Now it’s pretty damn obvious that as an atheist (currently) I am against any form of religion, for my own resons described elsewhere; and it takes a lot for me to defend anyone’s religious beliefs.
However I just found an article from September in the Guardian regarding the Holyhead Church of Jediism – or more specifically its’ founder:
Now before you read on you might wish to read the article, or at least the comments, as they are central to this post….
…ok… so my question is this: when religion can be defined as it is by the OED:
1 the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods. 2 a particular system of faith and worship. 3 a pursuit or interest followed with devotion.
-Oxford English Dictionary (italics my own)
…how can people find it so easy to be discriminatory and be disrespectful of someone who holds the “Jedi” belief system?
Most of the non-satirical comments on the above article take the attitude that “this isn’t a religion because it is based on a film written by George Lucas and his type writer” – how singularly niaive… and here’s why…
- Jedeo-Christian Religions – based on religious text, poorly documented authorship.
- Islam – based on religious text, somewhat better documented authorship
- Mormonism – based on religious text, well documented authorship.
- Raelians – based on “alien abduction”, well docuented
- Scientology – based on religious text, well documented authorship.
- Buddhism – Based on Buddha and religious text, well documented
- Spiritualism – based on fakery and cold reading, well documented
- Bahai – an islamic offshoot, based on 1844 declaration
- Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster – based on internet satire, well documented
…and that is only a small sampling of the recognised religions from around the world, and yet some (namely Spiritualism, The Raelians and the CoFSM) are based on complete and utter nonsense, although you probably know what I think of the others.
So what’s wrong with Jediism? is it because it is 33 years old? probably not, as that’s a lot older than the church of the FSM – notably recognised even though formed in only 2005. Is it just religious people forgetting that all religious movements have to start somewhere, and all of them start with a story? I think this is probably part of it, alongside the “scary concept” of an Atheistic religion, of which there are few, the largest being Buddhism.
Maybe something that ought to be pointed out that we currently recognise such heinous and anti-human-rights religions as Islam (in some forms) and yet when a peaceful religion such as this comes along, we don’t? If we are going to have religious tolerance then that tolerance should cover all faiths*.
I’ll leave the question open, but here’s my opinion:
I think that Jediism should be recognised as a religion as it is a belief system based on faith in an all pervasive “force” for which there is no evidence (unless someone finds something comparable to midi-chlorians) and whilst in that sense it should be considered a religion, it is also inherantly pro science, which is an added bonus.
At the end of the day, Jediism poses no threat to anyone of any faith due to the so-called Jedi code, and could only be considered threatening by people whose church would lose adherants to it, and the number of adherants that the movement has (according to the 2001 censuses in the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand – a proportion of which certainly were a joke) should in itself be a grounds for acceptance.
Finally it is one of only two (the other being buddhism) that I could ever see me following (due to their more deistic, non-personal god perspectives).
* however where human rights and animal rights are affected (human/animal sacrifice) then I would disagree there.