The Star Wars Phenomena &
The Revenge of the Sith
By Berit Kjos, June 2005
'Twenty eight years is an enormous period of time for one work to play such a big role in culture and society,' said Robert Solar, author of Movie-Made America. The series, which thus far has earned a staggering 4.3 billion, changed forever the ways movies are made and marketed." Bruce Newman, "An Epic's Global Impact."
Resources to aid your Understanding
"Lighten up!" people tell us. "Don't take everything so seriously! After all, it's just entertainment! We know the difference between good and evil."
This argument may sound reasonable, but it's based on feelings and fantasy, not on facts and reality. Studies have shown that today's popular entertainment -- what some call edu-tainment -- is more effective than textbooks in changing a person's beliefs and values. That's why change agents in schools and organizations prefer to use shocking stories rather than traditional textbooks to teach new values and attitudes. If you doubt that, please read A New Way of Thinking and Toying with Death.
For more than three decades, George Lucas has been re-shaping the world's view of reality through his amazing stories. Few individuals have done more to fuel the postmodern shift from what UN leader, Brock Chisholm called "poisonous certainties" to spiritual speculations that twist all of God's promises. Not only did Lucas turn "movies into... a global commodity,", he has altered the ways even "Christians" view God and His creation.
Yet, the main issue here is not Mr. Lucas' personal beliefs. Far more important are the "take-home" images and suggestions that shape the thoughts of his fans. One such suggestion came from the mouth of Obi-Wan, one of the most honorable Jedis. "Only a Sith deals in absolutes," he told Anakin. The apparent implication? Since absolutes belong on the evil side, those who deal in absolutes must be enemies of the "good" side.
So might Lucas equate evil with Christians who trust in God's absolute truth and values? Maybe. Such an assumption could surely be applied to his globalist neighbors at the Presidio -- a former San Francisco army base converted into a globalist center for social and spiritual transformation.
Similar assumption and perceptions are now broadly discussed and embraced by Star Wars fans around the world. A Google search for "George Lucas" brings up over 4 million links. No wonder Christian truth and Star Wars myths mingle together until it's hard to tell them apart. Even Christianity Today blends those two opposites into a tempting new twist on truth. In a troubling interview with Dick Staub, it tells us that "Christianity is the prevailing myth of Western culture and Star Wars is a prevailing myth of our popular culture."
But God's Word is not a myth! His unchanging Truth points to actual reality -- the opposite of fantasy! In fact, God warns us that "the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn their ears away from the truth, and will turn aside to myths." [2 Timothy 4:2-4] By minimizing the persuasive power of myth, we open our minds to subtle distortions of truth.
To guard against both subtle and obvious suggestions, those who have watched the Star Wars movies might ask themselves these questions: What kind of mythical universe do the movies (and games) promote? What occult notions and suggestions fill the viewer's imagination? How do the Star Wars themes and values clash with Biblical beliefs and values? And most important, what kind of "god" does he plant in receptive hearts?
1. The beliefs behind the Force.
In an interview with Wired titled "Life After Darth," George Lucas shared his view of the Force. The interview began with a conversation between artificial intelligence pioneer Warren S. McCulloch and Roman Kroitor, who developed Imax. While McCulloch thought that life resembled "highly complex machines," Kroitor believed in something more:
"Many people feel that in the contemplation of nature and in communication with other living things, they become aware of some kind of force, or something, behind this apparent mask which we see in front of us, and they call it God."
When Wired asked if this statement laid the foundation for "the Force," Lucas answered that his own use of the word Force was "an echo of that phrase...." But he didn't take credit for this universal concept of "God". "Similar phrases have been used extensively by many different people for the last 13,000 years to describe the 'life force,'" he explained.
