I was raised in a very Catholic household, with parents very involved with the church. For a time, I went along with what it taught because I simply didn’t know any differently. However, at about the age of twelve, I began to have my doubts. I began to question the things that I had once so readily accepted, and as much as I would have liked to believe that there was some omnipotent being out there who would make everything all right, I just couldn’t.
For a long time, I was somewhat lost spiritually. While I was content with being atheist or agnostic or whatever one wants to call it, I would have preferred to have something to call myself. To me, it seemed a bit odd to identify with a group solely because I didn’t do something. After all, there isn’t anything called “The League of Non-Soccer Players’ who sit around and talk about how much they don’t play soccer.
Now, there’s all kinds of stories out there who have become so-called “born-again Christians’ who go through massive, life-changing revelations and find (Abrahamic) God, but very few about those who find any other kind of faith. So, allow me to share my story as a part of the latter group. My revelation?
I watched The Big Lebowski.
I very much enjoyed that movie, which starts off as a simple tale of a man’s struggle to get his rug back (hey, it really tied the room together), it becomes so much more. Honestly, I don’t know if the whole experience can be accurately conveyed through words; it must be seen. Above all, I enjoyed Jeff Bridges’s character, The Dude (or His Dudeness, or El Duderino, if you’re not into the whole “brevity’ thing), because he’s just such a chill guy.
The Big Lebowski is often labeled a “cult classic’. The thing is, it fits the definition in more than one way, in that an actual religion has sprung up based on it, called The Church of the Latter-Day Dude, or Dudeism. When I found out about it after watching the movie and read about its teachings, I knew that I had found what I had essentially been looking for all those years.
Dudeism is a very free-form religion, providing a general life outlook instead of a deity. It preaches against preachiness, practices as little as possible, and above all else, tells its followers to “take it easy’. While some would label that as apathy, I define “taking it easy’ as doing the things that I enjoy and not worrying about the things that are outside of my control.
Now, as an ordained Dudeist priest, I feel completely at peace with both the world and myself. Instead of believing in any sort of deity, I have learned to accept the world as it is. As much as people like to assign some kind of abstract meaning to life, the truth is that we’re just here to screw around for a little while before we die, and I’m okay with that. In the meantime, I’ll be taking it easy.