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Star Wars Prequels Sci-Fi United Kingdom

Jedi-ism Becomes a Serious Religion 268

An anonymous reader writes: 390,127 Brits declared their religion as Jediism in their last census — many as a joke, but some are quite serious, the BBC reports. Cambridge University Divinity Faculty researcher Beth Singler estimates at least 2,000 of them are "genuine," around the same number as the Church of Scientology. The U.K. Church of Jediism has 200,000 members worldwide. Their belief system has expanded well beyond the Star Wars universe to include tenets from Taoism, Buddhism, Catholicism and Samurai. Former priest, psychotherapist and writer Mark Vernon finds real power in the Jedi story: "The reason it's so powerful and universal is that we have to find ourselves. It's by losing ourselves and identifying with something greater like the Jedi myth that we find a fuller life."
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Jedi-ism Becomes a Serious Religion

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  • Spiritual Needs (Score:5, Interesting)

    by JonnyCalcutta ( 524825 ) on Sunday October 26, 2014 @05:22AM (#48233145)

    "For Mark Vernon, a former priest, psychotherapist and writer, says the Jedi story has real power. "The reason it's so powerful and universal is that we have to find ourselves. It's by losing ourselves and identifying with something greater like the Jedi myth that we find a fuller life."

    Speak for yourself

    • Re:Spiritual Needs (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 26, 2014 @05:29AM (#48233165)

      It seems to me that people without a strong sense of identity are finding something to give them one.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        It seems to me that part of the attraction of the Jedi story is the juvenile need to identify with a master breed, individuals with semi-magical capabilities beyond those of the general population. It's psychologically understandable in some 14 year old trying to find his personal identity, but sad in an adult.

        • It seems to me that part of the attraction of the Christian story is the juvenile need to identify with a master breed, individual with semi-magical capabilities beyond those of the general population. It's psychologically understandable in some 14 year old trying to find his personal identity, but sad in an adult.

          You can replace Christian with Muslim and it still works too.

      • by flyneye ( 84093 )

        I find the Prophet Lee Ving was on target with his observations;

        Fundamental
        Gun controllers
        Right to lifers
        Holy rollers
        Searching for identity it's clear,
        Everybody needs to believe in something
        I believe I'll have another beer

        Fags in combat
        Bus in schools
        More bullshit
        From liberal fools
        Ain't got a snowballs chance in hell
        For an idea
        Everybody needs to believe in something
        I believe I'll have another beer

        That's way to fast
        The truth cuts to close
        You can't sell that
        On either coast
        Gotta write about romance
        To get rich t

      • It seems to me that people without a strong sense of identity are finding something to give them one.

        Even those with a strong sense of identity sometimes need comfort, or vent a bit, or be thankful etc.

        Personally I pray to the classic Greek pantheon. Of course I know it's not real. But it's as good a way as any. So I thank Hera for the fact that I've got a healthy daughter, and I thank Hephaestus for a good day's work.

        I don't give a shit that it's all imaginary. Thanks to science, I know that thankfulness and praying is proven to make people happier. And unfortunately, with my normal mood naturally below a

      • It seems to me that, whatever the undiscoverable truth is, our spiritual needs have no power over it.
        In other words, God is there but not because you need it, or God isn't there but not because you don't need it.

      • by Livius ( 318358 )

        So, it's as real as any other religion.

    • Re:Spiritual Needs (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Sunday October 26, 2014 @05:35AM (#48233185)

      Religion gives people who need a purpose in their life one. Some people find one without religion, others are happy without one. But then there's those that need one, can't find one themselves and for them, religion may well fill that void. That's fine and ok, as long as they leave me out of it, and that includes leaving the tenets of their imaginary friend out of anything that may affect me, be it education, legislation or noise in the form of people screaming I should go to prayer or bells ringing in my ears.

      In other words, faith is something lovely, just don't make a religion out of it.

      • Re:Spiritual Needs (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 26, 2014 @06:07AM (#48233277)

        ... faith is something lovely ...

        Faith, in the religious sense, is the belief in something without evidence, and the preservation of that belief in the face of contradictory evidence. Some very smart people have faith in a religion and are completely aware that their beliefs have no evidence to back them up, but still believe and act as though they're true. Whether they're right or wrong about the religion is irrelevant, the fact that they're willing to believe it without evidence is problematic – not lovely.

        You'll find it quite difficult to find a religious person who doesn't allow their religion to influence the way they act when they have a choice in something to do with education or legislation. There might be a few smart ones around here, but the overwhelming majority will take the words of their religious leaders very seriously and attempt to promote those. It's not fine to allow those people to promote those views without backing them up like the rest of us must.

        Faith without evidence is toxic, faith with evidence isn't faith.