This "life force" fits today's all-inclusive views of humanity, nature and an impersonal god. When affirmed through a success-story such as the Star Wars epic, this mythical god becomes all the more normal and believable. And what seems true in the world of myths, can quickly become lies in the context of the real world. In fact, what feels good to the imagination, often becomes more real than reality itself to our adaptable minds. Like the New Testament people described in2 Timothy 4, today's pleasure-seeking masses readily turn from truth to myths.
Unlike Biblical truth, those myths change from time to time and from culture to culture. As fans around the world share new "insights" with their friends, the story grows new twists and branches. "Christians" tend to follow right along. Caught up in the stream of seductive speculations, many embrace ideas that contradict Biblical Christianity on every point. And to justify their craving for new mythical thrills, they redefine or dismiss God's "offensive" and unbending Word.
One of the many popular websites that describe these myths is Wikipedia -- an online, participatory encyclopedia. It identifies the two sides of the Force and then adds a confusing explanation of some strange midi-clorians that defy all logic:
"The Jedi and others refer to two sides of the Force, a dark side and a light side. This echoes the concept of Yin-Yang in Eastern philosophy ... the dark and light sides of the Force exist inside of the life form which uses it, made from their emotions."
"Midi-clorians... are microscopic life-forms that reside within the cells of all living things and communicate with the Force. Midi-clorians comprise collective consciousness [sounds like Carl Jung] and intelligence, forming the link between everything living and the Force."
The movie itself doesn't mention this mystical link between body and spirit. But within the worldwide Star Wars culture, such creative details help shape a new religion that's well fitted for the twenty-first century. This "collective consciousness" and all the other pieces of the grand puzzle will surely be fleshed out in upcoming role-playing games and television series.As BBC tells us, "Two Star Wars TV series will follow the latest movie in the hit film franchise."
The Naming of Jedi: "It was natural for Star Wars fans to immediately begin inquiring into the meaning of the name Qui-Gon Jinn, since he was the most significant new character to be added in Episode I. The first part was easy: qi gong (pronounced 'chee goong') is an Eastern art of qi (also chi or ki) life energy manipulation. Qui-Gon is a master of the living Force, by name as well as by reputation.
"The second part of his name seemed vaguely fitting, but still a puzzle. Jinn (jin, ginn, djinn, genies) are spirits of Muslim and other middle Eastern legend 'capable of assuming human or animal form and exercising supernatural influence over people,' elemental spirits.....
"He became Qui-Gon Jinn, a powerful Force-adept who relied on his subconscious urges ('the will of the Force') to a degree that discomfited those around him, a quality destined to bring both great suffering and, in the end, the salvation of the galaxy. Young Obi-Wan would learn from him a commitment to trusting his instincts, something he would pass on to Luke decades later ('trust your feelings!'). ...
"In Star Wars, there is more ambiguity -- 'use the Force' and 'use your instincts' are synonymous, and yet one implies faith in the supernatural and one implies faith in the self. I explain this as two different ways to characterize the intuitive impulses that well from within us...."
2. Jedi Ghosts and life after death
On a page dedicated to Jedi master Obi-Wan Kenobi, the officialStarWars website explains life after death from a mythical point of view:
"...Vader finally squared off against his former master. As a diversionary tactic to help the others escape, Kenobi sacrificed himself to Vader. The Dark Lord struck the Jedi down, and Kenobi became one with the Force. He left behind no body, just empty robes and his own Jedi weapon....
"At times of great trial, Kenobi's voice would reach out to Luke, offering counsel. Later, the spectral form of Kenobi would appear to Luke. The ghost-like image advised young Skywalker to venture to Dagobah, where he could complete his training under the guidance of Yoda. Later, Kenobi appeared to Luke and revealed the truth of his lineage.
"Though Kenobi felt that the dark side could only be defeated by bringing about the deaths of Anakin and the Emperor, Luke strongly believed that his father still had good in him. Luke set out to turn Anakin away from the dark side and succeeded, though at a great price. Anakin suffered grievous wounds in his final battle, and died having returned to the light. His spectral form joined that of Kenobi and Yoda during the Rebel's celebration of the Empire's defeat."
