UK Atheists Hope to Eliminate Jedi Population

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There's something fishy about this, I don't really see much harm in checking "Jedi" as a religion, if anything I think that this might be some weird attempt to make the Atheist/Non Religious population in the U.K. look bigger.

Well phewie on those spoil sports.
Why would you want to choose boring old "non religious" when you can be a Jedi?
And who says Jedi can't be as legitimate as other beliefs? It has understandable tenants, good lessons and a vast, expansive lore.
Sounds like a valid religion to me.

More power to the Jedi, I say.

mechanixis:

theNater:

Tin Man:
People might think this is silly, but where do you think statistics that politicians spout come from? If 50% of people put Jedi for arguments sake, then that means that the UK has a population of religious people, which means a certain amount of yours and my money gets given to whatever religious cause makes the most noise for it, which will certainly be the organised ones already balls deep in the system.

So if 50% of people put Hindu, the government might start building synagogues?

Where did this idea that any religion=every religion come from?

It's no so much that as it is this: if 25% say No Religion, 25% say Jedi, and then 40% say Christian (or any other affiliation), it looks like Christian is the dominant group, when the actual majority is No Religion. It gives the government erroneous information, which, interestingly enough, results in misguided policy!

These censuses aren't just goofy forum polls done for the hell of it. They're to keep decision makers informed of who they represent.

Anybody who thinks a group that is 60% non-Christian is dominated by Christians has deeper problems than inaccurate data.

I think this is hilarious.

The problem is they want people to not put jedi and instead support their actual religion or put 'no religion'. The thing is that most of the people who put this are not really 'athiests' so they don't want to put 'no religion' but also are not followers of any kind of church or religious organization; this leads to them just putting 'jedi' since it is funny.

I'm not reading through all 9 pages of this thread, but no one seems to have mentioned that the religion question is the only one specifically marked as 'Optional' on the census paper. So all those people moaning about why anyone needs this info should really give it a rest. If you don't want to say your religion, there's no need to deliberately skew the data, just leave it blank.

Personally I'm with the campaign. Anyone who wants to make the point that 'all religions are shit' should do so unambiguously by ticking the No Religion box. Having clear data is always a good thing.

Regards obtrusiveness, I'm far more bothered by the number of questions geared towards gathering unemployment data, which seems very out of place in my opinion.

theNater:

mechanixis:

theNater:

So if 50% of people put Hindu, the government might start building synagogues?

Where did this idea that any religion=every religion come from?

It's no so much that as it is this: if 25% say No Religion, 25% say Jedi, and then 40% say Christian (or any other affiliation), it looks like Christian is the dominant group, when the actual majority is No Religion. It gives the government erroneous information, which, interestingly enough, results in misguided policy!

These censuses aren't just goofy forum polls done for the hell of it. They're to keep decision makers informed of who they represent.

Anybody who thinks a group that is 60% non-Christian is dominated by Christians has deeper problems than inaccurate data.

You realize those were hypothetical statistics that I pulled out of my ass to illustrate a point, right?

How would this group sort out the people saying it as a joke from those who seriously think they are Jedi? I mean if Scientology can convince people to pay thousands of dollars to hear the writings of a science fiction author who said if you want to make money you start a religion then I'm fairly sure people can take Jedis seriously.

ughh...
couldn't the government, i dont know, add all the people who write 'jedi' to the 'no religion'?
and while we're on the subject of jedi, why jedi? there were 3 movies that were any good (the first 3 chronologically), so why?

fix-the-spade:
What if I get a red pen and scrawl BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD across religion.

Will they file that under 'other'?

Why not just use blood?

harvz:
ughh...
couldn't the government, i dont know, add all the people who write 'jedi' to the 'no religion'?
and while we're on the subject of jedi, why jedi? there were 3 movies that were any good (the first 3 chronologically), so why?

Because that is altering census. A lie.

Not all Jedis are automatically Atheist.

Scientology is based on sci fi so why not jedi.
One ccould argue all religions are based on early forms of sci fi.

