The Human Truth Foundation

The Jedi Knight Religion, Inspired by Star Wars (Jediism)

By Vexen Crabtree 2015

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#atheism #jedi_knights #monotheism #new_zealand #pantheism #parody_religions #pastafarianism #polytheism #religions #taoism #UK

Jedi Knights
Links: Pages on Jedi Knights, Other Religions
God(s)Atheist / Monotheist / Polytheist / Animist
AdherentJedi Knight
AdherentsJedi Knights
TextsNone
AfterlifeSelect few
Founding
HeritageScience fiction
Area of OriginUK
FounderCampaign for UK Census 2001
Numbers in the UK (Census results)
2001390 1272011176 632

Over the last few decades around the world, some fans of the Star Wars films have started describing themselves as "Jedi Knight" when asked what religion they are. In New Zealand, around 20,000-30,000 people have done so every census since 19911. The UK Census of 2001 saw 390 127 people put down "Jedi Knight" as their religion - that's 0.7% of the population2. This resulted from an internet campaign that preceded the Census3. An urban myth had developed that this many votes would make Jedi an "official religion", however this is not true, as the UK is a secular country and there is no such thing as a government-wide list of "official religions"4. The UK's Office for National Statistics concluded that this was a parody (a joke) and included those who wrote Jedi Knight in the "no religion" category5. The campaign was not maintained, and in 2011, less than half of the total number put down "Jedi Knight" as their religion - 176 632 people. The basis of the Jedi Religion in fiction does not mean that it should be dismissed - it is quite possible that the underlying principles of an all-pervading force is true (similar teachings are found in Taoism, for example). Also it is apparent that given the huge number of contradictory religions, most are also based on fictions. The unknown factor is to what extend adherents are engaging in parody, and to what extend the Jedi Religion will become established as a serious philosophy.

Parody religions are created to intentionally poke fun at religion in order to highlight the occurance of poor arguments, bad reasoning, fantasy and wishful-thinking in religious thought6. The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (Pastafarianism), the Church of the Subgenius, Discordianism and the Jedi Knight religion are examples. By some definitions, parody religions count as philosophies and not religions7, but there is no strong argument why this should be the case. Parody religions make serious points and their followers have serious beliefs and are making serious arguments - indirectly.

"Parody Religions" by Vexen Crabtree (2017)

Current edition: 2015 May 04
Last Modified: 2017 Jan 04
http://www.humanreligions.info/jedi_knights.html
Parent page: A List of All Religions and Belief Systems

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References: (What's this?)

Dawkins, Prof. Richard
(2006) The God Delusion. Hardback book. Published by Bantam Press, Transworld Publishers, Uxbridge Road, London, UK.

James, William. (1842-1910)
(1902) The Varieties of Religious Experience. Paperback book. Subtitled: "A Study in Human Nature". 5th (1971 fifth edition) edition. Originally published 1960. From the Gifford Lectures delivered at Edinburgh 1901-1902. Quotes also obtained from Amazon digital Kindle 2015 Xist Publishing edition. Book Review.

Footnotes

  1. The Jedi Church on www.jedichurch.org (accessed 2015 May 04).^
  2. Office for National Statistics commentary on the 2001 Census; 390,000 Jedis There Are. "The 'Jedi' response was most popular in Brighton and Hove, with 2.6 per cent of Census respondents quoting it, followed by Oxford (2.0 per cent), Wandsworth (1.9), Cambridge (1.9), Southampton (1.8) and Lambeth (1.8)".^
  3. Office for National Statistics commentary on the 2001 Census; Ethnicity and religion (PDF includes tables).^
  4. The misunderstanding stemmed from the fact that if enough people entered the same religion, then the Office for National Statistics creates a lettered code to represent that religion in Census data.^
  5. Office for National Statistics commentary on the 2001 Census; summary of religion in Britain (2003 Feb 13).^
  6. Dawkins (2006) chapter 2 "The God Hypothesis" .^
  7. James (1902) digital location 529.^
  8. Historically, this was the first popular pronouncement, in the first Star Wars film (1977) that was released. Once the prequel trilogy was released and the films were renumbered, this now occurs in Episode 4.^
  9. The Mirror newspaper, online article "Star Wars Day LIVE: May the Fourth be with you as fans celebrate Hollywood's biggest franchise" (2015 May 04).^

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