So. The latest Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens, was finally released and it, shall we say, awakened the millions of fans who were enthralled with the original series back some 35 years ago. (I’m not counting the terrifically bad episodes 1-3 when I say “enthralled).
Latched onto all of the pop culture excitement for the new movie like mynocks sucking on power cables are Christian fundamentalist types wagging their fingers and earnestly lecturing us how Star Wars is nothing more than New Agey propaganda that is a Jim Bakker CERN particle accelerating portal to unleashing devil worshiping all over the world. If kids go watch Star Wars, by golly, the next step is Ouija boards, consuming Monster Energy drinks, and a spiraling descent into a hellish, Chick tract witch coven nightmare!
Over the weekend of the movie’s release, I got into a tussle with one of those finger-wagging religious moralists at a FaceBook group. He had posted a link to a lecture railing against Star Wars as New Age/Devil unleashing propaganda. The speaker is the pastor of a KJV Only church in MN (Of course!) who also has an audio catalog of sermons and podcasts crying out against the hidden evils of Christmas and CCM. The guy reminds me of a watered-down version of barefoot runner, Steven Anderson.
At any rate, my FB antagonist insisted that George Lucas had filled his movies with thematic elements pulled from a number of eastern, mystery religions and ignorant Christians gleefully lap up those hidden demonic messages all for the sake of entertainment. They are being duped by the devil into a life worldly compromise and devil worship.
Well of course I agree that “spiritual” themes exist in the Star Wars movies. I certainly don’t deny that. Obviously an universally transcendent “force” that a person can tap into and manipulate for either good or bad purposes is new agey. I mean, the whole idea of a Jedi order that demands a loveless commitment to a life of singleness and celibacy reeks of the monastic lifestyle promoted in many religious sects.
But do those religious themes mean that Lucas intended to make a series of movies filled with hidden spiritual undertones for the purpose of promoting a religion that the devil will use to bankrupt the Christian faith?
Good grief! Of course not. Do you seriously think that neck-bearded, flannel-wearing toy salesman created his cinematic universe for the purpose of introducing generations of children and then their children to religion? No! He wants to sell toys. Lots and lots of toys.
Sure, Lucas pulled from Joseph Campbell’s works regarding how hero journey myths weave themselves through various cultures, but to conclude it was for the purpose of creating a new religion in order to fool people into becoming New Agers is patently absurd. There was good reason Lucas insisted on maintaining the merchandising rights to his movies. It’s the reason why you can get a set of Dengar and Bossk plush toys,
I asked my FB debater to tell me how many folks he knew who watched the movies and then left the theater thinking, “I really want to know more about that dark side of the force thing,” and before you know it the person has created the church of the Sith that is rapidly growing in popularity.
He had to say he knew of none, which is true. There aren’t any. Oh, I know somebody can maybe find a few anecdotal examples from around the world somewhere. But I bet genuine examples will prove as difficult at conjuring up than the stolen data plans of the Death Star.
Most normal people are like me. They grew up loving the movies. Perhaps collected the toys and action figures and replayed the various movie scenes with them. My kids currently do the same thing. They build the Lego ships and swing their plastic light sabers around at each other.
But eventually they will grow out of the toys, and maybe they’ll be like me, a fan that maintains a nostalgia for the original movies so that I have a talking wampa on my desk sitting next to a Admiral Ackbar action figure caught in a mousetrap as part of my “geekosphere.”
Apart from the middle-aged weirdos who dress up like Bib Fortuna for Comic Con, I don’t know of anyone who even cares about alleged religious themes in Star Wars.
Honestly, the real hidden agenda of the devil, if we even want to call it that seeing that his agenda is clearly discernible, is to get conspiracy mongering Christians to obsess on silly things like demonic mysticism in the Star Wars movies, rather than focus upon those elements that do enslave the souls of men.
The biggest example being the shallow, spiritless preaching and fleshly entertainment that comes from the pulpits of the vast majority of Churches in the US that has only led to millions of false converts.
Or what about the horrendous theology being taught, like the influence of the stealth atheism of Biologos in churches, or the man-centered apologetics that has created apostates to Catholicism. Worst of all is charismaticism that has been a devastating, negative force on Christians throughout the Church worldwide for the last 40-plus years.
That is where our attention should be focused regarding biblical purity, doctrine, and spiritual compromise. Not upon some misguided conspiratorial alarmism about a series of popular movies.