I am already taken, of course. Vodou is what happens when a religion frees a people from servitude and then evolves with this people for several hundred years. The gods are bigger than life and capricious sometimes, as gods are apt to be, but they invent no unnatural rules and make no impossible demands. The Haitian lwa eat local fare, dance on Saturday nights to music played with local instruments fashioned from Nature, excel in the local humor, and even come from the ranks of venerable local elders.
As far as western religions go, Kopimism makes more sense than most. For one, it has never been used to justify slavery. For another, it does not promote overpopulation to swell its ranks.
It should be plain to anyone who cares to look that Nature is a free exchanger, copier, and modifier. Imagine if the shelled egg had been patented! Certainly, life originates and evolves from copying, which is indeed holy.
Add a few holidays, some good food and snappy music, and you’ve got something for the ages.
Dady Chery, Editor
‘Pirate’ religion of Kopimism arrives in the U.S.
By Muriel Kane
Sweden’s Missionary Church of Kopimism, which was founded in the fall of 2010 and granted official recognition by the Swedish government this past January, has already established branches in eighteen countries, including the United States. Now the upstart religion is beginning to attract mainstream attention.
Kopimism is currently featured in a story in US News and World Report, somewhat misleadingly titled “Kopimism, Sweden’s Pirate Religion, Begins to Plunder America.” Christopher Carmean, the founder of the U.S. branch, told US News,
“Data is what we are made of, data is what defines our life, and data is how we express ourselves. … Attempts to hinder sharing are antithetical to our data-driven existence.”
The Church of Kopimism comes across partly as a spoof of organized religion similar to the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, partly as an attempt to gain support for its desire to do away with most copyright laws, and in part completely in earnest.
As one Kopimist recently put it,
“Not to belittle mainstream religion, but why is it okay to worship some bearded guy on a throne in the sky, but not this?”
According to its Swedish founder, 20-year-old philosophy student Isak Gerson, adherents of Komimism “believe that information is holy and that the act of copying is holy.”
Gerson told New Scientist that because the Swedish “authorities were quite dogmatic with their formalities,” it took three tries for his group to be recognized as a church.
They finally had to convince the government that they regard the copying of information as an act of worship and “CTRL+V” and “CTRL+C” as sacred symbols.
The American branch, which calls itself the First United Church of Kopimism, US, has registered with the state of Illinois as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization but has not yet sought federal recognition as a religion. Its activities chiefly center around a website that began operation last January 9, a few days after the Church of Komipism was recognized in Sweden.
The site offers a statement of values which explains,
“The Church of Kopimism does not make claims regarding gods or supernatural forces. Life as we know it originated with the DNA molecule’s ability to duplicate itself, irrespective of the original creation of the Universe. … Copying is fundamental to life and runs constantly all around us. Shared information provides new perspectives and generate new life. We feel a spiritual connection to the created file.”
“From all at one and from one to all – and then back – exchange without beginning and without end,” it adds.
Muriel Kane is an associate editor at Raw Story. Follow her on Twitter at @Muriel_Kane
Kopimism: the world’s newest religion explained
Interview of Isak Gerson with Alison George
Isak Gerson is spiritual leader of the world’s newest religion, Kopimism, devoted to file-sharing. On 5 January the Church of Kopimism was formally recognised as a religion by the Swedish government.
Tell me about this new file-sharing religion, Kopimism.
We were founded about 15 months ago and we believe that information is holy and that the act of copying is holy.
Why make a religion out of file-sharing? Why not just be an ordinary club without defining yourselves as being a religious community?
Because we see ourselves as a religious group, a church seems like a good way of organising ourselves.
Was it hard to become an official religion?
We have had this faith for several years and one day we thought, why not try and get it registered? It was quite difficult. The authorities were quite dogmatic with their formalities. It took us three tries and more than a year to get recognised.
What criteria do you have to meet to become an official religion?
The law states that to be a religion you have to be an organisation that practises moments of prayer or meditation in your rituals.
What are the Kopimist prayers and meditations?
We have a part of our religious practices where we worship the value of information by copying it.
You call this “kopyacting”. Do you actually meet up in a building, like a church, to undertake these rituals?
We do meet up, but it doesn’t have to be a physical room. It could be a server or a web page too.
I understand that certain symbols have special significance in Kopimism.
Yes. There is the “kopimi” logo, which is a K written inside a pyramid a symbol used online to show you want to be copied. But there are also symbols that represent and encourage copying, for example, “CTRL+V” and “CTRL+C”.
Why is information, and sharing it, so important to you?
Information is the building block of everything around me and everything I believe in. Copying it is a way of multiplying the value of information.
What’s your stance on illegal file-sharing?
I think that the copyright laws are very problematic, and at least need to be rewritten, but I would suggest getting rid of most of them.
So all file-sharing should be legal?
Are you just trying to make a point, or is this religion for real?
We’ve had this faith for several years.
What has the reaction been from established churches?
I haven’t spoken to many of them, but those I have spoken to have been curious, and seen it as an interesting discussion.
Can you get excommunicated from the Church of Kopimism?
We have never thought about it. But if you don’t believe in our values then I guess there is no point in being a member, and if you do believe in our values you can’t really be excommunicated.
How many church members are there?
How do you become a Kopimist?
Our site is down for moment, because there has been too much traffic, but when it is up, you just have to read about our values and agree with them, then you can register on the web page.
Is there a deity associated with Kopimism?
No, there isn’t.
Is Julian Assange a high priest of Kopimism?
No. We have had no communication with him.
Does Kopimism have anything to say about the afterlife?
Not really. As a religion we are not so focused on humans.
It could be a digital afterlife.
Information doesn’t really have a life, but I guess it can be forgotten, but as long as it is copied it won’t be.
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