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Looking around at the major religions of the world, we see flaws inherent in each. Some are too fundamentalist and severe; others exclusionary; many hypocritical and most make little sense in today's context.
So, I decided... er, that is, had a divine inspiration to create a modern religion that a society raised on TV could accept!
Origins of Palmism
The fundamental belief of Palmists is that mankind was meant to live where Palm trees grow. Why? Well, simply because I do not like cold weather. Sure it's great to ski and it's fun to see it snow once in a while, but the simple reality is that is the exception to winter, not the rule. For most of us, living far away from ski slows and seeing only one or two decent snow storms per year, winter is merely a time of death. The trees lose their leaves, the flowers die, fresh fruits and vegetables are replaced by watery, tasteless things shipped from afar, the days are short, the nights are long, and one bleak, cold, dark, damp dreary wintry day seems to endlessly blend into another until even the cheeriest of optimists becomes a morose pit of despair and prophet of gloom.
Obviously, this is not the way any decent deity would have intended us to live!
The Grand Poobah clearly wanted us to live in a sunny, warm climate, bordered by warm, tropical waters!
Palmism accepts this as a fundamental belief: mankind was meant to live where Palm trees grow. Oh, sure, later generations may fracture this. The orthodox Palmists will say man should only live where Palm trees natively DO grow; conservatives will allow anywhere that Palm trees can be transplanted and live, and reformists will accept that if a Palm tree COULD grow there, that's good enough.
But all share the basic acceptance that living in bitter cold, cultureless climates, like say, Minnesota, the Dakotas or Wisconsin is clearly blasphemy!
And for good measure (and perhaps to ensure that the IRS accepts Palmism as a recognized religion), Palmists believe in the 10 commandments as the basis for ethical human behavior and moral authority.
The Rites and Traditions
Any good religion cloaks it's illogic in traditions and mysticism. What better way to cover the stuff that nobody in their right mind would believe (whales swallowing people then regurgitating them unharmed years later, etc.) than to create a whole bunch of mystic rites, incantations, ceremonies, an d a couple of good commercial holidays? (Gotta appease the merchants, too, you know).
Palmism is no different. Christianity has a good thing going with Communion. Hey, turning a wafer into god's flesh and wine into blood ought to impress most people. Palmists just use different props. We use Margaritas and Nachos. By the end of Communion, most of the Congregation is wiling to accept the spirit!
Services are held on the beach. This has the advantage of eliminating false profits. After 3 or 4 margarita's anyone claiming to be god is welcome to try walking on water. Those that fail wash on shore the next day, and are so easily cast out. Besides, the beach patrol takes them away to the drunk tank or morgue, as appropriate!
And recognizing human frailties, there are no alter boys. Instead, "alter babes", dressed in thong bikini's. This makes going to services a whole lot more enjoyable for the male parishioners. No more top wives have to plead and threaten their spouses to go to church or synagogue! Most are eager to go!
The beach attire helps to enforce another belief of Palmists: Self-indulgent sloth and obesity is a sin; you have to take care of your own health and fitness. Obese Palmists are easily identified as sinners and sent to a fat farm; I mean, "spiritual rehabilitation center". In these centers, they work hard in the fields, grow vegetables (which they eat for every meal) and build sturdy furniture (designed to hold the fattest of people). The furniture and excess produce are sold to the generally obese American public (i.e., "the Infidels") and the proceeds fund the religion!
Development of the Faith
"Sure", I hear you say, "Palmism sounds great, but how can you expect to make headway against the established religions?"
Well, certainly, if I'm the only Palmist, then I'm considered to be a nut case or comedian, depending upon the dogmacy of the individual. But if I can get two people to join me, then I've got the makings of a cult! And to paraphrase Arlo Gutherie, if I can get a few hundred people to go along, well, I may have a sect under way. A century or so after my death, it could be a full-blown religion, and I may well be a profit by then!
So, how about it? Are you a heathen, accepting life in Buffalo, Pittsburg,or (gasp!) Frostbite Falls? Or are you ready to embrace the truth path, the one that leads to the eternal beach; of Palmism?
Donations are cheerfully accepted! :-)