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Do you believe in these Gods?

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getattachment3In the month of May, 2005, just before the Kansas State Board of Education began the Kansas evolution hearings to decide whether or not Intelligent Design would be taught in Kansas public schools, a young man named Bobby Henderson wrote them an open letter professing belief in a creature called the Flying Spaghetti Monster who created the universe after a heavy bout of drinking. He went on to demand that the Pastafarian Theory of Creation be taught along with ID and Evolution.”I think we can all look forward to the time when these three theories are given equal time in our science classrooms across the country, and eventually the world; One third time for Intelligent Design, one third time for Flying Spaghetti Monsterism, and one third time for logical conjecture based on overwhelming observable evidence”

Inventing fake religions in order to attack formal religions has become immensely popular, whether it’s a Henderson-like attempt to showcase the logical fallacies of religious arguments or just for a few convoluted laughs, like Discordianism. 

getattachment11In addition to Henderson’s now-famous Pastafarianism, another popular parody religion with rich literature is the Invisible Pink Unicorn. The IPU has its origins in the early Usenet forum alt.atheism, with records going back to 1990. She is extremely popular on internet discussion groups where she is invoked for humorous and argumentative purposes. The IPU concept was expanded in 1994-95 by a group of college students who created a manifesto, from which we get this famous quotation:

“Invisible Pink Unicorns are beings of great spiritual power. We know this because they are capable of being invisible and pink at the same time. Like all religions, the Faith of the Invisible Pink Unicorns is based upon both logic and faith. We have faith that they are pink; we logically know that they are invisible because we can’t see them.”

Blessed Be Her Holy Hooves!

getattachment1One web based religion known as the Church of Google declares that Google is in fact God. As proof, it points out that Google is omniscient and omnipresent. It answers prayers a lot more efficiently than any other deity: all you have to do is type in your problem and it will come up with hundreds of ‘solutions’ in less than a tenth of a second. Google can live forever in her servers – if one goes down, another would take it’s place – and as long as the internet can grow, Google can grow, making it potentially infinite. Finally, Google has more verifiable evidence than any other deity in existence.

A parody of the Ten Commandments is a favourite feature of many ‘religions’. The Church of Google thunders, “Thou shalt have no other Search Engine before me, neither Yahoo nor Lycos, AltaVista nor Metacrawler. Thou shalt worship only me, and come to Google only for answers.” The Flying Spaghetti Monster favors a slightly less demanding “8 I’d Rather You Didn’t” which, thankfully, includes “I’d really rather you didn’t go around telling people I talk to you. You’re not that interesting. Get over yourself. And I told you to love your fellow man, can’t you take a hint?”

While these religions are fairly recent, some are ancient – with origins going as far back as 1958. Discordianism was founded in that great year by Malaclypse the Younger, who wrote Prinicipia Discordia.

Discordianism became immensely popular and created innumerable off-shoots like the Church of Sub-Genius, which was claims to have been founded in the 1950’s by a guy named Bob .It more accurately started with the publication of the Subgenius Pamphlet #1, in 1979 and gained popularity with the ‘rebel’ scene  in the 1980s and 1990s.

One of the most famous institutions of it’s kind, the CoSG’s central icon ‘Bob’ was named Times Magazines’ #1 ‘Phoney or Fraud’ in it’s January, 2000 issue. The Church of Sub-Genius is now an incorporated company which blatantly devotes itself to making money. For a sum of $30, one can become an ordained minister with lifetime membership. The Church promises “Eternal Salvation or Triple Your Money Back!”

Of course, joke religions do not exist purely to pull down other religions. Some like Iglesia Maradoniana was created by fans of Diego Maradona, as  a light-hearted attempt to transfer the emotion of a religion to a non-divine figure – like Maradona. Tales of temples being built for politicians, cricketers and politicians are not rare in India. When South Indian actor Rajnikanth released his film Shivaji, fans held ceremonies where milk was poured on his cutouts, a treatment usually reserved for Hindu gods. These ‘fake religions’, at some point, start performing a function the followers of organized religions have longed claimed as their exclusive domain: community building.

 

Journalism has been called the “first rough draft of history”. D.U.B may be termed as the first rough draft of DU history. Freedom to Express.

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