Theology and Sith

There are all these Christian themes running through the Star Wars movies.  People have written bazillions of books.  I didn’t think any were all that impressive.   I’m feeling kind-of nerdy (and arrogant) tonight.  I think I’ll blog about them.

I think that these become more obvious in the more recent movies.  The most obvious connections are cosmetic ones. There are these little explicit nods to Christianity that are hard to miss.  For example, Anakin is a product of an immaculate conception.  The number for the plan that will destroy the jedi is order 66– only, of course, pretty close to the number made famous in revelations as the number of the beast.  In the most recent movies, the force is even sometimes referred to as “the living force”– reminiscent of Christians referring to the “living God.”

Slightly deeper is ideas that run a little deeper than mere nods.   The favoring of the spiritual over the material for example.  The Star Wars movies paved the way for The Matrix in their declaration that the physical world is much less important than the spiritual reality which lies beneath it.   Consider, for example, Yoda’s chiding of Luke when his lack of faith leads to his failure to rise the X-Wing fighter out of the muck.  Or consider Ben Kenobi’s victory through surrender.  (More on this in the next post about this topic.)

(Just for the record, I have some misgivings about the understanding of the physical world vs the spiritual world.  Nonetheless, the orthodox Christian position has usually taken this route.)

A second paralell, also on this deeper level, occured to me recently.  One of my favorite scenes in all six movies is the one in “Revenge of the Sith” where Palpatine is talking to Anakin in that bizzare opera house.  He’s laying the ground work for his eventual corruption of Anakin, planting some seeds of doubt about the Jedi, some seeds of faith in the Sith.

I don’t know if this is why I liked the scene before I consciously realized it.   Here’s what I do know about that scene, and really, the whole series of movies.

It’s really about the fall from the Garden of Eden.

Like Adam, Anakin is tempted.  (Interestingly,two of the first three letters are the same of both names.)  Clear parameters have been lain out for him.  (In Anakin’s case, by the Jedi.  In Adam’s case, by God.)  The temptations of both Anakin and Adam are closely related to the God-like power of immortality.  (Remember the tree of life in the Garden of Eden?)  Both Adam and Anakin are tempted by a figure that takes advantage of greed, pride, and fear.

Like Adam, Anakin loses what he most sought.  Vincent Antonucci, in his excellent “I became a Christian and all I got was this lousy T-shirt” observes that Adam’s crushed community with God is the obvious ramification of the fall.  But his crushed relationship with Eve is also worth noticing.  Anakin, of course, loses his Amidala just as Adam loses the community he once had with Eve.  (We see this in Genesis by the way he tries to throw Eve under the bus as soon as God comes ’round.)  The God- Jedi paralell is here, too: Anakin loses the Jedi just as Adam lost his close connection with God.

I think there’s all sorts of interesting paralells between Luke and Jesus just as there are between Anakin and Adam.  I’ll probably “go there” in my next post.

 

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jeffsdeepthoughts

The stories that speak to our soul begin at a home where things are good. Cinderella is happy with her father. The three little pigs have grown up and are ready to move on. Bilbo Baggins knows his shire. Adam and Eve walk with God in the garden. My story isn’t much different. There was a time and a place where it was so good. There was a community for me. And there was joy. We were filled with a sincere desire to do what God wanted us to do. We possessed explanations and understandings that went a certain distance. We offered security and tradition and laughter. For a lot of years, that was enough. I have this sense that it was also necessary. I have this surety, now, that it certainly wasn’t everything. There were some things that became increasingly problematic as time went by. There was a desire to package things up so very neatly. Sunday morning services were efficient and strategic. Responses to differences of opinion were premeditated. Formula began to feel more important than being real. A real desire for everybody to be one of us, but also a real sense that there is an us, and there is a them. They carried a regret that it has to be this way, but deeper than this regret was a surety that this is how it is. I began to recognize that there was a cost of admission to that group. There were people who sat at the door, collecting it. Those people wished they didn’t have to. But I guess they felt like they did have to. They let some people in, and they left others out. There was a provisional membership. My friends did possess a desire to accommodate people that are different… But it would be best for everyone concerned if they were only a little bit different. I did make many steps forward in this place. Before I went there, there were lies that I believed. Some of the things that I learned there, I still hold on to. But that place is not my home anymore. Those people are not my community anymore. There were times it was hard. I am engaged in a different community now. And I am working hard at finding a place in many different places now, embracing many different kind of families. I don’t always get it right. I am trying and I am learning and I am moving foreward. I have this sense that I am not alone in these experiences. I believe that we are tribe and we are growing. We are pilgrims, looking for a new holy land. Perhaps we won’t settle on the same spot of land. But if you’ve read this far, I am thinking that we are probably headed in the same general direction. I have begun this blog to talk about where my journey is taking me. In every space, we find people who help us along. And maybe we can get to know each other, here. We embrace ideas that provide a structure for the things we believe, and perhaps we can share these too. Maybe we can form a group, a tribe, a community, if we can figure out a way to work through the shadow of these kinds of groups, if we can bigger than the us-and-them ideas that have caused so much trouble in the past. As important as they are, I think the very nature of online interactions will lend itself to something equally powerful. I am stumbling onto these practices that my grandfathers and great grandfathers in the faith engaged in. I am learning about these attitudes and intuitions are so different than the kinds of things we call doctrine today. I don’t know about you, but I am running out of patience, and even interest, in conversations about doctrine. I hope that maybe you’ll share a little something about where your journey is taking you, and maybe our common joys and challenges might help each other along, and we might lift each other up. Thanks for doing this journey with me.

