You may not know it, but you're a Jedi--at least according to the dozens of Beliefnet members who compare their own faiths to the spirituality of "Star Wars." Find out what the Force has in common with:

Taoism | Buddhism | Christianity | Shamanism Confucianism | Wicca | Paganism | Eckankar Asatru (Norse) | Hinduism | Judaism
Zoroastrianism | Islam | Combination

  • True Believers: Meet Jedi Realists
  • Why Muslims Make Good Jedis
  • Celibacy for Jedi Knights?
  • "Star Wars Started Me on My Spiritual Path"
  • Your Reviews of "Revenge of the Sith"

    I think there are definite connections between the Tao and The Force. Yoda said The Force is everywhere--the tree, the rock--and binds all things together. The Tao is called "the Mother of All Things" and is described as humble, the giver of life, patient, and so forth.

    The force pulls most of its substance from the Tao. And the Tao states that all things have good and evil, light and dark within, even itself. And remember the whole prophecy they talk about, the one that will bring balance to the force, how did he bring balance? by going evil, that's pretty Taoist if you ask me.

    Anakin is evidently the one prophesied to restore balance to the Force. ... Is this pattern not a little more in keeping with the Tao? The harmony in the Force is restored when the Sith is removed. And is not our goal as human beings to live in the Tao, which is, by definition, a matter of balance?

    Another difference between the force and the Tao, I think, is that you can't do magic tricks with the Tao. Not that Taoism is anti-magic by any means, but mystical powers aren't too often held up as signs of a real sage.

    Obi-Wan Kenobi says: "The Force is what gives a Jedi his power. It's an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together". Obi Wan's words bear a striking resemblance to Lao Tzu's own words throughout the Tao-Te-Ching. Granted, most people would say that the Tao will not allow you to defeat the empire and save the galaxy. I disagree.

    The Force could be "Buddha Nature" - the seed of enlightenment that resides in each of us. It kinda matches the description given by Obi Wan in Episode IV.

    The three original SW movies did indeed have a Buddhist flavor running through them... I am being very unBuddhist when I say I wish Jar-Jar Binks would get sliced in half by a lightsaber.

    One lesson that sticks with me through time is the one Buddhist belief, reflected in Star Wars on the Force, is that to get it one must let go of it. I spend most of my time in the struggle of "letting go." When I do finally pry the "attachment" from my bloody fingers, it is not long before the universe provides the very thing that I seemed to be so attached to having. "Let go, Luke!"

    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.

    In the prequel, Anakin is sort of a weird quasi-Jesus. Also, later he sort of symbolizes the prodigal son.

    No, we don't believe in the "Force", to use a Star Wars analogy. God made all things is NOT to be confused with God is in all things.

    I see NO difference between Christ Consciousness and Jedi Consciousness. The metaphor is the metaphor. The Tao is All.

    Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

    The Star Wars trilogy was undoubtedly inspired by a hidden and true back story, probably about a Mormon kid. Notice the similarity between Yoda and the Mormon prophet Spencer W. Kimball. You can bet that the newer trilogy is based on another Mormon kid, probably a religious Je(hu)di who fell for an older woman of a higher social status and then "turned evil."

    In the Missionary Training Center, we used to compare characters of Star Wars to the prophets (Abinadi and Obi-Wan, for instance) in the Bible and Book of Mormon, and the gifts of the Spirit with the "Force."

    Jedi Realists

    I am a Jedi (not in the 'got a light saber' kind of way). I just follow the teachings of the Jedi masters. Now I know Yoda is not real but he is as real to me as Jesus, Yoda just lived and died long before the earth cooled. (LOL) Seriously, the base of the Jedi religion is FEAR. Understand the Jedi are not all good there is the Darth, they use fear for personal gain, the Jedi remove fear for clarity. I have not found one religion that can argue the simple teachings of the Jedi! Two main things that help me answer all of life's questions: 'Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to sorrow. Try not! Do, or do not. There is no try!'

    I had a college friend in 1993 who practiced Jedi. Of course, from everything he explained to me about his beliefs, it sounded more like a Star Wars-ish form of Taoism than a separate belief system, but it ...really seemed to center my friend and give him strength, so I said, more power to him.

    Many religions started with a scripture. Jedi's was written on a strip of celluloid. It's just as well, I suppose - like all religions, we should be judging it on its merit and relevance to our own lives, not by the medium on which it's conveyed.

    When you consider it not as a movie creation but as a method of living your life and interacting with the world it is in and of itself not a bad religion. It answers the great questions and also comes with its own prebuilt myths.

    Jedism is now a religion? I am saddened and horrified as it means another really good philosophy has been dragged down to the level of a (yuk!) RELIGION. It is now only a matter of time until "they" show up... the pontificating pompous asses who will feel compelled to tell us dummies just what the REAL TRUTH of Jedism is. Then there will come the disciples, then the rules,and of course rounding it out, pages and pages of arguments.

