Katy Guest: O come, all ye faithful, join my new religion

Share
Related Topics

Most people will be working on their new year's resolutions this week as they frenziedly do all the things they are about to resolve not to do, in the brief but magical late-December window in which there are no such things as calories, and the booze fairies are looking after our livers. I've decided to go one better this time around: I am going to start a religion.

This is not a momentary whim brought on by too much buck's fizz and a particularly inspirational Queen's speech; I have been working on my religion for many years. But now I think that its time has come. Loosely based on paganism (but then, what religion isn't?) and random acts of kindness, my teachings will be vague and deliberately open to interpretation. My followers will be distinguished by their habit of leaving two opened carrier bags ready to use at the checkout, after they have paid.

The problem we have with our existing religions is that they are too susceptible to misinterpretation. It's as if the more specifically an instruction is written down, the more centuries of ecumenical energy will go into bending it until it fits the prevailing orthodoxy (men and rich people in charge; everyone else in the wrong). For instance, Jesus said "Love thy neighbour" and "Judge not, that ye not be judged," and yet whole denominations of Christianity now exist that seem to be devoted to judging their neighbours and hating them. It's what everyone's doing anyway; it's just easier if you believe that God wills it.

Instead of issuing any rules, I will demand that my followers ask themselves what to do. In the absence of instructions and interpretations, they will only have their own consciences to answer to. My hypothesis is that they will be kinder as a result.

I have decided to launch this philosophy now because it will be riding a current wave of acts of kindness. Is it specifically British, that we become nicer to each other in adversity? Or is all the snow going to our heads? During the white out and transport crisis that has recently hit Britain, I have seen hardened Londoners checking on their elderly neighbours and offering to take them to the shops. Clearing the snow outside your own house often leads to helping to do the same for someone else. Research shows that random acts of kindness produce a temporary high, make you happy, and are addictive. What's more, they have a ripple effect: the two people who find the carrier bags left open for them at the till will each be touched with warmth, and pass it on with RAKs of their own. Whole cities will be affected.

A random act of kindness should be small, and preferably cost nothing, but should put out the giver just a little bit. They should be directed towards strangers, or people observably less fortunate than ourselves. For instance, everyone should give way to cheaper cars than their own. At a music festival, pick up twice as much litter as you drop. When you "buy one, get one free" but you only want one, leave the spare packet of satsumas in a bicycle's basket in the car park. You might just prevent someone from getting a cold.

After performing an RAK, the giver should run away before seeing it received. That way, all manner of benefits to the recipient can be imagined. Kindness makes us happier, and happiness makes us kinder, and so this can only result in an outbreak of joy all across the country. This is my gift to Britain this winter solstice. Now leave this paper open in a café, and pass it on.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketing Controller (Financial Services)

£70000 - £75000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketi...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Ed Miliband created a crisis of confidence about himself within Labour when he forgot to mention the deficit in his party conference speech  

The political parties aren't all the same – which means 2015 will be a 'big-choice' election

Andrew Grice
 

Beware of the jovial buffoon who picks fights overseas

Boyd Tonkin
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all