Should Christians Be Excited About Star Wars: The Last Jedi?

I watched this teaser a while back when it came out. I needed to digest the few little tidbits. Watch it and then we’ll discuss…

 

 

The tease begins with a voice telling someone to “Breathe…. just breathe.” This is interspersed with darkness, suggesting the person’s (probably Rae’s) eyes are shut. Then the voice says, “Reach out!”

In pagan religion (which is any belief that attempts to appropriate God’s powers to us or for our purpose) this is standard for meditation.

Quick note, Christians are encouraged in God’s Word to meditate on God’s Law, or Scripture. We are never encouraged to engage in clearing our mind or giving ourselves to some random, blank nothing from which we’ll sense something leading us.

But, ever since Star Wars: A New Hope, this has been a blatant part of Star Wars. Clear your mind, let go of your conscious self… blah, blah, blah.

Of course, in Star Wars, this results in God-like power such–as knowing the future, flying through the air (?), moving objects with ‘the force,’ directing people’s minds to influence their actions, etc.

It’s clear from the latest trailer that this is a central part of the Star Wars fictional world. And, I’ll admit, I sort of scoffed at the Christian objection to the movies when they came out. I was pretty young and have had time to think about this as I grow in my walk with the Lord.

What has recently hit me is how subtly the enemy inserts false ideas into the culture. They don’t come to us overtly as some trumpet-blast with a statue of a false god where we’re ordered to bow down, or else! Not that such a thing is unheard of.

Instead, the enemy infiltrates our congregations introducing a bit more emphasis on a symbol like communion, then co-opting baptism to either be the thing that saves you, or binds some covenant to children. Then, he gets us to exalt priests as if they are the intermediary between us and God, rather than Christ.

The enemy inserts small things into our daily life that sound somewhat biblical. We pseudo-christian ideas in movies, making us accept little things that would suggest God is a safety-net for when we need supernatural help. Or, that God saves those who try really hard to be good, like Santa giving gifts to every good little girl and boy.

As a culture, we love entertainment. Movies and TV shows are very entertaining. With Star Wars, we were given an exceptional adventure tale with special effects that we’d never seen before. George Lucas wanted to make something akin to the Saturday serials that he had enjoyed as a kid.

Star Wars captured the culture’s imagination so much that it, along with Spielberg’s Jaws, pretty much created the Summer Blockbuster trend. From then on, movie studios have targeted Memorial Day and 4th of July for what they call “tent-pole” movies. I assume that represents the Big Top entertainment and the movie that holds it all up?

I’m not going to pretend that Star Wars isn’t entertaining (even the prequels had a few entertaining moments, though they were largely tedious, insulting messes).

With The Force Awakens, however, Disney has set out to recapture the essence of the first trilogy, and they did so very well. At the expense of a coherent plot or solid characterization, they managed to shoe-horn in every major entertaining scene from the first three movies into one.

They followed that billions of dollars profit with Rogue One and will release The Last Jedi this year.

Back to the teaser….

The viewer/character is encouraged to reach out (with their senses) and then tell the teacher what they see.

“Light”

oh, that’s good, right?

“Darkness”

Wait, that’s bad. It’s a threat! The person is perceiving a threat, so we’re still good, right?

“The balance!”

Okay, what’s that all about? Being that I’m a geek, I know where that fits in with Star Wars mythology. The “balance” is good. Supposedly, too much of the dark side, throws things out of balance and that needs correcting. According to random things stated in the series, “there is always two Sith”–those are the dark force guys.

The “prophecy” about Anakin Skywalker (in the prequels) is that he will “bring balance” to the force. So, he’s a promised one, born of a virgin, no less, and destined to …. bring balance?

See, the allusion to Jesus is bad enough, but we can assume this is just a fictional story that is shamelessly borrowing from Christianity. But, what it also does is shamelessly promote Hinduism. Balance, Karma, etc. There’s no such thing as evil, only dark and light. And there needs to be balance.

We see this in the Naturalists who believe humans have overpopulated the planet, and have thrown the ecosystem out of balance. There are actually those who believe that population limits are needed and extermination measures should be taken.

The teaser continues with someone saying that it’s bigger than that, but we’ll have to wait to find out what that is about.

Then we’re given a voice that might be a bad guy saying, “I only know one truth.”

And, we’ve learned that “Only a Sith speaks in absolutes!” A laughable statement that is, itself an absolute.

But, this person who “knows” this “one truth” believes the Jedi (the guardians of truth(?) and justice in the galaxy) must come to an end.

Uh-oh, this bad person who holds to One Truth wants to disrupt the BALANCE!!