Witty Name Here:
There's something fishy about this, I don't really see much harm in checking "Jedi" as a religion, if anything I think that this might be some weird attempt to make the Atheist/Non Religious population in the U.K. look bigger.

Maybe.

My question is why is that a bad thing? Vocal people like Dawkins, Hitchens and Fry have been pushing for larger representation of Atheists in political arenas for years. Why, on the eve of something that can actually make a difference, are people now deliberately eschewing the figures for the sake of what amounts to an immature, silly and not even funny prank? A raspberry to the powers that be? Well fucking done, esteemed man-children of my generation.

Can you, or ANYONE else here tell me the value in wasting this particular piece of information as opposed to just being mature for the seconds it'll take to address the question?

Ashendarei:

Why not just use blood?

Are you volunteering?

Might get the paper thrown out doing that. I'd want it recorded for posterity.

Flatfrog:

Personally I'm with the campaign. Anyone who wants to make the point that 'all religions are shit' should do so unambiguously by ticking the No Religion box. Having clear data is always a good thing.

Do you really think 400k people putting "Jedi" as their religion will really skew the data? I would of thought the government would be smart enough to spot a joke and not to base legislation on it... all they need do is simply count all the Jedi as atheist and all is well, hardly a big adjustment to make.

What does this data affect anyway? are you seriously telling me that if enough people put Jedi on the census we will have Jedi faith schools?... Though that would be awesome O.o

Besides, I don't think "all religions are shit", when I put "Jedi Knight" on the form its for several reasons: 1) OK I may not be part of an organised religion but I don't want to be lumped in with the secular, rake-up-ass atheists 2) Star wars is the closest thing I have to a religion 3) I want to show support for the nerd/geek contingent:- there are more dyed-in-the-wool geeks out there than people think and we want to be recognised as a social group too! (though maybe that's just me)

similar.squirrel:
They're right. Taking the piss is funny up to a point, but botching an attempt at furthering secularization is taking it a bit far.
You will not be able to excise the cancer of religion by laughing at it, that's for sure.

The percentage of who is and who is not religous is not relevant to secularizing government. Even if 99% of the people are a certain religion, religious freedom would still mandate a secular government.

I think you meant to say "Botching an attempt at destroying religion."

A) Forcing them to put Atheist rather than Jedi is not going to further any attempt at destroying religion, it would not help in any size shape or form.

B) Destroying religion is a violation of human rights. People have both a right to be free from being forced into other's religions, and to have whatever religion they wish.

C) Can you explain precisely why a lack of religion would make the world a better place? Chairman Mao of China, as I recall, did pretty much every horrible thing that religous people do. Same for Stalin. So it seems to me that the basic problems Atheists associate with religion are going to exist even without religion.

Am I the only person who gets this image the moment someone says the word atheist or atheism?
image

I'm listing myself as a member of the Chorazos Cult.

If you put Jedi down, you are going to mess with statistics, no matter what you do. For example, say there are 500 people following Religion A and 400 people following Religion B. 300 people from Religion A decide to put Jedi down as a joke, and 100 people from Religion B do so too.

This results in the following Census Result.

Jedi 400
Religion B 300
Religion A 200

And as a result, the government has so choice but to Ignore the Jedi joke and declare Religion B as the largest religion, when it is not.

WrongSprite:
Why do they even need to know? They have no reason to care.
I'm still fucking putting Jedi.

Good on you, the population should take the census about as seriously as the government takes them.

I'm all for cutting off one's nose to spite one's face.
Especially if the face is short-sighted and borderline retarded.

Blaster395:
If you put Jedi down, you are going to mess with statistics, no matter what you do. For example, say there are 500 people following Religion A and 400 people following Religion B. 300 people from Religion A decide to put Jedi down as a joke, and 100 people from Religion B do so too.

This results in the following Census Result.

Jedi 400
Religion B 300
Religion A 200

And as a result, the government has so choice but to Ignore the Jedi joke and declare Religion B as the largest religion, when it is not.

