I have pondered in the past about how many of our religions today are based on books of superstitions written in the Bronze Age. This thought always makes me think, why not have a religion based on a newer book from the last century perhaps. But of course L. Ron Hubbard beat me to it. I would rather have a religion based on a good book, something from the literary canon. What about Animal Farm by George Orwell? This an allegorical book not to be taken literally. This is the perfect book to base a religion on.
In the book, after the animals take over the farm, the pigs take charge and found a religion called Animalism. I could start following Animalism. Why not? I love animals. This does cause me some personal conflicts. The first commandment of Animalism is "Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy." I do identify with this. I trust and like most four-legged creature more than I do two-legged, but this first commandment would put me in the category of the enemy. This is not a good religion for me. I need a religion that puts me at the top, that puts me as the good one and the other (non-followers) as the bad. I could rewrite the tenets to support my needs like the pigs did. For example, they added the words "to excess" to the fifth commandment to be "no animal shall drink alcohol to excess" and they added "without cause" to the sixth to be "no animal shall kill any other animal without cause." In kind, I could amend the first commandment to be "whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy except for me and my friends." That might work. I could easily use this commandment to demonize anyone I wanted to. That is one of the best advantages of having a religion, you get to moralize and get to have an easy template to judge others. Ultimately, Boxerism works better for me.
Boxer is the horse in Animal Farm, more specifically a work horse. Boxer is simplistic, naive, innocent and hard working. He does most of the work on the farm. He believes all you need to do in life is work hard and good things will come to you. "I will work hard," is his motto. He is a hero of the rebellion for he was an important factor in the Battle of Cowshed where he had a decisive victory over the stable boy. He ends up breaking his leg and the pigs sell his carcass for some whiskey and his remains carted off to be made into glue. I love this book. I've got to reread it again.
Boxer is perfect for a religious figure. For one, he is a rebel. Like most rebellions it was only successful for a short of time The human overlords were simply replaced by porcine overlords, but he is still a heroic figure, someone the people can look up to. He was killed, perhaps martyred, by someone he trusted that is a plus in the religious realm. He returned after his death as glue.
The workhorse reins will be our religious symbol, we will wear these around our neck:
Our religious city will be in India, Motihari, the birth place of George Orwell. We will lead bus tours for the holiest of Boxerists. Our gift shops will make a killing selling kitschy crap like this:
Since we don't know what day Boxer was transformed into glue, we will randomly pick a day to be our high holy days ... let's say, I don't know sometime in late December.
I once had a girlfriend who told me that she cried when she read Animal Farm. This was toward the end of the relationship of my young adulthood, when I was grappling for reasons to like her. My ears perked up. "Do tell!" Was she lamenting the state of the humanity, a doomed political animal? No, she said, "Poor Boxer!" Yes, it does work at a literal text. It is perfectly fine to extol the masses and then take their money. Televangelist do it everyday. Let me snort their glue (in religious ceremonies only of course) and be happy with their delusions.