Sunday, January 5, 2014

Project to Boghossify the Pope

Here I would like to announce a project. The project will be something of an undertaking, and that's part of why I want to enlist the help of my friends and readers. Getting you involved also helps let people practice this valuable skill and should spread the exposure of it much more widely.

We will "Boghossify" Pope Francis's June 2013 Encyclical Letter "Lumen Fidei," which is to say that we will take this letter in which Francis explains the notion of faith "to the bishops priests and deacons / consecrated persons / and the lay faithful," and clarify it via Peter Boghossians analysis of the word "faith" in his Manual for Creating Atheists. Francis has composed this document in sixty parts, and I encourage anyone that takes up the task to Boghossify one or a few of them. We'll aim, eventually, to cover the whole thing, and as the project develops, I'll create an entry on this blog that links to each one.

The process is relatively straightforward but somewhat time-consuming. One should simply replace each instance of the word "faith" in the document with some variant on Peter Boghossian's analysis of that word: "pretending to know something one doesn't know." I strongly urge copy editing after replacement, so that the meaning is conveyed clearly without awkward grammar. Sometimes, words like "believe," "hope," and "trust" also have to be modified along this theme in order to make sense of things. This, of course, is because those words are often used as inappropriate synonyms for "faith." I also frequently find it helpful to place "pretend to know" before statements of articles of faith, since in reality, that's what they're doing. Feel free (read: encouraged) to copy my style.

To get things started, I will Boghossify the first section in another entry on this blog in a few moments (Link to project). That page will serve as the home-base for links to the remaining sections, if anyone decides to take them upon themselves.

Contributions can be published on your own blogs or websites or left in the comments on either of these two posts about the project. Further, if the exercise helped you better understand Boghossian's analysis of the term "faith" or illuminated the meaning of that word in a new way for you, I'd love to read that in the comments as well.

Vatican lawyers, and those scared of them, should recognize that as a parody of the pope's work, such endeavors are protected under Fair Use clauses in copyright law.

Thanks to Miranda Celeste Hale for bringing this to my attention, and thanks to the suggestion of Peter Boghossian that this document would be fun and illuminating to "Boghossify," as I've termed things.

Go here to see what's been done and get started!


  1. How do we send in the sections as we Boghossify them?

    1. Sorry, email is good.