I am assuming anyone with an actual religion or belonging to a church would put that rather than blasphemously state "Jedi", therefore your scenario would only be an issue were atheism a religion, which it is not. Furthermore they are asking you to put "No Religion" which is not quite the same thing as being atheist. People chose Jedi originally for the very fact it equated to putting nothing at all, or "none of your f***ing business". If somehow this movement secures funding for the Church of Jediism then that sort of proves the point people were making in the beginning - that the census is corruptible, intrusive and serves only to collate bad data into bad policies.

Not forgetting if you give state funding to a bunch of people calling themselves "Jedis" then chances are they're just going to spend it on booze and weed.
......
Shit ! Put Jedi !!!!!

At worst you could argue that the people who suffer are the genuine practising Jedis of the UK.
Although I haven't seen any lately.....maybe they do not wish to be seen ?

C_Topher:
This isn't a UK only thing. In 2001, a lot of English speaking countries had this happen. Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and Scotland all had a significant number of citizens claim to be either "Jedi" or "Jedi Knight" on their census forms. In my opinion, it's more a philosophy than a religion, so what's the big deal. And because someone has to say it:

"I find your lack of faith disturbing."

This comment is made of win

OT: I think the atheists(I probably spelled it wrong my bad X() should let it be, who cares right?

Dam atheists! always trying to force their religious views on people!

Blaster395:
If you put Jedi down, you are going to mess with statistics, no matter what you do. For example, say there are 500 people following Religion A and 400 people following Religion B. 300 people from Religion A decide to put Jedi down as a joke, and 100 people from Religion B do so too.

This results in the following Census Result.

Jedi 400
Religion B 300
Religion A 200

And as a result, the government has so choice but to Ignore the Jedi joke and declare Religion B as the largest religion, when it is not.

Britain has more than 60 million people. It is more than 61,838,154.* 400,000 is less than one percent of the population. Less than one percent. That is not going to alter the percentages significantly.

* Source: http://www.google.com/publicdata?ds=wb-wdi&met=sp_pop_totl&idim=country:GBR&dl=en&hl=en&q=british+population

Isn't it sooo great to live in a country were people have such a good sense of humour (sarcasm)

also, the 'It's giving the government the wrong idea' argument... I'm sorry, but wtf is that guy on? Does he honestly believe that the government is going to take anyone who puts Jedi as their religion seriously?

When I start having to do census's I'm going to put Caucasian as my ethnicity (which is true), but then put Rastafarian as my religion, just to see is anyone will actually call me out on it.

This thread is depressing. Every single argument is one of the following:

"I support Jedi because I like Star Wars."
"I support Jedi because I don't like The Man."
"I support Jedi because I find Atheists annoying at an ad hominem level."

This is an issue of accuracy in a democratic process. If you don't take your own religion or government seriously, then what the hell do you take seriously? What does that leave you? If you want to act like children, then stop doing it when the grownups are talking.

similar.squirrel:
They're right. Taking the piss is funny up to a point, but botching an attempt at furthering secularization is taking it a bit far.
You will not be able to excise the cancer of religion by laughing at it, that's for sure.

Pfft. It's not the government's job to "excise the cancer of religion." If you want to convert everyone to atheism then you should go burn the churches yourself. I'm sure society will be much better then right? It's not like secular ideas like nationalism and Social Darwinism ever lead to anything bad. LOL.

I say wait until genetic engineering improves. Then we can just order mandatory enhancements removing the herd instinct. We should probably make everyone less social too, there's no point and identifying one's self with a group more often leads to hatred than anything good. We might need to get rid of emotion altogether. Vulcan style. Yeah, I like the sound of that.

Why do the government need to know so badly? Is knowing how many people are religious really going to affect anything they do?

a few years ago i was one of those people who put jedi on the census.

I actually filled in the census form earlier. Spent most of the time hovering over the religion question wondering if I should put jedi, sith or pastafarian.

Went with 'none' in the end, seemed easier.

summerof2010:

Ghengis John:

summerof2010:

If I were a legislator in the UK, I would want people to not lie on their census form for the sake of being ironic and contrary.

Let me guess, atheist?

Yes. Is this going somewhere or are you just going for an Ad Hominem attack?

