Follow TV Tropes

Following

Parody Religion

Go To

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/parody-religion_FSM_by_Nivao_5374.png
Touched By His Noodly Appendage.

I am a Ronald Reagan-Carl Sagan-San Diegan-Pagan.
Every other Tuesday though, I worship Israel’s Begin.
My sect is quite a singular one, my feelings are devout.
I want my group known ‘round the school, I want to have some clout.

— A Filk Song named Ronald Reagan-Carl Sagan-San Diegan-Pagan Blues
Advertisement:

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.

Advertisement:

See also: Anvilicious, 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.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Comics 
  • 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..."

    Fan Works 
  • The Oversaturated World has the Church Of The Divine Bacon Horse, which is essentially a parody of itself. The COTDBH is dedicated to worshipping Sunset (or more specifically her unicorn aspect) in the most ridiculous, melodramatic way possible, thus simultaneously allowing the members to express their genuine faith and reverence, allowing Sunset to dismiss them as a bunch of loons and continue to pretend that she's not actually a goddess, and acknowledging how utterly ridiculous the whole situation is.
Advertisement:

    Film 
  • The movie Bowfinger features a cult called Mindhead, which parodies Scientology.

    Literature 
  • 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.
  • You Can Be a Cyborg When You're Older by Richard Roberts: The Enchanted seem to be a religion entirely devoted around biologically modifying yourself to live like World of Warcraft characters.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 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.
  • Miracle Workers: In "Meet the Noonans" the wagon party, heading west on the Oregon Trail, meets...the Noonans, a religious group also on the trail west. The Noonans are an obvious Bland-Name Product version of the LDS Church aka Mormons, what with their leader Jedediah's claims to talk directly to God, the identical dress of male and female members (and particularly the women with their neck-to-ankle dresses and upswept hair), and specifically that they're headed west in the 1840s (the real Mormons migrated to Utah in 1846).

    Stand-Up Comedy 
  • Robin Williams' stand-up comedy album Reality, What A Concept has a segment where he plays the character Reverend Earnest Angry, imitating popular televangelists of the day and promoting the religion of Comedy.

    Tabletop Games 
  • 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.

    Video Games 
  • 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 Auto is an equally less-than-subtle take on the Scientologist cult.
  • the RECYCULTIST'S HQ in OMORI.

    Webcomics 

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • 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.

    Real Life 
  • 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.
  • The Church of the SubGenius, founded by Ivan Stang in 1979, revolves around a fictitious American salesman named J.R. "Bob" Dobbs. The Church purports that it was founded by Dobbs in 1953 after he witnessed a vision of "Jehovah 1" on a TV set he built, and spreads a parodic gospel centered around the ambiguously-defined value of "Slack." The Church's teachings humorously combine elements of various real-world belief systems (particularly Christianity and New Age spirituality) and fit them around a caricature of American upper-middle-class life in The '50s, criticizing The American Dream through this lens.
  • The Jedi Census Phenomenon. Enough people claimed their religion as "Jedi" that the British census had to do something about it. This was further complicated by the fact that some people genuinely do try to follow a "Jedi" religion (considering it's based on Buddhism and several other Eastern religions, this is far from impossible), and they were unfairly lumped in with the pranksters.
  • 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 was created by the same people behind Look Around You, and is 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 For the Lulz (also deriving from the Korean equivalent of "LOL", "ㅋ ㅋ ㅋ"note ), 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.


 
Feedback

Video Example(s):

Top

The Church of Trek

In Futurama, the Star Trek fandom grew from easy-to-punch nerds to a religious cult that influenced countries, eventually getting to the point that world leaders executed Trekkies en mass and scrubbed every known existence of Star Trek from public knowlege.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (11 votes)

Example of:

Main / ParodyReligion

Media sources:

Report