How much influence does popular culture have on everyday life? Is a religion based on a film or TV show a legitimate religion? As thousands of fans line up outside of theaters days before the release of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” a religion based on the fictional (sorry to disappoint you) warriors of the film series boasts that its membership is increasing by a thousand people per day. Yes, per DAY! Meanwhile, a new stealth ship launched by the US Navy is under the command of Captain James Kirk. Coincidence or a sign it’s time to start a competing religion?
According to Patrick Day-Childs, one of the Church of Jediism’s five-member UK ruling council, the upcoming film has helped increase its membership to over 250,000 followers of “a set of philosophies based on focusing, learning and becoming one with the Force.”
Founder Daniel Jones – call him Morda Hehol at Jedi services – says the new members will follow Jedi principles such as “There is no emotion; there is peace” and “There is no ignorance; there is knowledge.” Oh, and gays are welcome – no wonder membership is up. Membership in the Church of Jediism does not give one a preferred spot in line or front row seats for the movie. It will be interesting to see what happens to the membership if Han Solo meets his demise (no, that’s not a spoiler, just a hunch).
While some anthropologists have likened Trekkies and devote Star Trek convention attendees to either a cult or a religion, there isn’t a well-defined organization like the Jedi church. However, that may change when Trekkies find out that a real-life James Kirk exists and is the new captain of the USS Zumwalt, the US Navy’s largest-ever destroyer that looks like a small fishing boat on radar due to its sophisticated stealth capabilities.
Captain Kirk sailed the Zumwalt out of the Bath Iron Works on December 7, 2015, (Pearl Harbor Day – another sign?) after the crew received a written blessing (a blessing!) from William Shatner (OK, you know who he is ).
Are modern-day Jedi and Trekkies practicing a religion? Maybe it’s time more of you got in line