February 6, 2023

A Year of Practicing Baldism

1. Introduction to Baldism

The goal of this article is to introduce the religion of Baldism (formerly Bald Jesusism) and the benefits it can bring to those who practice it. Baldism is a decentralized religion that was built by a process of crowdsourcing, trial and error, and adopting what works while discarding that which does not.

2. An Idiot

What kind of an idiot creates a religion and then sets about living it for a year to make sure that it actually works?

Is it even possible for religion to work?
Can a religion be created? Which brings me back to my original question.

The answer is — (pointing at myself) this kind of idiot. This is my story — except — it’s not my story at all, but we’ll get to that soon enough.

Bald Jesusism is now Baldism

3. Why do we need Baldism?

I was in my late forties when Covid hit. I’m going to say something shocking here, so get your tomatoes ready. I thought the pandemic would be good for us — for humanity — collectively. Now, before you throw those tomatoes, I need to explain a little bit. I didn’t want people to die. Nothing about people dying from a war, an epidemic, a pandemic, or anything else makes me happy. There was no moment in the pandemic when I felt anything but horror and sadness at the human cost of that tragedy. With that truth out of the way, I can move on to the more controversial one. I thought the pandemic would be good for humanity because our human civilization, the way we treat each other, the way we do things, the way we exploit one another, the planet, and anything else we can touch is disgusting. It doesn’t work for the long term survival of our species or any other that we come in contact with. Our society is and has been broken for a long, long time. Our embrace of interconnected digital technology in the past thirty years has accelerated the horrors of it. If you don’t agree, that’s fine. I get it, not all of us have the freedom or ability to put on the ‘They Live’ sunglasses and see that the world is completely different than we have been told. I don’t want to get in some John Waters fistfight in an alleyway with you while I try to force you to put on my magic sunglasses. I’m not Rod Roddy Piper.

I’d just like you to have a better life. Your better life will translate to your kids having a better life. Them having a better life spreads outwards. I want everyone to have a better life — not just some people. Everyone. I can’t and won’t force it on anyone. Even if I wanted to, I don’t think I could.

Okay, what does any of this have to do with Baldism? With Bald Jesus? With the Holy BJBLE and living Baldism for a year?

Well — here goes.

I believe that human beings are hard wired to have something that can roughly be called religion. It can take many different forms, but essentially religion is that driving force within us that tries desperately to remind us not to be dicks. We create Gods and Saints and Spirits and Angels and Heaven and Hell and we create all of that to hopefully make us pause before we act like a dick, to consider the other person or people, and to (if that doesn’t work) consider the consequences of our negative actions in this life or the next. So what I’m talking about isn’t so much a religion as it is a philosophy of living, a matter of faith, or anything that makes us question whether we should act like selfish, sociopathic assholes — or not. That’s it.

For the past century, the people of the world have been moving away from religion. Most Christians aren’t actual believers, most Muslims aren’t actual believers — sure, they will say they are, they will tell you and the world they are, they will kill me to prove they are — and there you have it. It’s not just those two, it’s every religion that has turned this way. Look at the statistics and you will see. If they are still religious, their kids won’t be. My child, despite my wife being Muslim and myself actually being deeply spiritual (I believe there is a creator, a guiding force to the universe, an order) — despite all of that, at eight-years-old, my daughter said to me “I hear a lot of stories about God and I’ve talked with people about different religions, but honestly, I don’t really believe any of them are true. I don’t think there is a god.” I was shocked. I started asking other kids — they felt the same. The overriding sentiment seemed to be (my words not theirs) that they saw they were being fed a bunch of bullshit. The entire world and the accumulated knowledge of all of mankind is at their fingertips since they were born and they can smell the bullshit. You know what I saw they believe though? They believe influencers. They believe in Tik-Tok and YouTubers. They believe in Roblox and playing games in a digital world with their friends they couldn’t see in real life during the pandemic.