To Star Wars fans, these ghostly appearances add a mystical assurance of never-ending life. It sounds more promising than the Buddhist Nirvana, which erases all hope of personal or individual existence after death. While the Lucas version of an afterlife conflicts with the Christian hope of eternal life, it matches the darkly occult religion, Theosophy, with its belief in ascended masters that communicate their wisdom to more highly evolved and spiritually-attuned human servants.
"Qui-Gon...is the alleged key to the whole 'Jedi Ghost' phenomenon," wrote a fan, "and it's because of him that Obi-Wan is able to come back and help young Luke in the coming years. If not for Qui-Gon, the events of the original trilogy would be drastically different. Imagine if Obi-Wan never appeared to tell Luke to head to Dagobah and seek out Yoda? ... To me, explaining the whole ghost thing without Qui-Gon actually appearing at some point won't just be the same. I'm sure Lucas could explain it through dialogue, but you all know that a picture is worth a thousand words. Seeing is believing. The moment Qui-Gon shows up in some form will be a Matrix 'whoa' moment for sure."
3. More ties toEastern religions
In Lucasfilm’s popular children’s book, I Am a Jedi, Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) tells us in his own words, "The Jedi are a very special group of beings. For many thousands of years, we have worked to promote peace and justice in the universe."
The apparent inspiration behind these noble Jedi Knights were the historical Samurai -- the Japanese warriors whose political power and public influence would rise and fall through the centuries. True or not, countless articles on the Star Wars phenomena have claimed that connection and helped establish that perception in the public mind. One such article, "It's Written in the Stars," tells us that "George Lucas has mentioned on many occasions that he has been highly influenced by the seminal Japanese director Akira Kurosawa." It then lists numerous similarities:
"The Jedi are an enlightened class, meant to preserve peace, as were the samurai, in theory."
"The highly ritualized battles are little more than Japanese kendo."
"Darth Vader's helmet is based on the samurai helmet."
"The look of Episode I's Darth Maul is based heavily on ancient Japanese myths and dramas, especially drama masks."
"The Queen of Naboo's ornate costumes are highly reminiscent of Japanese kimono, while her white face paint is "geisha wear."
The force is little more than the martial arts concept of chi or ki (as any Dragon Ball Z fan can attest to)."
The Samurai "were supposed to lead their lives according to the ethic code of Bushido ('the way of the warrior'). Strongly Confucian in nature, the Bushido stressed concepts such as loyalty to one's master, self discipline and respectful, ethical behavior." But the Samurai culture was also influenced by the Shinto religion:
"While Shinto is not defined by a vast array of doctrinal ideas, a fundamental goal or aim of Shinto is the attainment of magokoro, or 'true heart,' 'sincerity.' When one has 'true heart,' he/she is open to the subtle movements and presence of the spiritual forces known as kami....
"Shinto's reverence for nature is expressed through the acknowledgement and worship of a wide array of kamis. A kami, while loosely referred to as a kind of nature god or spirit, is more accurately understood as a force or energy that is experienced within a particular aspect of nature...."
To Jedi Knights, obedience to one's master is essential. They maintained a strict system of training and mentoring from childhood, and the children selected for this strict training program lived and learned within the massive Jedi Temple. That's why the transformed Anikin -- now the evil Darth Vader -- could slay so many of them in a single place.
"The Samurai were mainly Shintoists or Confucianists, both religions with relatively inflexible dogmas," we are told in the article, "The Jedi as Ninja." In contrast, the "Ninja, as outcasts from mainstream society, were mainly Zen Buddhists, so their world view was more that of being one with the universe rather than joining their ancestors in glory."
That pervasive force (chi' or ki) is described in I am a Jedi. The supposed author Qui-Gon tells us that "The Force is a mysterious form of energy that connects all living things. We Jedi learn to be sensitive thee the force. It is a source of great strength. ... A Jedi's greatness comes from his wise mastery of the Force."
