As explained in this previous post, the first key to accurately discerning God’s voice requires you to truly know who God is and this can be extremely difficult in our Star Wars-obsessed culture. Actually, the obsession with Star Wars is an indicative symptom of something deeper going on in society.
As ediaore people are coming to terms with the supernatural activity all around them, we should be able to understand the perspectives from which people in Western culture think about both natural and supernatural realities.
With the upcoming release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens and the unmatched onslaught of Star Wars merchandise this Christmas season, you will benefit from examining the Religion of Star Wars and how it has shaped the thinking of the culture in the last generation. This shaping has especially impacted how people think about God.
This article will be longer than normal, so if the topic interests you, you may want to scroll to the bottom and click the PDF image to get a printed version.
Many people try and know God through a variety of ways. Some look at the messy world around us, determine God’s attributes through the chaos and decide that God is incompetent or untrustworthy, or both. They reject this God and go their own way.
Others choose to try to know God through sacred texts such as the Book of Mormon, the Koran, the Old Testament or varying interpretations of the book of Revelation. In these cases, the picture of God is muddied and confused and even frightening.
Even worse but probably in most cases, lots of people will determine the characteristics of God based on the actions of those who follow God as they have defined him.
God in the Old Testament
In the case of the Old Testament, God is imperfectly revealed, and yet many people choose to define God by the attributes revealed therein. This is one area where Jan Mattyas and many other so-called prophets who claim to hear from God miss it. Jan Mattyas understood God through the Old Testament and so any supernatural messages he discerned had the wrong filter, produced the wrong interpretation and resulted in errant and evil praxis. Even today, many people think that God in the Old Testament is angry, capricious, stupid and genocidal.
A wise, thoughtful friend of mine, who is a Gnostic at heart, once explained to me how the New Testament God was different from the Old. He reflects the larger thought pattern held by those who distort who the God if the Bible is because they don’t maintain the correct interpretive themes and filter when approaching the Old Testament.
The Star Wars Religion: Monist Gnosticism
The “default mode of modern Western religion in general”, according to scholar N.T. Wright, is “characterized by certain types of Gnosticism,” especially of the Monist kind. 1
Like rum soaking into a German Christmas cake to the point that the nature of the cake changes into an alcohol-infused stollen, the culture industry in the West has for a century been dripping Monist and Gnostic thinking into the cake of Western society.
But while stollen is perhaps an improvement on plain old cake, the Religion of Star Wars has steeped into generations an entirely false and sickening idea of who and what God is.
Monist (“all is one”) Gnosticism is the idea that salvation comes through enlightenment by hidden knowledge to bring all back to a state of being “one with the cosmos.” In various strands of Gnostic thought, the revealing of secret knowledge comes from higher beings or a higher intelligence, or through evolution or a cosmic force. In the culture industry, think of the role aliens or enlightened beings or superheroes or artificial intelligence or technology or natural evolution or… The Force… plays in many science fiction/fantasy stories.
In Monist Gnosticism, the point of human existence or civilization is to evolve or to advance or be promoted to a higher level of existence, to achieve harmony with the universe, and eventually to be godlike, shedding the flesh to be purely spirit and at one with the cosmos.
Monist Gnosticism see the true God as “one with the universe” and our aim should be “oneness with it.”
In some strains of Gnosticism, when people fail to reach enlightenment, they enter the cosmic consciousness to be reincarnated and try again until they are successful.
One entity, to the Monist Gnostic, decided to work the most heinous crime in a cosmos where all should be in harmony and work as one. This entity is Yahweh, a stupid, demented and wicked god.
Thus, when Yahweh (the God of the Bible) separates light from dark, sky from waters, land from sea, in Monist Gnostic thought, he is working pure evil. When Yahweh separated plants and animals into their kinds, he is acting wickedly. And the most heinous crime of all, God separates a human into male and female.
