If you had to describe Star Wars would you call it a media or a cultural phenomenon?
I’d call it a religion.
It transcends language and borders and there are legions of fans. There’s in fact a religion — it’s called The Church of Jediism — based on, you guessed it, the Jedi.
It’s called Jediism. I snapped a shot of the Church of the Jediism’s site, above.
Of course there are religious-like followings for Star Trek, The Dude and Seinfeld, too.
Media-inspired religions are quite the thing lately Take Dudesim. It’s Taoism without the trappings of metaphysical and medical doctrines.
Dudeism is a religion whose primary objective is to promote a philosophy and lifestyle consistent with the original form of Chinese Taoism, outlined in Tao and Lao Zi (6 B.C.E.), blended with concepts by the Ancient Greek philospher Epicurus (341-270 B.C.). It epitimizes “The Dude” (Jeff Bridges) character in the Coen Brothers’ 1998 film The Big Lebowski.
If you want to read the full text, it’s here.
Festivus, while not quite a religion, is a holiday celebrated on December 23 without the commercialism of the holiday season. Festivus, once featured in a Seinfeld episode, was created by Seinfeld screenwriter Lawrence O’Keefe’s son, Daniel.
“For the Trek, it’s more a matter of which religious philosophy you want – Klingon, Vulcan, UFP, plus a whole host of single-episode religious questions,” says Tom Ewing, a renowned patent attorney with a fascination for all things cultish.
The ebook Religions of Star Trek includes this description:
[The authors] illustrate the gradual development of religious perspective from the strongly humanistic atmosphere of the original series … reflecting the convictions of creator Gene Roddenberry … to the ambiguous affirmation of spirituality in Voyager and Deep Space Nine. But the authors’ first love is clearly Star Trek: The Next Generation, as they cite 35 episodes more than the other three series combined and pay special attention to characters such as Picard, Data, Guinan, Wesley and the enigmatic Q. Material is divided into thematic chapters on God, evil, religious figures, myth and ritual, death and afterlife, and salvation the latter often promoted through scientific rather than religious means.”
“Accepting a religion based on a fictional work is possibly a tacit acknowledgement of the foundational problems for many religions to a modern mind. I wonder how devout the most devout followers are,” Ewing says. “I also wonder how far a serious presidential contender could go once he or she admitted to being a Dudist.”