Geekism: The Possibility of Finding Religion in the Things We Love

Disclaimer: This article in no way, claims that those who follow religions based on a deity are wrong, nor does it claim that those who don’t are better. This short essay is only a thoughtful procession of ideas.
Whether loud or quiet, all consuming or peripheral, for a large percentage of the population being a geek is an integral part of their lives. And for some, I postulate, being a geek is more than just a fandom, but a religion. Leaving aside faith in the Powers that Be and spirituality and focusing only on religion as man-made dogma (Buddy Christ just popped into your head, didn’t it?), being a geek is essentially following a religion with its own wise sages, moral principles, holy canons, diverse sects and probably most important, common community. All this combines under a large inclusive umbrella, that for lack of a better word, I’ll call: Geekism.
At the core of most religions, the wise sages whether teachers, guides or leaders, strived to better people and their world. In the case of Geekism, the list of inspirational women and men who have guided and motivated is almost innumerable. For the sake of time, and all its wibbly wobbliness, I’ll just list one: Gene Roddenberry. Not only a decorated war hero who more than once placed other lives above his own, Roddenberry could be said to have laid the foundation for Geekism. Sure there were hobbits, time machines and even aliens before he created Star Trek, but his hope for humanity is the world Geekism strives for. In his own words, “Star Trek was an attempt to say that humanity will reach maturity and wisdom on the day that it begins not just to tolerate, but take a special delight in differences in ideas and differences in life forms. […] If we cannot learn to actually enjoy those small differences, to take a positive delight in those small differences between our own kind, here on this planet, then we do not deserve to go out into space and meet the diversity that is almost certainly out there.”
To be a geek is to be different. Geekism embraces those differences and makes them special. It makes an unknown moisture farmer a galaxy hero. It takes a homebody and creates a warrior. And Geekism shows at every turn that the seemingly ordinary are truly extraordinary. As a fan, some may focus on one of these stories or embrace many, but the continuous affirmation that being different is important instills us with strength and a mental fortitude we might not otherwise have. Felicia Day, an actor, writer, director and fellow geek, has said the same, “At no point am I ever threatened by people who question who I am, or why I like the things I do, or my legitimacy. Because I know who I am very strongly, and I think that’s what geek culture can reinforce.”
That said, differences are inherently…well…different. Sometimes we can’t help our first reaction, but we can certainly control our behavior and our treatment of others. Geekism relies on one moral principle, a single commandment. As Wil Wheaton has succinctly put it, “Don’t be a dick.” And when you think about it, those words cover just about all situations. Who needs 10 commandments when one will do? If we are the best examples of humans we can be, our community only grows stronger.
And in the end, it’s community that most of us crave. It’s no coincidence that in small towns the church is the central hub. In most cases, we are social animals. We need the safety and support of like-minded individuals. It doesn’t matter if our interactions are face to face or screen to screen we find a way to reach out to those we can connect with.
The beauty of Geekism is how large the community actually is; the width and breadth of which crosses all cultures, all nationalities. Geeks are never alone and that is powerful.
Deity based religions have weathered centuries and are still here. They are important. But for those of us who have no such religious moorings; who are just a little bit different, I think allowing our geekiness to complete us is just as important. I am completely happy saying, “Hi, my name is Angela and I’m a Geekist.” Maybe you will to.

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