A made-up religion that exists to parody some specific existing religion, a group of religions and religious beliefs, organized religion in general, or just any kind of religious belief. It often takes the form of a Cargo Cult, a God Guise, some bizarre Crystal Dragon Jesus cult, or a pastiche of a Real Life religion with Serial Numbers Filed Off. For extra laughs, a Churchgoing Villain may follow this faith devoutly, or someone who's Hiding Behind Religion may use it as a smokescreen, perhaps also invoking Against My Religion to weasel out of some unpleasant obligation.
It can be a risky move sometimes, since, religious freedom being what it is, people are generally allowed to believe in whatever they want. At times, a specific belief just might dovetail with a parody.
See also Path of Inspiration, which is this with evil instead of funny; Corrupt Church, which is against organized religion; and Church of Happyology, which is a subtrope that parodies a very specific religion.
See also: Anvil of the Story, Religion Is Wrong; the secular version is the Brotherhood of Funny Hats. An Animal Religion or a Robot Religion can parody an actual religion. Contrast Saintly Church, Religion Is Right. If the parody is used to actually deceive people—which, considering Poe's Law, is far from impossible—it becomes a Scam Religion.
- A huge amount of those from Transmetropolitan. According to Spider, new cults pop there every hour, therefore, any religious belief does not make any sense.
- In Boba Fett: Enemy Of the Empire, Boba Fett tracks the eponymous enemy to a secluded hermitage on a volcanic planet, which is home to a stereotypical crazy sect called the Ancient Order of Pessimists, who are eventually wiped out by Darth Vader's Star Destroyer immediately after the High Hermit commits heresy by embracing optimism.
Boba: "Well, this could have ended much worse..."
- The movie Bowfinger features a cult called Mindhead, which parodies Scientology.
- The Last Guru by Daniel Pinkwater has the Silly Hat Order, with a side order of Blong Buddhism, which is like Zen but more pickled.
- Chutengodianism in Godless starts as a joke by a few teenagers, but takes on a life of its own (complete with its own heretics and fundamentalists.) In the end, the narrator is the only one left who still follows it—he doesn't really believe in it, but he wishes he did.
- The Monty Python's Flying Circus "Crackpot Religions" sketch.
- A tie-in book to the Mr. Bean series stated that Mr Bean had at one point followed a religion based around the "God of Lemonade."
- A Bit of Fry and Laurie featured a school headmaster who, upset with the religious intolerance between his pupils, had forced them to follow a new religion of his own invention, taken by combining many different religions, and entitled "Lip-whip-whip-whip-whip".
- In an episode of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver exposing shady televangelists who allegedly exploit US tax laws, John Oliver revealed that he had started his own satirical religion, "Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption," for the express sole purpose of getting people to send him money.note The kicker: Oliver's parody religion is totally legal under current IRS tax code, and John Oliver is now a legitimate 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. At the end he closed the "church" due to some people sending him sperm. But up to that point, he never broke any law.
- The "Ang Dating Doon" (What Used To Be There) sketch in Bubble Gang, which is a parody of the Filipino religious programme Ang Dating Daan (The Old Path) by the Members Church of God International (MCGI). Besides its use of the Voltes V theme, the sketch substituted Bible expositions with parodic interpretations of nursery rhymes, folk songs and lyrics from popular music. While some expressed concern about the show being irreverent if not outright blasphemous due to it parodying a religious movement, MCGI leader and Ang Dating Daan televangelist Eliseo Soriano was flattered by the sketch, stating it helped popularise the original programme "Ang Dating Doon" was based on.
- In Transhuman Space, Adam Stein, the unofficial leader of a group of transhumanists who believed in The Singularity, despite the growing evidence it wasn't going to happen, responded to 2070s criticism that "singularitanism" was a cult by sarcastically applying to register it as a religion. He was very surprised when his application was accepted, and even more surprised when he started getting new followers who seemed to take the religious aspects seriously. As of 2100, half of the Singularitists are true believers, and Stein is still trying to explain to them that it was a joke.
- Xavism in Sengoku Basara is a rather overt parody of the Catholic Church with elements of Church of Happyology; its leader is a delusional (but well-meaning) Love Freak who believes in the power of blowing the crap out of someone to convert them, all its adherents get bizarre baptismal names, and the "commandments" are all Broken Aesop versions of Christian dogma.
- BioShock Infinite: Comstock's religion is based of Christianity, but it revolves around American Exceptionalism with the Founding Fathers treated as saints, and Comstock making himself the Prophet of Columbia. And he has Elizabeth as his "Lamb" (of God) and successor of the title of Prophet, the latter of which she becomes in a Bad Future.
