This is a fairly simple job. The time involved will essentially depend upon the level of detail you want to put in. Rest of it is quite straightforward. Here I am going to present to you a template upon which you can build your own Religious Scriptures- and authentic ones at that. The primary idea is to generate a religion which can be believed to be authentic. You can create your scriptures based on the template below and compare it with all the other established scriptures and feel smug about how similar yours is.
So here is the template:
1. Date your scriptures sometime in the BC years: This is the first step in the process. Your religious scriptures has to necessarily be old. Older the better. It gives a higher sense of authenticity and validity to the whole thing. Think of it. Look at all the new religions like Scientology and other cults. (It really is a big list!). People do not consider them to be mainstream and treat them as something that is not authentic. The primary reason for this is that their scriptures are not old enough. So date yours to something atleast 1000 years old – so that noone can verify- and you will be safe.
2. God ALWAYS speaks to a few select people: This is the next important part. Your God speaks and sends out his message to the masses through a single person or a select few. The rest of the scriptures will be WHAT your God said to those select people. Your God can never make an appearance to the masses. There are only a few select people in your storyline who can bear witness to God because they had tremendous faith in him. This is important because you can later always claim that your religion followers are not feeling or seeing God because they do not exhibit the faith and belief that those few people in the scriptures did. So this will make them feel more guilty and will compel them to be more religious. WIN!!
3. Creationism Rocks: Screw Evolution! Screw the Big Bang Theory! All Darwinists, Evolutionary scientists and Big Bang Theory propagators need to take a hike! Creationism is THE SHIT! Your God should proclaim that he himself created the entire universe in some number of milliseconds and that he created man at some other time. (Dont bother about the fact that the whole concept of measuring time , let alone the term ‘milliseconds’, was evolved a long time AFTER human civilization had started. Believers will believe whatever you write- just because you are including the statement that God himself said all these things.) You can also improvise and add stuff like “God created the universe just by blinking”- all these things only add to the awesomeness and invincibility of your God.
4. Rules about certain activities: This is a very critical part of your religious scripture. These are the things that people will look at in times of moral crisis and try to derive comfort from. The more you keep these rules open ended and ambiguous, the more your religion is bound to become popular. People will read the scriptures and go through the process of Subjective Validation to feel good about themselves. As a minimum, you will have to include rules about food, ritualistic activities, sex, peace etc. But more importantly, you should include that people who follow these rules properly will go to heaven and those who do not follow them will burn in hell. (Give detailed descriptions about each of the consequences).
5. Create and solve the mystery of Birth and Death: These are your sureshot attempts at gaining authenticity. Hype the ideas of birth, death and rebirth. Create the mysteries about these things and give some explanation for them which necessarily include your previous lives and/or original home etc. Every religious guy fears that after their death, they might end up suffering for their sins. This is something that has to be exploited by saying that it can be prevented if you follow the above mentioned rules.
6. Miracles and Mythology: Your God is just too damn powerful and invincible. So make him do stuff that is totally impossible for us regular mortals. It can be anything- lift a mountain, bring back the dead, bring rain, create fire etc. The more impossible it appears, the more authenticity you bring to your God. Also, your scriptures must include some mythological stories about people – some who believe and are the good guys and the others who dont believe and are the bad guys- fighting each other and getting the good guys to eventually triumph over the evil ones. The level of detail is up to you but these stories will surely help to put more belief in the followers and at the same time make the scriptures look more authentic simply because the followers will believe that those events actually took place.
7. Denounce Sex: Sex is a big Boo-Boo for all parties involved. The more you restrict sex, the more people will feel that your religion is mainstream and will not brand you as a cult. Pre-marital sex has to necessarily be banned. Even post marriage sex should be looked upon as something that should take place only for getting a child. So if a follower is impotent or cannot have a baby, too bad they will die a virgin! The more you curb sexual activity, the more the men are going to get frustrated and the more they will get passionate about their religion and the more they will spread it! WIN!
8. Women are Inferior: This also serves the same purpose in that it is going to give your religion a more mainstream feel. Restrict the activities and rights of women and you will see people feeling more at home with your religion. Keep the rules for women open ended and ambiguous so that you dont lose out on women followers.
9. Include a Lineage: This is the ultimate authenticity generator. If you can somehow show a lineage stretching all the way back to your God telling that one dude the scriptures, then your religion is fully validated and authentic. You can even include some historical figures in that lineage which will make people believe it even more. The best part about this is that you can show that all the people in the lineage did exist by mentioning their names in the scriptures themselves. The ultimate self referential validation technique!
So there you have it! The perfect template to generate the perfect religious scriptures! So what are you waiting for? Go ahead and start your own “Authentic” Religion!!!