I understand that it's usually a joke; I even found it quite funny when I heard about it a few years ago. I also accept that there are some people who genuinely consider themselves Jedi, in a spiritual sense, and I can respect that. But whether or not you think it's useful data or if you think they use it correctly, law makers use the census to help make decisions. It's not fair on the non-religious community (which may include the people who claim Jedi), who are marginalized in public decisions because they're underrepresented. It'd be like putting down "Klingon" as your race. Sure, if the results came back and the Daily Mail gets to run a headline that "40% of people in Bristol are extraterrestrials," we all get a laugh. Neato. But at the same time, that leaves 40% of Bristol unaccounted for by the data.

The_root_of_all_evil:
People used to mock me when I talked about militant atheists....

Militant Atheism? Campaigning to get people to more seriously consider the answers they give to polls which decide public policy is militant? The campaign doesn't seek to convert the religious, it merely seeks to let those who are already non-religious be more accurately represented by the national statistics. What's wrong with that?

I'm morally opposed to arguing on the Internet, so I'm just weighing in to thank summerof2010 for being such a reasonable representative of the atheists' side of this discussion. I read through the first 7 pages of this thread before I got tired of reading posts made by people who either didn't read or don't understand the argument against screwing with the census data.

Goody:

marcogodinho:
Aww, come on! The Jedi movement is awesome. Some atheists should know how to take a joke.

And other people need to learn when to make jokes, and when to take things seriously.

The Census is to inform the government of how they shoud invest in communities, by putting a joke religion down on a serious thing the so called jedi's are making the country seem more religious than it really is, and thus getting the governemnt to invest in more religious communities over anything else, or simply making this generation look like a bunch of immature jokers that don't want a better community or care enough to allow it to be improved.

Eh...I know what the census is trying to accomplish,its in the original post :)

I get what youre saying, but...

1)...i think that if people (and the media)make a big deal out of this, the number of self-proclaimed jedis might actually INCREASE this year.

2)...i hope that the government will be able to tell that those who wrote "Jedi" might not be a completely reliable demographic. If theyre not able to take that into consideration, this Jedi issue might be the least of UKs problems.

3)...its obvious that these few atheists who are behind this have their own agenda. Sure, you pointed out a noble purpose in their movement, but im confident that they mainly want to change public perception of their cause (as in, that there are more atheists than before). Lets not pretend that theyre only doing this for the greater good.

4)...what if a lot of those people actually believe in Jediism? The whole "If your religion is of low enough importance to you to that you are willing to put in a religion from 3 good sci-fi films from years ago, and 3 more recent rubbish ones,please consider ticking 'No Religion' instead" line is a pretty arrogant and possibly offensive statement. Im agnostic, but i believe if someone wants to believe in The Force, they have the right to do so. The message is delivered in the worst way possible and has a holier-than-thou attitude that i cannot defend.

Just my two cents. Cheers

AgDr_ODST:
UK atheists need to get the big sticks stuck up there asses forcibly removed!! its a joke you uptight bastards! Besides most of the people claiming to be into 'Jedism' are probably nonreligious but they decide to say otherwise for a laugh

We're not all uptight bastards. The reason they want them to put non religious is because our government actually takes "Jedi" as a serious religion, and it will alter the numbers of "non-religious" in their eyes, which to atheists is a bad thing.

Also, I'm putting the Church of Google.

RelexCryo:

similar.squirrel:
They're right. Taking the piss is funny up to a point, but botching an attempt at furthering secularization is taking it a bit far.
You will not be able to excise the cancer of religion by laughing at it, that's for sure.

The percentage of who is and who is not religous is not relevant to secularizing government. Even if 99% of the people are a certain religion, religious freedom would still mandate a secular government.

It's more complicated than that. In the United States, you literally have no hope running for office without being emphatically Christian. While there is a technical separation of church and state, in reality it's very much a Christian hegemony. By under-representing the actual non-religious demographic, we're just perpetuating a culture where someone's religion is seen as some kind of moral metric: being "Christian" automatically marks you as a good, intelligent person, while being Islamic or nonreligious demonizes you. It's a system of deeply ingrained prejudices.