I became horrified and fascinated by Tik-Tok. One day, I heard someone say it overtly “Kids today are filling the hole in their soul with Tik-Tok”. Ding ding ding. An alarm went off and I literally heard a voice in my head say “Someone should give them something better. Something that isn’t bullshit or that is so overtly bullshit that it’s okay that it is bullshit — but that actually contains some substance, some of that function that religion used to fill.”

That was it. I’m pretty sure that voice was mine since there was no one else there. So that was where it began. I’d been playing around with crypto and NFTs because they are inherently disruptive to a lot of the models that cause ruin in the world. Middle-men, breaches of trust, exploitation, hidden transactionary mercantilism. I’d been having fun drawing (badly drawing, I know I’m not a gifted artist) Bald Jesus. Why Bald Jesus? I admit here, for the first time it was because I thought it was funny to see the negative reaction from Christians at the term or the art. “Wha-wha-what? The son of God can’t have bad hair — he was perfect. He didn’t have bad follicles…” Seriously, some people got very un-Christian about it. I loved it. It was like a red flag that you could wave in front of a bull to see if he was an asshole bull or Ferdinand. There were some Christians who said ‘Why are you picking on our God? Why don’t you make a Hairy Mohammad or an Afro Buddha?” Seriously, I heard both and my response was — maybe I will, but this is too much fun to walk away from.

I decided there should just be one rule. “Don’t be a dick.” Now, I admit it, me having fun poking holes in the sacred dude of Christianity was kind of dickish — but let’s be clear, I made him bald and his name Jesus. I clearly stated over and over again that it wasn’t Jesus Christ. I differentiated him and the dozens of other people who decided to have fun drawing Bald Jesus with me — they all got it too and we set some pretty solid rules. We weren’t trying to besmirch Jesus Christ, we just had a new dude, Bald Jesus. Any similarities to people real or historical or imaginary is purely coincidence. So, to me — I wasn’t being a dick. I was being mischievous, maybe a little mechant, but my inner compass told me — that was fine.

For a bunch of reasons I’ve explained in other places, I decided that Bald Jesusism (now Baldism) should become an actual religion with recognition from the State. To do that, there had to be a credo, a statement of faith, and a holy book — along with several other things. I’m a writer, so last November (2021) I wrote the holy book for Baldism. The Holy Bjble. I should clarify here, I wrote the words on the page but the ideas all came from other places — none of them were new (okay, maybe a few). I compiled the wisdom I had accumulated over nearly five decades of life in which I was at various times a ‘born again Christian’, a Nichiren Buddhist, and a Muslim. In each case it was a formal conversion but there were other faiths, other sects, other cults. I sat at the feet of Sufi Dervishes, I talked with Satanists, I chanted in Taoist temples, I sat through meetings in the Kingdom Hall. I’ve been around a lot of religions. I’ve studied a lot of religions. I’ve read about a lot of religions. I’ve read the Book of Mormon, the Guru Granth Sahib, the Tibetan Book of the Dead, the Holy Bible, the Koran, and many more. I’ve taken comparative religion courses in University. In compiling the Holy BJBLE (Bald Jesus Bible Living Edition), I drew from many sources. I drew from the accumulated religious and occult teaching of human kind. I tried to take the things that worked or the things that made sense. From all of that, I composed the nine suggestions because aside from telling people not to be a dick, I don’t feel qualified to give any other commandments — suggestions are fine.

I created a fun collection of holidays that were designed to get people thinking, create community, and empower people. I’ve always felt that there is nothing more ‘godlike’ than the act of creation — so a lot of Baldism is centered around creating. Creating art, creating code, writing stories, doing grafitti, or transacting on-chain and creating blockchain transactions.

I’d created a ‘religion’ and written a holy book. I’d distributed it to the people who were having fun with Bald Jesus. The truth was, no one else seemed all that into it. I give them a lot of credit because they stuck around, they didn’t tell me I was nuts, and they didn’t mock me or call me an idiot — which — as I opened this essay up with — I obviously was. So — what next? Well, that voice in my head jumped in again and told me.

