Monday, January 11, 2016

Dangerous Comparisons Of Star Wars With Christianity

             May the force be with you? Is God with us or is the force with us? Are God and the force same?

            If you are yet to recognize that force is synonymous to Star Wars, you probably haven’t heard of Star Wars, which belongs to sci-fi fantasy movie genre!

            Star Wars merchandise overwhelm us – mugs, t-shirts, helmets, action figures, bedspreads, pillowcases, curtains and what not! People, irrespective of age, are fascinated by Star Wars. Touted by Forbes as the 20th biggest movie ever, Star Wars continues to bulldoze the imaginations of a worldwide audience.

            I may be one among the few to not be fascinated by Star Wars. But the Star Wars phenomena cannot be ignored when the imaginations of millions are absolutely spellbound by it.

            A conservative Christian response is to condemn Star Wars and advocate a ban on watching it. But in the world of internet, smart phones and peer pressure, any Christian mind could be motivated to watch Star Wars and buy into a few of its innate themes that are religious in nature.

            Star Wars has already captured the imagination of millions. This cannot be undone. Instead, Star Wars can be used as a means to drive home the timeless Christian truths.

            Effective Christian preachers use timely, appropriate and audience-specific illustrations to teach Christian truths. When Star wars is trending, churches and youth groups could draw parallels between Star Wars and Christianity to teach Christianity in a familiar context.

            Here’s what I am not saying:

            I am not saying that Star Wars is a Christian movie.

            I am not saying that Star Wars is a necessary means to disciple Christians.

            All I am saying is that the Christian leadership should be open minded to use these latest trends to augment one’s faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

            Here are a few dangerous parallels between Christianity and Star Wars:

God Versus Force

            The force that Star Wars refers to is an all powerful force (an energy field created by all living beings) that binds the universe together. The force has two sides to it – the light and the dark side.

            However, God is fundamentally distinct from the force:

            God is a living spiritual being. God is not impersonal.

            God is perfectly good. There is no evil in God.

            God is uncaused, whereas the force is created by all living beings.

            God created the universe and all that is in it.

            God is sovereign and all powerful; God sustains the universe. 

Good Versus Evil

            According to Star Wars, good and evil are axioms of the force. The force causes the good and bad.

            The Bible teaches that God does not cause evil, since God is perfectly good.

            God created angels and humans with freewill. Satan, an angel created by God, causes evil and causes man to do evil. Man uses his freedom to either accept or reject God. When man rejects God, he commits evil.

            In Christianity, the believers of Christ are mandated to do good and not evil. Star Wars teaches that the subjects of the empire should listen to the force to either do good or evil. 

            In the Christian worldview, God will ultimately destroy Satan and usher a world without evil. But in Star Wars evil cannot be destroyed, since both good and evil are the axioms of the force. This entails that good and evil will continue to exist.

            In Star Wars, the Jedi knights fight for the good and the Sith lords are on the dark side. The Jedi dedicate their entire life to fighting for the good in the physical plane with physical weapons. But we, the believers of Christ, are constantly mandated to fight a spiritual warfare with spiritual weapons. 

Holy Spirit Versus Midi-Chlorians 

            The midi-chlorians of Star Wars could be compared to the Holy Spirit – the third person of the blessed trinity of the Christian faith.

            In the fictitious world of Star Wars, the midi-chlorians are intelligent microscopic lifeforms living inside the cells of all living beings. They apparently enable their hosts to listen to the force. Contrarily, the Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit, who lives within every Christian, leads us to do God’s will, if we are sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit.

            In a parallel with Christ, Anakin Skywalker is the prophetic savior of Star Wars – the one who would come to bring balance to the force. Similar to the virgin birth of Christ, Anakin Skywalker was apparently conceived by the midi-chlorians.

            The Bible teaches that the second person of the blessed Godhead, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior of all mankind, was conceived by the Holy Spirit, and born of a virgin.

Death Versus Afterlife

            There are references to afterlife in Star Wars. Many Jedi believe in some form of afterlife. The Jedi also believe that they should not fear death and that they would become a part of the force upon their death.

            Christians are called to neither fear evil nor death (Psalm 23). In Christianity, afterlife is certain. Death is a mere gateway to either heaven (an eternal blissful coexistence with God) or hell (an eternal life without God in absolute torment).

            In Star Wars, those who are evil and die would cease to exist. A few Christians, including Rev. John R.W. Stott, believe in a similar doctrine – Annihilationism. Annihilationism posits an absence of hell i.e eternal judgment.

            If evil people would merely be annihilated after their death, then while living, the evil people would live without any fear of an eternal judgment in hell. Thus the evil people would be motivated to continue their evil schemes.

            This situation poses a serious dent to God’s justice, for cessation of existence is not a punishment but a reward for being evil in this world.  

Rule of God Versus Rule of Evil

            In Star Wars, evil is in charge of the empire. While the subjects of the empire are led to believe that good is in control, in reality, evil rules.

            Similarly, we may be led to believe that the sovereign God is in absolute control of the world we live in today. But in reality, God has allowed Satan to rule our world for a brief period of time (2 Corinthians 4:4). The rampant evil in our world reveals Satan’s control.

            The fact that God has allowed Satan to rule over the world reveals HIS sovereign control from the perspective that HE would intervene in our life as and when HE deems it necessary. Finally, God would eliminate evil.  

Christians Versus Jedi

            Training is vital for both Jedi and Christians. Well trained soldiers will vanquish the enemy.

             In the fictitious world of Star Wars, Jedi had to be trained well before they became full-fledged Jedi knights.

            However, in reality, Christians should train themselves well through Bible study. This is the responsibility of every Christian.

            Churches should ramp up their efforts to train their members in the study of God’s Word.  Bible study groups exist in many churches, but these groups, if not monitored by the church leadership become a means to social jamboree or a ritualistic weekly get-together.

            Christian life is lived intentionally. Christian maturity is an entailment of spiritual training. Unless a Christian is trained well, he/she cannot withstand the flaming arrows of the Satan.

            To conclude, if the Christian leadership ignores the imaginations of its young people, then the young and fragile Christians could be in danger of losing their faith in Christ. Furthermore, the Christian leadership would not justify their calling as leaders of the Christian community, if they remain oblivious to the needs of their young people.  

            All Satan needs is a tiny entry into the imagination of the young and fragile Christians. Movies are a wonderful means to impact the imaginations of people. Good movies could bring people closer to Christ and bad ones would take people away from Christ.

            Jediism as a religion has the potential to remove people away from Christ. Star Wars remains to be an effective means towards this endeavor of Jediism. However, Christians could use the very same Star Wars to reinforce the timeless truths of Christianity.

            It is my hope and prayer that our faith in Christ grows stronger day by day irrespective of all the distractions around us. May not the force be with you, but may the good Lord be with us. 

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