RelexCryo:
I think you meant to say "Botching an attempt at destroying religion."

A) Forcing them to put Atheist rather than Jedi is not going to further any attempt at destroying religion, it would not help in any size shape or form.

How is this "destroying religion"? There's no forcing here; it's just an appeal for them to take these things seriously. If anything, it's begging. You're buying in to the inflammatory tone of the article.

RelexCryo:
B) Destroying religion is a violation of human rights. People have both a right to be free from being forced into other's religions, and to have whatever religion they wish.

C) Can you explain precisely why a lack of religion would make the world a better place? Chairman Mao of China, as I recall, did pretty much every horrible thing that religous people do. Same for Stalin. So it seems to me that the basic problems Atheists associate with religion are going to exist even without religion.

No one is talking about actively destroying religion! Atheists don't go out in the night and kidnap religious people to brainwash them! Religion is an extremely dominant force in government and culture, and 'militant' Atheists like this simply want to level the playing field by coaxing secularization along. As I said, religious fundamentalism has led to serious problems in the United States when it comes to elected officials. Gay marriage, anyone?

mechanixis:

RelexCryo:

similar.squirrel:
They're right. Taking the piss is funny up to a point, but botching an attempt at furthering secularization is taking it a bit far.
You will not be able to excise the cancer of religion by laughing at it, that's for sure.

The percentage of who is and who is not religous is not relevant to secularizing government. Even if 99% of the people are a certain religion, religious freedom would still mandate a secular government.

It's more complicated than that. In the United States, you literally have no hope running for office without being emphatically Christian. While there is a technical separation of church and state, in reality it's very much a Christian hegemony. By under-representing the actual non-religious demographic, we're just perpetuating a culture where someone's religion is seen as some kind of moral metric: being "Christian" automatically marks you as a good, intelligent person, while being Islamic or nonreligious demonizes you. It's a system of deeply ingrained prejudices.

RelexCryo:
I think you meant to say "Botching an attempt at destroying religion."

A) Forcing them to put Atheist rather than Jedi is not going to further any attempt at destroying religion, it would not help in any size shape or form.

How is this "destroying religion"? There's no forcing here; it's just an appeal for them to take these things seriously. If anything, it's begging. You're buying in to the inflammatory tone of the article.

RelexCryo:
B) Destroying religion is a violation of human rights. People have both a right to be free from being forced into other's religions, and to have whatever religion they wish.

C) Can you explain precisely why a lack of religion would make the world a better place? Chairman Mao of China, as I recall, did pretty much every horrible thing that religous people do. Same for Stalin. So it seems to me that the basic problems Atheists associate with religion are going to exist even without religion.

No one is talking about actively destroying religion! Atheists don't go out in the night and kidnap religious people to brainwash them! Religion is an extremely dominant force in government and culture, and 'militant' Atheists like this simply want to level the playing field by coaxing secularization along. As I said, religious fundamentalism has led to serious problems in the United States when it comes to elected officials. Gay marriage, anyone?

The people who are complaining about the Jedi aren't trying to destroy religion, they just want accurate census numbers because they don't want the UK to appear more religious than it is by having atheists sign up as Jedists.

But on the other hand, there are a lot of people who feel like the government has no business knowing their religion and sign Jedi because of this. And you know what? They're probably right. The census should just include a "prefer not to answer" option and the problem would probably be solved.

But you're wrong about militant atheists, some of them DO want to wipe out religion. Not all of them by any means, but some. They're nut-jobs and they give a bad name to the other atheists.

Continuity:

Flatfrog:

Personally I'm with the campaign. Anyone who wants to make the point that 'all religions are shit' should do so unambiguously by ticking the No Religion box. Having clear data is always a good thing.

Do you really think 400k people putting "Jedi" as their religion will really skew the data? I would of thought the government would be smart enough to spot a joke and not to base legislation on it... all they need do is simply count all the Jedi as atheist and all is well, hardly a big adjustment to make.

