According to the 2001 census, 0.7 percent of England’s population claims their religion is Jedi, an ode to the force-wielding heroes in the Star Wars movies. Jedi is one of many alternative religions out there, and here are a few more for those who want something different, or just want something else to take their time during school’s recess.
According to the 2001 census, 0.7 percent of England’s population claims their religion is Jedi, an ode to the force-wielding heroes in the Star Wars movies. On the country’s southern coast lies the city of Brighton and Hove. With a population of a quarter-million and the percentage of its inhabitants claiming to be Jedi at 2.6 percent, that puts roughly 6,500 self-proclaimed Jedi in the area. That’s more than Brighton and Hove’s population of Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Sikhs and Wookies put together (despite Jar Jar Bink’s existence). So while many of you will be exchanging gifts and seeing the lights this holiday season, 350,000 people in England will be harnessing the force by heating up pizza balls in the “Caves of Alderon,” otherwise known as their parents’ basement.
Jedi is one of many alternative religions out there, and here are a few more for those who want something different, or just want something else to take their time during school’s recess.
In Kurt Vonnegut’s book Cat’s Cradle, a fictitious religion named Bokononism exists as a parody of religion, but more specifically it satirizes lies people tell themselves to get by. Bokonon, the religion’s prophet, calls these harmless untruths “fomas,” and they are the basis for Bokononism, according to the self-aware prophet. One of my favorite fomas from the book is “peculiar travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God” (then what the hell does that make Dance Dance Revolution?) To believe this is to think there is a higher and poetic purpose for the times you took trek tips from a juggalo. A harmless untruth, such as telling yourself everything will be better once you graduate or with the correct training, you can lift spaceships out of swamps.
Other Bokononism fomas: “All of the true things that I am about to tell you are shameless lies,” and “Beware of the man who works hard to learn something, learns it, and finds himself no wiser than before. He is full of murderous resentment of people who are ignorant without having come by their ignorance the hard way.”
The Church of the Sub-Genius is also a parody of religion, but one existing outside the bounds of literature, and not originating from a popular space-western. For $30, anyone can join the likes of David Byrne (Talking Heads) and Paul Reubens (Pee-Wee Herman) as a minister of this church that started with a series of zines. The religious organization is all about making money, claiming to be “the only religion that is proud to pay its taxes.” One of the main principles of the Church is “slack,” which is someone’s struggle for independence from society. Want to join? Well, according to the Web site you have to be abnormal. I believe the foma of this religion is just that: thinking you are somehow abnormal when you are actually not.
So what other religious-experience options does one have? Well, many of you are involved in them already, you just don’t know it! Just add a Bokonon “foma,” and you got yourself a religion!
The church of MySpace
The place for friends is also a house of God.
Foma: You know when you get those anonymous friend-requests? Those are really just angels from God. Ones who will take their clothes off for money, have 300 accounts and will occasionally give you a virus when you’re just being “curious.” Those kinds of angels.
The ministry of the Tube
You know, the bar where half the people don’t dance with the rest and look like they’re constantly doing a Zoolander impersonation.
Foma: Leather vests with nothing underneath really are cool.
Here in Portland we are nearing the time of year when we all get to hear people talk about the amount of rain we are receiving. With the right attitude, we can all tough through it.
Foma: A rain cloud is really just an upside-down baked potato.