ABSTRACT

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.

chapter |12 pages

Introduction: fiction, invention and hyper-reality in new religions and spiritualities

ByCAROLE M. CUSACK AND PAVOL KOSNÁCˇ

part |2 pages

PART I Tolkien’s Legendarium, the Elven lineage and the Internet

part |2 pages

PART II Film and television as sacred texts

chapter 5|18 pages

Spirituality-struck: anime and religio-spiritual devotional practices

ByKATHARINE BULJAN

chapter 6|15 pages

Jediism and the Temple of the Jedi Order

ByASH WILLIAMS, BENJAMIN-ALEXANDRE MILLER AND

chapter 7|14 pages

Virtual knights and synthetic worlds: Jediism in Second Life

ByHELEN FARLEY

chapter 8|10 pages

A brief history of Dudeism

ByOLIVER BENJAMIN

part |2 pages

PART III Online mediation of invented, fiction-based and hyper-real religions

chapter 12|13 pages

Kopimism and media devotion: piracy, activism, art and critique as religious practice

ByDANIELLE L. KIRBY, ELISHA H. MCINTYRE

chapter 13|15 pages

Beyond belief: revival in virtual worlds

ByWILLIAM SIMS BAINBRIDGE

part |2 pages

PART IV Countercultural personal spiritualities and religions

chapter 14|18 pages

African-American ufology in the music and mythos of Sun Ra

ByJOHANNA J. M. PETSCHE

chapter 15|11 pages

The Church of All Worlds

chapter 16|19 pages

An implicit hyper-real religion: real-life superheroes

ByADAM POSSAMAI, VLADISLAV IOUCHKOV