“Come join the slowest-growing religion in the world – Dudeism. An ancient philosophy that preaches non-preachiness, practices as little as possible, and above all, uh…lost my train of thought there. Anyway, if you’d like to find peace on earth and goodwill, man, we’ll help you get started. Right after a little nap.”
These are the opening words to the Home page on http://dudeism.com, a site dedicated to a religion born from the life philosophy of Jeff Bridges’ character – Jeff Lebowski, or as he preferred to be called, the Dude – from the iconic 1998 Coen Brothers movie “The Big Lebowski”. I recently brought this up with some friends and they of course thought I was joking. Well here you go guys, who’s havin’ a laugh now?
For those of you who haven’t seen it, and let me just warn you that I will make you feel very bad about this fact if we meet in person, The big Lebowski, and its unbelievably charismatic yet aggressively mellow protagonist – the Dude, are simply masterpieces. You love Gone With The Wind, you think it changed your life, well the same could be said about this Hollywood smash. So its no surprise to me that in a world that seems to be teeming with problems and where all news seems to be bad news, a bunch of people just decided to put up their feet, get comfy in their bathroom robes (Yes I do have one!) and sip on their White Russians while reciting the simple yet deeply spiritual mantras “Mellow out man” and “The Dude abides”.
In the spirit of the Dude, I’m also choosing to keep this post short, so as to not burden you with too much reading and keep you away from your Sunday festivities or purposeful lack-there-of. But I admit to wondering whether the creators of the Big Lebowski could have predicted the impact their movie and its characters would have. Surely it is more than pure coincidence that the Dude, in his sunglasses, open bathrobe and shaggy hairdo could be compared to a modern bohemian Jesus like figure?
Now while I am a major fan of the movie, and a “kick back artist” in my own right, when the mood suits, I can’t say that I have gone as far as converting. But hey, who knows, this laid back philosophy towards life may be just what you’re looking for. So check out the site – get ordained, order some fun stuff, read up about “Great Dudes in History”. And if not that, do at least watch the movie.
As an aside, just let me say, that while some people might think that “Dudeism” is a joke, I have to admit, and maybe this is a controversial comparison to make, but in my mind it doesn’t differ that much from most religions. Religion began as a human construct to try and explain and characterize the phenomenon of nature. It then developed into a source of morality and ethos based on divine guidance. It often grows and evolves to suit the needs to humanity – to give them faith and courage, to lend credence to the leadership of mortal leaders, to help guide mankind towards enlightenment. Of course there are ways in which faith is manipulated, but I choose not to dwell on that here, not now. So in that respect, Dudeism is the same as all other faiths – it is a construct, based on a perceived exceptional figure, serving to bring people together in a message of peace, love, white russians and bowling with your best friends. That sounds pretty good to me.