Jediism a New Religious Movement
The article Have Jedi created a new ‘religion’? written by Tom de Castella seems presents Jediism as a joke. The beginning of the article described how this all began as ‘a joke at the expense of statisticians’ during the conduction of census. De Castella described the foundations of what is now known and Jediism, and he compares it to the number of people belonging to the Church of Scientology.
So then what is Jediism? It seems to be made up of different types of religions such as Taoism, Buddhism, Catholicism and Samurai. They do not worship Yoda, and do not practice telekinesis, not the way it is portrayed in the movie franchise. The Force is in their teaching; it might be called different names by different religions or even people. The scientific community call it energy and it is also found in Catholic teaching, in the Bible, when Moses parted the Red Sea. Essentially it is based on the cultivation of each member’s personal relationship with the Force. This force is powerful and it binds all things to the universe.
While the title of the article and the beginning of it, seem very apprehensive of the existence of such religion I am quick to judge and say why not? Why can’t it be considered a new religion? It is important to return to basic definition of a religious movement, ‘a religious community or spiritual group of modern origins’. Jediism is based on the spiritual ideologies of the Jedi as described in Star Wars. I suppose people are apprehensive that a religion could be based on a film series. Nevertheless Jediism parallels what defined a new religious movement. It is derived as the article states of about four pre-existing religions which can therefore be referred to as a cult. According to Olav Hammer and Mikeal Rothstein editors of The Cambridge companion to religious movements a NRM are formed from specific segments of the population, for this case Star Wars fanatic’s who believe in power of the Force.
Aside from all the apprehension this movement has received and continues to do so, it is already referred to as the Church of Jediism, at least in the UK. According to Tom de Castella there are 200,000 people around in the world who are active online. Something very captivating about this new religion is that it allows its members to have more than one religion. The Church of the Jedi has a code, which is made up of five statements, these five statements can be said to mirror the Ten Commandments the Catholic guidelines of life.
While I must admit when I came across this article was too apprehensive of such religion since I myself are not a follower of the movie franchise. As I kept of reading the article and what the Jediism is about I asked myself why it seemed so absurd. There are religious movements that I do not personally agree with and I find revolting so why known what I know about the definition of new religious movements couldn’t this be considered one. After all it seems it has gained the acceptance for it to use terms as the Church and the Jedi doctrine.