This one, with its context, is too long for the group comments, but in my opinion the context deserves to be more widely known. You'll probably enjoy it, whether or not you're a writer.
"Now, practically even better news than that of short assignments is the idea of shitty first drafts. All good writers write them. This is how they end up with good second drafts and terrific third drafts. People tend to look at successful writers, writers who are getting their books published and maybe even doing, well financially, and think that they sit down at their desks every morning feeling like a million dollars, feeling great about who they are and how much talent they have and what a great story they have to tell; that they take in a few deep breaths, push back their sleeves, roll their necks a few times to get all the cricks out, and dive in, typing fully formed passages as fast as a court reporter. But this is just the fantasy of the uninitiated.
I know some very great writers, writers you love who write beautifully and have made a great deal of money, and not one of them sits down routinely feeling wildly enthusiastic and confident. Not one of them writes elegant first drafts. All right, one of them does, but we do not like her very much. We do not think that she has a rich inner life or that God likes her or can even stand her. (Although when I mentioned this to my priest friend Tom, he said you can safely assume you've created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.)"
--Anne Lamott, "Shitty First Drafts" in Bird by Bird
(paragraph break and emphasis added)
That reminds me of THIS one, GC:
Creating God in one's own image
It talks about how people "use the same parts of their brain when considering God's will and their own opinions", as shown in fMRI scans.
"Relying on a deity to guide one's decisions and judgments is little more than spiritual sockpuppetry."
Creating gods is one of the easiest things i have discovered. More often than not, a sick imagination or a hyper active one is all you need. Think of Ron Hubbard with his Scientology or Smith with his stones and all. The next process is to get a few people to believe your con game and you are in business for long
It seems to me that what you need, more than any other element, is a credulous audience, one which will tend to swallow what you have whole, without excessive (if any!) examination. It helps if they're SCARED, too; that makes them even more vulnerable and open to suggestion.
Having one or two people considered respectable to believe in your BS works a long way to get things moving.
Take those signatories to Smith's stones or the disciples of MAry Baker or whatever her name was who came up with the Church of Christ, Scientist
Mary Baker Eddy.
I couldn't agree with you more.
My wife and I love cats too:
English scientist Julian Huxley (1887-1975) famously observed that: “Operationally, God is beginning to resemble not a ruler but the last fading smile of a cosmic Cheshire Cat.”
“Owners of dogs will have noticed that, if you provide them with food and water and shelter and affection, they will think you are god. Whereas owners of cats are compelled to realize that, if you provide them with food and water and shelter and affection, they draw the conclusion that they are gods." Christopher Hitchens. The Portable Atheist.