Jediism is a philosophy mainly based on the depiction of the Jedi in Star Wars media. Jediism attracted public attention in 2001 when a number of people recorded their religion as “Jedi” on national censuses.
Jediism is inspired by elements of Star Wars, namely the fictional religion of the Jedi. Early websites dedicated to bringing up a belief system from the Star Wars films were “The Jedi Religion and regulations” and “Jediism”. These websites cited the Jedi code, consisting of 21 maxims, as the starting point for a “real Jedi” belief system. The real-world Jediism movement has no founder or central structure.
Jediism was once ranked – at least on paper – as one of Britain’s biggest faiths after 390,000 people entered it as their religion in the 2001 census following a campaign encouraging people to do so in protest at the questions on belief.
Although followers of Jediism acknowledge the influence of Star Wars on their religion, by following the moral and spiritual codes demonstrated by the fictional Jedi, they also insist their path is different from that of the fictional characters and that Jediism does not focus on the myth and fiction found in Star Wars. The Jedi follow the “16 teachings” based on the presentation of the fictional Jedi, such as “Jedi are mindful of the negative emotions which lead to the Dark Side” and “Jedi are guardians of peace and justice”. Adherents also follow “21 maxims”.
But the UK’s official charity regulator has politely turned down an application for so-called “Jedi” beliefs to be recognized effectively as a religion. The Charity Commission dismissed an application from a group calling itself the Temple of the Jedi Order (TOTJO) on the grounds that its beliefs, inspired by material drawn from Star Wars films, books and video games, were not sufficiently “serious”.