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Other religions.

(27 Posts)
OldLadyKnowsNothing Fri 18-Sep-09 18:43:07

In "In the news", there's a thread taking the piss out of a chap from the Jedi Church. Why is this OK, when we're so often asked to "respect" other peoples' beliefs, regardless of how utterly fantastic we might find them?

Iggi999 Fri 25-Sep-09 21:39:37

Simple answer - because it ISN'T anyone's actual, heartfelt belief to be a Jedi.

purpleduck Fri 25-Sep-09 21:45:31

George Lucas made it up...

If loads of people were following someone else's made up religion, it would be called a cult

Not sure what point i'm making

Iggi999 Fri 25-Sep-09 22:58:43

They might "follow" it, but it's just a fan thing, not a belief thing - I worship at the cult of Buffy, but I know it's not bloomin real! Maybe we should make MN a religion..

OldLadyKnowsNothing Fri 25-Sep-09 23:12:58

But Iggi, how can you know what they feel or believe?

(Thanks for answering btw, it's been languishing a while. grin)

purpleduck, even most Christians accept that the Bible is a collection of myths/stories that someone (or a collection of someones) made up. What's the difference just because we can identify the witers?

OldLadyKnowsNothing Fri 25-Sep-09 23:13:25

writers, doh.

2010Dad Fri 25-Sep-09 23:21:17

Oh my word, is this serious?

The "jedi" faith was imagined up by internet users encouraging people to add it to census forms for a laugh. It has no basis. It's a fictional movie.

One has to respect other peoples religion whether they agree with it or not, but the "jedi religion" has no real basis for belief.

Iggi999 Fri 25-Sep-09 23:24:00

ISWUM, but the origins of the Jedi thing don't suggest that people actually believe in it - wasn't it a thing where people were asked to put Jedi down on the last census, on the basis that if x amount of people put something down as a religion, then it is classified as one. That's just a good joke, not a belief! To anyone sincerely trying to live their life as a Jedi, I bow in shame <bowing in shame>

OldLadyKnowsNothing Fri 25-Sep-09 23:26:44

Ok, it started off as a joke, but who are we to say that some people don't genuinely believe in the Jedi faith?

I'm atheist, but I'm interested in why it's Ok to make fun of one group of self-declared "believers" but not others.

Iggi999 Fri 25-Sep-09 23:39:55

There's nothing to make fun of in Jedi folk, as it is all done with irony already. So how can you offend them? If they thought you thought they took it seriously, that would be more offensive! Maybe oldlady your agenda is that we should feel free to make fun of all beliefs?

OldLadyKnowsNothing Fri 25-Sep-09 23:44:32

No agenda, Iggi, I assure you - I'm genuinely curious why some religions/belief systems are to be respected while this one (and who knows where it'll be in 2000 years?) is to be laughed at.

Is there some sort of official description of what constitutes a religion?

Iggi999 Fri 25-Sep-09 23:53:21

Not really no, you might think it would be "belief in God" as a common requirement, but Buddhism doesn't require that. This is a pretty good description (from random website) "personal or institutionalized system grounded in the belief, worship and reverence for a supernatural power or powers regarded as creator and governor of the universe". For me, that's why Jedism isn't a religion. It is not grounded in reverence for the Force, it was grounded in a group email and the desire for a laugh! May the force be with you OldLady, I'm off to bed!

OldLadyKnowsNothing Sat 26-Sep-09 00:06:16

Lol, I have no interest in Star Wars, haven't even watched most of the films tbh, but appreciate the thought.

However, the Jedi Church (or variations thereof; there have already been schisms! shock) has "branches" all over the world, and is apparently being recognised as a "Federally Incorporated Non-Profit Religious Entity" in Canada.

There is an International Jedi Council. They even have a Doctrine, and tbh it doesn't sound bad:

"History of Our Religion

The force has always existed and always will.

Our faith in the force existed well before the fictional Star Wars movies brought popular recognition to the terminology and concepts that our members always innately held, but had difficultly describing in a shared forum.

When the movement to answer Jedi to the religion question in the NZ census began, it was incredible to see how quickly word spread, and just how many people embraced the new popular name of their shared innate religion. With such immediacy, people from all around the world followed suit, now having an obvious and common name for their deeply held religious and moral convictions. It is the speed and numbers of people involved in the census movement, that show just how powerful the concepts of the Jedi Faith are.

The terminology used by the Jedi Church were introduced by the fictional Star Wars movies, and often references are made to the movies by our members, as a conceptual demonstration of how some might ascribe to the higher levels of a Jedi faith, in a far away land, a long time ago. The fact remains, that these concepts merely reflect a deep held innate morality, that we all have inside us, and now we have some common terminology and place to share our thoughts with each other. This morality existed prior to the movies. The movies do not in any way legitimise nor negate the legitimacy of the Jedi Church. They are merely a discussion point."

