It started as a popular inside joke among U.K. atheists: when asked to divulge their faith on the 2001 Census form, almost 400,000 non-believers — 0.7 percent of the population — claimed to be practitioners of Jediism. Yes, as in Star Wars.
By Terry Firma—Friendly Atheist
Somehow, over the years, that little bit of mischief gave birth to an actual belief system with a real theology — for some. The BBC, quoting a Cambridge University researcher, says that there are currently about two thousand self-identifying Jedi in the country who are serious about their faith. They’ve developed
“ever-more complex doctrines and scriptures,”
… written by the Church’s founder, Daniel Jones.
What might have started as an intellectual exercise by fans adding to the movies and filling in the gaps, has become an attempt to build a coherent religious code. … The Jedi belief system is a patchwork quilt of Taoism, Buddhism, Catholicism and Samurai. … Often the ideas offer a simple dualism of good and evil, light and dark. …
Beth Singler, a researcher in the Divinity Faculty of Cambridge University, estimates that there are about 2,000 people in the UK who are “very genuine” about being Jedi.” … Jediism is not a joke for them but an inspiration. They don’t believe in “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away”, says Singler, quoting the opening text that fills the screen of Star Wars. “It’s somewhere between metaphor and literal truth.“