It is readily apparent that religious overtones have been seeping into modern popular culture over the past decade. From television shows like Joan of Arcadia to music videos such as "Hater Jesus" by the alternative rock band Everclear religious references are becoming evermore common place on the modern cultural landscape. Recently this affair between religion and pop culture has been taken a step further in that independent religions have been created from big name Hollywood motion pictures. I am of course speaking of religions such as The Jedi Religion that was spawned from the Star Wars saga. It is my intention here to compare and contrast two examples fiction based religions. As mentioned above one of these will be The Jedi Religion. The other will be that of Matrixism a religion that has been created out of The Matrix trilogy. The first thing one notices when comparing these two new relgious movements is that there is a marked difference in the number of varieties. While there are numerous websites claiming to represent The Jedi Religion with no one definitive site taking the lead there seems to be only one very prominent example of Matrixism. This may be due to the fact that Star Wars movies have been around for a much longer period of time than have The Matrix films.
The next difference that comes to mind is that of theology. The Jedi religion in almost all cases seems to be closely related to Taoism. Matrixism however is clearly an Abrahamic tradition with new religious laws and its own prophet (albeit an annonymous one). This brings up another interesting difference. The Jedi Religion basis itself mainly on the films sometimes sighting a loose affiliation with Taoism. Matrixism by virtue of some quotes concerning "the matrix" from the scripture of the Baha'i Faith tries to bind itself more tightly to religious history. There are of course major differences in doctrine also. Matrixism subscribes to what are called the "Four Tenets" while The Jedi Religion relies on the chivalrous code of medieval Europe. In total Matrixism has four tenets and seven laws. The Jedi Religion in contrast has a code of anywhere from four to twenty-one sayings or virtues. One significant thing that both Matrixism and The Jedi religion have in common is that they both openly welcome believers of other religions. For example it is perfectly okay to be a Christian and a Matrixist or a Jedi and Hindu at the same time.