They have said they won't do this, though - putative 'Jedis' will be treated the same as those who have ignored the question. (And in fairness, making a question optional makes the data fairly suspect anyway). So yes, I think that is a significant difference. These people have some reason for making a statement like that - even if it's a joke, it's a very specific joke, one that is at the expense of organised religion. And I think the movement towards secularism (as opposed to atheism) in the UK is really important, not least because of the faith school issue.

Continuity:

Besides, I don't think "all religions are shit", when I put "Jedi Knight" on the form its for several reasons: 1) OK I may not be part of an organised religion but I don't want to be lumped in with the secular, rake-up-ass atheists 2) Star wars is the closest thing I have to a religion 3) I want to show support for the nerd/geek contingent:- there are more dyed-in-the-wool geeks out there than people think and we want to be recognised as a social group too! (though maybe that's just me)

Yes, that's all great, but this census isn't about being recognised as a social group. It would be great if it did - I think it would be genuinely interesting to have a question that said something like 'if you had to use one word to describe yourself and the community of people you most belong to, what would it be?' In many ways I think that would tell us a lot more about the demographics of this country than asking about religion - there's a big difference between being a christian and *identifying* yourself as a Christian, (and similarly 'gay', 'black', 'English' or 'gamer' - a single person could be all of these, and being forced to choose one as the single most important part of their identity would be a really interesting challenge).

Anyway, my point is: by putting Jedi you're not making any statement at all. Your voice isn't being heard, it's making no impact on policy in any way.

You should be allowed to put down whatever you want. We have towns in America that have elected animals for Maker's sake! Speaking of Dragon Age references, next census I'm putting down Chantry.

Therumancer:
Seems to me that the guys doing the complaining are missing the point entirely.

As I understand things the whole "Jedi Uprising" thing was done not by Atheists trying to be funny, but by people who objected to the goverment gathering that kind of information. A sort of "right to privacy" thing, where you might agree with the need for a census, but object to some of the information being compiled. I think the Jedi might have included Atheists, but also probably included a lot of people who DO practice a religion but were objecting to the question and were attempting to scew the results by giving a sort of "none of your business" response.

To be honest, I tend to agree with this, and am one of those people who believes that a lot of first world countries should start having their records destroyed in the name of public interest. As ridiculous as it sounds, I'm occasionally apalled at information that private companies as well as the goverment have managed to compile, or require to be given before providing nessicary services. There is such a massive amount of information out there in various records that I think the only real solution is rapidly becoming one where the records need to be destroyed in their entirety.

Even if it amounts to a war due to not accepting/maintaining records of, foreign debts or whatever, I think it's time to pretty much take flame throwers and magnets to currently exisitng databases, followed by imposing some pretty strict laws on what kind of information can be compiled from there on out.

I say this because as ironic as it sounds, the proliferation of records, and the fact that everyone leaves an "information footprint" when they do pretty much anything is a problem. What's more when I see companies like Nintendo implementing technology that they can basically use to track someone via their 3DS, both in their activity with the machine, and by what connections it automatically winds up accessing, all in the interests of "preventing piracy", things have simply gone too far.... and that's just the private sector. I don't see what business it is of the goverments who or what you pray to (if anything at all) faith is a private matter. Honestly I'm skeptical enough to feel that they already have this information in some places, and the census forms are just a method of updating it for certain offices.

I have no desire to see libraries burned or anything (so don't misinterpet this) just the records kept by things like town halls, clerks offices, debt collectors (who then sell that information to others), marketers, etc...

That's a little extreme perhaps, and very difficult to enforce in any meaningful way, but you do have a point.

I've already said it, but it's worth repeating:

Dutch census data was later abused to locate Jews in world war 2.

Accurate data about who belongs to certain groups can and has been used to commit serious attocities.

Anyone who thinks this is a trivial matter really needs to check their history.

Anyone who thinks it doesn't matter because the government/corporation collecting the data can be trusted with it...

Well, see above; It wasn't the dutch government that abused their own census data...

Statistical data that isn't 100% anonymous (and it never is), is much more dangerous than most people are aware of.

How else can anyone with ill intent (or even just the intent to be intrusive and annoying) work out who to target?

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