Intellectual Property Religion

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
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Isn't that too extreme for just an ordinary cartoo- HERESY!!! *BLAM*

Consider the following scenario. A given work of fiction becomes successful after its release. Very, very, very successful. So successful, in fact, that it manages to achieve what only a very small number of works throughout history have done: spawned its own religion.

The followers of this hypothetical religion, of course, are quite aware of their holy text's origin. History probably hasn't gotten that bad. Nevertheless, they have deemed it worthy of living one's life by. They may even have rivalries with other religions!

Notably, this has ceased to be a hypothetical. Such religions have developed and fall under the broad label Pop Culture Paganism. Ironically, it seems none centered around Haruhi Suzumiya have appeared.

Not to be confused with religion that treats its holy text as intellectual property.

Examples of Intellectual Property Religion include:

I wanted all things
to seem to make sense
so we could all be happy, yes
instead of tense
And I made up lies
So that they all fit nice
And I made this sad world
A par-a-dise

  • An excerpt of the second calypso focuses on the deterministic worldview of Bokononism:

Oh, a sleeping drunkard
Up in Central Park
And a Lion Hunter
In the jungle dark
And a Chinese dentist
And a British Queen
All fit together
In the same machine...

  • Rockmanism: Fight, believer, For Everlasting Peace! Just be sure to put away all the weapons you acquired along the way afterward.
  • The Lord of the Rings, unsurprisingly, has inspired the followers of Tië Eldaliéva or The Elven Path
    • Quite surprisingly, actually, given that Tolkien was a devout Roman Catholic of a rather traditionalist stripe, and specifically modelled his mythos around Roman Catholic theology, rather than anything resembling modern New Age or Neopagan spirituality. I can't help but think that these individuals don't really understand that.
      • Elves (and Dwarves, and Ents) have their own paths - the Dwarves' involves some belief in resurrection - but arguably don't have souls. Men may, in time, develop a religion that will become Christianity. This is very subtly forshadowed in the conversation between Legolas and Gimli as they enter Minas Tirith. Bear in mind that the events of LOTR is supposed to take place on earth in ancient pre-history.
  • The Path of All Your Base: In the end, everybody dies, so make the best of your time here on earth. Move every zig, for great justice!
  • Kryptonism: Put your hand in the hand of the man with heat vision. Only the weak succumb to brutality. It's not about where you were born. Or what powers you have. Or what you wear on your chest. It's about what you do... It's about action. Dreams save us. Dreams lift us up and transform us. Until the dream of a world where dignity, honor and justice becomes the reality we all share… don't stop fighting. Ever. And, most importantly, you are much stronger than you think you are.
  • White Light: You have great potential waiting to be unlocked, if you are willing to take commensurately great risks. Accept that things happen for a reason, that there is a plan, and you have a place in it. Some hide amongst us who wish to derail that plan, and they seem powerful, but they can be defeated. Trust that, with your help, tomorrow will be a better day.
  • Flonneism: Love conquers all (though a healthy dose of sarcasm can help).
  • Supernaturalism: You Suck and it's a Crapsack World, but you should help people because it's the right thing to do. Who the hell know if there's a God? If there is one, he's probably a dick. And most importantly: laugh, even when you're scared shitless.
  • Sylarism: Superpowers make you better than everyone else, so you should take as many as you can because you can.
  • Angel's Witnesses: Everyone can be redeemed.
  • MAI BOI!-ISM: All toasters toast Spaghetti, and if people do not join and have their face made the greatest, YOU WILL DIE!
    • Where there's smoke, they pinch back.
  • Toulouseism: Live your life according to the Bohemian principles of Truth, Beauty, Freedom, and Love. Remember: The greatest thing you'll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.
  • Cult of the Dark Lord: All of mankind has evil urges, and these evil urges are what feeds the Dark Lord. Therefore, mankind secretly wants the Dark Lord to exist. And as there can be no light without darkness, there cannot be any manifestation of good without the existence of the Dark Lord. So give in to your evil urges, and let Him show you the way.
