What is Jediism? What does the Jedi religion teach?
The first Star Wars movie, released in 1977, launched several sequels and prequels and continues to build a global following today. The science fiction series centers around the struggle between a group of rebels and an evil empire. Intertwined is the idea of the Force, a mystical power which binds and flows through the universe. Jedis have special access to the Force and can harness its power for good or evil. The quasi-religion of the Star Wars universe has become a religion which some in the real world follow—Jediism or the Jedi religion.
In the Star Wars films, books, and comics, Jedi are a sort of monastic order, and completely made up. However, adherents to Jediism in the real world use the fictional Star Wars universe to build a philosophic, or even religious, belief system. Some organizations have created doctrinal creeds and even training programs that help believers grow from initiates (Padawans) to experts (Jedi Masters). One has gone as far as to acquire 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status as a religious organization (the Temple of the Jedi Order).
There is no central structure or official beliefs for the Jedi religion. However, Jediism is usually found to be nontheistic and desirous of doing good. What qualifies as "good" is defined by each individual Jedi as there is no absolute moral standard within the religion. Most Jedi programs in the real world have beliefs founded in Taoism and Buddhism, including meditation, self-actualization, visualization, and the quieting of the mind to connect with the Force. Jediism also tends to be syncretic as many times adherents are encouraged to maintain their previous religious affiliation, saying that wisdom can come in many forms and tolerance is needed.
Those who take Jediism seriously value the idea of the Force as energy for good in the world, though they dismiss the reality of Darth Vader, Jawas, a planet called Tatooine, and the ability to move objects or people using the Force. It is not that they believe the Star Wars materials to be factual, but that they find the concept of the Force to be a religious or philosophical guide to life.
While the Bible certainly advocates doing good and would agree with Jediism's calls to honesty and integrity, the Jedi religion is incompatible with biblical Christianity. The central beliefs in Jediism are counter to Christianity as defined in the Bible. The Bible reveals a personal God who actively binds all of creation together (Colossians 1:17). He is not a power to be harnessed, but a God who created us and provides a means for us to have relationship with Him (John 1:12; 3:15–18). The amoral Force is subject to the whims and desires of whomever can harness its power. God is sovereign and subject to no one (Job 21:22; 1 Corinthians 2:15–16; Isaiah 55:6–9). There is no defining moral standard in Jediism, though the Bible presents the moral standards from a holy and sovereign God. The Bible also tells us that we have failed to live up to these standards and thus deserve eternal punishment (Romans 3:23; 6:23), yet that a means of salvation has been provided for us through the Person and work of Jesus Christ (John 14:6). The way to heaven is through Jesus (Acts 4:12). When we put our faith in Jesus, we receive the indwelling Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13–14) and we are made new (2 Corinthians 5:17). It is only by the regeneration of Christ and the equipping of the Holy Spirit that we are able to do good works (Ephesians 2:8–10; Romans 12:1–2). We do not harness some mystical power to do good. Rather, we are forgiven and renewed by a very real and very personal God.
The underlying problem with Jediism is that it is a belief system created by a person or people. Why would you put your trust or build your life around the thoughts of a flawed person when the One True God has revealed Himself and His ways?
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