How “Star Wars” teaches spirituality


Source: Religion News Service

Spoiler alert: “Star Wars” is an actual American religion.

Consider the number of people who saw “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” during its opening weekend.

That would be a gazillion times more than the number of people who attended religious services that same weekend.

And why? The “Star Wars” series captures a mythical longing that is at the very heart of our collective souls.

One example: the constant theme of the old teaching the young. We ache for the wisdom of elders, who are frequently missing from our lives. (Think: Yoda and Obi-wan as rebbes, gurus, whatever).

Imagine that the seats in those movie theaters were actually pews in a church.

What could you learn in “The Church of Star Wars”?

Or, “Congregation Beit Star Wars”?

“May the Force be with you.” That’s like “may God be with you,” isn’t it? Isn’t “the Force” just another way of speaking about God?

Well, maybe. The Force is defined as “an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us.”

It sounds like how the modern Jewish thinker, Mordecai Kaplan, imagined God — as “the Power that makes for salvation.” “God is the sum of all the animating organizing forces and relationships which are forever making a cosmos out of chaos,” he wrote.

It is tempting to think that a force is impersonal. But, remember the scene in the first movie, when the Death Star eradicates the planet? Obi-Wan says: “I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened.”

It is a Jewish idea. The ancient rabbis imagined that when the Temple was destroyed, God actually went into mourning. God is actually vulnerable. God has needs.

Luke Skywalker vs. Darth Vader. Ever notice that Darth sounds like “dark,” and Skywalker contains the word”sky?”

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