Hold please. This review series was supposed to be about Star Wars, not meâ€¦ well, it just so happened that about the time I got â€œthawed outâ€ (1998) and began to retrain in the ways of our Lordâ€”â€œunlearning what I had learnedâ€, as Yoda would sayâ€”it was announced that a new Star Wars film would soon be unleashed on the world.Â Another seven year cycle, curiouslyâ€¦ and now, at twenty-six, I both reconnected with my Savior and prepared to revisit my childhood love.Â Watching all three films with my newly-converted cadre, then attending the first midnight premiere of Episode 1: Phantom Menace (now, about to be re-released in 3D), I saw the movies with reshaped eyes.
These movies were originally a point of controversyâ€¦ and are again.Â Is Yoda a demon?Â Â Is the Force George Lucasâ€™ attempt to start a new religion?Â Is he the next L. Ron Hubbard, pulp-fiction hack turned guru?Â Â Or is the Force simply a thinly-veiled eastern philosophy?Â Â Some have blown the matter out of proportion, while others have given it too little attention.
Truth be told, â€œthe forceâ€ is nothing more than a few proverbs, axioms, and religious ideasâ€”plagiarized from a plethora of sourcesâ€”sandwiched between battle scenes and special effects; they amount to nothing more than Zen sound bites.Â One could take the teaching of the Jedi Knights and extrapolate any number of philosophies, using them to reinforce existing religions or to kick-start a new cult.Â Star Wars philosophy is sparse, vague, and largely undefined.Â It is merely a powerful illustrative tool for whomever uses it.Â So, as a Christianâ€”one who believes God can, and does, work in all thingsâ€”I took a fresh dip into the Star Wars Universe.Â From a Christo-centric perspective, my findings were nothing short of astounding.
Refutation of the Jedi
Indeed, the wisdom and example of the Jedi Masters does lean heavily on Buddhist philosophy.Â According to an aged Obi-Wan Kenobi, â€œmany truths depend upon your point of viewâ€; there is no absolute truth, and worldviews are subjective.Â (Never mind that the Jedi claim a moral standard-â€”an absoluteâ€”when they condemn the actions of the Sithâ€¦ whoops).Â We are all part of the same â€œenergyâ€, which has a good side and a dark side.Â The way to rise above oneâ€™s baser instincts is essentially to rise above emotion.Â â€œAnger, fearâ€”the dark side are theyâ€.
The Jedi are also alledgedly divorced not only from hate, but also love and compassion; according to the expanded mythos, Jedi candidates are taken from their families before six months of age.Â Â As a Padawanâ€”Jedi apprenticeâ€”Obi-Wan barely knew his parents, raised within the confines of the Jedi Academy with only Qui-Gon Jinn as a father figure.Â In The Phantom Menace, Yoda complains that young Anakin has too much emotional attachment to his mother; in The Empire Strikes Back, the little elf also advises Luke to finish his training, rather than follow his heart and rush to save his friends on Cloud City.
At first glance, this doesnâ€™t jive well with Christianity. Â The God of the Bible embodies strong emotionsâ€”love, mercy, jealousy, and righteous wrath– and a Lord who commands us to fear him and to hate sin, receive his love and love others passionately.Â The ascetic lifestyle of the Jedi suggests that one be divest of fear, hate and eventually all emotionâ€¦ whereas Christianity teaches that each emotion is designed by God for a specific, useful purpose; fear and hatred are not â€œevilâ€™â€”they have their proper place.Â Yet, the Jedi are denied family relationships, marriage, and basic community, intimate contact severed in favor of detachment; Christianity, by contrast, depicts one as part of a familyâ€¦ an adopted son of God, married to Christ, and a member of a believing community that works together to spread His gospel.