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.

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