The twentieth century was a period of rapid change for religion. Secularisation resulted in a dramatic fall in church attendance in the West, and the 1950s and 1960s saw the introduction of new religions including the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), the Church of Scientology, and the Children of God. New religions were regarded with suspicion by society in general and Religious Studies scholars alike until the 1990s, when the emergence of a second generation of 'new new' religions – based on popular cultural forms including films, novels, computer games and comic books – and highly individualistic spiritualities confirmed the utter transformation of the religio-spiritual landscape. Indeed, Scientology and ISKCON appeared almost traditional and conservative when compared to the radically de-institutionalised, eclectic, parodic, fun-loving and experimental fiction-based, invented and hyper-real religions.
In this book, scholarly treatments of cutting-edge religious and spiritual trends are brought into conversation with contributions by representatives of Dudeism, the Church of All Worlds, the Temple of the Jedi Order and Tolkien spirituality groups. This book will simultaneously entertain, shock, challenge and delight scholars of religious studies, as well as those with a wider interest in new religious movements.
Introduction:Fiction, Invention, and Hyper-reality in New Religions and Spiritialities
Carole M. Cusack and Pavol Kosnáč
Tolkien’s Legendarium, the Elven Lineage, and the Internet
1. The Elven Path and the Silver Ship of the Valar: Two Spiritual Groups Based on J. R. R. Tolkien’s Legendarium
Reverend Michaele Alyras de Cygne and Calantirniel
2. Spirituality and Self-Realisation as ‘Other-Than-Human’: The Otherkin and Therianthropy Communities
Carole M. Cusack
3. Salvation and Animation: Religion, Fandom, and Identity in the Romantic Narratives of Mystics and Soulbonders
Venetia Laura Delano Robertson
4. The Development of Spirituality in the Brony Community
Film and Television as Sacred Texts
5. Spirituality Struck: Anime and Religio-Spiritual Devotional Practices
6. Jediism and the Temple of the Jedi Order
The Temple of the Jedi Order
7. Virtual Knights and Synthetic Realms: Jediism in Second Life
8. A Brief History of Dudeism
9. Diego Maradona and the Psychodynamics of Football Fandom in International Cinema
Online Mediation of Invented, Fiction-Based, and Hyper-real Religions
10. "Discordians Stick Apart": The Institutional Turn Within Contemporary Discordianism
J. Christian Greer
11. SubGenius vs The Conspiracy: Playfulness and Sincerity in Invented Religions
David G. Robertson
12. Kopimism and Media Devotion: Piracy, Activism, Art, and Critique as Religious Practice
Danielle L. Kirby and Elisha H. McIntyre
13. Beyond Belief: Revival in Virtual Worlds
William Sims Bainbridge
Countercultural Personal Spiritualities and Religions
14. African-American Ufology in the Music and Mythos of Sun Ra
Johanna J. M. Petsche
15. The Church of All Worlds
16. An Implicit Hyper-real Religion: Real-Life Superheroes
Adam Possamai and Vladislav Iouchkov
Inform is an independent charity that collects and disseminates accurate, balanced and up-to-date information about minority religious and spiritual movements.
The Routledge Inform Series addresses themes related to new religions, many of which have been the topics of Inform seminars. The series editorial board consists of internationally renowned scholars in the field.
Books in the series will attract both an academic and interested general readership, particularly in the areas of Religious Studies, and the Sociology of Religion and Theology.