  • Grand Order of the Jackass: Worship the Sage, for he is the wisest of all. Otherwise, woe shall befall you in the most unthinkable ways possible. Actually, it will happen anyway, but better worship him just in case.
  • The Church of the Bleached: Use your power to help your friends. If you are ever in trouble, trust that your friends will save you. If you let yourself fall into despair or become too attached to worldly possessions, you will become an evil spirit in the afterlife. If you don't, then the afterlife will still suck, but at least your alignment will be by choice.
  • Aizenism: An offshoot/hybrid of spiralism and/or The First Church of Kira that holds Aizen as an exemplar. One must see the world the way it should be rather than the way it is and do everything possible in order to become stronger and transcend your limitations in order to become perfect. Do not trust or admire anyone. Manipulate everyone else while looking like a nice person. Every member of family or nakama is a naivefool who exists only as long as necessary, as is everyone who admires or trusts you. Defeat overwhelming odds effortlessly with both your overwhelming power and superior intelligence. Give the reason you suck speeches until your opponent loses control and attacks blindly. Or instead you can be a fool and worship Aizen as a god. He'll win eitherway so it doesn't really matter. Engaged in a minor conflict with The Church of the Bleached.
  • Animaism: Serve the Princess Anima, and you will be loved and rewarded for your service. Oppose the Magus Animus, who seeks to destroy the world. Destroy that which you hate, and destroy that which you love, so you may be freed from the burden of your hatred and may forever claim ownership of that which you love. Be ready to die at all times, because living just means you have a 100% chance of dying.
  • Kamenism: Even if there is no God or Buddha, there is Kamen Rider.
  • Xanthism: The world wants you to be happy. The secret to that happiness is to find your true love and settle down to a life of quiet contentment. Enjoy the puns, ignore the critics and the editors, and praise be to NIMBY.
  • Snakism: NUKES ARE VEDDY, VEDDY BAD. GRRR NUKES.
  • The Righteous Path of Resplendent Solar Glory: This is actually several philosophies in one. The Usurpation caused the initial schism, and they have since split into several different sects, most of which do not get along very well.
    • First Age doctrine: There are many terrible things in the world, but place your faith in the Chosen of Heaven and Earth and all will be well.
    • Post-Usurpation Sidereal doctrine (has no formal name): Do whatever it takes to protect the world. On occasion, you may argue with your fellows as to just what this should entail, but never forget that you all have the world's best interests at heart. Do not take open positions of authority; good planning and clever manipulation are your greatest tools.
    • Post-Usurpation Lunar doctrine (The Thousand-Streams River): Give a man a fish, and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he eats for the rest of his life. Giving people everything they want or need might sound good in the short term, but ultimately it makes them weak and dependent on the giver. Self-sufficiency is the greatest gift you can give. There is no one way to enlightenment; diversity is the greatest virtue, and change is ultimately a good thing. The River has no end.
    • Post-Usurpation Terrestrial doctrine (The Immaculate Philosophy): Everyone has a place in the world. Those who do their best with the tools that are given to them, who are obedient to those above them and gentle but firm to those below...Such people shall inevitably be rewarded for their adherence to the natural order, whether now or in the next life. Those who abuse their authority, shirk their duties, or seek to live outside the role the Dragons have ordained for them shall suffer for their sins. Above all, seek to destroy the Anathema, who would drag all they touch down with them into wickedness and corruption.
  • Frithraism, Or the Frithraic Mysteries. Leave your Frithraeum, or "burrow" as it is sometimes known, and venture forth into the world. Be free to live by your wits and trust in El-ahrairah to guide you, but never forget that all the world will be your enemy, Prince With A Thousand Enemies, and whenever they catch you they will kill you. But first they must catch you! Be cunning, and full of tricks, and your people can never be destroyed.
