Theology of Star Wars

For the discussion of spirituality -- from LDS and non-LDS sources
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SamBee
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Theology of Star Wars

Post by SamBee » 22 Mar 2019, 08:33

As I've said elsewhere, I consider Star Wars to be totally commercial. Star Wars steals liberally. I don't have the space to discuss all its sources and it is pretty shameless about doing it. However, it does make a few stabs at being spiritual. So I thought I'd try and post something on what, if anything can be learnt from Star Wars spirituality (* see footnote).

The main framework of Star Wars is based around pop Taoism from a New Age POV. There are also a few stray bits of Judaeo-Christianity (unconscious), and character development (hero's journey) etc. Buddhism, mostly Japanese, is a major influence. Maybe some seventies pop Sufism too. The theology of Star Wars is pantheist with heavy dualism. A lot of it is very underdeveloped in my view, and it deliberately avoids being socially subversive. What Star Wars says is much less radical than the words of Jesus or Buddha.

* Music: The music in Star Wars is the best element by far. It often provides most of the emotional content and context. I would suggest it is by far the most spiritual thing in there. A lot of the rest is window dressing. LDS analog - Obvious!

* Mythological framework: SW uses elements of pre-existing myths and fairy tales to try and make its points. I find it more effective on the character level than the grand scheme of things. Luke & Vader's stories are the best developed. Yoda and Obi Wan's barely at all. LDS analog - scriptural and pioneer stories.

* Deity/Good and evil: There are no direct references to God, gods or reincarnation, except the Force which is the pantheist element. Though the SW universe is binary, it is never quite explained why this is so, and the origin of the universe is never mentioned. LDS analog - "There needs be opposition in all things".

*Tao: The Force corresponds to Tao or Qi. Getting in touch with it gives you telekinetic, clairvoyant and telepathic abilities. It has two sides (a third exists but see footnote), and characters lean into the light side or the dark side due to their personal choices. No one is really in the middle, although you get pulled from one to the other rapidly. LDS analog - Maybe the Priesthood or Holy Spirit, although I have major reservations about comparing either of these to the franchise.

* Rich and Poor: Star Wars makes little or no comment about wealth accumulation vs spiritual progress. If it did, it would undermine its own merchandise pitch. Some Jedi do live in conditions of poverty, but this is more an artefact from where Lucas pinched stuff from. Lando sells out the heroes, but that isn't a comment on business in general. LDS analog - Hard to say here. The church doesn't condemn wealth, but does suggest some of it gets shared around.

* Nature: Spiritual places tend to have more plants and animals, who are all in touch with the force. Baddies live in industrial areas, with nothing growing in them. Another underdeveloped idea. LDS analog - None sadly except perhaps the temple film and gardens.

* Sexuality: I'm not convinced Star Wars has much to say or add in this area in heavy contrast to the LDS.

* Personal morality: Most of this is pitched around "the Force" idea. SW morality is basic - be nice to other people. However, killing and fighting is okay if you're on the right side. LDS analog - Much more developed. For the last part, see Nephi chopping Laban's head off.

* Repentance: Features peripherally in SW. The most notable examples, I suspect is Vader as he is dying reconciling with his son. A lot of people, like Leia, start good and end up good and barely put a foot wrong. LDS analog - One of our biggest things.

Footnote
* Obviously there is a huge mass of other Star Wars material. I'm only dealing with the original film trilogy here. The prequels undermine the original films I believe, both plotwise and otherwise.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

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nibbler
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Re: Theology of Star Wars

Post by nibbler » 22 Mar 2019, 10:15

You forgot about how they based Yoda off of SWK.

<ducks>

yeah, I know it's a Mormon myth
If one dream dies, dream another dream. If you get knocked down, get back up and go again.
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mom3
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Re: Theology of Star Wars

Post by mom3 » 22 Mar 2019, 13:29

You forgot about how they based Yoda off of SWK
I grew up with people who believed this. No joke.
"I stayed because it was God and Jesus Christ that I wanted to follow and be like, not individual human beings." Chieko Okazaki Dialogue interview

"I am coming to envision a new persona for the Church as humble followers of Jesus Christ....Joseph and his early followers came forth with lots of triumphalist rhetoric, but I think we need a new voice, one of humility, friendship and service. We should teach people to believe in God because it will soften their hearts and make them more willing to serve." - Richard Bushman

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SamBee
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Re: Theology of Star Wars

Post by SamBee » 22 Mar 2019, 17:23

Yoda is actually a bit of an ethnic stereotype. I see him as a kind of cliché eastern mystic, with colored skin and a funny accent. A bit racist, but there is a more than a touch of racism in the SW universe, at least in the originals and prequels. (The new films have gone off to the other extreme.)

