What is Dudeism?

April 22, 2021 | Surfing
Dudeism: a worldwide movement that invites people to enjoy life, go with the flow, and take it easy | Illustration: SurferToday

Dudeism is a religion and philosophy founded in 2005 by journalist Oliver Benjamin. Its belief system is inspired by the 1998 movie "The Big Lebowski."

The cult classic film stars Jeff Bridges as "The Dude," an easygoing, carefree Los Angelino fond of weed and White Russian drinks.

The iconic character also enjoys having a bath to the recorded sounds of whale calls and bowling with friends.

However, after thugs flush his head and pee on his carpet, "The Dude" starts losing his mind while still keeping his Zen aura.

Although many people see Dudeism as a mock religion, a prank, parody, or even a suspicious scheme, the organization has a very clear purpose - to promote a better way of living.

Oliver Benjamin is proud of leading "the slowest-growing religion" on the planet that preaches a laid-back lifestyle.

"To a lot of people, the idea of making a religion based on a movie seems silly, but I'm very serious about this," Benjamin once told.

"And all the people who are involved and in the religion, and who are followers of The Church of the Latter-Day Dude, even though they have a sense of humor about it and they don't take it so seriously the way a lot of established religions do, a lot of people get a great deal of meaning out of being part of The Church of the Latter-Day Dude."

"So, even though it's kind of silly, and they joke about it, when it comes down to it, they feel very strongly about it, and so do I."

In a way, Dudeism also sometimes reminds us of Jeff Spicoli in the movie "Fast Times in Ridgemont High."

The Dude: Jeff Bridges plays the ultimate carefree character in the 1998 film 'The Big Lebowski'

An Open-Source Religion

Everyone can get ordained for free - men and women of all ages.

To become a fully certified Dudeist priest, all you need to do is fill a form and then wait for the official document.

From that moment on, you are entitled to preside over weddings, funerals, and preside over religious ceremonies.

Dudeist priests are legally allowed to officiate marriages in some US states.

The most easygoing religion in the world promises to be "an answer for everything" based on the original form of Chinese Taoism.

For dudeists, life is too short for us to worry about it. The trick is to take it easy, go with the flow, and do nothing about daily problems.

Dudeism invites us to stay true to ourselves and live a less worried life. It is a call to a personal talk with our inner self.

The modern-day philosophic movement uses satire and humor to get the message through, but its founder underlines that it's a "religion for its time and place."

Is Dudeism a religion in its strict sense?

It depends on how people see religious practices. It certainly is a belief, and as Oliver Benjamin puts it, it's an "open-source religion."

"Dudeism is a world view that says, 'you shouldn't try so hard to enjoy life,'" added the former journalist.

"Enjoying life is actually relatively easy if you just take it easy and if you go with the flow."

"There's a lot of religions that people follow, but most of them are 2,000 years old or more. It's very hard for them to make sense in a modern context."

Dudeists: the enlightened people who seek a harmonious way to live their life | Illustration: SurferToday

The Dude Testament

Dudeism's official name is The Church of the Latter-Day Dude.

"I started this religion because the religion that I wanted didn't exist."

"I traveled the world looking for it, and it wasn't until I saw 'The Big Lebowski' that suddenly I felt this is the philosophy, this the world view for its time in place.

"I adopted it and turned it into an organization to try to help spread the philosophy and the way of looking at life."

"My title is the Dudely Lama of The Church of the Latter-Day Dude. That means that I'm sort of in charge of everything for now."

"Someday, I'll step down and let someone else take my place."

"This is what I do. This is my main job. I manage the website, write books with other church members, attend events, perform blessings, and officiate at wedding ceremonies."

"I just do everything I can to try to get the word around so that people can join the organization and appreciate what the Dude has to offer."

The Dude Testament is a book that explains Dudeism and why its followers consider the film "The Big Lebowski" a transcendent spiritual and philosophical work powerful enough to inspire an entire religion.

As of July 2020, The Church of the Latter-Day Dude had already ordained over 600,000 priests across the world.

It even has its own Wikipedia entry.

It all started when Benjamin got drunk at a cafe in Thailand with some friends and had a vision of the Coen brothers movie.

"Dudeism is basically modern Taoism. It's this idea that there is a harmonious way to live your life, and there is a good life-affirming way to live," underlines Dudely Lama.

Nevertheless, Dudeism will always be a nontheistic religion, meaning that its followers don't necessarily have to believe in a God or metaphysical entity.

Its founders often list Epicurus, Laozi, Buddha, Heraclitus, and a pre-ecclesiastical Jesus Christ as inspiring figures, i.e." "great dudes in history."

The Church of the Latter-Day Dude: a religion, a philosophy, and a way of life

Books, Games and Activities

Dudeism is constantly spreading the word - on the streets, on the beach, in social media, and wherever there's someone open to take a deep breath and relax.

There's even a state flag of Dudeland, a nation for its followers registered in the larger virtual supernation of Macronesia.

Since 2005, Oliver Benjamin and his priests authored several books, including "The Dude De Ching," "The Abide Guide: Living Like Lebowski," "The Tao Te Ching," "The Tao of the Dude," "The Tao of the Jedi," and "Lebowski 101."

The Church of the Latter-Day Dude also gathered online a collection of famous Lebowski quotes, a cool and relaxing album of songs, and even a Dudeism church sign generator.

At dudeism.com, you'll also find dudeist memes, a whale sound meditation, a bowling ball game, a dudeist dictionary, ringtones, and The Dude's Prayer.

Dudeism is constantly promoting meetings, online forum discussions, performing wedding ceremonies, blessings, and prayers.

As you embrace the movement, there's a large selection of creative t-shirts featuring cool illustrations and inspiring quotes.

Every year, on March 6, dudeists celebrate "The Day of the Dude."

By the way: do you know where the word "dude" comes from?

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