Sunday, September 25, 2011

Star Wars - paganism?

Republic starfighter, Eta-2 Actis-class light interceptor,
sometimes referred to as the Jedi interceptor (ref)

"Star Wars is an American epic space opera film series created by George Lucas. The first film in the series was originally released on May 25, 1977, under the title Star Wars, by 20th Century Fox, and became a worldwide pop culture phenomenon, followed by two sequels, released at three-year intervals. Sixteen years after the release of the trilogy's final film, the first in a new prequel trilogy of films was released. The three films were also released at three-year intervals, with the final film released on May 19, 2005.

As of 2008, the overall box office revenue generated by the six Star Wars films has totalled approximately $4.41 billion, making it the third-highest-grossing film series, behind only the Harry Potter and James Bond films."  (Quote from Wikipedia)

Star Wars is a projection of our world into an imaginary galaxy out there with strong emphasis on the Good and Evil empires and people like beings torn between the Galactic Republic and the tyrannical Galactic Empire.

Tatooine is an imaginary planet orbiting a binary star system 
The real thing is called planet Kepler 16b

May the Force be with you!
The main religious element in George Lucas' epic story is in the impersonal Force that can enhance either the good or evil in the person: the Jedi knights use it for good and the Sith for evil.

"One of the prominent elements of Star Wars is the "Force", an omnipresent energy that can be harnessed by those with that ability. It is described in the first produced film as "an energy field created by all living things [that] surrounds us, penetrates us, [and] binds the galaxy together."

"The Force allows users to perform various supernatural feats (such as telekinesis, clairvoyance, precognition, and mind control) and can amplify certain physical traits, such as speed and reflexes; these abilities vary between characters and can be improved through training. While the Force can be used for good, it has a dark side that, when pursued, imbues users with hatred, aggression, and malevolence."
(Quotes from Wikipedia

Two dogs
The fundamental religious element in Star Wars and especially the inner development of the key character Anakin Skywalker can perhaps be compared to the (legendary) story of a Native American man.

He told: "I feel as if there were two dogs fighting in my heart, one white and one black."

When asked, which one wins? he answers "the dog whose side I choose".

Free Willy!
With world wide revenue of $4.41 billion Star Wars clearly is an established part of modern popular culture and mental property of the younger generations. It is as popular as Star Trek which tells about human adventures in outer space.

George Lucas (1944) hit a jackpot with his Star Wars epic

The human species apparently looks for escape from the cage of its material and physical existence. The myths, legends and fairy tails of the past have been replaced by the myths, legends and fairy tails of today embedded with technological hype, spectacular special effects now in very real 3D and amazing flights of imagination.

And yet, a structuralist philosopher would easily find the same fundamental wiring underlying classical Greek, Native American or Star Wars flights of imagination, projecting and reflecting our everyday life in a larger than life setting and with superhuman powers.

Humanity is shouting "free Willy!" and George Lucas offers an escape for us.

True God and idols
Unfortunately, the fundamental power promoted in the Star Wars, the impersonal Force, is a real idol that represents true paganism. It pushes the only true God, God of Israel, totally out of the picture and is, in my opinion, theologically harmful to humans unable to make the distinction.

Then God spoke all these words, saying,
“I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
 “You shall have no other gods before Me.
 “You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing loving kindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments."
Exodus 20:1-6 NASB

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