“Nonsense as salvation!” cried the visitor standing on a pulpit before the Micronations.Wiki community forum on January 23rd, lamenting the absurdity of it all. To a passerby, the visitor might have been easily mistaken an eccentric Monty Pythonistic fan. Not quite, on closer look.
The visitor was the self-styled Sludge Pope, announcing his founding of Dysnomia, a new micronational religious group that encourages its followers to laugh at the absurdity that is their daily existence. “The world is going to end, and soon … when push comes to shove and the curtain falls, will your routine have saved you?” he challenged, “Will you be laughing, or will you be weeping?”
Beneath the tongue-in-cheek pessimism is a message of optimism and empowerment that bears relevance in today’s increasingly uncertain geopolitical landscape. It encourages people to accept that the end is inescapable, whether it is one’s death or the forewarned end of the world. Living life happily and fully is key.
For Dysnomia, requiring conformity and order to reach a promised end like other religions is redundant; it encourages “chaos.” There are no special steps or rituals that will save you from death, so do whatever you want, so long as you abide by its central tenets. Those tenets include avoiding wasting each other’s time with emotional dishonesty and toxic behaviour, avoid nonconsensual acts, and questioning everything. Disorder, insofar as it describes the dynamism of independent human decision-making, is the expectation.
But how is it a religion, one may ask? Alone, the philosophies that guide Dysnomia are more recognizable as those that govern non-religious humanism and scepticism. Cue Eris, the Greek goddess of strife and discord. As the personification of chaos, making Eris the singular religious deity of Dysnomia was a natural choice for the Sludge Pope. In practice, followers are not expected to believe in or worship Eris, either spiritually or symbolically; they are merely expected to blindly follow her to the end.
Given the absurdity of it all, that lone religious characteristic may just be a cheeky commentary on the reality that underpins the world’s major religions. Anything else might risk creating some sort of order.