- Hubology in Fallout 2 is a very unsubtle parody of Scientology.
- The Epsilon Program seen in Grand Theft Autois an equally less-than-subtle take on the Scientologist cult.
- the RECYCULTIST'S HQ in OMORI.
- That rabbit cult from Looking for Group. Subverted, because there is a good reason for worship.
- In Koan of the Day, the character of the guru often parodies religion.
- This webcomic begins a Flightarianism arc, in which the cockatoo Winston explains some of the precepts underpinning his faith.
- The Corn God in Scenes from a Multiverse.
- Ceiling Cat.
- The ClickHole Clickventure "Join this Cult!" begins with an invitation to join the Sentinels Of Paradise, who worship a fellow known as Mischief Man, who created the world and your guts but not your bones. It is very Surreal Humor.
- Some articles from the Venezuelan News Parody El Chigüire Bipolar portray chavism as a religion so as to mock president Hugo Chávez' personality cult.
- The Nostalgia Critic features the Church of the Heavenly Proton Pack, a religion of diehard Ghostbusters fans. It is later revealed there are other sects including an orthodox one (which doesn't believe in the canonicity of Ghostbusters II) and Ghostbusters of Latter Day Saints (which is for fans of Filmation's Ghostbusters series).
- Inglip is a joke religion based around interpreting the random text in CAPTCHA widgets as divine instruction from a being named "Inglip", whose name comes from a CAPTCHA reading "Inglip summoned", which started the whole thing.
- Futurama has the recurring Robotology, Robot Judaism and The First Amalgamated Church, as well as occasionally mentioned Oprahism, Church of Trek, et cetera.
- The Simpsons are members of The Western Branch of American Reform Presbylutheranism, which split from the Catholics in 1573 over the right to go to church with wet hair, which the Presbylutherans have since abolished.
- In South Park, Dawkins mentions the Flying Spaghetti Monster while talking to Mrs. Garrison during a lunch in the episode Go God Go.
- This trope was in full effect over 300 years ago: Tsar Peter the Great and his friends formed The All-Joking, All-Drunken Synod of Fools and Jesters that not only practiced heavy drinking and orgies, but wore church attire and used religious titles when doing so. The pious Russians were not amused - some even proclaimed the Tsar to be Antichrist.
- The page image is of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, the god of Pastafarianism, who originated as a protest against attempts to have intelligent design taught in American public schools.
- Invisible Pink Unicorn as well.
- Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption was a church started by comedian John Oliver to lampoon televangelists for siphoning money from their followers through "seed faith," a process that essentially involves sending money to pastors on a regular basis in exchange for blessing. John made a mock commercial at the end of the episode, also asking for viewers to send their seeds and even providing a number to call.
- Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption received hundreds of contributions in the weeks that followed, invoking a follow-up video where John reminded the audience to send money, not actual bags of seeds.
- The church was eventually discontinued after fans of the show began sending, among other things, their own semen, but not before the show managed to raise tens of thousands of dollars (most of which were single dollar bills). The money was later donated to Doctors Without Borders.
- Various Cthulhu cults.
- The Church of Google.
- Discordianism has been described as a "religion masquerading as a joke" or a "joke masquerading as a religion." Both are correct.
Discordianism is exactly as real as any other religion.
- Church of the SubGenius.
- The Jedi Census Phenomenon.
- Last Thursdayism claims that the universe was actually created last Thursday, and any memories or evidence of events before that were created at the same time. This is a parody of the explanations given by young-earth creationists as to why the earth was created with an appearance of age, how we can see stars that are more than 6,000 light-years away, and the like.
- The schism known as Next Thursdayism claims that the universe hasn't been created yet, and what we think is happening now is just false memories we'll have once it exists. Of course, some might argue that both sides are heretics: the universe was created Last Tuesday.
- Tarvuism, created by the guys behind Look Around You and just as absurd.
- The Church of the Latter-Day Dude, or Dudeism. However, the founders actually take it quite seriously.
- Most recently, there is The Cult of Kek. An occultist sect composed mainly of Internet Trolls, 4Chan users, and Occultists who supported Donald Trump in the 2016 U.S. election; dedicated to worship of an Ancient Egyptian chaos god https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kek_(mythology) For the Lulz ("Kek" is also an onomatopoea for snickering), and was formed partially due to the aforementioned 4Chan users noticing similarities between Pepe and Kek, and partially out of protest of Hillary Clinton and CNN proclaiming that Pepe was a symbol of White Nationalism and Neo-Nazism. They practice "Meme Magick", observe repeating digits, and see Pepe The Frog as Kek's prophet. For more ] check those links.
- And many, many, many more.
- Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Stopping is the anarchist version of this concept.