I was going to post this back at the beginning of April, but it got out of hand and now it’s a thing. So because time is short and I don’t feel much like writing something new today, here it is, the FAQ you’ve all been waiting for: The Church of Lacuna — thought experiment? parody? religion? Make of it what you will.
Who or what is “Lacuna” anyway?
Lacuna is a goddess of knowledge, sometimes known as the Goddess of the Gaps. While she may go by other names (or even other genders) she has been worshipped by many people over the millennia. Lacuna is everywhere that we can’t prove she isn’t. She fills all the space between the things we know with things that cannot be proven either way.
What do members of the Church of Lacuna believe?
The members of the Church of Lacuna have a few beliefs, but the most important of these is in the primacy of evidence. Members of the Church are permitted to be members of other faiths if they like, but they may only insert beliefs about the physical world in places where evidence does not contradict them.
Legend has it that long ago, Lacuna grew tired of spoonfeeding knowledge to the human race, and left, telling them that they had to fend for themselves using reason, logic, and evidence. Since that time, members of the Church of Lacuna, as a matter of pride, have dedicated their lives to the search for the Goddess, through the elimination of spaces of ignorance in which she might be hiding.
Because we cannot 100% rule out that any other person might be a perfectly convincing imitation of a human created by the Goddess Lacuna in order to allow her to live in peace among us, members of the Church treat others with as much respect and good will as we can muster at any one time.
The Church of Lacuna has an Affirmation of Faith, which it encourages its members to say at least once, at some point:
I affirm that I can neither affirm nor deny the existence of our great Goddess Lacuna, and will work toward her eventual superfluity in our daily lives. May her attributed works ever recede with our passing ignorance, that she may someday retire to a comfortable island possibly in the South Pacific and hopefully with enough elevation to remain safe from anthropogenic climate change. May her blessings remain unproven and her influence unknowable. Long may she reign in obscurity, Amen.
Are there any weird rituals?
There are no compulsory rituals, though members are encouraged to leave offerings in the form of well-researched papers with inconclusive and/or negative results in “in-between places,” for example the space between books in a book case, or down the back of a desk, between the desk and the wall.
Where do you get your knowledge from?
Occasionally signs are revealed to members of the Church (and others!) of places the Goddess Lacuna is not hiding, by the erasure of ignorance and its replacement with knowledge. We take these as revelations to support our conjecture that the Goddess Lacuna only exists in pockets of ignorance.
We also conjecture that there are messengers from the Goddess Lacuna that we have never met. These may include ghosts and other spirits, bigfoot and yeti, chupacabras, extra-terrestrials, fairies, and elves. We cannot fully rule out this possibility (but we’re very close!).
We’re working on it!
Can I join?
Yes! Anyone can join the Church of Lacuna once they (a) accept the primacy of evidence and (b) swear only to hide made-up things in the pockets of ignorance left by evidence, logic, and attention to detail.
In the future there may be membership cards.
Are you folks for real?
While the Church of Lacuna started as a form of parody akin to the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, it should be thought of as a real religion. As certain forms of Buddhism have shown, belief in a deity is unnecessary to qualify as a religion. Lacuna herself is a personified thought experiment about what it means to try to straddle the divide between a scientific worldview and religious tradition. We are pluralists, or we are trying to be, in a world that seems to demand exclusivity. We poke fun at ourselves for accepting the primacy of evidence while still clinging to the trappings and comfort of spirituality — in a sense, we make an art form out of Sartre’s and de Bouvoir’s “living in bad faith” as a way of accepting the absurdity of the human condition. In highlighting our own ignorance and admitting the absurdity of trying to insert the divine into the spaces left by scientific ignorance (and yet continuing to do so anyway), we remain more humble than we might otherwise be, without giving over to scientific ignorance.
And you know what? We think a lot of you do, too.