“The Force” is a Rising Religion in Australia and It's Becoming a Problem

Australians claiming ‘Jedi’ as their religion is a problem for Atheists.

In what has been labeled an absurd move by the people of Australia, close to 65,000 Australians have indicated their religious views as “Jedi” on the 2011 census. What had started as a joke in 2006 has now turned to be a real headache for the country, and more so for the atheists. The Atheist Foundation of Australia, who have now launched a campaign to stop people from doing this, say that such a response will be counted as an “undefined” religion rather than as no-religion. As a result, Australia will look like a more religious country than it actually is, statistically.

It is hard to ascertain whether the people who indicated Jedi as their religion are just joking and only intend it to be a humorous way of indicating their fandom or if these people actually are part of a new religion called Jediism. Jediism has a Temple in the U.S. and a Church in the UK. Kylie Sturgess, president of the Atheist Foundation of Australia urges atheist Australians to just mark “no religion” rather than using it as an opportunity to joke for the joke just backfires on them.

Jediism is a new religion based on the Star Wars series, imbibing the tenets of Taoism, Catholicism and Buddhism. Though originating from the series, Jediism has taken its beliefs to an all new level and even gone as far as to claim it is a “serious” fellowship. Jediism has its own set of beliefs and creed which significantly moves away from the movies. Adherents call the series just “fictional” and claim it is the science and technology. Their “temples” are actually online forums rather than actual structures.

At a time when lots of people feel that the ancient religions are losing their relevance in today's times, Jediism comes as a perfect alternative due to its scientific and technological basis. As such, it has been claimed by adherents as a faith that gives them calmness of mind and inspiration in their day-to-day lives.

The Australian census now shows that Jediism has 65,000 adherents in Australia. The problem is that nobody can be sure how many of this number are serious adherents and how many just used Jediism as a joke. In any case, the Atheist Foundation of Australia have a lot of work cut out for them. The Force has truly proven to be too much for them to reckon with.


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