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ISM is an over-arching religious system which believes that the human religious impulse is fundamentally the same, even if its expression can differ greatly between cultures. By identifying the elements that all religions have in common, ISM aims to discover, analyze, and promote these universal elements and their principles. On the other hand, ISM also recognizes that while “truth is one, the sages speak of it by many names.” Thus it uses a potentially infinite number of iconographic vehicles to illustrate and transport its central tenets.
The concept of ISM found its first expression in the religion Dudeism, founded in 2005 by American journalist Oliver Benjamin. In Dudeism it is believed that its central philosophy has existed since the dawn of civilization, although under different names and guises, and with different icons and vehicles to disseminate it. Dudeism uses the film The Big Lebowski as its central vehicle, but many other vehicles could be suitable to carry its message. In 2019, ISM was launched to help spread the ISM/Dudeism philosophy to wider audiences via an array of unique ministries.
True religion has a universal quality. It does not find fault with other religions. False religions will find fault with other religions; they will say that theirs is the only valid religion and their prophet is the only saviour. But a true religion will feel that all the prophets are saviours of mankind. Forgiveness, compassion, tolerance, brotherhood and the feeling of oneness are the signs of a true religion.
— Sri Chinmoy
True religion is real living; living with all one’s soul, with all one’s goodness and righteousness.
— Albert Einstein
Self-realization is, in fact, the only religion. For it is the true purpose of religion, no matter how people define their beliefs.
— Paramhansa Yogananda
Religion is to do right. It is to love, it is to serve, it is to think, it is to be humble.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.
— The Dalai Lama