Geek Shall Inherit the Earth: Designing a Better Religion

Religions have never been particularly open to change. Changes are usually referred to as “revolutions” or “schisms” in religious history. Believers of the open source movement, profiled by Sam Kean in Search magazine, believe it doesn’t have to be that way. By applying the open source philosophy, best known for software like Wikipedia and Linux, a few tech-geeks are using a nonhierarchical, change-based approach to change religion.

Strict adherents to the open source philosophy point out that neither Wikipedia nor Linux are considered truly open source, because there are certain restrictions in place that prevent people from editing everything. This becomes a problem in open source religion too, where certain traditions and rituals are literally sacred. Kean also identifies “a certain lackadaisicalness about some open-source religions,” where people aren’t as religious in their dedication.


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