Jason B. Ladd

Author | Apologist | Entrepreneur

The Force Awakens, Hits Snooze and Sleeps In

the force awakens, star wars

Stars Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens has taken over the world. And rightfully so.

(Photo left: Lego Vader brandishing a light shaver, “I can’t believe I slept in again.”)

I’m a huge Star Wars fan. I grew up on Star Wars. And I’m taking my family to see The Force Awakens on opening night at an IMAX theatre.

My kids have been vanquished by the darker side of light many times over and into the night, replicating the famous whom-whoum/ crack-crckkk-ckk-crack until the Duracells run dry.

But I’m glad I know better than to worship God according to Star Wars.

The Force Awakens

Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens will no doubt be like the rest in the series: entertaining.

But the makers of Star Wars knew they would need something deeper than space war to make a lasting impression.

Director of Empire Strikes Back Irvin Kirshner, a Zen Buddhist, says of the film:

“I wanna introduce some Zen here because I don’t want the kids to walk away just feeling that everything is shoot-em-up, but that there’s also a little something to think about here in terms of yourself and your surroundings.”1

the force awakens Richard Howe and Norman Geisler take a hyper-look into the religious themes bound within the space saga in The Religion of the Force published in 1983 with a revised edition in 2015:

“Lucas’s biographer, Dale Pollock, concludes: ‘Yoda’s philosophy is Buddhist—he tells Luke that the Force requires him to be calm, at peace, and passive; it should be used for knowledge and defense, not greed and aggression.’ The Star Wars parallel with Eastern religion is further exemplified in the belief that ‘when people die, their life spirit is drained from them and incorporated in a huge energy force,’ joining ‘the ethereal oneness of the Force. . . .’ So, wittingly or unwittingly, Lucas presents a dramatic portrayal of a Zen Buddhist conception of God which he calls the Force, but in Zen is known as the Tao.”2

These Are Not the Worldviews You’re Looking For. . .

In pantheism-based worldviews (Buddhism, Hinduism, New Age modalities), your natural conception of reality is an illusion, and true knowledge of reality can only be obtained through awakening and enlightenment—remembering your divinity (New Age), renouncing desire (Buddhism), and paying off karmic debt (Hinduism).

the force awakens, star wars

“Kyle, I’ll let you be Storm Captain in your next life. I promise.”

Pan (all) theism (God) means all-is-God. On pantheism, everything is God.

Holy Monism

Monism—the concept that “all-is-one”—is peas to pantheism’s carrots. When combining the concepts that everything is one and everything is God, everything becomes God, including you. And the allure of claiming a Divine spark

has become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.

But all distinctions are dissolved by monism. Everyone and everything are the same thing. The fact that they look different is an illusion.

The appearance of individuals relating to each other in community is an illusion. There are no persons. There is only the ultimate force.

And that is why this “force” described so often in Eastern philosophy and embraced by the Star Wars trilogies must be impersonal.

The Impersonal Force

Impersonal does not mean anti-social (although the Force might indeed spend too much time on Facebook). Impersonal means not a person.

According to Obi-wan, the force is “an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us, penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together.”

I wish Luke would have asked him what bound the galaxy together before living things.

the force awakens, star wars

So by all means, when you’re playing with your kids in the backyard, use the force.

But don’t ask anything of it. Don’t try to love it. And for Obi-wan’s sake, don’t pray to it.

Energy doesn’t answer, and it has major issues showing its love. It’s no wonder Stormtroopers are on the street begging for hugs.

the force awakens, star wars

Just Nine More Minutes. . .

The force awakens but is not ready to face the world, and so it delays the inevitable clash with reality for nine more minutes.

Wouldn’t you?

Photo credit: leg0fenris via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

Photo credit: Kalexanderson via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

Photo credit: leg0fenris via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

Photo credit: clement127 via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

1 Rolling Stone Magazine (July 24, 1980), p. 37.
2 Richard G.Howe and Norman L. Geisler, The Religion of the Force, (Matthews, NC: Bastion Books, 2015), 58-59.


About Jason B. Ladd

Jason is an author, speaker, Marine, and father of seven. He has flown the F/A-18 Hornet as a Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron 1 (MAWTS-1) Instructor Pilot and the F-16 as an Instructor Pilot. His award-winning book One of the Few: A Marine Fighter Pilot’s Reconnaissance of the Christian Worldview has been optioned for film adaptation. He is represented by Julie Gwinn of The Seymour Agency.

5 Replies

  1. Sam Hall

    Insightful comments, Jason. I tend to gloss over those New Age and Buddhist concepts–b/c I don’t buy it. I’m not looking for those types of answers.
    But I need to be more aware, and sound the alarm as you do. There are many impressionable people (mostly younger, I’m afraid) who accept those ideas without question. Too easily, it becomes their worldview.

  2. Dustin Fussy

    It is already an established pseudo religion. http://www.jedichurch.org/

    1. hah! thanks for that, Dustin!

  3. You know what, Jason? I appreciate your insightful observations and encyclopedic information, but at the same time I don’t want to hear it! Dang it! I know the Force is a thinly veiled religious tool, but I LIKE Star Wars! The upside to all this might be the understanding that if we would make more movies with Christian theological undertones, more people might be led (not “forced”) in the right direction. At least we have the Spirit on our side – and He WAS around before all the living things 😉

    1. I know, I know. I don’t want to write it. We saw The Force Awakens on opening night and LOVED it! It’s a good conversation starter 🙂