Star Wars Movies Are Fun, Just Remember They Sometimes Contradict a Biblical Worldview

I’ve found that while almost no one ends up believing that the particular aliens onscreen really exist, matters of worldview are much more subtly conveyed.

This is loaded with theology, most of it dead wrong. Where is God the Creator and Jesus the Redeemer in this worldview? Or when Yoda says of his coming death, “Soon will I rest, yes, forever sleep. Earned it I have,” how does this stand up against the biblical worldview of Heaven and Hell? Where is the grace of God offering deliverance from Hell only the basis of faith in Christ offered by His redemptive death on our behalf? Our eternal rest, which is conscious, is not granted on the basis of good works, as Yoda affirms: “Earned it I have.” 

 

With the release of Episode VIII – The Last Jedi, I’ve been asked again about my views on Star Wars. I enjoy science fiction and I do like Star Wars, especially the original three movies. Nanci and I actually attended, in Portland, the first showing of the original Star Wars in late May 1977, over forty years ago (we started our church earlier that same month). The theater was less than half full. We were blown away by the quality, and by the time we brought friends back to see it the following week, the word had spread and lines to buy a ticket were almost out to the street. (Some of you remember!)

That said, it was obvious even then that Star Wars was fun to watch but a very poor place to get your theology! I am not a Star Wars naysayer, and it might seem self-evident that “these movies aren’t based on reality.” But I’ve found that while almost no one ends up believing that the particular aliens onscreen really exist, matters of worldview are much more subtly conveyed. So I encourage parents to talk with their children about this, since many of them don’t yet have the filters in place to screen out what’s false.

Full of Theology

I can hear some people saying, “What are you even talking about? There’s no theology in Star Wars. These are just some fun movies.” Well, yes, they are fun movies, but if you think they don’t contain theology you are, no offense intended, naïve. Here’s just one example from the second of the original Star Wars movies, The Empire Strikes Back. Yoda is mentoring young Luke Skywalker in Star Wars theology:

“For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is. Life breeds it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. You must feel the force around you, here between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere, yes, even between land and ship.”

This is loaded with theology, most of it dead wrong. Where is God the Creator and Jesus the Redeemer in this worldview? Or when Yoda says of his coming death, “Soon will I rest, yes, forever sleep. Earned it I have,” how does this stand up against the biblical worldview of Heaven and Hell? Where is the grace of God offering deliverance from Hell only the basis of faith in Christ offered by His redemptive death on our behalf? Our eternal rest, which is conscious, is not granted on the basis of good works, as Yoda affirms: “Earned it I have.” Compare Yoda’s words with Ephesians 2:8–9 and Titus 3:5.

This errant theology is an opportunity to talk with our children and each other about biblical truth. But if this isn’t done, why shouldn’t we expect a child, especially one who watches the movies repeatedly, to absorb and to a degree, at least, to embrace this false theology?

If kids and parents can sit down, like we did with our daughters when they were young, and discuss the theological errors with “the Force,” that can be very good for them (and us). Everyone has a theology or worldview, of course, you do and I do and George Lucas does. His worldview just happens to have a bigger platform and more pervasive presence than most of ours!

The Dangers of Dualism

So what are the errors in the Star Wars theology and worldview I’m referring to? There are elements of Eastern mysticism and New Age, with sprinklings of pantheism, but the most fundamental and pervasive error is dualism (similar to the Persian religion of Zoroastrianism).

When we teach our kids about the world and the course of events, we need to make clear it is not fate, randomness, or nothingness which control these things, nor is it a whimsical pagan god with limited powers, duking it out with competing gods, and only time will tell who wins. There are not two equal opposite forces in the universe, and who will be victorious is not in doubt! The God of the Bible is utterly unique, transcendent, and personal. And this God, the one true God, is not portrayed in the Star Wars Saga (nor in most other movies of any sort being produced today).

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