I’m not exactly the most religious dude. As a kid, however, I went to a Christian church every Sunday with my folks, but I was convinced everyone knew I was really there just for the communion. That Welch’s grape juice was dee-lish! It wasn’t until I became a little older and got an education that I was able to think for myself, ultimately realizing how full of shit the church really was. Sorry Mum.
Following being exiled from perhaps the most boring church on the planet, I found spiritual fulfillment in a modest, hedonistic way of life that included surfing, music, and all things creative. My philosophies, among others, included: “Don’t be a dick, love everyone” and “Quit your bitching, everything’s gonna be alright.” It wasn’t until a few days ago that I learned of an official religion that is loosely aligned with my lifestyle and ethics. I certainly won’t be endorsing a title any time soon, but that’s hardly the point.
Dudeism, or The Church of the Latter-Day Dude, was founded in 2005 by Oliver Benjamin, whose primary objective was to promote a modern form of Chinese Taoism. Presented in a style as personified by the character Jeffrey “The Dude” Lebowski in The Big Lebowski, the religion is a philosophy and lifestyle that advocates and encourages the practice of “going with the flow,” “being cool headed,” and “taking it easy” in the face of life’s difficulties… like surfers.
“The Dudeist belief system is essentially a modernized form of Taoism stripped of all of its metaphysical and medical doctrines,” said Ben Walters of the Guardian. “It also aims to assuage feelings of inadequacy that arise in societies which place a heavy emphasis on achievement and personal fortune. Consequently, simple everyday pleasures like bathing, bowling, and hanging out with friends are seen as far preferable to the accumulation of wealth and the spending of money as a means to achieve happiness and spiritual fulfillment.”
Sound familiar? If you’ve ever risked being fired from your job to get one more wave then you’re probably a Dudeist.
Although many regard Dudeism as a mock religion, its founder and many adherents take it very seriously. The Church of the Latter-Day Dude has its official publication, The Dudespaper. It even has a sacred holy day of Dudeism held on March 6 of every year: The Day of the Dude. Additionally, there are dozens upon dozens of published works dedicated to the teachings of Dudeism. Question is: Are you a Dudeist?