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Friday, 3 May 2013

Doctor Who as a Religion? Pt 1

According to Professor Schmitt at College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts  religious beliefs have these eight core concepts:
  1. Belief System or World-view:  Many beliefs that fit together as a system to make sense of the universe and our place in it.
  2. Community: The belief is shared and its ideals are practised by a group
  3. Central Stories/Myths: Stories that help explain the beliefs of a group  these are told over and over again and sometimes performed by members of the group. They may or may not be factual.
  4. Rituals: Beliefs are explained, taught, and made real through ceremonies.
  5. Ethics: Rules about how to behave; these rules are often thought to come from a deity or supernatural place, but they might also be seen as guidelines created by the group over time.
  6. Characteristic Emotional Experiences: Most religions share emotions such as awe, mystery, guilt, joy, devotion, conversion, inner peace, etc.
  7. Material Expression: Religions use things to perform rituals or to express or represent beliefs, such as: statues, paintings, music, flowers, clothes, architecture, and specific shared locations.
  8. Sacredness: Religions see some things as sacred and some not sacred (or profane). Some objects, actions, people, and places may share in the sacredness or express it.
(click on the theme to find the post addressing it)

As you were reading that, you may have been thinking of examples of the characteristics in your own religion and in the show, as I was. I will be going over the concept of Doctor Who being religious in the coming weeks. All posts will be tagged "Whovianism as a Religion" and can be accessed by clicking on that hyperlink.

First, let me give you the background information on me that you might find helpful:

I am 19 years old (minus 5 days) and wasn't raised as a specific religion, per se. My mother is Jewish and my father is Lutheran. I went to a Jewish preschool and then summer camp until 2004. Because of the difference of religion at home, we never really attended Temple or Chruch. We'd celebrate things like Hanukkah, Pesach (Passover) and Rosh Shoshana, as well as Christmas and Easter. As I grew older, I observed religion less, but still find it very magical to think about the tradition of my ancestors as Jews. A few years ago, I experimented with Neo-Paganism and more recently, Buddhism. I wouldn't say I'm religious, but I'm also not an atheist or agnostic. 

Secondly, let me say this:
Most of my comparisons will likely be to Christian or Judaic scripture, simply because that is what I know best. I don't have a problem with Islam, or any other religion for that matter (I could see this coming under fire without that statement) and think it is a very interesting religion and have given thought to converting to it. As you can see, I'm very open to religion and am tolerant of all religion, so if I say something that offends your beliefs, it was unintentional and I am truly sorry. eMail me (tardistyle dot blogspot at gmail dot com) if you want and maybe I'll learn something new.

Ok, so down to business.
Today, I'll deal with the second on the list: Community. I'm saving Belief System/World-view for last.

Whovians are a community. All of us from the die-hards in full cosplay at Gallifrey One, to the bloggers (me), to the Tweeters tend to share everything. Or reblog, or retweet for that matter. "Real" religions have communities that are a bit more palpable--the congregation, the religious schools, the youth-groups, etc. than what you see with Whovianism, but that doesn't mean that it doesn't count. Merriam-Webster defines community as "an interacting population of various kinds of individuals". We certainly fit that definition! We are all, obviously, individuals and interact with one and other, even if it is just over social media and rarely in person. You're interacting with the Whovian community right now!