You've probably heard before that listing oneself as a Jedi on census forms has been an ongoing joke in several countries where the Star Wars films have been popular. Now, Australia is actually taking steps to kill the trend, because it actually has real world consequences. The "religion" now has almost as many followers in Australia than several actual religions. In addition, atheists in Australia want to see this stop, because people who mark Jedi on their census forms are actually counted as religious citizens, making the country appear more religious than it truly is.
The Australian census is taken every five years, and 2016 means it is time once again. Back in 2011, over 65,000 people listed Jediism as their religion. That's nearly as many people as listed Sikh, and it's actually more than listed Seven Day Adventists. That gives you an idea how prevalent this has become. However, the bigger issue is that while calling yourself a Jedi may be a fun joke or some form of protest vote for many, it may actually be having the opposite effect. There is a box to check for people who do not follow any religion. For those who fill in something else, they get lumped into the "not defined" category. This means that when somebody then looks at the number of people in Australia who are religious, everybody who said they were Jedis get counted. As Mashable points out, this a problem for organizations like the Atheist Foundation Of Australia. Since manypeople who call themselves Jedis are possibly atheists, otherwise they'd list their actual religion, it makes Australia appear much more religious than it really is.
Since the Jedi numbers have climbed so high in Australia, they're no longer statistically insignificant. Religion is one of those things that can lead those in government to tailor policy, so it certainly can have an impact on real life.
Of course, all of this seems to presuppose that nobody in Australia actually practices Jediism. Are we to automatically assume that this is the case? While certainly many in the nation are just making a joke at the census' expense, maybe a few of them really do try to follow in the ways of the Jedi. It wouldn't be the worst religion to follow. It's about trying to connect with other living things, holding on to peace and letting go of anger and hatred (assuming you're a practicing light side Jedi of course). Maybe even those who started to list themselves as Jedi for the joke value have gone on to embrace the idea.
Is this a joke that needs to wrap itself up, or is it still funny? Have you ever listed yourself as a Jedi or other movie based religion? Are you a practicing Jedi?