On May 28th, 2016, a gorilla named Harambe in the Cincinnati Zoo was killed during an attempt to rescue a child who had fallen into the gorilla enclosure, whom Harambe had grabbed for reasons that are still debated. This led to a series of memes involving Harambe having "died for our sins" including various fictional "churches" devoted to him.

In a Future Imperfect scenario where a future society, including uplifted non-human primates, comes upon references to the Church of Harambe, and decides to try to revive this apparently prominent religious movement, armed only with the various memes, what sort of base teachings might this religion be based on? I unfortunately did not really get into the meme until after it had kind of dropped in popularity, so I missed a lot of the zeitgeist, and I haven't found much concrete about how such a church might go.

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    $\begingroup$ The traditional ceremony would be interesting, it's definitely a religion that would err towards separation of the sexes during services. $\endgroup$
    – Separatrix
    Nov 2, 2020 at 10:37
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    $\begingroup$ This is very opinion based, and I think it could just be whatever you want it to be. How do you want it to play out in your story? Make it so. $\endgroup$
    – DWKraus
    Nov 2, 2020 at 11:36
  • $\begingroup$ I asked in part because I lack a lot of context on the meme itself, and most of what I'm finding now seem to be references to that the meme existed without really going into what people seemed very passionate about at the time. That said, maybe that will work best for my purposes, since the people of this far future would have an even more muddled understanding of what was being claimed. $\endgroup$ Nov 2, 2020 at 14:06
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    $\begingroup$ (1) I you cannot find anything much about Harambe the Holy Gorila in 2020, just four years after the supposed flurry of memes, what makes you believe that in the far future He will become a mythological hero? (2) There is no relationship whatsoever between what contemporary people said and thought about Harambe and what a putative religion established in his name will teach. None. That's the beauty of mythologization: the mortal person or gorilla is erased by the mythical figure. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Nov 2, 2020 at 15:51
  • $\begingroup$ @AlexP: That's a good point. I will have to consider that. $\endgroup$ Nov 2, 2020 at 16:04

2 Answers 2


So I hope this doesn't offend any Haremebians but let me just start with:

If the "Church of Harambe" is mistaken for a serious religion - A LOT of history has become corrupted

The bible is the most copied book in the world, and should serve as a rough idea as to what a serious religion is about to anyone trying to recover lost information about humanity. Also I'd expect the Koran, Book of Mormon, Torah, Vedas, Works of Mao Tse-tung, Tripitaka, Harry Potter, Lord of the rings, Twilight, Da vinci code, and Gone with the Wind to all out survive the church of Harambe. (Those are all either sacred texts of major religions, or have sold more than 30 million copies).

If only the internet survives armageddon, these books appear online more than references to the church of Harambe. Searching google for exact phrase matches of one bible translation I'm finding about 30,000 mirrors of just that one bible translation.

The church of Harambe has 300 likes on Facebook. My local train station has a greater chance of surviving than the church.

So if that much history has been lost or corrupted - what else must of been corrupted? What else is promoted to sacred?

It's reasonable to expect any joke, meme, urban legend, or pop culture moment has an equal chance of being misinterpreted as a serious thing, especially as this kind of content would appear in close proximity to references to the church of harambe. This is both scary and hilarious.

If you captured someones facebook feed which included a reference to the church of harambe, you would see other memes in close proximity and treated with equal reverence within equal social circles and associated with the church.

Jokes are grouped together - in feeds, in joke groups, on comedy shows. If you misinterpret one joke so badly - it seems unlikely that you won't screw up every other one.

(Mixed into these feeds will be clickbait, conspiracy theories, and major breaking news shared on social media).

Any other joke meme could become gospel by virtue of association. The church of Harambe will have teachings and rituals that were found near the references to the church:

They'll be thinking:

  • cats are our priests,
  • our sacred prayer was "I can haz cheezburger?"
  • our sacred rituals including planking and yeeting,
  • we showed loyalty to our local kings with TikTok videos mimicking their speech while we danced.
  • every father named their child "Luke", and announced that they were in fact, their father,
  • that any male dressed in rainbow and feeling pride should stand back and stand by,
  • and we farewelled our celebrities with the traditional parting greeting for our public figures: "#MeToo"

The church might be something along animalist lines, with the gorilla taking the place as king (much as the lion does in popular lore.) However, his status as a "martyr" might be exploited. Either way, expect a return to nature and the freeing of the tit for Harambe :)


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