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Star Wars Icons

Star Wars Icons

By Kate Daley-Bailey……I recently found a few remarkable images of memorable Star Wars scenes crafted by Thai artist Chawakarn Khongprasert entitled Star Wars in Medieval Manuscript. These images stood out to me not because of the quality of the art itself, albeit the images are exceptional, nor even due to the ironic blending of pop culture subjects with traditional Christian artistic forms which I so often enjoy. These particular images reminded me of not just any presentations of Medieval Christian art but rather of a very specific style of Medieval Christian art form, Eastern Christian iconography.

The Religious Theft of Sacred Culture?

The Religious Theft of Sacred Culture?

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By Kenny Smith…..
In the case of both Jediism and Dudeism, entirely new religious traditions have been created wholesale from the cloth of popular culture. In other cases, key elements are borrowed from popular culture and grafted onto pre-existing religious traditions, resulting in equally innovative and to some degree “new” versions of these traditions, which their critics typically regard as humorous or horrifying.

True Story: How I Became a Jedi Council Master

True Story: How I Became a Jedi Council Master

By Mark Chalifoux, Man Cave Daily…
This Friday (May 4) is the official day for Star Wars fans to celebrate the franchise in all of its glory. The reasoning, much like everything associated with Star Wars in the past 15 years, is fairly contrived. It’s likely because of a translation error of a George Lucas interview on a German TV station (“May the Force be with you” was translated into “May 4 be with you”). Regardless, it gives nerds a chance to geek-out and walk around the office saying “May the Fourth be with you!” all day. Star Wars Day has a different meaning to me, though, because I saw the dark side of fandom and obsession during a brief period in the last decade in which I was accidentally voted to the International Council of the Church of the Jedi.

Religion Lately: Islamic Jediism, “Fuck It” Spirituality, Michelle Bachmann’s 2006 End Time Vision, & A Pagan Policeman

Religion Lately: Islamic Jediism, “Fuck It” Spirituality, Michelle Bachmann’s 2006 End Time Vision, & A Pagan Policeman

By Kenny Smith…..
Australians debate the validity of religions based upon popular culture, such as Jediism and Matrixism (based upon the film, The Matrix), and the blending of new and old traditions, such as “Islamic Jediism,” as the 2011 census approaches this August. Also in Australia, The Dali Lama appeared as a surprise judge on the TV cooking show “Masterchef.” Sadly, while quite friendly, the Tibetan spiritual leader proved somewhat of a judicial disappointment, stating: “As a Buddhist monk, it is not right to prefer this or that food.”

Mircea Eliade and Joseph Campbell

Mircea Eliade and Joseph Campbell

By Tito Ferguson, Georgia State University ….
When considering the theorists Mircea Eliade and Joseph Campbell, it is not difficult to recognize similarities in their theories of religious thought. Comparisons can be made between them in regards to their methods of analyzing separate traditions as well as their attempts to draw universal conclusions from them. Not only do these two theorists demonstrate the ability to take unrelated traditions and create a new way of viewing them as part of a larger picture, but they also resemble each other in how later theorists consider their work. Both men inspired a change in the way religion was thought about by the public, and both have earned the criticism of modern and feminist scholars.

Religion, Lately: Christmas, Hanukkah,Yule, and Kwanzaa

Religion, Lately: Christmas, Hanukkah,Yule, and Kwanzaa

By Kenny Smith and Heather Abraham….
In Loudon, Virginia, nativity wars seem to have given way to Star Wars. In Loudon’s public space, where “traditional Christian symbols have been joined by displays of symbols from the Jewish, Muslim and Sikh faiths,” this holiday season ten different displays are on view: “a Christmas tree, a manger scene, five atheist displays, and a mannequin arrangement featuring ‘the chosen one,’ Luke Skywalker, from the Star Wars films.

Rise of the Jedi Religion

Rise of the Jedi Religion

Followers of the Jedi religion/philosophy follow the way of the Jedi and live by the Jedi Code. Like all other religions, established or new, Jediism is complex and extremely diverse. Having no central authority, each Jedi organization is independent and therefore has differing philosophical and theological beliefs. For the most part, Jedi organizations are democratic in nature and majority vote is necessary to implement any changes in church structure or doctrine.

Rise of the Jedi

Rise of the Jedi

Did you know that Jediism is the fourth largest religion in the UK? That’s right, adherents to the Jedi religion followed Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism in the 2001 census ranking fourth with 0.79% of the population. The Jedi Knight is not only alive and well in the UK but is also thriving in many other English speaking countries including the United States.