While the Bible declares that God is separate from the Cosmos and his Created order reflected separation and the beauty of uniqueness, the Monist Gnostic says that God is One with the Cosmos, beauty is illusion, uniqueness evil, and Yahweh’s private work of creation aberrant.
Thus activity is defined as “good” when it seeks to eliminate all separation and all division and all creativity and all uniqueness, and bring everything back to a state of oneness. Fortunately, to the Monist Gnostic, the Cosmic Consciousness released a being called Sophie (or the Lotus) to bring humanity back into the fold, as it were, by leading a rebellion against Yahweh through enlightenment.
Ultimately, Sophie aims to use enlightenment to eliminate all individuality, all gender distinctions, all species distinctions, all national distinctions, all distinctions of art, beauty, life, emotions, creativity, and so on, to release humanity from the illusion of the physical world, make everything the same and one and folded back into the cosmic nothingness some traditions call nirvana.
“Within each of us there is a real, inner, private “self”, long-buried beneath layers of socialization and attempted cultural and religious control, and needing to be rediscovered if we are to live authentic lives.” 2
If the created order is a result of a demented Yahweh and truth is not external to Creation, then each individual can look inward for absolute truth, even if it goes contrary to the created order or society or the Bible or the church.
Thus, Monist Gnosticism
“translates into a view of humanity where heterosexuality, the creation of an “inferior” deity, is supplanted by androgyny or bisexuality. The “new man” of this Gnostic worldview “is no longer limited by the hard and fast separate of reality into right and wrong, true and false, male and female. His ultimate goal is union with the all, and on these sexual plane , androgyny.” Put simply, creation monotheism (Yahweh as creator) leads to a heterosexual view of humanity, while the Gnostic monist worldview leads to a blurring of the male-female distinction… Jung suggested that “homosexuality preserved an archetype of the androgynous original person.”
…In this ultimate struggle for mastery, the pagan goddess Sophia seeks to usurp the place of God the Creator and Redeemer. This is not colorful hyperbole. The conflict is real. The protagonists irreconcilable, Sophie is the very opposite of the God of the bible. She represents monism as God represents Theism. Her all-encompassing, encircling womb gives expression to the pagan notions of the divinity of all things.” 3
This is the Religion of Star Wars.
The Star Wars Mythology
The broadest definition of myth is a story that involves the interaction of supernatural and the natural to convey some truth.
The mythology of the Star Wars universe (as revealed in the movies, not in the television series’, books, video games, fan fiction, etc) involves a balance of power struggle between users of the The Force: Jedi for the Light Side and Sith for the Dark Side.
Jedi sage Obi-Wan Kenobi described The Force as an energy field created by all living things that binds the galaxy together; but viewers eventually learn that it also has some sentience (although it wouldn’t be described as a person) that it wills certain things, manipulated events to achieve its will, issued prophecies and even impregnated a woman with its messiah figure who would bring balance to The Force.
Anakin ultimately fulfilled the prophecy by killing all those who used the Light Side of The Force (the Jedi) and all those who used the Dark Side of The Force (the Sith: Emperor and himself).
This left Luke and Leah, representing perfect balance. Leia didn’t even know she could use the Force, whereas Luke used elements of both Dark and Light to achieve his ends: through three movies, his actions were motivated by selfishness and selflessness, characterized as rash and reasoned, filled with hatred and love, anger and calm, abandon and control.
Leah was in balance by not working with The Force at all and allowed to pursue her true love, whereas Luke was left perfectly balanced between Light and Dark, an androgynous hero who knew when to use hatred and when to use love.
Thus Anakin did bring balance to The Force. One would expect, in the wake of Episode VI, Luke would refrain from using The Force at all to maintain the balance.
These concepts were developed over 6 films, albeit dreadfully executed in the “first” three (the “prequels”). 4
The Dark Crystal
The mythology of Star Wars is more efficiently illustrated by the movie The Dark Crystal, produced by George Lucas in 1982 (after the release of Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back and before Star Wars Episode VI: The Return of the Jedi).