PSYCHIC (Ch'i or Ki) Energy
Defined from an occult perspective in the Donning International Psychic Dictionary by June G. Bletzer, Ph.D.
|"An intelligent, powerful, invisible force… capable of being controlled and directed by the human mind; 1. Capable of being channeled out through the brain, palms, and eyes; 2. Can be transmitted through space into other living organisms and through matter; 3. Occurs when willed or occurs spontaneously; 4. Invisible energy living in all organisms and matter, connected throughout all the universes; psychic energy is an aspect of electricity…6. Controlled and employed under certain conditions that mankind does not fully understand… tunes into the etheric world vibrational frequencies reaching from cosmic consciousness…. 9. Transmits knowledge to the mind, and manipulates matter…. 10. Frequently comes from an intelligent, powerful energy field known as highly evolved soul-minds in invisible bodies… 12. A primordial form of intelligence pervading the universe and affecting its course."|
Ch'i or Ki
|(China & Japan) "An immutable principle in the… vital life force; Synonyms: Tch’i, Qi, Prana, Biocosmic energy, Psi (Psychic) energy...."|
|"An altered state of consciousness… as in sleep, hypnosis, meditation, and the opening of psychic doors…."|
4. Trusting the Force or feelings, not fact or logic.
"The Jedi as Ninja" continues with this important point:
"Most martial arts have within them the concept of zanshin, or acting in a pure manner without thinking. Moving in zanshin requires long training and devotion to the art. One must listen to the Force, rather than think about the motions for zanshin to work. A Jedi Knight will naturally fight and move in zanshin when it is necessary....
"The single most illustrative case of a ninja-like warrior in the Star Wars saga is that of the Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn. He is fearless and inventive, and his single-minded devotion to the Force allows him to see what must be done. Qui-Gon Jinn is living in zanshin every day; he is listening to the Force and acting without hesitation."
Apparently, feelings -- especially bad ones, affect a Jedi's ability to receive and manipulate the Force. But they are also a key source of guidance. "Search your feelings," Palpatine told Anakin. And according to a description posted at the official starwars.com, Qui-Gon Jinn illustrates this principle well:
"...Jedi Master, Qui-Gon Jinn is a student of the living Force. Unlike other Jedi Masters, who often lose themselves in the meditation of the unifying Force, Qui-Gon Jinn lived for the moment, espousing a philosophy of 'feel, don't think -- use your instincts.'..."
This shift from objective, factual thinking to subjective, feeling-based thinking is also essential to the world's quest for global solidarity. Today's utopian visionaries cannot transform the world without first tearing down the old foundations of truth, facts and logic. Sad to say, their vision is nearing fulfillment as Biblical resistance is fast eroding. For we cannot take a stand together on God's unchanging truths when we surrender objective facts and logic to the realm of social myths, subjective feelings and useful pragmatism. Yet that paradigm shift -- driven largely by today's entertainment, education and "mental health" agenda -- is now transforming the way we think in our churches as well as nations. Look again at Christianity Today's interview with Dick Staub:
"Lucas' stories may have more in common with Hinduism than Christianity, but it's still True Myth, says the author of Christian Wisdom of the Jedi Masters.... A myth is a story that confronts us with the 'big picture,' something transcendent and eternal, and in so doing, explains the worldview of a civilization.Given that definition, Christianity is the prevailing myth of Western culture and Star Wars is a prevailing myth of our popular culture...."
But Christians are not "given that definition." It's an oxymoron! If we receive this twisted meaning and then apply it to Biblical Christianity, we would distort God's guidelines. As I wrote in "Lord of the Rings: Truth, Myth or 'Discovered Reality," myth, by standard definition, implies something other than reality -- something contrary to truth. Tolkien himself denied the link between his myth and God's truth. Still, that link lingers in many contemporary minds -- especially among those who love the exciting myths of our times. Notice the blend of truth and deceptive suggestions in Dick Staub's next statement:
"As I thought more about the themes of Star Wars, the connection to helping the next generation become 'Jedi Christians' just started falling into place. ...