        • Re:Spiritual Needs (Score:4, Insightful)

          by ThePhilips ( 752041 ) on Sunday October 26, 2014 @07:10AM (#48233431) Homepage Journal

          Faith without evidence is toxic, faith with evidence isn't faith.

          That makes sense only with this prepended:

          Faith, in the religious sense,

          But I feel you put those two far too apart.

          Faith is something all people have naturally. People just have it.

          Religion is simply a parasite which attaches to it. And that can make the faith toxic.

          • [rant on] It really gets tiresome reading the same drivel over and over and seeing it marked as "insightful" when it is simply repeating statements that are provably false. It's like watching the KKK guys all pat each other on the back for using a racial slur, it's old and pathetic. [rant off]

            Consider Pascal's wager. Even if there is no God, what is the harm in society practicing Christian beliefs? Thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not covet they neighbors wife or property.

            7 out of 1

            • Consider Pascal's wager. Even if there is no God, what is the harm in society practicing Christian beliefs?

              What if the is a god, but not a Christian God?

              Pascal's Wager only works if there isn't a god. If there is a god, but you pick the wrong religion, you're just as boned as if you simply don't believe. If multiple religions claim to be True, and none can offer real evidence, logically you should believe in none of them.

              Hell, even if it is the God of the Christian bible, but the stuff that Christian ignore in the OT really are important (Suffer not a witch to live, shellfish is an abomination, if a farmer mixes

        • by brunes69 ( 86786 )

          Faith without evidence is not always toxic. It depends on what that faith is in. Point to me a devout Buddhist who is somehow toxic. or one who has ever existed.

          The problem with religion has nothing at all to do with faith - for the most part it has to do with monotheism and the dogma around it, most notably the Abrahamic religions. All of the violence and wars throughout history caused by religion have a direct connection to monotheism because these religions invariably have as part of their dogma that the

          • Faith without evidence is not always toxic. It depends on what that faith is in. Point to me a devout Buddhist who is somehow toxic. or one who has ever existed.

            http://time.com/3090990/how-an... [time.com]

            • But, but, but, they weren't true Buddhists - true Buddhists wouldn't do something like that!

              Because nothing wins an argument like the No True Scotsman fallacy.

          • The problem with religion has nothing at all to do with faith - for the most part it has to do with monotheism and the dogma around it, most notably the Abrahamic religions. All of the violence and wars throughout history caused by religion have a direct connection to monotheism because these religions invariably have as part of their dogma that there is only one true religion and it is ours.

            This shows an abysmal ignorance of religions in history. There is no religion that has been immune from the human a

          • by guises ( 2423402 )

            Point to me a devout Buddhist who is somehow toxic. or one who has ever existed.

            How about this? [wikipedia.org] Literally toxic.

        • I take it you are never going to be married. Faith is trusting someone else's decisions no matter the situation and being okay with the end result.

          When you marry you express faith and trust in your spouse. You may or may not have the evidence to prove your faith.

        • Faith, in the religious sense, is the belief in something without evidence, and the preservation of that belief in the face of contradictory evidence.

          I thought that the former was called "faith" whereas the latter was called "delusion"? Faith despite contradictory evidence isn't faith anymore.

          • I always found it funny that we learned about Roman and Greek gods / divine beings as mythological but our god, oh, he's definitely real!

      • Drugs gives people who need a purpose in their life one. Some people find one without drugs, others are happy without one. But then there's those that need one, can't find one themselves and for them, drugs may well fill that void. That's fine and ok, as long as they leave me out of it, and that includes leaving the tenets of their imaginary friend out of anything that may affect me, be it education, legislation or noise in the form of people screaming I should go to prayer or bells ringing in my ears.

        In other words, drugs is something lovely, just don't make a drug out of it.

        Sex gives people who need a purpose in their life one. Some people find one without sex, others are happy without one. But then there's those that need one, can't find one themselves and for them, sex may well fill that void. That's fine and ok, as long as they leave me out of it, and that includes leaving the tenets of their imaginary friend out of anything that may affect me, be it education, legislation or noise in the form of people screaming I should go to prayer or bells ringing in my ears.

        In other words, sex is something lovely, just don't make sex out of it.

        A good job gives people who need a purpose in their life one. Some people find one without a good job, others are happy without one. But then there's those that need one, can't find one themselves and for them, a good job may well fill that void. That's fine and ok, as long as they leave me out of it, and that includes leaving the tenets of their imaginary friend out of anything that may affect me, be it education, legislation or noise in the form of people screaming I should go to prayer or bells ringing in my ears.

        In other words, a good job is something lovely, just don't make a good job out of it.

