When Jeff Bridges starred as ‘The Dude’ in the 1998 film The Big Lebowski, I bet he didn’t know that his character would one day inspire a whole new religion. Seven years after the film’s release, Oliver Benjamin was watching it with a large group of people in Thailand, when he says he was ‘transformed’. Soon, the Church of the Latter-Day Dude was born in the hip resort town of Pai; a modern-day hippie-style religion, where it’s okay to do pretty much as you please. Today, Dudeism has over 100,000 ordained Dudeist priests all over the world, and Benjamin is the Dudely Lama. It’s interesting to note that over 75 percent of the followers are male.
One look at the religion’s official website, and you’re bound to think it’s a joke. But it isn’t, the Dudeists are actually pretty serious about being ‘cool’. Dudeism also borrows some of its philosophy from Chinese Taoism, and their idea is pretty simple: Just take it easy, man. Life is short and complicated, they say, and nobody knows what to do about it. So, don’t. Sounds pretty good, but I do wonder if it’s really that easy to be chilled out all the time. I suppose it’s for people like me that they even have a ‘Take it Easy Manifesto’ written by Arch Dudeship Rev. Dwayne Eutsey.