In The Dark Crystal, a crystal with a unique power has been broken into two pieces; one could say they were separated from oneness into two unique shards. The land thus fell into ruin, ruled by violent, dark beings, while gentle, light beings lived on the periphery. The protagonist is tasked with bringing the separated pieces back together, to become one.
Coincidentally, as the dark crystal is restored to oneness, the gentle, light beings have made their way to this council chamber of the violent, dark beings. The new crystal combines the dark creatures with the good creatures, and they became enlightened beings of pure energy, bringing healing to the land.
Thus, separating oneness into parts is bad, whereas, bringing parts back together is good and leads to enlightenment.
Good and Evil in Star Wars
The story of The Force involved a separation of light and dark from the perfection of oneness: light being pursued by the Jedi and dark by the Sith. Note, neither light or dark were good or evil, although Jedi often called the users of the Dark Side evil and users of the Dark Side show contempt for the users of the Light.
The view of both are out of balance with the goals of The Force. To The Force, both were equally evil in the sense that moving or maintaining separation and division is evil, while moving towards oneness and balance is good.
In Episode IV, the wise Jedi Obi Wan waxes poetic about how the Jedi maintained peace and justice for a thousand generations, but Episodes I through III reveal how his religion has clouded his views. The Jedi were corrupt, impotent and just as evil as the Sith! Consider these actions and decide if you would like to have Jedi as the guardians of peace and justice.
- They forcibly remove from their loving parents any infant whose blood tests reveal they will be Force-Sensitive.
- They separate these infants from their parents and society and raise them in a Temple and religion, irrespective of their parents’ or the children’s desires, even training them in ridiculously dangerous weapons at very young ages.
- They consistently operate from an “ends justify the means” mentality.
- They force their young initiates to give up sex, love, and marriage.
- They are forbidden to experience anger or lust or jealousy. They’ll never experience the highs and lows of sex in marriage. Or sex at all! And these are the good guys??
- They refuse to end rampant slavery and injustice on the outer worlds, although it’s in their power to do so.
- Their reputation is so dark that, when two are sent (instead of trained diplomats) to settle a trivial trade dispute, the Jedi are assumed to be unstoppable assassins of great terror.
- When investigating a crime, two of them act like the Gestapo with supernatural powers.
- They are willing to use torture, lie, steal and use mind control to gain advantages over the “weak minded.”
- None of the prophecies of their greatest prophet and wisest sage come true and none of this stratagems work.
- They assign a horny young Jedi-in-training to be the body-guard to an attractive young Senator (with a penchant for sexy dresses), with whom he was clearly infatuated with, and then sent them to the most romantic planet imaginable, while expecting him to maintain control of his raging hormones.
- They apparently don’t use birth control.
- They are so impotent and irrelevant, they completely missed the an obvious set up for a coup by a Dark Lord of the Sith.
Seriously, if these are the good guys, who needs enemies?
Anakin and Palpatine’s actions to murder the Jedi are, in the view of The Force, actually good because it’s a significant step towards restoring balance. Eliminating the Jedi leaves just the Sith in charge, and tyranny continues, until Luke, who’s vacillating love and meekness offset his hatred and pride to convince Anakin sacrifice himself to kill Palpatine. 5
This leaves Luke, who, in the closing scene of Episode VI, sees the ghostly elements of both sides, Sith and Jedi, united at last because Anakin fulfilled the will of The Force.
With this in mind, it’s easy to see how The Force used Padme to get the ball rolling. The name “Padme”, by the way, means “Lotus Flower”, which in Buddhist thought, is the agent of enlightenment.