        Marriage gives people who need a purpose in their life one. Some people find one without marriage, others are happy without one. But then there's those that need one, can't find one themselves and for them, marriage may well fill that void. That's fine and ok, as long as they leave me out of it, and that includes leaving the tenets of their imaginary friend out of anything that may affect me, be it education, legislation or noise in the form of people screaming I should go to prayer or bells ringing in my ears.

        In other words, a spouse is something lovely, just don't make a marriage out of it.

        A cat gives people who need a purpose in their life one. Some people find one without a cat, others are happy without one. But then there's those that need one, can't find one themselves and for them, a cat may well fill that void. That's fine and ok, as long as they leave me out of it, and that includes leaving the tenets of their imaginary friend out of anything that may affect me, be it education, legislation or noise in the form of people screaming I should go to prayer or bells ringing in my ears.

        In other words, a cat is something lovely, just don't make a pet out of it.

        Posting vacuous comments on Slashdot gives people who need a purpose in their life one. Some people find one without posting vacuous comments on Slashdot , others are happy without one. But then there's those that need one, can't find one themselves and for them, posting vacuous comments on Slashdot may well fill that void. That's fine and ok, as long as they leave me out of it, and that includes leaving the tenets of their imaginary friend out of anything that may affect me, be it education, legislation or noise in the form of people screaming I should go to prayer or bells ringing in my ears.

        In other words, stupidity is something lovely, just don't make vacuous comments on out of it.

        FTFY

    • by khasim ( 1285 ) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Sunday October 26, 2014 @05:39AM (#48233203)

      Good luck with your Midichlorian count.

      Or is he Orthodox Jedi? I think they reject the prequels as heresy.

      Or is that Reformed Jedi?

    • But, just to balance the discussion, whenever Christians and Muslims and other people like that point out "but where do you find spiritual experience and meaning of life?", it's nice to point out that there's a new detox available for Abrahamic addicts.

      And I guess it could also serve as a good tool for reductio ad absurdum argumentation against established religions.

    • The Jedi were, in the end, a bunch of idiots who were so blind that they (1) didn't notice they were spending billions of credits a year building a clone army, (2) didn't realize, even after some kid mentioned it to yoda, that all their systems were compromised, and (3) were so bad at tactics that they dropped 100% of their forces into - some dumb arena to fight someone.

      Their last practitioner, Obi-Wan, left his best friend to die after cutting off both of his arms and his legs, and spent the rest of his l

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 26, 2014 @05:27AM (#48233153)

    As if there were one :P

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 26, 2014 @05:31AM (#48233171)

      Oh no, many of them are serious. That's the real problem.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Millions of people have been murdered in the name of religions.
      Millions of people have been brain washed in the name of religions.
      Millions of people have had their freedom to think what they want, feel what they want, or express what they want in the name of religions.
      Most modern governments enforce law that is heavily based on religious roots within their history.

      You may not think it's serious, but the entire world around you has been shaped by these religions, as sad and terrifying as it is.

  • by Selur ( 2745445 ) on Sunday October 26, 2014 @05:35AM (#48233183)

    390,127 Brits declared their religion as Jediism
      vs.
    at least 2,000 of them are "genuine,"

    doesn't the difference seem a bit high ?

    If they assume that roughly 0.5% of the answers are genuine, I wonder what they think about other statements from that census.
    If you have to assume that less than a percent of the answers are genuine the whole thing doesn't really seem to be worth the effort.
    (or the goal of the census was quite a different one than one would suspect)

    • You can probably find 2000 people that declare Kermit the Frog to be their personal savior. It's a statistical blip that essentially rounds down to zero. However, Star Wars is incredibly popular. So, no, that seems about the right proportional difference between fans playing a joke on the census takers and the genuine oddballs.

      • You can probably find 2000 people that declare Kermit the Frog to be their personal savior.

        As it happens, Miss Piggy and Yoda are both the puppets of Frank Oz.

    • 390,127 Brits declared their religion as Jediism
        vs.
      at least 2,000 of them are "genuine,"

      How many declared their religion to be "Sith"? The NSA should be monitoring those people.

      • How many declared their religion to be "Sith"?

        I thought it was always 2?

    • people get pissed off with certain questions where they (rightly in my opinion) believe it is none of the governments business what I do or don't believe in and hence such questions insight a much higher rate of bullshit answers, When I am forced to do the census I also lie my arse off on questions I think they have no right to know the answer too.

  • I wonder if when you rank high enough in the church, you can jump start your car using "the force".
  • Stop it. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Neither is Scientology a church nor are they are a religion or serious. They are a serious criminal company having bullied IRS to conduct their enslaving scam tax free.

