Open source religions attempt to employ open source methodologies in the creation of religious belief systems. As such, their systems of beliefs are created through a continuous process of refinement and dialogue among the believers themselves. In comparison to traditional religions - which are considered authoritarian, hierarchical, and change-resistant - they emphasize participation, self-determination, decentralization, and evolution. Followers see themselves as part of a more generalized open source movement, which does not limit itself to software, but applies the same principles to other organized, group efforts to create human artifacts.
Among the first examples of this movement, Yoans (followers of a religion called Yoism, founded 1994) claim that their version of open source religion does not have allegiance to any spiritual guide, rather the sense of authority emerges from the group via consensus.
Another early example, in 2001, Douglas Rushkoff organized the first Reboot summit that took place in 2002. "The object of the game, for me, was to recontextualize Judaism as an entirely Open Source proposition." The publication of Rushkoff's book, Nothing Sacred: The Truth about Judaism, in 2003 spawned the creation of the Open Source Judaism movement. Open Source Judaism, in turn, has spawned other open source projects, such as the Open Source Haggadah.
In spring 2007, Assignment Zero reported that 'for six weeks, 40 brave volunteers from across the U.S. met in a special online forum on "Open Source Religion" to talk about their deepest beliefs' (and the text of the article is itself open-source).
- Template:Cite news — on the beginnings of Religion 2.0 and the "Religion of 'what is'".
- Template:Cite news — on the explosion of open source collaboration notes the existence of "open source projects in law and religion."
- Template:Cite news — on the relationship between human liberation and Internet-based open source innovations, with a specific reference to open source religions
- Template:Cite newsfr:Yoisme
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