AMumInScotland Mon 28-Sep-09 09:51:09

I respect people's beliefs, but I don't have to respect their jokes, games, etc. If someone genuinely believed in a "higher power" and identified that as "the force", then I'd be happy to take them and their beliefs seriously, although I'd probably check with them that they understaood the background of that belief system, and had looked at other longer-established belief systems as well.

But then I'm on record on here as saying I'd politely bow my head to the Flying Spaghetti Monster if that's what someone believed in grin

Snorbs Mon 28-Sep-09 23:18:45

It has to be said that basing ones beliefs on The Force makes more sense (and has better written source materials) than, say, Scientology. And that's including Jar-Jar Binks.

OldLadyKnowsNothing Tue 29-Sep-09 00:53:16

The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints, anyone? Their contribution to their version of the Bible is less than two hundred years old, with a clearly identified author. (Sadly, he "lost" the gold plates. Careless. )

"In September 1823, Joseph Smith was visited by a heavenly messenger named Moroni, in the same way that angels often appeared to Church leaders in the New Testament. Moroni informed Joseph that God had a work for him to do and told him that a record of the ancient inhabitants of the American continent was buried in a nearby hill. He stated that the record contained the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

In September 1827, Joseph received the record, which was written on thin plates of gold. Joseph translated the book into English by the inspiration of God and called the book the Book of Mormon."

BunnyLebowski Tue 29-Sep-09 09:12:26

In my opinion the Jedi Church is no less made up than any other organised religion and is equally as valid as any other church.

I love how people dismiss it as silly and made-up when the doctrine by which they live their own lives is just another fairy tale.

OldLadyKnowsNothing Tue 29-Sep-09 15:14:14

OK, knowing that "religious organisations" in the US can legally do what others cannot (because I'm aware of at least one group that consume peyote as part of their rites, and it's OK) I looked for an American definition of "what constitutes a religion". This is interesting and amongst other definitions includes the following:

"However, the court in Fellowship of Humanity discussed four seemingly reasonable and neutral factors which it said should be examined in determining whether a qualified "religion" is present: "(1) a belief, not necessarily referring to supernatural powers; (2) a cult, involving a gregarious association openly expressing the belief; (3) a system of moral practice directly resulting from an adherence to the belief; and (4) an organization within the cult designed to observe the tenets of belief."

Further down on that link, it also says:

"The essence of any workable criteria that the courts and the IRS must use in determining whether an organization is a religion must be comprised of two elements: (1) a sincerely held belief in a sacred or transcendent reality and (2) an organization whose purpose and practice is to express that belief."

Neither of these constitutes a legal definition of "what is a religion", and further down that link the IRS standards are listed (and ripped apart), but they provide interesting food for thought, and it seems to me that the Jedis qualify.

AMumInScotland Tue 29-Sep-09 15:19:15

But do they really have a "sincerely held belief"? That's the sticking point for me. If people believe something I think is silly, I'll still respect their right to believe it. But do any of them actually believe in the Force? Not just in a "wouldn't it be nice?" way, but in an actual "I believe this to be true" way?

OldLadyKnowsNothing Tue 29-Sep-09 15:24:41

Well, the thing is of course, that none of us can ever know what anyone else believes, truly or not. We accept the word of Christians that they truly believe in God, and the word of Muslims that they truly believe in Allah. We accept the word of Wiccans that they believe in the Great Goddess; why not the word of Jedis, who say they believe in the Force?

AMumInScotland Tue 29-Sep-09 15:36:11

Well, you can believe me... grin and you can believe that lots of people have believed in Christianity enough over the years to go to their deaths rather than recant. I'd assume most other (longstanding)religions/belief systems could say the same.

Maybe in 100 years, people will be picking up the Jedi religion and genuinely believing in it, but I don't think there's any reason to think that they do at the moment.

OldLadyKnowsNothing Tue 29-Sep-09 15:40:56

Hmm, I'd be interested to see how many people calling themselves "Christian" in the UK would be willing to die for that these days? grin

AMumInScotland Tue 29-Sep-09 15:47:13

Ah well, I doubt I'd have the strength to do it myself. Doesn't mean I don't believe... but I reckon I'd be a right coward about it if it actually came to it grin

UnquietDad Tue 29-Sep-09 15:48:28

No, of course being a Jedi isn't like any other "proper" religion.

I mean, they dress up in strange clothes, have weird rituals, carry talismans, base their beliefs on an entertaining but highly fictional story which incorporates many elements of well-known myths, are very defensive about anyone who doesn't take them seriously...


Hang on.

As you were..

BunnyLebowski Tue 29-Sep-09 16:36:31

grin grin

I am a wee bit in love with you UQD.

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