Census time is coming around - which brings with it the tricky question of religion. Regular readers will know that I self identify as an apathist - a peculiar sub-branch of atheism. Those with longer memories will have seen me self identify as a Jedi (Dark Side).
So, when the 2011 census rolls around, how should I identify myself to the state?
The Census Campaign
An offshoot of the Atheist Bus Campaign, the Census Campaign wants non-religious people to identify as "no religion".
Last census, hundreds of thousands of people stated that their religion was "Jedi" - more that all the Jews and Buddhists combined.
So, am I a Jedi? Is it my religion?
The Case For
- I got married in a Star Wars ceremony
- I dedicate my sabbath to studying and recreating the events from Star Wars (sometimes through the medium of video games)
- I can recite large sections of the text from memory.
try todo live by Yoda's teachings.
The Case Against
- I occasionally dabble in Whovianism. Am I an apostate?
- Jedi is a fictional religion (although, so are all religions).
Who am I kidding. I'm not a Jedi. Not because I am too old to begin training, but because telekinesis is beyond my ability.
Actually, it's more profound than that.
I Have No Religion - And I Want My County To Reflect My (non) Beliefs
The census campaign sums it up rather well, and I want to expand on their points.
There are many state activities which could be curtailed if politicians and newspapers knew that the malign influence of religion was on the wane.
There are a few specific issues which convince me that I want to renounce Jedi-ism and let the country know I have no religion.
- The wicked and divisive institutions which purport to be "faith" schools.
- The religiously motivated attack on women's reproductive rights.
- The sexist space in the House of Lords reserved for Bishops. (Sexist because the misogynists in the church won't ordain women.)
- The willful murder of innocent contractors on a building site.
- Religions' ruinous drain on the state and its tax-exempt status.
- The entrenched homophobia of many religions
- I could go on, but you get my drift.
It would be remiss of me not to include some opposing views from Church Mouse and "Archbishop" Cranmer. Both of whom, I concede, put up a reasonable argument as to why "Cultural Christians" should not say "no religion".
Ultimately, I have a very small chance to make a difference. I intend to use it. I urge you to do the same.