“You’ve created a year’s worth of holidays, why not live it for a year? Eat your own dogfood.”

And there you have it. I was stuck. So, I did what any idiot would do — I announced it on social media and to friends and family. I made myself accountable for it by telling other people. I tried desperately to get others to join me — but there was only one idiot that was going to publicly take this journey and that idiot was me.

4. A Year of Baldism

So did I do it?
Fuck yes I did it.

Was it easy?
No sir. No ma’am. There was nothing easy about it.

I forced myself to talk about Bald Jesus and Baldism with every person I know. I talked about it on podcasts and in Twitter Spaces. I wrote updates about how it was going on Vagobond.com and other social outlets. I made Bald Jesus art. I did my best to celebrate all of the holidays and to practice the nine suggestions. I also forced myself to become more and more aware of my actions and how they affect others. Did I break the commandment? Yeah, there were more than a few times I was a dick, but you know what? Somehow, when I was being a dick — I became more aware of it. This awareness enabled me to change my actions many times and actually kept me from being more of a dick.

As a result, I also became more aware of my triggers, more aware of my pain points, more aware of my dissatisfactions. Here’s something that may surprise you….after a year of living the practice of Bald Jesusism (now Baldism), I am a better man than I was before. I know this might sound crazy but:

◆ I am happier

◆ I’ve lost weight

◆ I’m in better shape than I’ve been in in decades

◆ I sleep better

◆ I am healthier

◆ I’m more confident

◆ I have more friends

◆ I have less worries about money

◆ and most importantly….I’m much less of a dick.

I know it sounds like bullshit, but it’s not. Also, as crazy as it sounds — living this philosophy is what I give the credit to. I’m as blown away as anyone.

Let’s face it though — it’s not rocket science. If you have good principles to live by, your life is going to be better. All the success I’ve had with Baldism comes from codifying my principles and then living them. These are good principles and they work. Stop doing bad things. Start doing good things. Help others stop doing bad things and start doing good things. That’s three solid principles.

Doing meditation and yoga are good for your body. Getting outside and walking or running and enjoying nature — these are good for you. The thing is — anyone can tell themselves to do these things, but I can tell you that most people won’t. I didn’t. Somehow though, by encasing them in a silly religion and codifying them — they became more imperative and easier for me to enact. Did I meditate every day? No, there were big periods this year when I didn’t, but when I did — I felt better.

As for the holidays — they’re simply fun. I enjoyed making myself more aware of the full moons, it was nice to have guidance on what to do on Solstice and Equinox. I loved Grafitti Day and Video Game Day and Skeptics Day. These holidays were way better than famous man birthdays or national celebrations or holdovers from holidays that other religions or nations have co-opted.

It was fun to have a religious reason to spend a day reading or to celebrate Bitcoin Pizza Day or Ukuleles.

I brought other people into some of them — but mostly, I admit — people were a little freaked out by it. That was the hardest part of this year — I had to be the first evangelist. I had to bring it up, explain it, and either be okay with sounding like a lunatic or somehow do all of that without sounding like a lunatic. Without a doubt there are people out there who I met on trains, on buses, on planes, at festivals, bars, or meetups who thought “This guy is a complete nutjob. He’s started a cult and it’s totally ridiculous. He’s bonkers”

I can tell you 100% — Baldism being ridiculous is one of the best things about it. I couldn’t have done any of this if it wasn’t ridiculous, implausible, and complete idiocy. The fact that it is made people laugh, made people look at it, and most importantly, got people to consider some of the underlying ideas and philosophies

4.1. Next Steps

So what now?
We’ve just wrapped up the first Council of Aiea. The what?

