When Pop Culture Does Religion: 5 Strange Examples

Published August 15, 2016
Updated August 12, 2016
Published August 15, 2016
Updated August 12, 2016


Big Lebowski

Joe Polletta/Flickr

Many credit Jeffery Lebowski, a.k.a. The Dude from the film The Big Lebowski, for inspiring the philosophies of Dudeism. While the name might imply that this is a gender-exclusive religion, the site says that the term “dude” refers to both genders – because most linguists contend that “Dudette is not in keeping with the parlance of our times.”

Self-described as “the slowest-growing religion in the world,” Dudeism’s operational credo is simple: “Life is short and complicated and nobody knows what to do about it. So don’t do anything about it. Just take it easy, man.”

Dudeism is a fairly recent creation, though the group says it has existed in different forms throughout time, pointing to Chinese Taoism as its earliest form “before it went all weird with magic tricks and body fluids.”

The religion has identified several “Great Dudes in History,” including Lao Tzu, Snoopy, Joni Mitchell, Jesus Christ, Jennifer Lawrence, Jerry Garcia, Buddha, and Jeff Spicoli.

According to its site, Dudeism has 350,000 ordained Dudeist Priests worldwide. In most states (as well as many countries around the world), Priests of Dudeism can preside over weddings, funerals, and oversee other religious ceremonies.


Yoda Loves Me

John Manoogian III/Wikimedia Commons

The Star Wars universe has been wildly popular since the franchise’s 1977 debut. Believers in the “Temple of the Jedi Order, First church of Jediism” follow the philosophies of the Jedi per George Lucas’ creation, but include this caveat: “Jedi at this site are not the same as those portrayed within the Star Wars franchise. Star Wars Jedi are fictional characters that exist within a literary and cinematic universe.”

According to the Temple of the Jedi Order, Jediism disciples believe:

1. In the Force, and in the inherent worth of all life within it.

2. In the sanctity of the human person. We oppose the use of torture and cruel or unusual punishment, including the death penalty.

3. In a society governed by laws grounded in reason and compassion, not in fear or prejudice.

4. In a society that does not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or circumstances of birth such as gender, ethnicity and national origin.

5. In the ethic of reciprocity, and how moral concepts are not absolute but vary by culture, religion, and over time.

6. In the separation of religion and government and the freedoms of speech, association, and expression.”

Erin Kelly
Erin Kelly is a freelance writer, artist, and video editor that splits her time between the humid Midwest and the dusty corners of her mind.