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Finding Faith in the Force

I'm not sure how something so patently weird flew beneath my radar, but earlier this month the BBC ran an article about a New Zealand movement to turn Jedi into a recognized religion. Yes, that Jedi.

In an email sent out a few days before New Zealand's official census, citizens were asked to list their religion as "Jedi." The message says that if 8,000 people make the move to the Force on the census, Jedi will become an officially recognized religion in New Zealand. The 8,000 figure might be a fabrication since it originated in the email, but even if it is correct Jedi's future as a religion won't be known until final census results have been released.

The BBC article also mentions The Jedi Creed, which appears to be a real group of people who use the Force as the foundation of their belief system. The Jedi Creed's official site contains reams of text espousing self discovery, patience, and the benevolent energy that flows from the Force. They're a liberal group, who "respect all religions, and do not make rules on how to live your life, only suggestions." They're also realistic, pointing out that none of the members can "levitate things or read peoples' minds." Basically, they're Jedi with none of the perks.

A connection between the Jedi Creed and the New Zealand email might seem a natural fit, but the tongue-in-cheek tone of the email doesn't jive with the reverence on the Jedi Creed's homepage. Furthermore, administrative information for the Jedi Creed site lists Germany as the country of origin. If the Jedi Creed's members are based in Europe, official religion recognition in New Zealand will be as useful as a busted hyperdrive.

Posted by Mac on March 20, 2001 06:46 PM
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