What’s dangerous about entertainment is how sly it is. Most people watch this teaser and either say, “Ugh, stupid Star Wars! They’re making another one??” Or, “Cool! I wonder if Luke is a good guy or a bad guy? Is Rae going to force levitate?” or something like that.

People don’t consider that while they’re munching on popcorn they are being fed the idea that our minds could have power. Or that the “force” is “within us.” Or that all that matters is “the balance.”

How does that affect us? Are Christians going to abandon the Bible for the Jedi religion? Probably not in any other way than the most casual, fun-loving sort of way. But, we have had churches have Star Wars-themed services on the opening weekend of The Force Awakens. We have articles and books drawing parallels between Star Wars and the Bible, such as when Paul writes that we are to “overcome evil with good.”

See, and that’s how the enemy works. We see a loose connection, then force that square peg into the round hole. Paul wasn’t talking about the balance, or a life of non-violence, etc. He was advocating repentance from worldly wisdom and methods and surrender to the Lord, Jesus and trust in the Father’s ability to defeat the enemies that assail us. We, meanwhile are to feed our enemy, and clothe them (not slice them up with a light-saber after they don’t take our warning not to attack us!). See Romans 12 for the Bible reference.

I have a lot of friends who love Star Wars. I have found them entertaining, too. But, all of this overt mystical language and pagan propaganda doesn’t seem like something my Lord would go to for entertainment.

It used to be that fiction–in itself–was considered to be a lie, and therefore sinful. Thus, writers like Daniel Defoe and others would include a moral to the story, as with Robinson Crusoe. Pilgrim’s Progress was a book-length parable.

While I disagree that all fiction is a lie, and thus sinful, I do think that presenting things that are openly contrary to Scripture is dangerous. This is  most important for Christians–and they’re not too good about it, frankly.

But, when we seek out entertainment during our leisure time, we should consider whether the media is eroding our understanding of God, or building it up. Most of the world’s entertainment will do something to erode it. We’re either treated to ideas of casual sex, foul language, cheating, lying, disregard for life …. the list goes on. As a professor in college used to say, there are “wheat and tares” in the movies. Sometimes we can parse them out. Sometimes there may be more wheat than tares.

Sometimes the tares are there, but we want them so much that we decide they’re really wheat.

And that’s the danger we face when we don’t exercise discernment with our entertainment. This includes Christian movies. I posted a review of War Room that shows how that movie does a lot to damage the importance of prayer, while supposedly encouraging prayer. It includes books written by so-called Christian authors such as Ted Dekker. Another “Christian” movie, The Shack, is a pagan movie that is tantamount to blasphemy, yet gets the endorsement from my friends at Focus On The Family.

We need to be aware of what the enemy is trying to do. It’s subtle. It’s gradual. And if we’re not grounded in God’s Word, we’ll be led astray.

Is The Shack Even A Christian Movie?

I applaud anyone who sets out to write a book. Particularly fiction. It’s hard work. When someone takes on the task of self-publishing, it’s an even bigger job, and my hat tips to them.

William P. Young did this with The Shack and, a year after publication, it started selling faster than lifeboat seats on the Titanic.

The book garnered support from Evangelical pop stars such as Michael W. Smith, and more. It grew to be a phenomenon selling 30 million copies. I’m not sure if that’s on par with 50 Shades, but it’s the same type of hype.

My wife tried to read it (The Shack, not 50 Shades) and couldn’t get far before laughing out loud and pitching the piece of crap (in fairness, her reaction to 50 Shades would probably be identical).

It’s a unique privilege for a book to get that response. She never does that. She will usually slog through it. One other book got that treatment, The Harbinger. But that will be for another blog post.

It’s clear, however, that The Shack has captured the “Christian” market. But here’s the question: Does it even deserve to be called Christian?

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Do You Take Communion in a ‘Worthy’ Manner?

Maybe you’ve heard a pastor give a warning before serving communion, advising against anyone taking part in an unworthy manner. It comes from the Bible:

Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. -1 Corinthians 11:27

If you have a sensitive soul, perhaps you’ve wondered, “am I doing this in a worthy manner?”

Then, when the pastor goes on:

That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. -1 Corinthians 11:30 

Nobody wants that. In fact, my daughter asked me about this, genuinely concerned. And while most agree that it pertains to taking communion in a frivolous, carefree manner … it goes deeper.