  • Amoralism: There may or may not be a god, he hasn't done anything lately if there is. You pretty much care about taking care of yourself, and don't give a rip what people do provided that it fails to effect you. While at the same time providing limited aid to your circle of friends and those who pay you. Disciples of the teachings of amoralism don't really give a rip if you mess with them, they will simply ignore you and get back to work, or deck you if you start physically harming them. But if you mess with their friends or loved ones, be prepared for disproportionate retribution.
  • First Gaian Church of the Mods: Initially an sarcastic panning of "Cotton Candy Christianity", the Church did spawn dedicated believers who tried to keep the standard of discussion in GAIA's Extended Discussion forums relatively high-brow. Lost cause, but hey, they tried.
  • Cullenism: Basic tenets are that the Twilight series is essentially sacred scripture, the characters of said series are real, and Stephenie Meyer is canonically the greatest author of all time. To deny otherwise is HERESY.
  • 40K-ism: In the grim darkness of the far future there is only FAITH.
  • The Church of the Holy Light: Be honorable, righteous, and kind to yourself and others, and the Light will guide and protect you. Take care to avoid all taint or corruption, for the forces of evil are insidious and love bending the good to their will, and redemption is a tricky business that you might not survive. Not to be confused with the Church that worships the other Light.
  • Skaiaism/Sburbism: The universe was created by trolls. Creativity is the ultimate virtue. Stable Time Loops are real. Intelligent civilizations may be sacrificed at random to create new froggy universes, continuing the cycle of creation.
    • Church of the Godhead Pickle Inspector: All was created in the middle of time when GPI split two copies of his pre-accession self infinitely, creating all matter ever in existence. All men should strive to excel in the three holy stats of IMAGINATION, VIM and PULCHRITUDE- although abandoning one or two stats to become outrageously powerful in the third is perfectly fine. If you die in the imaginary world you will forevermore exist in an infinite lotus afterlife where you may play boardgames with a nice chap named Death- unless, of course, you make an easy escape though the backdoor back into life. However true nirvana may only be achieved by finally escaping your office into the real world.
  • Serenitism: To simplify: Queen Serenity can be viewed as a goddess figure. Make friends with the lonely, don't violate other peoples' minds or bodies, and do what you can to save Earth from destruction.
  • The Cybermorphs in Sergey Lukyanenko's Genome trilogy are a sect of hackers who wear black lenses in their eye sockets, appear to be about 20, and believe that the entire Universe is just an illusion created by machines to enslave humanity. Sound familiar? They also tend to say things like "There is no God but the Architect, and Neo is his prophet." When a ship's AI greets a Cybermorph with Matrix Raining Code, he starts reading their version of "Our Father" with phrases like "And deliver us from system crashes."
  • The Jovians from Martian Successor Nadesico built their entire culture around Gekiganger 3. This being Nadesico, Hilarity Ensues.
  • Dawkins-ism: Stop Worshipping Me!, dammit. Seek out the wonders of the mysteries of the world on your own.
  • T-ism: Pity fools, stay in school, drink your milk.
  • Swayzeism: Pain don't hurt. It's his way or the highway. There are also three simple rules to adhere to:
  • Custerism: Don't take no shit off fools. Judge a person by what's in 'em, not how they look. An' you do the right thing. Be one of the good guys. 'Cause there's way too many of the bad.
  • Animism: The worship of the large-eyed ones that came from Japan.
  • Katawa Shoujoism: You Are Not Alone, and you are not strange. You are you, and everyone has damage. Be the better person.
  • Zetsubouism: You're in despair. People making cults out of fiction have left you in despair.
  • The Threefold Path Of The Goddess: There are but three paths to follow: Law, Neutrality, or Chaos. None is better than the other, all can be good depending on one's perspective.
  • Church of Falcon: The almighty Captain Falcon watches over us all, waiting for us to show him our moves. Our main place of worship is currently defunct, but it shall rise again!
    • Wolfism: The dark counterpart to the Church of Falcon.