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Author of the Month: Daniele Bolelli

Published: April 15, 2014

Create Your Own Religion: A How To Book Without Instructions

Daniele Bolelli, lecturer, History

First appearing from Disinformation in 2013, Create Your Own Religion: A How To Book Without Instructions is Bolelli’s third title following 50 Things You’re Not Supposed to Know: Religion and On the Warrior’s Path: Philosophy, Fighting and Martial Arts Mythology. Bolelli, a member of the university since 2001, means his new text to serve as an open invitation to question all the values, beliefs and world views that humanity has held as sacred to find answers to the very practical problems facing us. Bolelli leads the reader through 3,000 years of mythology, misogyny, misinformation and flat-out lies about “revealed truth” that continue to muddle 21st century life. “Our world views are in desperate need of some housecleaning,” said Bolelli. “We enter the 21st century still carrying on our backs the prejudices and ways of thinking of countless past generations. What worked for them may or may not still be of use, so it is our job to make sure to save the tools that can help us and let go of the dead weight.” The martial arts author took the same approach to religion that fighting legend Bruce Lee took to hand-to-hand combat, Bolelli explained. “Bruce Lee looked at all the martial arts styles out there and took the best from different sources and put them together in a way that made sense to him,” said Bolelli. “I took the same approach to religion and decided to look at the key questions asked by all religions—is there an afterlife? What is life’s meaning? Then I looked at the questions with healthier answers than others in terms of consequences.” Bolelli is not asking his readers to copy his choices but to copy his thinking process, he said. “I want my readers to find the answers that make sense to them,” he said. “Not all good answers can be found under the same cover.” Bolelli’s research convinces him that in all religions, people choose what they like. “There are those who swear by the Bible but only by some parts and not by others. It is the same way with the Koran and the Torah and all religions,” said Bolelli. “I decided I might as well be honest about that and try to find the best answers from all the sources.” He hopes his readers come away from Create Your Own Religion with a new way of thinking. “There are certain results to the way we think that makes us go to war over

Author of the  Month: Daniele Bolelli

different religions and there are results that help us engage in dialogue,” he said. “It is up to my readers to figure out the objective of their ideas. I want them to take their individuality and think for themselves. It is how they think about the possible answers that is as important as the answers they find. The questions raised in this book are the questions everyone has to answer if they want a way of life or a personal philosophy. We all must come up with answers to the issues here.” Bolelli’s research interests include American Indian history, the history of world religions (with a particular focus on Taoism and Buddhism, and on the interaction between monotheistic and polytheistic religions), U.S. History, ancient Roman history and the global history of martial arts. Bolelli earned his B.A. in anthropology from UCLA, an M.A. in American Indian Studies from UCLA and an M.A. in history from CSULB.