  • by kruach aum ( 1934852 ) on Sunday October 26, 2014 @05:46AM (#48233217)

    not a belief system. Some followed "the way of the samurai" (really neo-confuscianism), and others were (zen) buddhist or shinto adherents, often at the same time.

  • by PolygamousRanchKid ( 1290638 ) on Sunday October 26, 2014 @06:01AM (#48233263)
    1. Declare your abode to be a Royal Temple of the Seriously Slashdotted
    2. Slip through the same tax loopholes that other religions do
    3. Profit!
    • by Savage-Rabbit ( 308260 ) on Sunday October 26, 2014 @06:59AM (#48233397)

      1. Declare your abode to be a Royal Temple of the Seriously Slashdotted
      2. Slip through the same tax loopholes that other religions do
      3. Profit!

      Nah, Slashdot is not a religion. But you could for example choose one of the many religions organizations represented on Slashdot like: the Sacred Temple of the Apple, the Revered and Holy Shrine of the Android, the Evangelical Church of Emacs, the First Reformed Church of Vim, the Orthodox Church of WIndows or the Open Source Church of the Blessed Saint Linux on the Desktop ... the list goes on ... those are already established religions. Slashdot is more like the plains of Armageddon where the adherents of these faiths fight their wars of religion.

  • Putting aside the quality, is there really sufficient quantity of material in the six films to produce any more than the sketchiest overview?

    You might as well watch the Avengers cartoons and invent a religion called "Ironmanism".

    It's the kind of shit you do in an evening at the pub or for a GCSE media studies essay when you just can't be arsed.

    • I hope you understand that there is a lot more than six films out there involving star wars. Quite a bit more actually.

      A lot of it is fan fiction but a lot is sanctioned too.

      That being said, i am not sure it invalidates your premiss.

  • by rossdee ( 243626 ) on Sunday October 26, 2014 @06:31AM (#48233337)

    Have they demonstrated the power of the force at all? or are they just genuine nutters?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Have they demonstrated the power of the force at all? or are they just genuine nutters?

      Couldn't you ask the same question of all other religions since the dawn of time, and reach the same conclusion?

  • by brunes69 ( 86786 ) <slashdot AT keirstead DOT org> on Sunday October 26, 2014 @07:06AM (#48233417) Homepage

    The proper name is "Jedi". It is both the name of one who practices the religion as well as the religion itself.

    "I studied Jedi at a Jedi Institute, to work towards becoming a Jedi"

    • by Livius ( 318358 )

      The difference is that that "Jedi" was entirely fictional.

      Oh, wait,....

    • Obviously they can't call it Jediism. That'd be a clear case of trademark infringement.

      They'd be hit with a cease and desist notice quicker than you could say "Oy vey already!"

  • Zen masters observe that too many people squander much of their lives in pursuit of the meaning of life when life has no meaning, it just is and it just exists and one should simply accept that. Furthermore, Zen masters observe that life is impermanent and the more we embrace and understand it's impermanence, the freer we are from anxiety. Thus, Zen is more philosophy than religion. Religions tend to play up on the very human need for constants in life and provide reasons for the inexplicable.
  • by dltaylor ( 7510 ) on Sunday October 26, 2014 @07:16AM (#48233447)

    Are the jedists a large enough group to start killing each other over the "Old Testament" (episodes 4, 5, 6) vs. "New Testament" (episodes 1, 2, 3, with the midichlorians)?

  • Here is an example of one of the solemn rites of Jedi-ism as performed by one of their high priests.

    http://youtu.be/HPPj6viIBmU [youtu.be]

  • As long as they're willing to prove they really know about the Jedi identity.

    By telling us what they did to piss off the Sith.

  • As Umberto Eco wrote [telegraph.co.uk]:

    "G K Chesterton is often credited with observing: "When a man ceases to believe in God, he doesn't believe in nothing. He believes in anything." Whoever said it - he was right. We are supposed to live in a sceptical age. In fact, we live in an age of outrageous credulity.

    "The "death of God", or at least the dying of the Christian God, has been accompanied by the birth of a plethora of new idols. They have multiplied like bacteria on the corpse of the Christian Church ..."

  • Their belief system has expanded well beyond the Star Wars universe to include tenets from Taoism, Buddhism, Catholicism and Samurai

    That many Gods and philosophies? They are Hindus now. Hindus who believe Shiva is the only God and all other gods are Shiva's manifestations would happily coexist and accept the Vishnu worshipers who do

    sed -e 's/Shiva/Vishnu/g' shiva_theology > vishnu_theology They can accept all of the above and jediism without any problems.

  • What do those Jedis have that Kopmists [kopimistsamfundet.se] do not? We'd like to copy it.
  • Jediism, Judaism.... how many people just checked the wrong box?

  • ... the tax loopholes you're looking for [slashdot.org]

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