BY: TREVOR HEWITT
In a material based society, so much emphasis is placed on the accumulation of physical wealth.
Well, say what you will about the tenants of Capitalism, at least it’s an ethos.
But not for all. Dudeism is a religion that is inspired by “The Dude,” the protagonist of the Coen Brothers’ 1998 film The Big Lebowski. The Dudeist belief system is basically just modernized Taoism – minus all the metaphysical stuff.
The religion was founded in 2005 by Oliver Benjamin, who describes it on his website as a “philosophy that preaches non-preachiness, practices as little as possible and above all, uh … lost my train of thought there.”
Dudeism’s official organization name is The Church of the Latter-Day Dude. Despite its claim of being “the slowest-growing religion in the world,” there are more than 250,000 ordained Dudeist priests across the world – most American states even allow them to perform wedding ceremonies.
Dudeism advocates and encourages going with the flow, being cool-headed and taking it easy in the face of your hardships. They believe that these tenets are the best way to be both at harmony with one’s inner nature and be successful at interacting with others.
Benjamin explains further on his website. “The only religions around are about 2000 years old or more and so can’t possibly provide the worldview for a world that’s changed so much … the atheist movement had gathered steam but hasn’t provided anything to fill the gap where religions used to be … Dudeism, on the other hand, takes the essential messages of all the [world’s] religions and simplifies them, purging them of all their dogma and superstitions, leaving only the easygoing useful and fortifying.”
One of the religion’s main goals is to reduce feelings of inadequacy stemming from a lack of material wealth, common in many of today’s capitalist societies. Consequently, Dudeists believe daily pleasures such as bathing, bowling and hanging out with friends are far more paramount to happiness and spiritual fulfillment than accumulation of material wealth.
So crack open that three-year-old bottle of Kahlua, light up a J and remember what Benjamin says is as close to the Dudeists’ motto as possible – “Sometimes you eat the bear and, well, sometimes the bear, he eats you.”