Pres. Kimball at least didn't sound exotic.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

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nibbler
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Re: Theology of Star Wars

Post by nibbler » 22 Mar 2019, 18:23

I think people assumed that Yoda was based on SWK because Yoda was 900 years old and looks like just about every other 900 year old out there.
If one dream dies, dream another dream. If you get knocked down, get back up and go again.
― Joel Osteen

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SamBee
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Re: Theology of Star Wars

Post by SamBee » 22 Mar 2019, 18:29

nibbler wrote:
22 Mar 2019, 18:23
I think people assumed that Yoda was based on SWK because Yoda was 900 years old and looks like just about every other 900 year old out there.
Or even a nine day old, because as everyone knows, babies look a bit like some old people. Or Winston Churchill.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

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dande48
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Re: Theology of Star Wars

Post by dande48 » 23 Mar 2019, 13:39

nibbler wrote:
22 Mar 2019, 18:23
I think people assumed that Yoda was based on SWK because Yoda was 900 years old and looks like just about every other 900 year old out there.
I thought it was because, once you hold a particular worldview, suddenly EVERYTHING becomes evidence for that world view. Star Wars is one of the greatest signs in these latter days that the Church is true.
"The whole world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel." - Horace Walpole

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SamBee
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Re: Theology of Star Wars

Post by SamBee » 25 Mar 2019, 17:12

Serious question for those who think they are spiritually uplifted by Star Wars... what exactly does that for you? The music? Or is it the general good vs evil thing? Or even all the stuff about the Force?

I'd be interested to know. If I was asked a similar question about LDS, then I'd be able to point to certain things. Star Wars doesn"t do that for me personally.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

LadyofRadiantJoy
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Re: Theology of Star Wars

Post by LadyofRadiantJoy » 06 Apr 2019, 12:47

Some of the spiritual ideas that Star Wars was based on, was not really known in the West. It gave people some measure of faith.

Do or do not, there is no try.
It's all about confidence in one's self that you can do what you set out to do.

The Force. Christ says He is in all things and through all things. Great description of the Force,the Tao, etc.
Using hte Force to self-heal like with General Leia in later movies, that's awesome. As someone who practices energy healing to heal spiritual wounds and to quicken the speed of healing physical wounds, it totally jives with me.

Doing the right thing, no matter what. Following your heart, no matter what even when leaders tell you not to (Luke leaving to save Leia and Han even though Yoda was like no!).

That you can talk to people who are on the other side, something I have done, which is awesome. Effectively you aren't alone and can receive Divine help.

The hope of redemption no matter how awful you think you are, it's not too late for you to come back home. To choose differently. (Vader at the end of Return of the Jedi.)

The prequels have serious issues but one thing it does show well is the very real issue of fear and lack of trust; and religious extremism of no attachments. Those were serious issues that pushed Anakin away.

In the sequels with Rey you have Yoda destroy the sacred Jedi texts because they were old ideas that were no longer needed, that held people back, and the sequals have removed hte whole "mitachlorianites thing from the story (praise be), and evidence that anyone can from anywhere can be good at the Force. No special bloodline anything. Rey is clearly, 100% a nobody, and you see evidence later of slave kids using the force. Basically, it's like the new Spider-verse, anyone can wear the mask. Anyone can use the force.

The idea that everyone has to do their part ALL THE WAY, with faith that everyone else will too. If that hadn;t happened like in Rogue One (best example), the plans for the Death Star would not have been obtained. It was 100% every effing person doing their part to get the job done no matter what, having faith that someone else will pick it up where they left off if they go down. Every person in that movie was an effing hero.

So yeah, we need those stories now more than ever to give us hope that all of us doing our part no matter where that part is, or what it is, will help us have a better more compassionate greener world.

The stories we tell matter, and have serious influence over our culture. And if we want to cleanse our culture of cultural smog we need to tell stories that are empowering and loving and hopeful. We can't plan for a better future if we have no hope in one. The stories we tell, fantastic or otherwise, can give inspire that hope.

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SamBee
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Re: Theology of Star Wars

Post by SamBee » 07 Apr 2019, 01:38

I've deliberately stayed away from discussing the prequels and sequels and tie-ins as I believe they muddy the waters. :lol: If you watch them in the official sequence, they undermine Luke's character utterly - prequels revealing who his father was prematurely, and the sequels turn him into a monster who also had trouble picking up what Rey could do with ease. Very stupid story telling.
The Force. Christ says He is in all things and through all things. Great description of the Force,the Tao, etc.
I interpret that quote quite differently tbh. If we connect the two ideas, it implies Christ is also evil since the Dark Side is part of the Force.
The hope of redemption no matter how awful you think you are, it's not too late for you to come back home. To choose differently. (Vader at the end of Return of the Jedi.)
One of the better messages out of the films IMHO. :thumbup:
Rey is clearly, 100% a nobody, and you see evidence later of slave kids using the force.
I think something will come out about Rey's parentage. My suspicion is that she will turn out to be a clone.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

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