4 thoughts on “Theology and Sith”

  1. There seems to be some gaps in both your perception of what is important and what is irrelevant, and the doctrine that you base your ideas on. First, you must understand that random coincidences (e.g. plan #66 and the number of the beast, first letters in characters’ names) have no basis in arguing a point. Next, you need to do a little more research and mull over your thoughts a little longer before you let them see the light of day. But most of all, I cannot stress this point to much, you need to research deeper into Bible doctrines. You did not in any way delve into real viable doctrine. You mentioned some stories, but you did not quote or even reference scripture. These are musts if you want to be taken seriously. please, buy a book on Bible doctrine (I recommend one by Kevin Conner) and spend more time reading the Bible itself. Your thoughts will be more ordered and your writing will become clearer. It would do you some Good. (Mull over this; the Sith are more like the Christians that the Jedi)

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  2. Let’s see:
    #1) Doctrine is incredibly important. But it wasn’t my focus in this post. I’m curious what specific doctrines you feel that I don’t know.

    #2) I’d like to suggest, in humility, that you refrain from telling people what they “need” to do while debating. It’s rude, off putting, and doesn’t actually mean anything. Clearly I don’t “need” to do any of the things you say I do. If you explain why you think I need to do them (e.g. “if you do so-and-so then this will happen”) then I– and most people– are much more likely to hear you out.

    #3)I hope we agree that the movie was written by a person, and not a random coincidence. The writings of people tell us things. Sometimes they are things the writer is conscious of. Other times they are things the writer was not aware that he was saying.
    Either way, these are not random. Discussion, debate, and exploration of the names of characters, and the importance of details which otherwise seem random is a well-established procedure in literary criticism.

    #4)I suspect we won’t agree on a variety of doctrinal points. But again, I wasn’t exploring doctrine in this post. I’d like to invite you to click the categories on the left hand side with titles on this blog with titles like “theology” “my faith journey” etc.
    I do suspect one of our most fundamental differences will be in the use we’d put scripture to. I believe that we’re intended to consider wide, big picture themes at least as much as individual verses. I think it’s easy to contend with one or two sentences. But I believe these often get distorted when the wider context isn’t taken. I realize that wrestling with wider themes and meaning can lead to equal misunderstanding, however, as a whole, I believe that many Christians are swayed by arguments that rely heavily on cherry picking isolated verses out of context.

    #5)This is a post about Star Wars. I would not have written it if I wanted to be taken all that seriously. I write about important stuff sometimes. I’m incredibly serious about Jesus. But I do have a sense of perspective about my life: at the end of the day, the subject of this post is, after all, a movie.

    #6) Reading the bible is incredibly important. I do so daily. Again, I’d like to invite you to a wide number of posts on this blog where I discuss this.

    #7) Can you help me understand which thoughts are disordered and where my writing is unclear?

    #8) There are ways that you are correct. The Sith are more like Christians than the Jedi. I wonder if we’d agree on where the paralells are and whether or not we should aim to be Sith-like.

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  3. Let us review;

    #1) doctrine is very important. Though it was not your focus in this post, I do hold that any true doctrine will by definition come forth in everything we do, say and write. I’m sure you know Christian doctrine, but I feel it should come out more in your writing.

    #2) you are completely right. I should have come with a different thought process and tone to my opinion.

    #3) I whole heartedly agree. This is the stance I would like to take myself (though I have trouble doing so at times).

    #4) you are right and I do plan on reading further into your doctrinal blogs. I of course would agree that we must look at the whole of scripture (we must if we are to be hermeneutically correct in our interpretation). I merely wanted to make the point that when we are using the bible as a basis in a thought, we have a better stance if we can back our statements with scripture, not just a general reflection of a story.

    #5) you are quite right. This is a post about a movie. I am probably taking it to seriously. But since we are even mentioning the name of Jesus I think we should be careful and make every effort to make every statement true and without grounds for contest.

    #6) I read my bible daily as well.

    #7) you seem to just skim over points and not really try to explain them well enough for everyone to understand (at least in this post)

    #(little smiley face)) you seem like a great guy, Jeff, I’d like to talk to you more some time.

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  4. Thanks, Josiah. You’re insight and thoughts are appreciated. I hope you’ll drop me a comment sometime soon.
    (I’ll cruise over to “a logical debate” as well.)

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