In a Galaxy Not So Far Away

By: Anna Mazurek  

One of the most important elements through which an individual identifies himself is his belonging to various social and religious groups. Everyone discovers which form of religious practice is the best suited for them. In my presentation, I focus on alternative religions, especially fiction based religions which promote a new understanding of religion and are a reflection of contemporary cultural trends; with emphasis being given to individualization and the promotion of pluralism. My thesis is that religion is given a new social role, it serves as a tool of self-identification of the individual and express the “I” of the individual. In order to be capable of doing that, religion has to anchor itself in something specific and individual for the person, even if this is this person’s favorite movie or book. As such, fiction becomes a tool of self identification and is taken to the level of religious practice. Examples of this trend can be found in religious movements which follow works of popular culture, with this presentation focusing on the example of Jediism, Tolkienesque cults, and Lovecraftian cults. Issues discussed include the characteristics of these aforementioned fiction based religions, its influence on the definition of religion as such, and the consequences of this kind of approach to religion. Included with this is an analysis of the cultural and social backgrounds from which these movements emerge.

Alternative Religious Movements, Fiction Based Religions, Jediism, Individualism, Pluralism
Religious Community and Socialization
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Anna Mazurek

Doctoral Student, Philosophy, The John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, Poland

I am a doctoral student in philosophy at The Jokn Paul II Catholic University of Lublin. My research interests mainly concern philosophy of religion and epistemology. In the field of philosophy of religion I have dealt with fiction based religions beloging to alternative religious movements. I have analyzed the problem of the origin and doctrin of the movement called Jediism. In the field of episemology I have analyzed the concept of a priori intuition, in particular the arguments for the credability of a priori intuitions.