Many people are offended and upset when they first hear about the study of 'invented religions'. This is generally caused by two things. First, because these people are often religious themselves or have a view of religion that is based on what religious people think is 'true' religion. This generally means that religions must be hundreds or thousands of years old, have scriptures that are ancient and that don't change, and have large, impressive buildings like medieval Christian cathedrals or Buddhist temples, that are believed to be great works of art. This means 'invented religions' (which started appearing in the 1950s) are too new and are therefore not respectable.
The second reason why 'invented religions' cause offence is because they are usually based on fictions, which many people think are frivolous and less important than factual (historical, for example) texts. Jediism take inspiration from the Star Wars films of George Lucas, the Church of All Worlds was based on Robert A. Heinlein's science fiction novel Stranger in a Strange Land (1961), Matrixism was based on the Wachowskis' film trilogy which began with The Matrix (1999), and Tië eldaliéva, the Elven Spiritual Path, was based on J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. This generally means they are regarded as parody religions, or types of fandom, and therefore not worth studying.
This lecture marks ten years of studying 'invented religions' for Professor Carole Cusack, and will cover different aspects of these religions (for example, those that align best with science, those that have become part of modern Paganism, those that have a close affinity with performance art), and will also cover the major ways these religions have been studied (narratological analysis of books, internet and new media studies, and as examples of human creativity, for example).