I knew from the beginning that the book I’d compiled/written was flawed. Additionally, I didn’t want the Holy BJBLE to be a book written by me. The reason I called it the Bald Jesus Bible Living Edition was because it was always in the plan that it would be a living book that would change and grow.

On September 21, 2022 I invited all the holders of the Holy Bjble NFTs to join me in the Council of Aiea (CoA). The CoA is based on the Council of Nicea in which the 7th century Christian Bishops of the time came together and decided which pieces of the Christian Bible to keep and which to throw away. The Christian Bible of today wan’t written by God and handed to Jesus and then distributed. It was compiled from thousands of documents that conflicted each other, said different things, and existed over wide space and time. The Council of Nicea created the Christian canon.

The Council of Aiea is similar. Everyone who owned a Holy Bjble was invited. Collectively we went through the entire text of the Holy BJBLE and we added, deleted, edited, discarded, and rewrote the entire thing. Every holder of a Holy Bjble was enabled to vote, to create proposals, and to edit or change the Bjble.

On December 21st, 2022 we will release the Holy Bjble, Council of Aiea version 0.1. As before, the Holy Bjble will be free to read and available to purchase as an NFT book, a physical book, or an e-book. If you want to read it on chain for free, it will be there. We will also upload it to the internet archive.

Next year, we will repeat the process. It’s a very different book than it was before the CoA. It’s a better book, a better guide, a more compelling vision. No longer the compilations of one man, now it is a truly crowd sourced religious philosophy for living.

4.2. Will people adopt it?

Will people adopt it?

I don’t know. I hope so. It would be nice to see entire communities coming together for potlucks on the equinox or to play video games as a religious duty on VG Day. It would be nice to see grafitti of Bald Jesus spring up. It would be nice for people to have an internalized (yet external and eternal) voice that tells them ‘Don’t be a dick’ or ‘Stop doing bad things’ or ‘Go outside and take a walk in nature’.

I suppose you can say that I’m the first Baldist. That’s pretty cool. I’ll continue to be a Baldist. I’ll continue to tell people Bald Jesus is your bro! I’ll continue to distribute Holy Bjbles and to follow the nine suggestions as best I can. The awesome thing though is that this isn’t my religion or my book or my invention any longer. It’s a thing that came from many. It’s a thing that I hope will come from many more.

I hope that the Council of Aiea will meet annually and discuss changes and create new editions. As was done this year, every holder of a Holy Bjble should be allowed to participate. The goal is that from September 21st to December 21st, the CoA either ratify the current edition or create a new edition. They can throw out the entire thing if they want to. They could decide to bring Bald Mary into the picture or something. It’s out of my hands now.

It took Christianity seven hundred years to codify itself. We’re already there.

5. My results

What did I get out of practicing Bald Jesusism for a year? Astounding but true:

◆ I became happier

◆ I made new friends

◆ I lost weight

◆ I got in better shape than I’ve been in in decades

◆ I sleep better

◆ I am healthier

◆ I am more confident

◆ I got free money

◆ I have less worries about money

◆ and most importantly….I’m much less of a dick.

6. Do and Don’t

So — what should you, the person reading this, do now? Easy. Grab a copy of the Holy BJBLE and read it. That’s it. Oh, and one more thing — Don’t be a dick!

NFT, Hard Cover, Paperback, and Kindle Versions

You will be able to get physical (hardback or softback) copies of the the Holy BJBLB (CoA Version) or Kindle E-book on Amazon starting on December 21st, 2022. You can pre-order the Kindle version now for the minimum price.

https://www.amazon.com/Holy-BJBLE-Jesus-Bible-Living-ebook/dp/B0BPXF4J78/ref=sr_1_5

NFT Versions will be available on READL and on OpenSea and Rarible through ReadMe Books on December 21, 2022 as well for slightly higher cost than the Kindle Version because you will actually own them.

There will be a free readable flipbook version posted on Vagobond.com and a free PDF version will be available through the Internet Archive.

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