"As you mentioned, the Lucas story is more theologically attuned with Hinduism. In Jedi mythology, the highest good is achieved by balancing light and dark, whereas Jedi Christians believe the highest good is achieved when darkness is defeated. In Jedi Christian lore, the dark side is not just the opposite of light, but is an unequal opponent of God, who, in Star Wars terms, is the Lord over the Force."
5. Choosing truth and reality, not myths and feelings. Our sovereign, all-wise, all-loving Creator is nothing like the Force. The very suggestion makes a mockery of His holiness and glory! According to Biblical definitions, the Star Wars Force is a different god -- the kind of counterfeit god that the Bible tells us to shun. And like those pagan gods of the past, it comes with an enticing built-in mythology. It may well have the largest group of devotees of any pagan deity throughout history. But we can't ignore the consequence:
"...if you by any means forget the Lord your God and follow other gods... you shall surely perish. As the nations which the Lord destroys before you, so you shall perish, because you would not be obedient to the voice of the Lord your God." Deuteronomy 8:10-20
The "highest good" God shows us in His Word is His holiness, not the eventual defeat of darkness (a victory which is according to His work and time, not ours). Therefore He calls us to separate ourselves from all the cultural influences that would mar His holy life in His 'born again" children. "'Come out from among them and be separate,' says the Lord. 'Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters,' says the Lord Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:14-18
Mythical stories that evoke strong feelings distract fans from true realities and bombard them with contrary suggestions that appeal to emotions rather than minds. Trained by today's dialectic (consensus) process to seek "common ground" along with new meanings that promote group consensus, the postmodern person simply relieves the tension (cognitive dissonance) between old and new ways through mental and moral compromise -- a basic element of today's "new way of thinking." [See "Reinventing the World"]
In spite of man's unceasing quest for feel-good revelations and mind-blowing thrills, there's only one source of absolute truth: the Bible. That may sound narrow, divisive and offensive to some of you. Others will lose friends for accepting that truth, but they know that oneness with Jesus is well worth the cost. As He told us long ago, "If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you." John 15:18-19
To Him who created all things, the dim lights of today's mythical fantasies are mere illusions within a vast spiritual darkness that clouds this fallen earth. Therefore God warns us:
"Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light, finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. ... See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil." Ephesians 5:6-16
See alsoStar Wars Comments
Star Wars Joins United Religions at the Presidio, Toying with Death and Role-Playing Games & Popular Occultism
1. Bruce Newman, "An Epic's Global Impact," Mercury News, 5-15-05.
2. "Star Wars Joins United Religions at the Presidio" and "Heresy in high places"
3. Dick Staub, www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2005/120/22.0.html
4. Steve Silberman,
"Life After Darth," at http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/13.05/lucas_pr.html
7. "Star Wars to become new TV series"at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/4484915.stm
8. "The Naming of Jedi," at http://www.qui-gonline.org/features/naming.htm
9. "Obi-Wan Kenobi," at http://www.starwars.com/databank/character/obiwankenobi/
10. T-BLOG, (January, 11, 05) at http://www.starwarz.com/tbone/movie_news/archive_2005_jan.htm
11.Lucasfilm Ltd. (Qui-Gon Jinn), I am A Jedi (Random House Star Wars Storybook, 1999), no page numbers.
12. "It's Written in the Stars" http://www.animefringe.com/magazine/02.06/editorial/
14."Shinto," at http://staff.jccc.net/thoare/shinto.htm
15. "The Jedi as Ninja," at http://www.qui-gonline.org/features/ninja.htm
16. "Qui-Gon Jinn" www.starwars.com/databank/character/quigonjinn/
17."A New Way of Thinking" at www.crossroad.to/Books/BraveNewSchools/3-NewThinking.htm
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