Encyclopedia of Latin American Religions

Living Edition
| Editors: Henri Gooren

Mock Religions

  • Carole M. Cusack
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-08956-0_559-1


A mock or parody religion usually takes one of two forms. The first is a fictional religion that highlights the deficiencies of existing religions, like Bokononism in the novel Cat’s Cradle (1963) by Kurt Vonnegut. The second form of mock religion is a deliberately created institution and belief that mimics in structure and content traditional religions such as Christianity. An example is the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, founded by Bobby Henderson to protest the teaching of “Intelligent Design” (creationism) in Kansas schools. The existence of mock religions is linked to the rise of secularism and atheism in modernity.


Since the colonization of Latin America by Europeans in the sixteenth century, Catholicism has been the dominant, and only legitimate, form of religion. Until 1960, approximately 90% of the population was Catholic; the Pew Research Centre’s survey of November 2014 indicates that figure has fallen to 69%, with 19% now identifying as...


Atheism Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster Iglesia Maradoniana Mock religions Popular culture Secularism 
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Bullivant S, Lee L (2012) Inter-disciplinary studies on non-religion and secularity: the state of the union. J Contemp Relig 27(1):19–27CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Chadband I (2014) World Cup 2014: Diego Maradona still worshipped 28 years after the ‘Hand of God’ Goal Against England. The Telegraph, 21 June. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/argentina/10915346/World-Cup-2014-Diego-Maradona-still-worshipped-28-years-after-hand-of-God-goal-against-England.html. Accessed 12 Jan 2018
  3. Chidester D (2005) Authentic fakes: religion and American popular culture. University of California Press, BerkeleyGoogle Scholar
  4. Cornille C (2013) Multiple religious belonging. In: Cheetham D, Pratt D, Thomas D (eds) Understanding interreligious relations. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 324–340Google Scholar
  5. Cusack CM (2010) Invented religions: imagination, fiction and faith. Ashgate, Farnham/BurlingtonGoogle Scholar
  6. Cusack CM (2016a) Sport. In: Stausberg M, Engler S (eds) The Oxford handbook of the study of religion. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 472–481Google Scholar
  7. Cusack CM (2016b) Invention in ‘new new’ religions. In: Lewis JR, Tøllefsen IB (eds) The Oxford handbook of new religious movements, 2nd edn. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 237–247Google Scholar
  8. Davidsen MA (2013) Fiction-based religion: conceptualising a new category against history-based religion and fandom. Cult Relig 14(4):378–395CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Free M (2014) Diego Maradona and the psychodynamics of football fandom in international cinema. Celebrity Stud 5(1–2):197–212CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Garvey B (2010) Absence of evidence, evidence of absence, and the atheist’s teapot. Ars Disputandi 10:9–22Google Scholar
  11. Henderson B (2005) The gospel of the flying spaghetti monster. Villard, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  12. Henderson B (2009) Mexico sighting. Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, 13 October. https://www.venganza.org/2009/10/mexico-sighting/. Accessed 12 Jan 2018
  13. Henderson B (2011) Colombian Pastafarians first meeting. Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, 25 April. https://www.venganza.org/2011/04/colombia-pastafarians-first-meeting/. Accessed 12 Jan 2018
  14. Herrero V (2015) Nothing can stop the spread of Latin American Atheism. America Economia, 9 February. Translated by WorldCrunch. https://www.worldcrunch.com/opinion-analysis/nothing-can-stop-the-spread-of-latin-american-atheism. Accessed 12 Jan 2018
  15. Howland-Jackson R (2008) La Iglesia Maradoniana – Argentina’s real religion? The Argentina Independent, 1 December. http://www.argentinaindependent.com/life-style/ba/la-iglesia-maradoniana-argentinas-real-religion/. Accessed 12 Jan 2018
  16. Montero P, Dullo E (2017) Brazil: the invisibility of the Brazilian bus campaign. In: Tomlins S, Bullivant S (eds) The atheist bus campaign: global manifestations and responses. Brill, Leiden/Boston, pp 51–80Google Scholar
  17. Pew Research Center (2014) Religion in Latin America: widespread change in a historically catholic region. Pew Research Center: Religion in Public Life, 13 November. http://www.pewforum.org/2014/11/13/religion-in-latin-america/. Accessed 12 Jan 2018
  18. Possamai A (2003) Alternative spiritualities, new religious movements, and Jediism in Australia. Aust Relig Stud Rev 16(2):69–86Google Scholar
  19. Possamai A (2005) Religion and popular culture: a hyper-real testament. Peter Lang, BrusselsCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Rico (2014) New religion comes to Costa Rica. Q Costa Rica, 5 October. http://qcostarica.com/new-religion-comes-to-costa-rica/. Accessed 12 Jan 2018

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of SydneySydneyAustralia