Parody religion

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A recent parody religion, Pastafarianism was created in 2005 to protest a decision by the Kansas State Board of Education to allow intelligent design to be taught in science classes alongside evolution.

A parody religion or mock religion is either a parody of a religion, sect or cult, or a relatively unserious religion that many people may take as being too esoteric to be classified as a "real" religion. One parody religion can be a parody of several religions, sects, gurus and cults at the same time.

In some parody religions the emphasis is on making fun and being a convenient excuse for pleasant social interaction among like-minded, e.g. the Church of the SubGenius.

Other parody religions target a specific religion, sect, cult, or new religious movement. With some parody religions only ex-members of the specific group being parodied may understand it or be interested in it.

Other parody religions are aimed at highlighting deficiencies in particular pro-religious arguments — the thinking being that if a given argument can also be used to support a clear parody, then the original argument is clearly flawed (an example of this is the Flying Spaghetti Monster, which parodies the equal time argument employed by Intelligent design Creationism[1]).

In 2001 following an Internet campaign, the fictional Star Wars "religion" Jedi became a parody religion in several Commonwealth countries as 1.5% of the New Zealand and 0.7% of the UK population stated their religion as Jedi in the official census[2] (see Jedi census).

Several religions that are classified as parody religions have a number of relatively serious followers who embrace the perceived absurdity of these religions as spiritually significant, a decidedly post-modern approach to religion. The most notable of these religions may be Discordianism. With Discordianism, it may be hard to tell if even these "serious" followers are not just taking part in an even bigger joke. This joke, in turn, may be part of a greater path to enlightenment, and so on ad infinitum.


[edit] Notable parody religions

[edit] Parodies of particular beliefs

The following were created as parodies of particular religious beliefs:

[edit] Post-modern or otherwise odd religions

The following are post-modern religions that may be seen as elaborate parodies of 'real' religions:

  • Haruhiism, connected to the The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya Manga/Anime series
  • Bokononism, a fictional religion from Kurt Vonnegut's novel Cat's Cradle, where one major point is that human happiness is more important than truth, even scientific truth. Another is that Bokononism freely acknowledges that all its tenets are false.
  • Church of Emacs
  • Church of the SubGenius, often regarded as a parody of religion in general, with elements of fundamentalist Christianity, Scientology, new-age cults, pop-psychology, and motivational sales techniques amongst others, has become a notable movement in its own right, inspiring several books, art exhibits, rock albums, conventions, and novelty items.
  • Discordianism, although many Discordians specifically view the label of 'parody' as dismissive, arguing that the inlaid humor and silliness are just as profound and legitimate as that of any other of spiritual pursuit. See also Rinzai.
  • Jedi Religion see Jedi census phenomenon.
  • Iglesia Maradoniana ("Church of Maradona"), an Argentinian group of fans of the top association football player Diego Armando Maradona.
  • Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth
  • Church of Spherical Horse In Void Space, Russian fictional cult based on inversed science (mainly physics) ideas
  • The Reformed Church of Athena worships Athena as the goddess of coffee, beer, and rock & roll.
  • Benjamin Linus Church - About Lost Tv series' character Benjamin Linus.

[edit] Notable usage by atheist commentators

I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.

—Stephen F. Roberts[4]

Many atheists, most notably Richard Dawkins, use parody religions such as those of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and the Invisible Pink Unicorn — as well as ancient gods like Zeus and Thor — as modern versions of Russell's teapot to argue that the burden of proof is on the believer, not the atheist.[5]

Dawkins also created a parody of the criticism of atheism, coining the term athorism, or the firm belief that the Norse deity Thor does not exist. The intention is to emphasize the claim that atheism is not a form of religious creed, but instead merely denial of beliefs.[6] A common challenge against atheism is the fact that atheism is itself a form of "faith", a belief without proof. The theist might say "No one can prove that God doesn't exist, therefore an atheist is exercising faith by asserting that there is no God." Dawkins argues that by replacing the word "God" with "Thor" one should see that the assertion is fallacious. The burden of proof, he claims, rests upon the believer in the supernatural, not upon the non-believer who considers such things unlikely. Athorism is an attempt to illustrate through absurdity that there is no logical difference between disbelieving any particular religion.

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. ^ USA Today - Spaghetti Monster is noodling around with faith
  2. ^ UK govt statistics on Jedi
  3. ^ Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster
  4. ^ Dianna Narciso. Like Rolling Uphill: Realizing the Honesty of Atheism. pp. 6. ISBN 1932560742. 
  5. ^ Dawkins, Richard (2006). "Chapter 2: The God Hypothesis". The God Delusion. London: Bantam. ISBN 9780593055489. 
  6. ^ Richard, Dawkins. "Let's Hope It's A Lasting Vogue". On Faith (Newsweek). Retrieved on 2007-04-12. 

[edit] External links

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