    Do you suppose that before long they'll have denominations of Jedi as well? :P

    It is a film, you can't create gods! That is stupid. Religion is trying to find what is true, the ultimate search for truth and the divine power. Copying a religion of a film (which is obviously made up) is stupid and wrong. I have never watched Star Wars, so I don't know anything about this Jedi Religion. I just think that some people should see the difference between what is real, and what is fantasy.

    I want one of those cool flying orbs that Luke the Prophet (pbuh) practiced against in the swamp. You know--the one that shot little laser blasts at him. That would beat the crap out of solitaire!

    Star Wars and My Spiritual Path

    In the 10th grade when I reached the peak of my frustrations with Christianity I turned to the Star Wars mythos that George Lucas created. Which led me to Joseph Campbell, then to Taoism, then to Buddhism Zen and Mayhana, and last to Gnostic Gospels. This combination makes up my own personal philosophy... "The Force is created by all living things"and " Its energy field surrounds us, binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter." Also, the Force can be described as an interacting "God". When people say "May the Force be with you." or "It was the will of the Force".

    Star Wars was quite influential on my spirituality as a child - simply because it offered an option when I had been lead to believe that there were no options...

    The Force is really what got me started along my spiritual path. I had never considered such concepts before I became a huge Star Wars fan. From there I went to Taoism, Zen, and an interest in philsophy ... even though the Force was a concept derived for a movie, it is very much a real thing for a lot of people, having provided them a kind of inspiration (a starting point) that nothing else could.

    Celibacy for Jedi Knights?

    Making priestly celibacy optional in the Catholic Church has been going around for years now,and it is interesting that in many sci fi/fantasy books there are heroes who appear celibate.In "Attack of the Clones",Anakin Skywalker will be forced to choose between following the Jedi code of celibacy or loving Queen Amidala.

    "Attack of the Killer Clones from Outer Space" has a heretofore unknown Jedi code of celibacy, which apparently Obi Wan and Yoda forgot to mention to Luke and Leia (did they learn from their mistakes?) and which apparently didn't exist in the hundreds and thousands of years prior to them in the Star Wars comics.

    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 is a combination of many different religions. It has all the makings of Taoism, but then in the prequel, Anakin is sort of a weird quasi- Jesus. Also, later he sort of symbolizes the prodigal son. I saw Lucas on TV once saying that the Force is really just a combination, he said that he took some aspects of mythology and some aspects of Christian doctrines, and some other religions and made the Force.

    I think that Lucas was just following his own inner Zen when he created the idea of the Force, and that this will thus resonate with many truths. I too am, as you might tell by my name and profile, very into Taoism and Jedi. I think it would be more interesting to contemplate the Jedi as nondenominational, and then posit specific Jedi. Like how would a Buddhist Jedi differ from a Taoist one?

    The FORCE is present in nearly all successful religions under different names:

    JEDI: the FORCE
    TAOISM: the Tao
    HINDU: the Shabda
    ISLAM: Kalam
    CHRISTIANITY: the Holy Spirit

    Any religion that teaches one how to connect with the incredible source of truth - the FORCE - is certainly going in the right direction.

    "Star Wars" has become the great mythical tale for the modern era. Jedi Knights, The "Force", the Evil Empire, Anikan Skywalker's fall from grace to become Darth Vader and his redemption. What a grand example of a myth!

    What is it that the Force represents to which people are responding? I think that the Tao represents one aspect of this reality. But I think that a lot of people are looking for a faith that reflects the whole of the human experience. This would reflect all of the religious varieties: indigenous faith, Taoism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, etc., as well as the new earth-based religions. It must also reflect the human story in general, whether it comes out in a world religion, an ancient myth, folklore, science fiction literature, classic literature, historic narrative, etc.

    The Force is synonymous with The God Force: the energy that people unite with when they leave the flesh, e.g., the "white light at the end of the tunnel" that many near death experiencers have reported. This being the same energy spectrum that Christian faith healers and Reiki practitioners utilize for healing.

    The Force is representative of the Source or Foundation of the Universe. All of the Words spoken by the ObiWan and Yoda are in adherent Lao Tzu, Christ (not the religions who say they believe but do not follow), and Buddha. All 3 Spiritual Masters seem to have gotten their words from the Same source (Force).

    Just like Odin gave an eye, Heimdall gave an ear...he's simply a quiet wise god who prefers to keep silent, listen carefully, analyze the situation and then, should he wish, he intervenes. Just like the Jedi Master Yaddle from the Jedi High Counsel in Episode I: according to the Star Wars manual, "Yaddle waits silently during long discussions before giving her only judgment, calm and powerful" I find this a good example of what Heimdall is: A wise god, with excellent perception capabilities, calm, highly responsible and, in a way, father of humankind, just like Odin, Vili and Ve.

