One man's religion is another man's belly laugh. - Robert Heinlein
A question that I've never fully seen anyone address is whether Discordian is or is not a religion. This question is doubly difficult to answer because both terms are almost impossible to define. The word "religion" seems to cover everything from the ancient Abrahamic Big Three to ancestor worship to Scientology. It's hard to give a concise definition that covers everything most people consider "religion". And "Discordianism"... well, it seems like everyone has a completely different definition for that. There are as many different versions of Discordianism as there are Discordians. Probably more since some of us seem to have split personalities and like to change our minds a lot.
So, how do I resolve this conundrum? Well, a basic religion would have all of the following characteristics: belief in the supernatural, sacred and profane objects, ritual acts, a moral code, prayer, an overall worldview, and a social hierarchy. I think most of us can agree on those. But now you can see why it is so difficult to put Discordianism into this box. Let's take them one by one:
1) Belief in the supernatural: Yes, no, maybe. Some Discordians fully believe in the supernatural. Some (like me) think that it's all hooey. And some believe that the word "supernatural" is just a stand-in for Man's current shortcomings in knowledge about the universe. Discordianism does not require that you believe in gods, goddesses, fairies, or wood imps but you can if it makes you feel better. This one is a question mark.
2) Sacred and profane objects: I can't think of any one object in Discordianism that would be considered sacred or profane by every Discordian. Mosbunall feel that the PD is pretty special, but I don't see anyone willing to kill or die over it. No one worships it. There don't seem to be any established sacred places either. I'll mark this one a no.
3) Ritual acts: This is a big fat maybe. A ritual is defined as "an established or prescribed procedure for a religious or other rite". NOTHING in Discordianism is established or prescribed. Things are generally suggested rather than required. Many Discordians like a bit of the Chaos Magick but that is not a prerequisite either. The Turkey Curse would almost fit here, but who actually does that in public?
4) Moral code: Again, a big fat maybe. As I posted the other day, Discordian morality is wide open. "Goddess forbids nothing, but nobody likes an asshole." But some of us like being assholes anyways.
5) Prayer: I'm going to say this one is a No. "We Erisians seldom pray, it is much too dangerous." But there is that pesky word "seldom". Plus some Discordians like to play around with conjurations and invocations in Chaos Magick. In my humble opinion I don't see a difference between that and prayer.
6) Overall worldview: So yeah...
7) Social hierarchy: Big fat stinkin' emphatic HELL NO! One of the reasons Discordianism was started in the first place was to subvert the idea of religious hierarchies. That is why everyone is named a pope from the very beginning. No one voice is more or less important than the other. Ideas are important no matter who they come from.
So where does that put us?