Monday, December 23, 2013

The 10 Best Fictional/Parody Religions

Yeah yeah, I know.  Many would say (myself included) that all religions are fictional, and most are also parodies of themselves or other religions.  Even those non-agnostic amongst us, such as Christians and Muslims and Jews (oh my), would call other religions fictional just by default of not being their own beloved cult...er, I mean religion.  so, for the sake of argument (though we all know just how understanding of others, religious people can be) let us stay away from the so-called "real" religions of the aforementioned spiritual triumvirate, as well as the Hindus and Buddhists and Taoists and B'hai's and all the other snake charmers out there, and stick with just the ones that are mostly considered fictional and/or satirical. With that in mind, today I am going to countdown my ten favourite fake religions - those found in literature and movies and music and television shows, as well as those found in the real world sometimes.  But before we get to all that, howzabout we briefly mention a few of the ones that did not make the final cut.

Some of these fictional religions can be found in books (the Lapine Theism of Watership Down and the sisterly Bene Gessent of the Dune books, as well as Omnism, Yen Buddhism, and all the other religions in Terry Prachett's Discworld series) and others in movies (such as the Gozer worshippers in Ghostbusters), and on TV as well (the satirical Scratch religion on Cowboy Bebop or Devon Banks' pseudo-religion, Practicology on 30 Rock - created by the alien king living inside Stan Lee).  I suppose I probably shouldn't even try to mention Scientology in the realm of fiction and/or parody, huh?  Yeah, Tom Cruise'll be bringin' the wrath of Xenu down on me.  But, I would like to mention two fictional religions that just missed out on that final cut.  These are essentially my numbers eleven and twelve.  First (at no. 12) come the Quantum Presbyterians, the religion of Kang and Kodos, the resident aliens on Matt Groening's The Simpsons.  Next (at no. 11) are those worshippers of the Great Pumpkin,  Yup, Linus (and sometimes Sally) worship at the stem of the Great Pumpkin, and therefore it is a religion - even if it is a fake one.  Anyway, enough and enough, let's get on with that countdown.

And awaaaaay we go...


10. The Church of the Fonz
From the "pages" of Seth McFarlane's Family Guy doctrine, comes this sect (created by Peter, of course) that worships at the alter of one, Arthur Fonzerelli, aka The Fonz.  You young 'uns reading this list may not even know what Happy Days is, or who The Fonz is, but worship you will - worship you will.


9. The First Church of Appliantology
Supposedly created by a man known as L. Ron Hoover (get it?), this obviously insincere take on Scientology was actually spawned from the wicked and brilliantly subversive mind of Mr. Frank Zappa (in his second straight Top Ten List), on the musician's album Joe's Garage.


8. Fordism
This assembly-lined religion, named after Henry Ford, was first created as a social and economic philosophy, but was then usurped by Aldous Huxley for his classic dystopian novel, A Brave New World, where everyone is meant to bow down at the alter of the aforementioned Mr. Ford.


7. Askani
A mostly philosophical religion (a la Buddhism) in Marvel Comics' alternate future storylines that revolve around Scott Summers, Jean Grey, Rachel Summers, and Nathan Dayspring, aka Cable.  Being part of the X-Men universe, there is time travel galore in this religion, which might get a bit confusing for some.


6. Festivus
Not so much a religion as a holiday, but we are counting it anyway.  Actually celebrated by writer Daniel O'Keefe, who's son, while a writer on Seinfeld, brought it into popular culture via Frank Costanza's celebration of it in a 1997 episode.  Now, let the Feats of Strength begin.


5. Bagism
More a social theology than a religion, but for the purposes of this list, we are counting this John Lennon/Yoko Ono created dig at organized religion and modern day consumerism.  Everybody's talkin' about Bagism, Shagism, Dragism, Madism, Ragism, Tagism, This-ism, That-ism, ism, ism, ism.


4. The Vulcan Religion
Sure, the Vulcan race is a logical race, and hence do not have a true religion per se, but any culture that can mind meld with others, and give us the hormonal imbalanced ritual of Pon Farr (yeah, baby!!), must have somethin' goin' for it, so here it is.  Plus, Spock rocks, so there!


3. The Church of the Sub-Genius
Created by Irving Stang in the 1970's, and based upon the teachings of J.R. "Bob" Dobbs from the 1950's (a la another parody of the ever-so parodiable cult of Scientology), this satirical huckster religion has kinda become a real, albeit quite tongue-in-cheek, thing.  Now if only we could all attain a state of slack.


2. Bokononism
Kurt Vonnegut created several different parody religions throughout his writings (both the Church of God, the Utterly Indifferent and the Church of Jesus Christ the Kidnapped spring to mind) but it is the teachings of the enigmatic Bokonon, from Cat's Cradle, that make's this guy question his faith.


1. Jedi
Anyone who knows anything about me should have easily seen this one coming.  Yup, that ancient religion that gave us Obi Wan, Yoda, and eventually Luke and Leia (and in a Sithier mode, Darth Vader) is the number one fictional religion.  Number one with a bullet...er, I mean with a lightsaber.

See ya 'round the web.

7 comments:

  1. So....the church of the flying spaghetti monster?

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  2. Sorry, had to leave him and all his noodly appendages out of the final list, but hey, I did use his holy noodly image in the introduction. All praise pasta.

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  3. Hey Kevyn! Saw your comment on the A to Z Blog. We will open up the list for 2014 at the very end of January. Hope you can join us!

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  4. Thanx Alex! I will be there with all sorts of bells on.

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  5. When is Pon Farr season 'round these parts?

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  6. It's always Pon Farr round these parts Cherry baby.

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