Consider the multiple ways The Force manipulated Padme to propel Palpatine into power (providing him a far more efficient path than his own ill-conceived plans), seduce Anakin, who impregnated her with the new balanced Force users, Luke and Leia. The Force even gave Anakin dreams of her perishing in labor (as impossible as this must sound in the technologically advanced Star Wars universe) to finally tip Anakin to the Dark Side, and then when it had no need for its Lotus flower, The Force killed her off, bonding him to the somewhat wary Emperor until finally Vader kills him. The Force is a master misogynistic manipulator in its efforts to bring balance
Future Star Wars: An Aside
The idea of future Star Wars movies is a little baffling to me because the story Lucas wanted to tell was told: division bad; oneness is good. Any move towards division is evil; any move towards unity is good, and the ends (even if billions are killed), always justify the means. As much as it will be fun to see Hans Solo, Luke and Leia on the screen again, from a literary standpoint, the story arcs of all the major players in the original trilogy have been completed.
I really enjoy the original Star Wars films, …well, three of them, anyway. But the stories of all the main characters have been told.
I’m curious if these religious undertones will continue in the next Star Wars movies, or if they’ll delve into realpolitik. If the former, logically, Luke should have gone into hiding to avoid bringing imbalance to The Force. If other Force-users tip the scales one way or the other, expect Luke (or an heir of Leia) to intervene to restore balance, mercilessly, even if billions must die.
The director of the new film, JJ Abrams, is a consummate filmmaker and storyteller. His Star Trek films have little logic and reveal another fascist tool to be wielded unmercifully (the Federation and its Star Fleet are seriously frightening, if you step back and think about it), but he’s so great on action, characters, pacing, and egad, he uses real sets! The new film should be great fun.
Myth and Truth
Christians with a supernatural worldview have a great opportunity to discuss the Religion of Star Wars with friends and identify how Monist Gnosticism has invaded Western culture.
Christians should make themselves familiar with these concepts because these errant beliefs have been infused deeply in West’s culture industry. I suggest these videos:
Dr. Heiser’s Introduction to Gnosticism.
Dr. Heiser’s Introduction to Theosophy.
His introduction to Science Fiction and Spirituality.
Dr. Heiser is kind of my Yoda… but with a better track record!
Part of the reason the Star Wars mythology has been so effective in shaping generational views of God include us viewing it as mythology and fiction. We shut down the critical thinking of our brains, and allow the filmmakers to shape and manipulate us in the story telling. Thus the story works on very deep subconscious level.
In the case of Episodes IV through VI, the story tellers drew on archetypes for its characters: archetypes master storytellers have used for millennia. Episodes I through III, unfortunately, did not have well-drawn characters or plots but in some cases, the joy of entering the Star Wars Universe and the stunning visuals made up for the lack of character, plot and bad direction. In a few cases. One or two, anyway.
One of the broadest definitions of myth is a story that involves the interaction of supernatural and the natural to convey some truth. Ultimately, the best myth is the one that is also true, and that can be determined through the best way to understand God: the story that brought us Jesus, interpreted through the person of Jesus.
If you want to truly know God, then know Jesus and we can best know Jesus through reading the Bible.
Dr. Heiser suggests reading the Bible as if it was fiction. The Biblical authors crafted their texts very carefully, with specific agendas and certain audiences in mind. If we can stop reading it as a textbook, then we can allow the writers, and ultimately the Author who inspired the writers, to affect our minds on a deeper level, as the Writer intended.
As we strive to recognize the voice of God, we need to understand that God’s voice will not contradict what God has revealed in the person of Jesus.
- Tom Wright, Creation, Power and Truth: The Gospel in a World of Cultural Confusion, SPCK, 2013, pages 4 and 18. ↩
- Ibid., 9. ↩
- VineyardUSA, Pastoring LGBT Persons Position Paper, August 2014, 255, quoting Peter Jones, Spirit Wars: Pagan Revival in Christian America, Escondido: Main Entry Editions, 1997, 70. ↩
- As movies and story-telling devices, the first prequels were examples of bland characters, inane writing, and imagine-less direction. I fully agree with Red Letter Media’s hilarious, insightful, and altogether not family friendly analysis here. ↩
- In retrospect, it’s unfortunate that Luke didn’t take up his father’s offer in Empire Strikes Back. The Force was probably frustrated when Luke turned his father’s offer down. ↩