Op-Ed: May the Farce Not Bewitch You
Don’t trust your feelings on this one. For 40 years, the Star Wars industry has been pushing a worldview that just can’t hold up to scrutiny. Time to escape to reality.
by David Coppedge, Editor
Everyone likes a good story. Without question, the Star Wars movies deliver fun stories, augmented by stunning visuals, incomparable scores by John Williams, great acting and lots of action. As The Last Jedi plays itself out in IMAX theaters, viewers are getting their senses overpowered with special effects, storytelling, awesome sounds, epic battles — and fake religion. From the first episode in 1977, viewers empathized with young Skywalker as the Jedi master told him, “Trust your feelings, Luke.” Now, the elderly convert despairs at teaching his new apprentice the appropriate use of the magic tricks of the Force. It’s all about balance, he advises her. The light side and the dark side of this inexplicable Force must be kept in balance. The Force can hurl objects (and actors) through the air and manipulate minds. Joe Moviegoer, though, at the end of the adventure, leaves the theater with his feet on the ground, unable to make even his keys fly to the car. And if he had seen the producers and actors at work, he would have seen them stuck to the reality of gravity, too. These aren’t the humanoids you are looking for.
If the unexamined life is not worth living, as Socrates taught, the unexamined religion (or worldview) is not worth believing. Let’s examine this ‘religion’ of the Force that sprung from the imagination of George Lucas by asking some pertinent questions about it. My goal is not to be cynical or spoil a good piece of intelligently-designed film-making. On the contrary, I have enormous confidence, from personal experience, that escaping to reality and living in the light is actually much more satisfying—even invigorating—than relying on dark myths about unexamined fantasies.
Your hands have made and fashioned me; give me understanding that I may learn your commandments. Psalm 119:73
Think about this teaching of ‘balance’ between the dark and light sides of the Force. Even Luke in his senior years seems to get the hopelessness of it. The best of all possible worlds, in this fake religion, is to hope for ‘balance.’ What this implies is that good and evil must always co-exist. You don’t want to be too good, because you will upset the balance. Balance: good. Imbalance: bad.
But as the dark side can never fully destroy the light side, the light side needs the dark side to keep the balance— implying that evil is actually a good thing! How does that make any sense? It’s like saying that Truth needs Lies to be kept in balance. How does that motivate the Rebellion to keep up the fight? How does it inspire the kiddies in the final scenes of the movie, who will presumably be the next freedom fighters in Episode IX, to follow the example of Master Luke, their action-figure hero?
Another consequence of this doctrine is that you can’t really tell which side is light and which side is dark. The evil emperor believes he’s on the right side of history. The rebels are evil and must be squashed. Luke and the ‘good guys’ that the Star Wars industry tries to get viewers to sympathize with could be the demons; who could tell? It’s all relative to which side you are on. The only argument Luke, Leia, Yoda and all the rebels could make would be to appeal to an independent, unchanging, moral standard—like God.
You can be sure that the Dark Side scoffs at the idea of balance. They lust for full and complete totalitarian control. They’re like the Comintern, whose goal was to eliminate capitalism and establish global communism. For all Luke’s longing for balance, he will be like the freezing man negotiating with the hungry bear for a fur coat. Think about the compromise they reach.
Probably the worst aspect of the Force farce is its impersonal nature. Perhaps George Lucas wanted to avoid controversy by refusing to identify a god-figure with a name in his stories. (He has the ultimate Yoda Complex.) But his solution was worse than any problem he envisioned. A mindless force (which none of the films quite get around to identifying with any scientific or philosophical clarity) is amoral unless imbued with a moral standard ordained by a personal Being who can not only define good and evil, but hold sentient beings responsible to it.
In Christianity, we have a power like prayer that God hears and can answer according to His sovereign will. But that’s not a ‘force.’ It is a communication between persons, not manipulation of some mindless whatever. You don’t see Luke praying to the Force to be merciful and gracious. Luke is not responsible to the Force; the Force is responsible to him. He is the ‘god’ in this mythology. Some god, who presumably evolved like the other puppet creatures in the fake worlds on the silver screen, but grows old and dies.
The Star Wars story line is good for movie magic. It’s just stupid as a philosophy, that’s all. Think of this analogy: flying carpets. They have a top side and a bottom side. Flying carpets can be manipulated by their riders. Some will choose to fly on the top side, others on the bottom side. Epic battles ensue; imagine the special effects and dramatic music that could make this mythology into a blockbuster! All for what? Nothing. Which side of the carpet is right-side up depends only on environmental context and user preference. In Star Wars, who’s to say that the dark side’s tie-fighters are less righteous than the light side’s star-fighters? Both are blowing each other up with passion. It’s like football; the good team depends on whether you rooted for Georgia or Oklahoma yesterday. Nothing moral about it.
Maybe George Lucas invented his fake religion for a galaxy far, far away, but not for ours. Does that make it a Local Force? Does each galaxy have its own laws of nature? If so, that’s pretty hopeless, too. Nothing moral about that, either. A satisfying religion or worldview needs to encompass all of reality. It must be true to the Universe, not just to a place or time. The Force farce actually resembles witchcraft. Witches and wizards earned skill, brooding over ancient texts of incantations, to control the forces of nature with their minds. It’s as old as the Devil. Don’t let the Force farce bewitch you.
And remember: there is no evidence of space aliens anywhere. As far as we know, that galaxy far, far away has lots of hydrogen, but not much else.
Speaking of space aliens, we want to remind you to buy your tickets for CMI’s excellent documentary, Alien Intrusion: Unmasking a Deception. It’s coming to theaters around the USA for one night only, Thursday, January 11. Visit AlienIntrusion.com to find a theater near you and buy tickets in advance. Take a crowd if you can. Half of human beings believe in space aliens (see 12/10/17). This is a timely “reality” movie to shed light on the dark side of unexamined worldviews.
Watch the trailer here: