In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was “Arrrgh!”
Around the time that One Spirit Interfaith ministers received the right to perform legal weddings in Ireland, a journalist cleverly drew a similarity between the interfaith movement and the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster…proving that she really understood neither.
Dudeism, Jediism, The Flying Spaghetti Monster. For me, they all have a good right to exist. In fact, having a reasonable sense of humour and being easily entertained, I love looking into them all.
These anti-dogma movements all very much say the same thing, which is that we do not need dogmatic religions in order to be good human beings.
Dudeism was founded in 2005 by the dude Oliver Benjamin. It takes the character Jeffrey ‘The Dude’ Lebowski from the 1998 cult classic ‘The Big Lebowski’, and teaches how to live life in a more relaxed way. It actually has influences from Taoism and the philosopher Epicurus, these two combine for a relaxed but happy way of living.
Anyone can be ordained for free and instantly into the church of Latter-Day Dude. In fact, as per their website there are currently over 450,000 people worldwide who have chosen to be ordained. This makes this movement almost as big as Rastafari.
Jediism was founded in 2007 by Daniel Jones. As per their website ‘Jediism is the religion of those who regard their Jedi practice as a religious vocation’. It has gotten quite a bit of press, following a vast amount of people putting ‘Jedi’ down as their religion on their national census. The biggest of this group was in the UK, where after the 2001 census, Jediism was reported as the 4th largest religion, currently it is the 7th largest.
The Temple of the Jedi order has an official doctrine, which includes three tenets, a creed, 16 teachings and 21 Maxims. There is also an extensive membership, which includes different ranks of Jedi. It all starts with a belief in the Force. The fact that the Force resides within you, surrounds you and flows through you.
The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster or Pastafarianism was founded after Bobby Henderson wrote a satirical open letter to the Kansas Board of Education in 2005, questioning the decision to teach creationism as part of a science program, saying that the intelligent design could as well have been created by the Flying Spaghetti Monster. In 2006 Bobby published The Gospel of The Flying Spaghetti Monster, explaining that the religion stands for ‘All that is good’ and is against ‘All that isn’t good’. You can find and read the gospel on archive.org.
Currently the church has official religious status in New Zealand and The Netherlands. You can get ordained into the church for 25 USD.
The above 3 movements are just a few of a growing number of religions that are a contra-movement against traditional religions. Others include Invisible Pink Unicorn and Dinkoism.
I believe the people following these movements are giving a very important message to the world, which is that we are ready to move forward. In these times, you shouldn’t fear for your personal safety if you are not part of the going religion of your country. Many people want more out of life, and want to experience the freedom to express their own religious ideas.
As an interfaith minister, I more than welcome those that are part of these parody religions just as much as those that are part of traditional religions.
Namaste, See ya later on down the trail.