The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary







Circumpunct, symbol of the religion. Size and proportions vary; creativity is encouraged.

Brianism describes itself as "a religion-substitute" based on the writings and sayings of Brian the Cyber-prophet, as set down in the Book of Brian. It appeared in the 1990s as an outgrowth of the skeptic movement. Followers of Brianism are termed Brianists and the symbol of Brianism is the circle with a point at its centre, which Brianists term the Circumpunct.


Goals, principles, and practices

It aims to provide the positive aspects of organized religion without the "mumbo-jumbo or irrationality" of traditional organized religion, based on a framework of scientific skepticism compatible with the beliefs of atheists, skeptics and scientific rationalists. [1] The main goal of Brianism is to safeguard the evolution and propagation of intelligent life. Brianism terms this the 'Prime Directive.'

Brianists believe that the human race has an evolved predisposition to form pyramid-shaped social structures under an 'alpha-male' and that conventional religions naturally result from the imposition of this structure on the universe at large. The religion does not necessarily believe this is desirable, rather, that it is simply a human disposition to do it (pyramid theory).

Conventional Brianism is based on seven pillars, or principles:

  • Intelligence - the preservation and continuation of intelligent life.
  • Rationality - firm rejection of conventional religion and pseudo-science.
  • Propagation - eventual emigration to other worlds.
  • Environment - protection of the terrestrial and extraterrestrial environments, in so far as this is compatible with the Prime Directive.
  • Evolution - continued evolution, even into artificial intelligences, if required.
  • Knowledge - scientific progress, teaching and the acquisition of information
  • Heritage - preservation of beneficial aspects of our heritage.

Brianists are encouraged to participate in activities that will help promote the preservation and continuation of intelligent life. Suggested activities include personal growth (getting fit, studying) and community-minded service (giving blood, volunteerism).

Book of Brian

The First Testament of the 'Book of Brian' consists of 6 books of 6 chapters of 6 verses. Each verse is of 4 sentences containing 3, 7, 10 and 18 words, as illustrated by this quote:

Continue to evolve. Technology is starting to outrun the mind.
Evolution is not what it was in the recent past. If you make a machine
in the likeness of a human mind, you must give it its due.
— Sura 1, verse 5.

The only major Brianist organization is the World Brianism Foundation in the United Kingdom. Local congregations are called covens and their gatherings sabbats, terminology chosen to shock and confound Christians. The majority of a sabbat consists of whatever activities the congregation wishes to carry out.

Inspiration sources of Brianism and allusions to organised religion

Though Brianism seems to teach a form of non-theism/atheism, some aspects of its design is clearly inspired from organized religions such as Christianity, Islam and Judaism. As mentioned earlier the choice of terminology from these religions might be based on the shock value. Judeo-christian terms like church and sabbat are mingled with terms from, for instance, the Wicca religion, such as "coven". As mentioned earlier, the First Testament of the Book of Brian consist of 6 books of 6 chapters of 6 verses, probably a reference to the number of the Beast mentioned in the Bible in the Book of Revelation.

There seems to be some Islamic influence on some aspects of Brianism. The seven pillars seem to be an allusion to the Islamic five pillars. The chapters of the book of Brian are called Sura similar to the Islamic holy book the Qur'an, which are again subdivided into verses. The webpage of the World Brianism Foundation[2] lists the seven pillars with quotes from Sura 1 verses 1 to 7 after each pillar -- this number of verses corresponds to the number of verses in the first Sura in the Qur'an, though all other chapters have only 6 verses. Regarding the Book of Brian, Brianism teaches that the electronic form is the primary form of the book, while printed copies are considered secondary forms; this teaching seems to allude to the Islamic teaching that the Qur'an exists in a primary eternal form in a heavenly tablet known as the "Mother of Scripture" or Umm-ul-Kitab, the written copies being only temporal manifestations of this primary form. The stress on the role of Brian as "an ordinary human" and simply "the messenger" correspond quite well to the Islamic insistence that Muhammad was merely a man, and only a rasul; that is, "messenger"

Brianism refers to the major organised religions humourously with terms like Neds (Christians), Tribes of Moon (Muslims) and Daves (Jews). Probably all other references and allusions to organised religion are also some form of parody.

See also

External links

Alternative meanings

  • The term Brianism is also related to the comedy film Monty Python's Life of Brian, which is unrelated to the religious group described above.
Last updated: 08-07-2005 21:30:46
Last updated: 08-16-2005 14:43:47