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Creating a Religion from A Work of Fiction

Kylia Quilor

Hopeless Romantic and Nerd
Author
Most of us are probably familiar with the basic idea of All Hail Mickey Mouse, the trope where Mickey, or some other culturally significant fictional character gets mistaken for a god or divine being in some future imperfect society.

So what would some of our favorite works of fiction look like if they became the basis for religions? Like, say, Harry Potter - what might be the core moral values of a Harry Potter religion? Bravery, probably, self-sacrifice, sure, especially for your friends. But what else? What would come of Slytherin? In the books, Slytherin gets a bad rap, to say the least, but there's ongoing rehabilitation in the fandom, discussing the actual core ideas of the House as presented in the books and ancillary material, arguing accurately, that 'Evil' and 'Racist' aren't the hat of Slytherin, but rather, ambition and cleverness. Which, in of themselves, are morally neutral.

But would a Harry Potter religion remember that? And how would they treat the other two houses? Would there be a whole sectarian divide over people who think Snape was a Hero and the people who think he was completely evil/a bastard/etc, etc? And the people who like Dumbledore and those who cast him as an Arch-manipulative scumbag? All very interesting questions.

And equally, what about other stuff? Lord of the Rings might adapt fairly easily into a religion, since the Silmarillion already reads kind of like the Bible, in some ways, and JRR Tolkein put a lot of Christianity into the lore. Narnia basically is just Christianity with talking animals. But what about something more out there? What if the Marvel Comics became the basis for a religion, or the Fast and Furious movies? Et cetera.
 

Friendly Boi

Friendly B.O.W. to some.
Has anyone ever thought about the possibility of Lovecraft's works becoming sources of religion in the future?

I mean, I believe people would likely form sects left and right following the example of his books, some well-meaning and others more like the groups of homicidal nutsos killing people in the name of Shub Niggurath or some other outer deity.
 

Kylia Quilor

Hopeless Romantic and Nerd
Author
I have, yeah. I imagine the religion would more likely center around warding off the Old Ones (though Derleth and other later Cthulhu Mythos authors have created nominally 'good' elder beings too) more than worshipping the - i.e. stay their rather than try to serve their will.

Incidentally, the post-apocalyptic After the End CK2 Mod actually does have an 'Occultist' faith based on Lovecraft's works become dominant among the tribes of New England.
 

Lerticus

Senile Old Coot
Isn’t this concept exactly what L. Ron Hubbard did?
I think they mean more fiction becoming religion (like becoming Jedi) and not just making up a religion.

But yes. That he was on record going "hey, I could make up some bullshit religion and people will make me rich" and then shortly afterwards created a religion just shows how sad humanity is.
 

Kylia Quilor

Hopeless Romantic and Nerd
Author
I think they mean more fiction becoming religion (like becoming Jedi) and not just making up a religion.

But yes. That he was on record going "hey, I could make up some bullshit religion and people will make me rich" and then shortly afterwards created a religion just shows how sad humanity is.
yes

But even more @LCDR Stormwalker I mean it as more of an accidental occurrence - like in the trop I cited Re: Mickey Mouse. The idea that, with maybe only fragments of a fictional canon, and with no appreciation that what they're reading is fiction, what religions could arise from it?
 

Kylia Quilor

Hopeless Romantic and Nerd
Author
Isn't scientology some flavour of this?
Scientology was created to be a religion. So no, it's not really what I'm talking about here. As I already said:

But even more @LCDR Stormwalker I mean it as more of an accidental occurrence - like in the trop I cited Re: Mickey Mouse. The idea that, with maybe only fragments of a fictional canon, and with no appreciation that what they're reading is fiction, what religions could arise from it?
L. Ron. Hubbard deliberately set out to make a religion for profit. That's not the same as someone stumbling on fragments of LOTR, the Hobbit and the Silmarillion and mistaking them for some sort of holy book or allegorical stories of a religion. I mean, some people do get religiously serious about LOTR, Star Wars, etc.
 

Erwin_Pommel

British culture>Whatever pleb culture you have
Author
Well, I live very close to where Paul Walker died so I guess we could make a shrine there.
Then go, Brother Stormwalker, pray in the name of our lord, Paul, and remember to forgo any and all interactions with the foul demon known as Mercedes...
 

Yesman

British Culture>Whatever pleb culture you have
Author
ALL HAIL THE MOTHER MOYA FOR SHE NOURISHES US WITH HER MILK

-If you don't understand, there is an image in another thread.
 

D'waawwu

Well-known member
Has anyone ever thought about the possibility of Lovecraft's works becoming sources of religion in the future?

I mean, I believe people would likely form sects left and right following the example of his books, some well-meaning and others more like the groups of homicidal nutsos killing people in the name of Shub Niggurath or some other outer deity.
Ironically I do remember a webcomic that had a similar idea. In the future they believe lovecraft's works are a serious religious text in the past. Sorry can't give a link don't remember what it was called.
 

Friendly Boi

Friendly B.O.W. to some.
Ironically I do remember a webcomic that had a similar idea. In the future they believe lovecraft's works are a serious religious text in the past. Sorry can't give a link don't remember what it was called.
No need to send links, I believe you simply because we already have nutsos who made a cult of his personality.
 

Mondor

The Freak
Y'know, I'm going to gather everything I ever wrote about Thy Holy Fat One and turn it into religious text. I already started writing a bible once so why not lmao
 

Kylia Quilor

Hopeless Romantic and Nerd
Author
Ironically I do remember a webcomic that had a similar idea. In the future they believe lovecraft's works are a serious religious text in the past. Sorry can't give a link don't remember what it was called.
It doesn't even seem that hard - his short stories are often contradictory, explain very little context and have cosmic scope and scale. They're akin to religious narratives already!

I suppose the real question - would a Lovecraft inspired religion be as racist as Lovecraft himself was, or would they miss that part? (Not that Lovecraft's personal racism robs his works of value as fiction - one of the funny things about his works is how the struggle against an all powerful cosmic uncaring force can resonate with marginalized people of all stripes - meaning Lovecraft is probably spinning in his grave.)
 

Kylia Quilor

Hopeless Romantic and Nerd
Author
Hey, what about the cult of R'hllor seen in ASOIAF?
I imagine that would depend on if people take their cues from Thoros of Myr or Melisandre - the latter is noticeably more unpleasant and bloodthirsty, AFA I Can Tell. Still, it would be an interesting sort of Faith - it certainly has a good amount of development in the books and the show
 

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