Communing with the Almighty on Your Keyboard

Most of us would agree that there is something mystical in linking to a vast ocean of humanity when we visit the Web. You could not be blamed for feeling cosmically inspired to think that you and untold millions are simultaneously sharing common experiences and emotions. But – to make a bona fide religion out of that sense of wonder, that’s a giant step for mankind.

At least for anyone but the Swedes. But John Tagliabue of the New York Times reports the founding there of “a church whose central dogma is that file sharing is sacred.”

The would-be religion is brought to you by the same country that produced a pirate political party that got a respectable 7% of the vote in European Parliamentary elections.  “It claims more than 8,000 faithful who have signed up on the church’s Web site,” writes Tagliabue. “It has applied for the right to perform marriages and to receive subsidies awarded to religious organizations by the state, and it has bid, thus far unsuccessfully, to buy a church building, even though most church activities are conducted online.”

The religion, which calls itself Kopimism (“Copy-ism”), even claims it is the victim of an inquisition in the form of escalating prosecution of illegal file-sharing. It isn’t clear where the religion provides for confession, but it would be interesting to hear what adherents confide to their confessors.

There has not yet risen a counterreformation in the form of a religion devoted to respect for copyright.  It’s just not as sexy-sounding as Kopimism.  But if one were to be founded it might have as a core tenet a commandment along the lines of Thou Shalt Not Steal.

Wait a minute! I think there already is a religion like that…

Details in In Sweden, Taking File Sharing to Heart. And to Church.

Richard Curtis

This blog post was originally published on Digital Book World as Salvation Just One Download Away.


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