Re: "Pop Zen," there was no Star Wars when I picked up my first Allan Watts in 1968. No Return of the Jedi when I first read Rinzai in 1970. Personally, I looked at zen and Star Wars from a different side. I was quite pleased to see the pop culture paying some homage to the 2500 year old religion.

The Jedi (who dress as monks crossed with Samurai and live in a "Monastery" or "Temple" where they lead celibate lives...apparently, from what one tells from the previews for the second Film) remind me of nothing less than certain Buddhist warrior monk sects, such as the Shaolin.

I think Star Wars has a lot of ideas from Christian mysticism. In the final episode, Luke is dressed in what basically looks like a priest's uniform (notched collar and all). And during the final battle, the Emperor constantly exults whenever Luke is moved to anger and self-righteousness ("Good! Your hate has made you powerful!" and so on).

Plus, there is the part in "The Empire Strikes Back" when Luke is meditating and able to see the future. He sees his friends in pain but Yoda advises him against rushing to their aid: "If you go now, help them you could, but then you would destroy all for which they have fought and suffered." The notion that suffering can result in ultimate good in definitely Christian.

Is the force (Star Wars) a good symbol of the Spirit of God (the Holy Spirit)?

You ask: "Is the force (Star Wars) a good symbol of the Spirit of God (the Holy Spirit)?"

A few things about this comparison. First, the Force is not personified at all. It is an energy which moves throughout the universe. It can also be twisted and used for evil (the Dark Side). It can use the hate and rage to consume the person generating the negativity. Are you willing to say there is a dark side to the Holy Spirit?

I see it from an Orthodox point of view. Ever since the first one (back in '76) I have equated the Master/Padawan dynamic with that of the starets/novice dynamic of Orthodox Christianity. Also, the "otherworldliness" of the Jedi has struck me as particularly Orthodox, not to mention the beards and flowing robes.

I think that Star Wars is very good interpretation of the past and future of Christian religion. "Anakin Skywalker" was found as a boy without a father. His mother told Qui-Gon Jinn that she gave birth, but "no father". So young Anakin was taken by Jedi to fulfill ancient prophecies. Young Anakin == Jesus from Nazareth.

My question is not whether Star Wars was influenced by Christianity. My question is whether Christianity is being influenced by Star Wars.

When they go to see "Star Wars" and Luke Skywalker says "May The Force Be With You", the Lutherans in the audience stand and say "And Also With You!" --

Since when do Jedi have to be celibate? First we get this medichlorian nonsense, then suddenly we are supposed to "balance" the Force rather than adhere to the Light side and shun the Dark side, then there's the stupid Immaculate Conception of Anakin, and now Jedi have to celibate!

I think the force would better be compared to the Christ consciousness of the mind science cults. the force was not centered in one figure or being but was in all things and could only be felt and harnessed through training.

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