    I would say the Force could be analagous to Wyrd, Fate, Dán, etc., in that it's a force (no pun intended) that pervades all levels of creation, affecting everything without exception. It's neither good nor evil, but simply is.

    Yes, phrased that way, the Force is like Moira, just like Wyrd, Dan, and so forth (as I understand them). The main difference between the Force and these concepts is that you can't manipulate Fate (to translate the European ideas) or the Tao. At least with the Tao, attunement with it can produce some dramatic results, supposedly. That is, however, not something I have seen said of the European "Forces."

    It was always my impression that the Jedi weren't supposed to fight unless attacked. They used their "magick" for defense, only, which seems to parallel Wicca nicely.

    Jedi is more a masculine religion whereas Wicca is more of a feminine religion. Not the same religion but one that would balance each other well.

    Wicca is fundamentally very different from the Jedi idea on several fronts. Wicca is not a Warrior path by any stretch of the imagination. Wicca while being meditative is actually more Dionysian than Apollonian by far. Jedi appear to be Apollonian.

    It is not Neo-Pagan in that its not directly nature based, nor is is Paleo-Pagan as it lacks a Polytheistic structure. The closest you can say is that it is pantheistic. On the other hand it is definitely far more Taoist, with strong influences of Chi/Qi, Wu Wei, and so forth, and Cha'an/Zen Buddhism.

    The Force is more or less animism and pantheism. That's the heart and soul actually of Shamanism. If anything, I would call Jedi Warrior shamans. ...Shamans use altered states of consciousness to deal with a subtle level of reality... Jedi use altered states of consciousness to deal with a subtle level of reality called "the force." Jedi are movie shamans with enough mainstream symbology thrown in to make them palatable.

    There are some similarities to Zoroastrian Dualism too...although in some ways the Dark Side and Light Side of the Force are more similar to the Ying/Yin v. Yang/Yo dichotomy and "dualism" of Taoism.

    It's not my cup of tea, as it's a little too far on the Zoroastrian "good/evil" side.

    I always wonder whether the Jedi are actually speaking of God when they talk of the "Force." After all, in Islam God has 99 names, and, for me at least, God is the "Force" that drives my life every day... The principles of the Jedi: devotion to the Force (read: God), honor, discipline, and service for justice, are principles that our world, torn apart by the Dark Side of human nature, is in desperate need of. I hope and pray that I become one of the Muslim "Jedi" of our world today.
    --Hesham H.

    If you search female jedi on the official star wars site, you should come up with a pic of 2 [women in hijab].

    They're not Islamic jedi or anything. I just thought the concept was cool, that women didn't have to wear skimpy clothes to do something. Women can be covered and modest and still go around kicking bad peoples behinds and restoring peace and justice to the galaxy :)

    "Yoda" means "The one who knows" in Hebrew... Jews wave the Lulav (light sabre-like weapon made of palm frond) to repel the Dark Side on holiday of Sukkos. ...Journey to true self sometimes leads through the dark side. Judaism is based on Return (Teshuva) as in "return of the Jedi" This is a reference to Darth returning to good, not to Luke coming back from training.

    In the original Star Wars Movie, when 3CPO was levitated in the chair (I think by Obiwan) when captured by the Ewoks and treated as someone special, it looked a lot like a Bar Mitzvah!

    The first Star Wars film was clearly proven later to be inspired by and loosely along the lines of the Hindu epic, the Ramayana.

    The concept of fear as being a driving force (no pun intended) among sentient beings is not a new concept developed by the innovative mind of George Lucas ... Fear is also introduced by a prominent Eastern spirituality author (deceased) by the name of Osho, who said that fear was the opposite of love. Hate is not the opposite of love because hate, as we were so markedly instructed by the great Yoda, derives from anger which in turn derives from fear.

    Just because Star Wars is influenced by Hinduism does not mean you can freely substitute Darth Vader for Siva or Yoda for Lord Jagganath. Would you put Yoda in your mandir?

    Neo-Confucian interpretations of the prime virtue 'jen' (sometimes 'ren') define it as a force that unites all living and non-living things together throughout the cosmos. Wang Yang Ming in particular defined 'jen' in such a way. Does anyone else think there might be aspects of Neo-Confucianism in Lucas' "force"? [Note that] the "Tao" in Confucianism is not the Tao of Taoism - and "jen" is not in any sense a Way or Path. It is the force of human love, benevolence and compassion.

    To become a Jedi Master requires spiritual exercise, I'm very pleased with my progess resulting from doing the spiritual exercises presented in Eckankar (including the expansion of consciousness, soul travel, conscious dreaming, the experience of 'oneness'). Becoming a Jedi Master is not for everyone, only those that truly want to dedicate themselves to it.

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