God doesn't want people like me who are committed to logic and reason to find him - them I must be fulfilling God's will to not find him.

So if believing in reality doesn't meet the IRS requirements for a religion then it seems that in order to be a religion - you have to believe in a mythical diety. You have to give up reality to be a religion. I would think that other religions would have a problem with the idea that they are government certified because their beliefs are not real.

But - perhaps it's that the IRS can't distinguish between the Church of Reality and science. There is a big difference. In pure science it doesn't matter if the human race survives or not. In science - the universe is stars falling into black holes and rocks in space colliding. But we in the Church of Reality have made an arbetrary decision that our understanding has value and the the positive evolution of humanity and our survival is important. We have made arbetrary decisions separating right and wrong - good and bad. And that's what makes us a religion. In pure science there is no good and bad. Our seccess or our destruction is equal. It only matters if we give value to something and that's what the church of Reality does.

The Church of Reality also provides a moral framework for society and principles for which to judge our conduct. These principles set goals and establish the sacred direction - forward - as being better than backwards. It creates a religious identity for Realists to describe to people of other religions what their beliefs and values are.

So - I say to the IRS - we are as much or more of a religion than any other religion and that we deserve recognition as such.

Posted by marc at 07:48 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 17, 2004

How will this church avoid corruption

As some of you know - I am the First one of the Church of Reality and I'm working on an interesting question that many people are asking. The question - will the Church of Reality lose it's focus and become corrupted like all the other religions.

Isn't it inevitable that if the Church of Reality becomes successful that it has to become corrupted by its success? That's what most people believe - and - am am attempting to address this issue. The real question is - what can I do now to prevent it from happening. How is the Church of Reality different than other religions?

Other religions are based on mythology. Thus if one myth evolves into another myth it's really not a significant change. How does one argue that one myth is better than another myth? But the Church of Reality is dedicated to reality. So if the Church of Reality converts to mythology then that is a more fundamental form of change that from myth to myth.

Reality doesn't go away after you stop believing in it. So if the Church of Reality gets off course - it can always come back to reality. Reality is the solid rock - the lighthouse - and it is always there no matter if people believe in it or not.

I have a joke about if a Christian who believes he can fly and a Bhudist who believes he can fly both jump off a bridge at the same time - who will hit the water first? The point you see is gravity applies equally to all religions and belief doesn't change reality. So - there is reason and hope to believe that the Church of Reality is different in that it is a religion that is grounded in the real world and therefore has a way to repair itself and get back to it's roots.

Reality is like a rock - it's solid - it's real - and it can be found if someone get lost. All you have to do is let reality back into your heart and let it guide you back to realism.

But - that doesn't mean that it can't be corrupted. So - I'm working on a plan - some tests - so that these become automatic clues that the Church of Reality might be straying off course. And - I'm looking for suggestions on how to keep reality real - and not become RINO - Reality In Name Only.

So - for example. If the Church of Reality becomes about me - Marc Perkel - then it's off course. I am not a diety - I have no special "powers" and I'm just a guy with an idea. If this doesn't work out someone else - hopefully - will come and do it right. But reality is still there no matter what. So - if the Church of Reality starts worshiping me - it's off course.

Or - if you are being forced to believe in things that are not supported in logic or science - that's a bad sign. The Church of Reality is to be judges by it's fruits and not just on what is being preached. It has to produce results.

Of course - several of the Sacred Principles are specificly there to help prevent this and all the sacred principles were written with keeping the Church of Reality always tied to reality. The Principle of Self Scrutiny deals specifically and directly with the idea that this church is about Reality and should always be tested to make sure it's on course. The Principle of Bullshit declares that bullshit is always bullshit no matter how many people believe it. So - if the Church of Reality becomes a cult and starts forcing people to believe in bullshit - it's still bullshit. The Church of Reality doesn't change reality - reality changes the Church.

The Principle of Humility also addresses this issue. To be humble helps avoid various ego traps. For example - suppose this church take off big time and I become some big celebrity for starting it. It would be really tempting to start believing tha there's something special about me and let my ego separate me from reality. But the truth is and always will be that I am just some random guy with a briliant idea. If I hadn't thought of it - eventually someone else would have. And - whoever thought of it would be tempted to think they are special. This principle is in fact a message to myself and all my sucessors in case we get a little two self absorbed to put us back on track.

But - reality was there long before Marc Perkel existed (at least - I think so) and will be there long after Marc Perkel dies. Reality is not about me - it's about reality. And thus the Principle of Humility reminds us that we are just life forms of a spec of dust and our only significance is in relation to what we accomplish on our spec of dust.

Posted by marc at 07:14 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 16, 2004

Still no word from the IRS

Still waiting for the IRS to make a decision about if they consider the Church of Reality a real church. It's supposed to take 3 months and now it's 7 1/2 months and no word. Last time I called the IRS person said they were behind and didn't know when they were going to catch up.

I'm beginning to wonder if they are giving Christians preferential treatment and staling on non-christian applications. Something funny is going on at the IRS. Does anyone out there have any information on why they might be taking so long?

Posted by marc at 02:19 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack