Phil Athans: How to Start Your Own Religion

Form a Church, Gain Followers, Become Tax-Exempt, and Sway the Minds of Millions in Five Easy Steps

How-to guide offering a 5-step program on founding your own Religion.

Been to Art School? Short of cash? Too many girlfriends? Philip Athans has compiled a handy list for anyone seeking a change of scenery. He guides you through the process of forming your own religion step by step.

Step one DOGMA

is dedicated to all the groundwork. It is up to you to determine your number of gods, where to worship, what rites to follow and what holy text(s) to teach. These are basically the bullet points of your new religion, from then on everything will fall nicely into place. So take some time to set up the basics well. You can get really creative here. Athans strongly suggest using ambiguity and contradictions to keep your mystery working nicely.


is great advice on how to gain followers quickly. Athans points out the usefulness of celebrities and fanatics. You’ll need these guys, they are gold.

Don’t worry. This is a lot of work but hang in there, for the spiritual fulfillment or the money or whatever drives you, it will be worth it.

Step three RITUALS

will provide you with the knowledge to keep your flock busy and entertained. It’s up to you to design shrines or temples and think about important things such as marriage and offerings. You can get really inventive with this one! Give your followers something to look forward to – the end is near. In the age of Social Media, make your rituals as memorable and visually satisfying as you can.

Step four LIFE

is the cherry on the cake. Now that you’re getting into the hang of things, let’s look at the delicate details of your religion. Will your sheep be granted an education? Do they have to live abstinent? What laws will you or the gods establish?

Step five DEATH

This would not be a complete self-help guide without the tools to gain control over your project. Making your following afraid (or really looking forward to going to whatever place you’ve come up with for them) will be essential in maintaining power over your flock.

God is Love. I got that from Oprah, and she should know.

(page 29)


Why we love it: We are almost certain he is just kidding.

Recommended for: Anyone looking for a career change and people living in remote areas.

What would your religion look like?


2012, Adams Media, MA, USA, Self-help

12 thoughts on “Phil Athans: How to Start Your Own Religion

  1. I really enjoyed reading this article. I have a very strong faith and I love going to church on Sunday. We are working on building a new building here in Minneapolis and we are looking for church signs to put up outside. I’m glad that I now know how I can start my own religion, thanks for sharing!

    1. I would highly recommend this read, as I believe most people of faith have a good sense of humour. Athans certainly did his research and even though he mocks certain issues, he never ridicules or talks down to his readers.

  2. Whether or not he’s serious, sad thing is, this actually is a pretty good guide to starting your own religion. I have a strong faith, but I’m not going to claim I have the absolute truth. That would be equating myself with God.

    Also, thanks for liking my blog post. Good way to get to know others, isn’t it? I appreciate the ego boost AND the introduction.

  3. Thanks for following my blog – and love this post about Athans’ book. Have just checked it out on Amazon and seriously considering getting it. Fab reviews – looks great! Joanna

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words. I’m just starting out and am very happy about feedback. I definitely recommend this book. It really makes you think… Looking forward to reading more from you

  4. Couldn’t I just create my own Holy Trinity? Something like, perhaps, Bill Murray, Blixa Bargeld and Bill Hicks?

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