Continue reading →

Doctor Strange – Modern Paganism

If you’ve been under a rock and unaware of the Marvel Studios’ pillage of the blockbuster tentpole movies over the past decade, then you can check out their latest trailer below. But before you do, I’ll note that I was pleased when they had Anthony Hopkins’ Odin from the Thor movies declare, “We are not gods!” In those movies, the myths of the Norse gods is explained as aliens who have technologies that mystify us, which we call ‘magic.’

Well, watch this trailer for Doctor Strange:

 

A few things stand out: First of all, Marvel has not shied away from the “mystic arts.” The story of Doctor Strange is that he’s a brilliant neurosurgeon whose hands are damaged in an auto accident. While recovering, he is taught about the mystic arts and becomes a warlock, having access to power of which most of us mortals remain unaware. And, he has the name ‘Strange’ because … coincidence.

Onward!

The narrator, who I guess is his teacher, says a few interesting things. She says she’ll show our hero “how the world works,” and that “our reality is one of many…” The mystic arts allow people to “harness engergy and shape reality.”

A tagline in the trailer is CHANGE YOUR DESTINY.

If there was some hesitancy to dive head first into paganism with Thor, Odin and Loki, it’s gone with this movie.

I’ve recently been reading a book called Ancient Paganism. The author, Ken Johnson, outlines the common roots of paganism and traces it back to Satan and the other fallen angels.

Ancient Paganism by Ken Johnson

He cites various sources, including the book of Jasher, which actually has been lost to history, according to credible sources. The only two alleged books have both been shown to be either complete fabrications, or an ancient rabbinical text that wouldn’t date back before the time of the first few centuries (at best). The latter was endorsed by Joseph Smith, of Mormon fame, which certainly doesn’t add any credibility.

Now that I’ve noted a glarring issue with one of the man’s sources (others include the book of Jubilees and the Talmud) I’ll get on with the interesting part.

He notes that all paganism traces itself back to the earliest days where humans rejected God in favor of their own worship. Satan, Dr. Johnson theorizes, introduced the idea of emanations, a doctrine that supposes that God emptied Himself into Creation, thus depleting His power, and possibly even dying.

Because of this, pagan worship includes ancestor worship, because the ancestors don’t die, they just get reincarnated into the energy that is the universe, or the multi-verse, and thus still exist. We are all connected with the Force … etc.

Magic is knowing how to tap into the god-energy that is all around us in the universe and bending it to our purposes. Sometimes this will involve fallen angels or demons, but more often, it is simply control of natural power (as it seems to be with Doctor Strange).

This ties in to the multiple realities that has become accepted because of the scraps we hear from the quantum physics research. If you’re not a nerd, you might not have heard much about this. Basically, quantum physics is … way over most people’s heads. But it invols the concept of multiple realities, particles existing simultaneously in two places, and on and on.

Personally, I believe that quantum physics will demonstrate that there are multiple realms, for sure. They may mirror our world, but are not the same. In other words, they are the spiritual realm inhabited by the fallen angels.

Pagans believe we can come close to those realities on certain nights of the year. For instnance, the Winter Solstice has been thought to be a magical time, not because of colorful wrapping paper, tinsel and lights, but because our reality and other realities were overlapping (this was a premise in Thor: The Dark World).

According to Ken Johnson, Norse mythology held that people might see a white-bearded Odin riding across the sky (at Christmas!) riding an eight-legged horse. Now, we have the myth of St. Nick riding across the Winter Solstice night riding in a sleigh with eight raindeer. Tomato, Tomahto.

The idea of changing destiny is interesting … essentially, Marvel’s story seems to suggest that God is not in command of our ultimate destiny … we are.

I’m not going to delve into the free will vs. divine selection here. Humans certainly have responsibility for their actions … but that’s not what’s going on here.

We have the magic circles, the incantations (or WiFi passwords? Okay, that was funny), and the idea that our thoughts can shape reality (thoughtforms).

This is clear paganism. Is it an innocent story? I suppose we can read fiction about witches and princes who transform from frogs, and so on. We can watch movies about “The Force” and see the heroes journey.

But are we just swimming with the current? Are Christians adopting the mystic arts and paganism without realizing it? Do we see prayer as a sort of incantation that bends reality to our thoughts? Or are we recognizing that the only prayer that “works” is the one that submits to God’s good will?

In the trailer Doctor Strange is asked, “how did you become a doctor?” His answer, “study and practice, years of it…”

Interestingly, it looks like the magic arts are a bit easier to come by than years of study and practice! Basically, it’s a fast-track to being a god (or Jedi).

Christians need to be careful we remain separate from the world, including the pagan ideology that appeals to those who have rejected the truth in favor of worshiping the creation and its supposed ‘energy.’