Wednesday, January 31, 2018
Is Star Wars a Religion?
CNN recently had an article about whether Star Wars was related to religious ideas:
The article had a few good comments about the ideas in Star Wars that come from actual religious traditions. There is no question that a lot of people think of the Jedi in the movie as a legitimate religion and take it very seriously.
But it is worth remembering that these are fictional movies. In the movies, the supernatural "Force" is shown to be something that at least some individuals can manipulate. In that way, the Force is not supernatural in the Star Wars universe, since it is part of that natural system. Since people can actually make something happen because of it, there is objective evidence that it exists. With human religions in the real world, there is no objective proof that religion actually works. So believing in the Force in a universe in which there is evidence that it works is considerably different from believing in a religion without evidence. Of course, there isn't any evidence that the Force works in the real world, since the movies are fictional.
As the article points out, the Star Wars philosophy owes a lot to Asian religions like Taoism. It is much different from the European and Middle Eastern traditions in the major religions of Christianity and Islam. The Force doesn't seem to have a personality or will, unlike God. It also doesn't dictate a morality or ethical system, since there can be both good (Luke) and evil (Darth Vader) people who can use it. Although certain people can be trained to use it, there isn't an omnipotent, benevolent entity who looks out for everyone. So people who want to follow the Jedi philosophy have a major break with traditional religions.
But the biggest question that was raised by the article was about the meeting of Star Wars believers. That meeting was discussed by CNN even though only 40 people were there. How do we get CNN to cover a WASH meeting when we have an attendance of 40 people? Maybe we should all come with light sabers!