Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Christianity and Star Wars

My last post got me to thinking about my beliefs and upbringing—and how it does relate to many different elements in my life, including Star Wars and role playing. Again, I'm not trying to get too metaphysical or preachy here. Just pointing out some interesting things I discovered.

Now, even as a Christian, I always wince whenever some Christian organization comes out with an 'official' stance on anything remotely related to role playing or most movies. I mean, just look at all the crap that Chick Publications puts out with its "Dark Dungeons" tracts and things like that. Its uninformed hysteria and fear mongering and outright lies, designed specifically to manipulate people into thinking and acting the way certain people want them to. Likewise, the furor over the Harry Potter books being 'devil worship' or the condemning of anything that doesn't take religion 'seriously' (say for example, Family Guy or South Park) just turns my stomach. Are people seriously that insecure in their faith that they can't see past semantics (the word 'Witch' for instance) or have the ability to laugh at some of the stereotypes of their faith?

Thus, it was with trepidation that I visited a website that took a look at the Star Wars movies from a Christian viewpoint. The Website (Decent Films Guide) has a tagline that reads: Film appreciation, information and criticism informed by Christian faith. It sounds straightforward, but I couldn't help getting an 'ominous' feeling about it. As I read the article covering the Star Wars films and their Moral and Spiritual issues, however, I was actually pleasantly surprised. Here we have a self-proclaimed Christian site that takes a very objective and rational approach to discussing the movies. Even the whole 'virgin birth' of Anakin issue (a huge thing with a lot of devout Christians) was dealt with in a very fair and logical manner. I was flabbergasted. I had expected the worse (despite my optimism) and was rewarded with something good.

Lets just say it was a nice surprise. I'm not certain of the site is as even handed about other films and issues, but I am glad it was about this, and if anyone is interested, please check out the following link. Yes, it is 'slanted' to a Christian point of view, but that's the point—that's the target audience. And I would give kudos to any devout family that actually took the time to do research and make their own decisions before blindly labeling something they know nothing about as 'bad'. God gave us minds and I'm pretty sure he wants us to use them. Faith is odd, it's believing in something you can't see, but at the same time, it shouldn't be 'blind'. That's a difficult thing to reconcile.

And...I'm getting metaphysical and preachy. So I'll stop. I will end by posting the final conclusion that the author of the Decent Films article made:

"For those who are adults and who are secure in their faith, there is little in the films that would stop one from using critical thinking to spot and bracket the problematic elements, while enjoying the other aspects of George Lucas's outer-space fantasies."

You'll note the whole "who are secure in their faith" and "using critical thinking". Got to love the fact that someone believes the two things are not mutually exclusive.


  1. I'm a Christian too, and I didn't find anything offensive about the movies (aside from Jar Jar). A lot of your super-devout Christians seem to have to relate EVERYTHING to God and Christianity, and I think that's a bad mistake. Why can't it just be a good story? I will admit, with the whole virgin birth of Aniken, I was a little surprised, but my reaction was basically, "Really, George? You had to go there? Really???" But I certainly wasn't offended. It was more of an eye-rolling moment than anything, at least for me. Didn't help that they were talking about Midichlorians right about then, too, I guess.

  2. This is interesting. In the KOTOR game I just decided to cancel (mostly because of the lady I'm about to mention), the host, Joyce, is obviously very Christian (although not especially vocal). In the second game I ran, I had things involved that suggested that The Force was not the only power in the universe. She seemed absolutly hissy about that. At the time I thought she was just defending the Star Wars universe as she saw it, but it dawned upon me later that perhaps she equated The Force in Star Wars with Christianity (although I would say Buddaism and Sufism were closer kin to The Force in SW), and that I was saying there was no "one true God" or something. Which was by no means the case, despite my personal views.

  3. Honestly, I think you can equate the Force to about any belief system you have—there are a lot of overlapping philosophical and ideological factors in there. But I've never applied 'religion' to Star Wars, despite the fact that Tarkin actually CALLS the force a religion in the very first movie. Nope, my Star Wars game is pretty much secular. I let people read into the Force what they want to. Unless they bring up midichlorians, at which point I would ask them to get the hell out of my house! (or.. something like that Freaking midichlorians).

  4. There was a nun who taught at Bishop Kenny here in Jacksonville who used to use SW IV-VI as the basis for her religion class. They called her Sister Star Wars.